Surrounded by mountains without my suitcase – Zurich

We had arrived in Europe knowing only Atum – from 30 years ago. However, attending Atum’s conference in Assisi allowed us to meet many other wonderful people. (He only attracts wonderful people).  We had left room in our itinerary to be open to an invitation from anyone at the conference that might not live too far from our planned route (Italy, Spain, France, Scotland, Ireland.  We received four invitations and three of them worked into our schedule.  We were so happy! However none were one our planned route as the invitations came from Switzerland and Germany.  So what?  We changed our route and started out in Switzerland.

A view of a few of the mountains that surround Switzerland.
A view of a few of the mountains that surround Switzerland.


We met with our friend from Switzerland first. She was from Great Britain originally so, of course, she speaks excellent English along with Swiss German and many other languages.

What a relief to be met at the airport by our new friend. The relief was compounded by the news that Swiss Air had lost my luggage.

Of course the airlines don’t use the word “lost” they use the word “missing” and filed a missing baggage report with a description of my bag. My bag happened to be a Victorinox – a Swiss brand. In my zombie travel state I thought “my bag is probably in Switzerland and has decided to avoid me so it can stay here”.

What a relief to be met at the airport by our new friend. The relief was compounded by the news that Swiss Air had lost my luggage.

I told the agent I really needed a change of clothes etc. She asked me if I wanted a “shaving kit”.  On US airlines a “shaving kit” is a small plastic bag with a miniature toothbrush and a razor.   I said sure thinking it might be useful.

Apparently the Swiss do not believe in halfway measures. I received a binder sized canvas briefcase with Velcro closures containing a razor, imagewith shaving cream, after shave and a small can of deoderant.   I uncovered a full sized toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, makeup pads, q-tips, shampoo, soap, hand cream, and a clean extra large tee shirt labeled Swiss with a little Red Cross swiss flag on the tag. I felt unreasonably satisfied as I clutched my only possessions this side of the Atlantic and walked out of the baggage area. No doubt this generous shaving kit was designed  to satisfy me just long enough to encounter the cold night air of Switzerland.  An extra tee shirt would not be enough.

Our friend, who had to wait a half hour while I filed my report, was very patient and sympathetic. That too was comforting.  She then shepherded us through the airport train to town, followed by several quiet electric trams and a bus to reach her large apartment in Zurich. This was the first time we were introduced to a place we would stay for a few days where we didn’t have to deal with a different language or struggle to orient ourselves.  Yet another relief.

Our friend shows us her favorite places in Zurich.
Our friend shows us her favorite places in Zurich.

The next day our friend took us into the city to see some amazing stained glass windows by Chagall. No photos were allowed but you can check out the web site. http://www.fraumuenster.ch/.

These Chagall windows were the most beautiful things I had seen since coming to Europe.  The colors and images imprint into your mind and heart.  Chagall was a genius of imagery and to see his work in stained glass is an extraordinary experience.  I found the images more alive than the beautiful but comparatively static images of Renaissance stained glass.

We then traveled the countryside. We first went around a small lake with incredibly clear water and swans that plunged down bottoms up to eat.  Here are a few views of the lake and mountains:

 

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After some doubts about ever seeing my clothing again, Swiss Air called and then delivered the luggage minus our luggage locks and a small electronic scale we used to weigh the luggage.  I wrote to Swiss Air and to our luggage insurance agency about the minor loses but never heard from either of them.  I later spoke to a Swiss citizen about how losing these things seemed out of character for the Swiss who are known for their polite efficiency.  He replied that Swiss air was purchased by Lufthansa – a German company.

An amazing new connection happened in Zurich.  Our friend introduced us to H_____ her close friend who worked as a translator.  We began discussing her work as a translator and I shared some funny stories about my work in education, particularly with students with Asperger’s.  She told me she had translated for Dr. Tony Attwood , an Australian who had a similar understanding humor about his clients with Asperger’s.  I had met Dr. Attwood, read one of his books, and really admired his work! Here was someone who had spend days with him.!  Small world!

We were sorry to have to leave our Swiss friend who had taken care of us and guided us through Zurich.  We hope she comes to visit us!

 

 

 

Author: talks2trees

I'm a recent writer and retired teacher. Married for more than half my life to Ariana I am content now to travel with her to warm places while snow swirls around our home in upstate NY where we live two houses away from my son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Our daughter lives just a block away so our decision to travel is not without a consequence. However we have taken very few vacations in our married life so this journey, that starts in Costa Rica, is very new.

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