Switzerland and the Call to Europe
As a teenager, I could never have imagined that I would spend more than half a decade living on the other side of the world. But in the summer of 2000 my father would take us on our first-ever trip to Europe, traversing the breadth of Switzerland before heading onto Vienna and Prague.
Just recently I discovered my photo albums from that trip, hidden away in the back of a bedside cupboard. Flipping open the pages triggered a sudden flood of vivid, half-forgotten memories.
I remember Luzern’s Kapellbrücke and my first bite of rösti, the crispy Swiss potato cake and national dish. I remember the road trip to the Valais, via the northern shore of Lake Geneva and the medieval town of Gruyères. In that region we saw the dogs at Great St. Bernard Pass, rode the cable car to Rothorn, and hiked through alpine meadows brimming with wildflowers. I’ll never forget the sensation of dipping my fingers into ice-cold meltwater, tinged a subtle shade of pastel blue.
Our visit was made even more special by a handful of my father’s old friends; with open arms they welcomed us into their homes, packed with no shortage of good food and laughter. On such an occasion we were introduced to three of our favourite things: tomato and mozzarella salad, seasoned with olive oil and fresh basil; the Lebanese dish of ruz wi dejaj; and the competitive, fast-moving game of Ligretto.
Looking back on it now, I can’t help but wonder if that European summer would influence my eventual decision to pack up and move to that part of the world.