Having house-guests in Switzerland is like receiving your first pair of glasses when you have been near sighted. Suddenly when you see your own world through someone else’s eyes, you realize how glorious the view.
“In Switzerland, every mile is beautiful!” my sister said and I appreciate my home anew.
As the lens focuses, the scene sharpens becoming more dramatic and spectacular. Each time a new visitor arrived, they marveled the sight from my backyard of golden fields, shimmering blue lake and white-tipped peek of Mont-Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe.
We live on what’s called the Gold Coast, the strip of land between Geneva and Montreux, where the land gently slopes downward from the Jura mountains on one side of the lake and upward toward the Alps on the other. On the north side of the lake, tiny red roofed villages that line the foothills of the Jura.
When my sister and brother-in-law were here, it rained so hard for 3 days they couldn’t make out the outline of any mountains. But at dusk when the sun broke through the clouds, the Alps bathed in a pink hue magically appeared with Lake Geneva glistening in the foreground.
If it makes you feel better, there are some inconveniences. Air traffic hums overhead, drills hammer, tractors clamor and cars rumble past on the autoroutes (super highways), which traces the shores of the lake. Switzerland is also one of the most expensive places in the world to live with Zurich and Geneva topping the cost list. Every spare inch of land, if not reserved for farming, is being built up. Housing shortages inflate real estate prices. At the end of our block the abandoned motel, an eyesore for the past decade, is finally being torn down, but even here asbestos poisoned the walls.
The idyllic view of a pristine, tidy Heidi-land is deceptive. Enveloped by mountains ranges, pollutants and fine particles from traffic remained locked in a fog overhead during winter, leading to increase in asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Yet who am I to complain?
When the clouds dissipate, we are surrounded by a panoramic view of craggy, ashen Alps rising up from behind a purple-blue lake dotted with sailboats, and surrounded by golden fields of rapeseed and honey colored wheat. White-blossomed apple, pear, and cherry trees bear succulent fruits, and rows of gnarled old vines produce sublime wine. Burnt sienna roofed, wooden shuttered village shops line streets clean enough to eat off of that wind through the countryside.
Surely Switzerland if not the most beautiful country, rates in the top ten.
What do you think?