Categories
Holidays

Switzerland – Your Unvoiced Questions Answered

On 20th August, after completing all the usual preparations and some extra ones, David and I were delighted to be sitting in a plane about to take off.

About four hours later, we landed at Zurich Airport, ready to spend two glorious weeks doing what we love to do – hike, admire views, travel in boats.

You: Why did you go?

We needed a rest, a break from routine.

You: Why did you go abroad?

We live in a small, crowded and tense country. There’s plenty that we love about our country and what it has accomplished. But sometimes it’s nice to get away and experience something different.

You: Why did you choose Switzerland?

We’ve been there many times. We know what to expect. It’s perfect for hiking, with lots of footpaths and excellent public transport. The views are amazing. Our first choice would have been the UK, where we have family and friends and are at home with the language. But current restrictions there are too complicated and limiting.

Let me ask you a question. Why are you asking so many questions?

You: We’re still in a pandemic. Don’t you think you should stay at home?

We stayed at home for nineteen months, most of it literally at home. When we tried to visit places, we found we had to book, and the places we tried were always full for the times we wanted. The pandemic, we’ve realised, isn’t going away soon, so it’s time to get out and enjoy ourselves, taking whatever precautions we can.

You: What did you notice in Switzerland regarding the pandemic?

In general, people are good about wearing masks. The ones who aren’t, in our limited experience, tend to be young men, who sit in a train carriage for the whole journey with their can of drink, presumably so that, if challenged, they can claim to be drinking and hence exempt from wearing a mask.

Even in Switzerland (but less so than in Israel) we saw masks discarded on the streets and on footpaths – even on this path high up in the mountains.

Any more questions?

Categories
Books Holidays

“You’re Brave!”

Several years ago, we set out on a hike in Switzerland with our three children. It began to pour with rain, but we’re hardy people; rain doesn’t deter us. We knew we’d have to traverse a narrow ledge ahead, but hey, we could do it. Then we passed a couple going the other way. “You’re brave,” they said. That’s when we turned back.

Hiking in Switzerland

When you hear those two words, “You’re brave,” you suddenly think, “Am I brave? Do I want to be brave? Have I made a big mistake?”

When we heard those words on that hike, we realised we didn’t want to be so brave and didn’t go to that ledge. There was no problem doing that. This memoir author, who also worried about those words, would have had more difficulty pulling out if she’d wanted to. Fortunately, she decided she didn’t.

My MemoirI’m still planning to write a memoir one day. I’ve even thought of a format and written the first chapter. The revelations in it won’t be as hard as the ones Susan Burrowes owned up to. And many of the people in it are no longer alive and able to be hurt by it. Someone wants me to leave something out. It’s a very small part of the whole and can easily be omitted. It shows something important, but there are other examples.

That's me

 

 

I’ll have to be ready for people to tell me I’m brave. I think I will be.

Have you been told you’re brave? How did you react?

Categories
Holidays

Three Swiss Encounters

We’ve been to Switzerland many times, with and without children. This time we did what we we always do. We rented an “apartment” – in this case one room the size of a small hotel room but with cooking facilities – and we went hiking, using our Swiss Pass to the full to get around the country on trains, buses and boats.

We had a lovely time. As we walked, we greeted the people we passed, and this is one of the fun things about Switzerland. Most of the time, we were in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, although German here is very different from the German I learned at school. The usual greeting is “Grussech” which apparently stands for “greetings to you”, but sometimes they say “greetings to everyone” or several other combinations. Some days we travelled to the French-speaking area and switched to “Bonjour.” In the Italian area, we said “Bonjourno.” The strangest walk was from the German-speaking to the French-speaking area, when we switched mid-walk.

But I want to tell you about three special encounters this time. The first was with one of the natives, and while I didn’t venture too close to her…

Me and Cow…the holiday wouldn’t have been the same without this one and all the others, crossing our paths, their bells dingling.

The second encounter was with someone you all know.

Me and Sherlock

We had a most interesting conversation together, but I couldn’t interest him in my bookmarks. I had to admit that there’s no crime to investigate in my book.

The third encounter was with this couple:

Cable car from Grindelwald to MannlichenWe got into a cable car for four and they followed us. The man said, “My country is Kuwait.” We smiled and D said, “We’re from Israel.” A few eyebrows were raised. They smiled when D spoke a few words in Arabic. We took photos of each other. That’s all.

Categories
Blogging

Being Brave

Hiking in Switzerland

People tell me I’m very brave for writing what I write in my blog. “I know,” I reply, biting my lip. “Maybe too brave.”

I thought about this blog for a long time before I started it. When I finally decided I was ready for it, I went ahead. I haven’t regretted it … yet. But I’m still frightened.

Once, on holiday in Switzerland, we started off with the children on a three-day hike. Rain was beating down and we knew that we were coming to a path on the edge of a cliff. Two people passed us, going the other way. “You’re brave,” they said to us, admiringly. That’s when we decided to turn back.

I’m not going to turn back. What I’m doing is not life-threatening, as far as I know, and so far nothing bad has happened because of it. Anyway, I’ve been too cautious for too long. It’s time to break out of this protecting, restricting, inhibiting fortress.

So, it’s all right to tell me I’m brave. I’ll take it as a compliment and not as justification for turning back.

Are you brave?

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