Thank you for responding so kindly, Manja. Both you and Ingrid Jakob made me understand how little I really know about Switzerland, apart from a few visits, the stereotypes -precision, Swiss knives, alp horns, cheese, cherished images of Basel, Bern, Luzern, Interlaken, Mürren, Jungfrau-Eiger-Mönch, Montreux, to name a few — and the superficial and always subjective news in the papers. My memories are genuine though. They have the vigor and never fading strength of all first experiences. Nostalgia in its purest form, the longing back for that first kiss ever.
Later on reality blurs and smudges that image. My brother and I learned the names of the cantons and searched for the letters on the license plates of cars that passed on the road past the chalet in Därlingen. It was 1956. We also learned to define the passing cars by the sound of their engines. We loved the smell of gasoline in the morning. On the other side of the lake we could see the mountain where I learned how stupid it is to loose control over your steps descending a mountain. I was lucky a thorn bush stopped me from falling of the cliff.
It can be a metaphor for life. Thorn bushes as life savers.
(To be continued)