We arrived in Switzerland during Autumn, and have been enjoying what is apparently an unusually warm season. Not being from a wintry country, we’re excited by the prospect of a snowy season, although I suspect – based on the looks I get from people in my mothers’ group when I express said excitement – we don’t know what we’re in for.
The forecast last weekend was for -9 and, excitingly, snow. The first flurry arrived on Saturday, although we initially thought it was fat, white rain. Which I suppose, in a way, it is.
We all watched, agape, as the flakes grew and whirled, and the mountains became increasingly white throughout the day. Some right on the horizon looked as though they had been covered thickly in icing sugar.The adults in the house would have preferred to lie on the couch and soak in the view however our wee boss had other ideas. After a day indoors on Saturday there was an epic case of cabin fever, so even though the snow hit Lucerne again on Sunday – this time a heavier shower that coloured all the nearby rooftops white – we decided to suck it up and get outside. A fortifying breakfast was in order (yeah, our little Swans bruiser is knocking back egg, bacon and beans. And looking to pick a fight while she’s at it. It was Sunday morning, right?!)We rugged up in pretty much all our clothing. Laidey appears to have no feet here, or to have sunk into an uber plush rug, but in fact her pants are just embarrassingly large. We made our way to the park at the end of our street. By the time we arrived most of the snow on the ground had melted, but the mountains around held it proudly (and allegedly will now until April). During Loz’s visit, she and I took a tour of Lucerne city, hearing about its medieval and dark ages history, as well as more recent information on voting (all the time and on all manner of matters, like whether to hang original art on the bridge or not). Of course the tour took us to one of the city’s most famous sites: the Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument). I decided to play tour guide for Tim and we made our way across town, huddling into our jackets against the snow (but still peering out of them enthusiastically to ooh and aah as we walked).
The monument is carved into a natural stone wall. It is dedicated to the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss, commemorating mercenaries who died protecting the French monarchy (our tour guide told the story that the French King was quite the coward, and fled the palace leaving the Swiss guard to certainly be slain behind him. He also said that Cowardly King did not make it, and was busted on the streets of Paris and beheaded). Mark Twain famously said of the lion that it is the ‘most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world’ (Adelaide certainly though so, if the tears were anything to go by. She clearly has an appreciation for history and sculpture as opposed to, say, being bored and cold and possibly hungry). The monument was paid for by many monarchies of Europe, all of which used Swiss mercenaries for their bodyguards. The pay, however, was not satisfactory and the sculptor was displeased. Rather than deface the monument itself, he instead carved a (definitely unrequested) pig in which the lion is dying. The snow started to fall again, so we legged it home to drink fortifying red wine. It has continued softly falling all week – and if you come back in April I suspect I shall be moaning about how tedious and miserable it all is, but for now every morning’s fresh touch of white is exciting. Apparently the Swiss buy their little ones skis for their first birthdays, so that they can learn to navigate the slopes as they start to navigate walking. It seems fitting, then, that our first snow has fallen the week our little Addie took her first bumbling, drunken-old-man steps, not too far from her first birthday (for which she will not be receiving skis. Sorry, Adelaide, no future winter olympics career for you)(frankly, the chances were slim anyway with her heritage).
Driving Tim to work this morning was magical: sloping white rooftops, pine trees with snow mounds on the branches, every tree and twig turned from the warm glow of Autumn a few short weeks ago to cold, shimmering crystal. The light is now grey but the white of the snow on the fields makes it brilliant, crisp, other-worldly. It feels as though we have stepped inside a fairy tale.