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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
MAY
27

Switzerland and the Alps

I was prepared for chocolate and cheese, for beautiful scenery and a few rainy days. But what I was not prepared for on my first trip to Switzerland was the Alps. What must have been the expression on my face when I caught my first glimpse of them, all majestic and jagged and snow-capped? I remember that I had to pause and process. I remember my eyes widening. I remember it registering immediately that I'd never seen anything like them. Because they simply don't look like any other mountains. No offense to, well, everything else in Swizterland, but once the Alps are in your line of sight, why would you want to look at anything else?

I saw the Alps from the country fields of Swizerland, from a ferry crossing Lake Geneva, even from inside a tram that took me up and up into their snowy tops. And to actually be in the Alps, to witness them at every altitude, to feel yourself getting colder and colder as you rise, to go from sun to snow and back down to sun, to do everything you can to look and look and look until you're sure you won't forget, to want to blink everyone you love to the same spot so that you can all witness together the beauty to be had on this rolling sphere of ours. I'm just not sure what compares to that. Besides fresh Gruyere cheese. 

Of course, vacations are never as picture perfect as they look. The jet lag beat me down, the long flights were torturous and devoid of sleep and unusually gassy (is that just me?), and I lost my footing on a Swiss staircase and nursed a severely bruised arm for most of the trip. Three weeks out from the fall and my arm still isn't back to normal, which does on one hand make me take every staircase with an increased grain of caution, but it also reminds me of those lazy Swiss days, dipping bread into a fresh pot of fondue, strolling along a flower-strewn country road after a storm, and, yes, lifting my eyes to take in the tops of those mountains in the distance.