One week after landing in a hazy, overcast, gray Geneva, Switzerland, I had my very first taste of what I’d moved 3,000 miles to experience. And it was, of course, magical.
I was alone for the first time in weeks. Exploring. John was working, Jacob was safely at his first day of school. I was on my own, with only our Bernese Mountain Dog, Charlie, for company when it happened.
I was driving down the Route de Divonne when the clouds, at long last, parted. And there they were – just past the now glistening Lake Geneva — the mountains. The Alps! Mont Blanc, with its year-round snowy peak, the highest mountain in Europe. The Alps danced right there — just through my windshield. I could practically reach out and touch them, taste them, smell their beauty. It was magical. Breathtaking. Inspiring. Unforgettable.
I felt like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. You know just what I mean, don’t you. I felt like Julie when she is up there in the mountains all by herself. When she throws her arms wide and sings with all her heart, The Hills Are Alive, With the Sound of Music. And they are. Trust me. They are.
I slowed down, tried to breathe, tried to memorize the moment and keep it in my heart. Tried to capture the moment forever. I also tried not to hit another car.
And then, well, something else happened. From a side street to my left came a small car. It turned in front of me, pulling behind it a long green open-air trailer. Neatly stenciled on the back in a lacy, delicate script were these words:
“Natural Garden,” in French.
On top of that trailer sat the largest pile of steaming cow manure I have ever seen.
Yes, my first solo excursion in the Swiss countryside became a metaphor for life as an ex-patriot living there: There were moments of majestic beauty that I call “Julie Andrews Moments,” when I was filled with beauty and awe. When I honestly felt like the luckiest person on earth.
And there was a lot of shit. These two elements combined with travel to places I never dreamed I’d see, made our time in Geneva the adventure of a lifetime.
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My bloggin’ buddy, Naomi, a wonderful traveler who actually posts her own pictures and does not cut them from Google, wrote this post about a trip to Switzerland. Naoimi inspired me to re-post this old, old post. I wrote it back in the days when you didn’t know me. When you didn’t realize that some way, somehow, shit is always a metaphor for my life.
And if you ever get the chance to go to Switzerland, do it. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 — it’s not worth all that much over there!