We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started… and know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot
I’m back in Switzerland. After not having been here for a few years, I am now back on business a second time in less than two months. On my last trip, the weather was picture perfect for wandering the streets of the Zug and Lucerne, which are the only two cities I have really had the time to explore. Today, the skies of Zug were overcast (typical Zug weather) and the temps are in the 40s to 50s. Unlike the last trip, I did not need a day in Zug to re-familiarize myself with the lay of the land. I easily walked the streets seeing many familiar places. The change in season/weather also allowed for some scenic pictures with a different lighting texture.
I always head on down to the Zugersee near the old part of Zug because I love the view of the colorful buildings,a rainbow of pastels side by side lining the street, as seen from the water’s edge. From this vantage point, the city looks near idyllic, like something out of a fairy tale. I like revisiting places. The first time a place is visited, it’s so new that it’s like a bright light shining in your face, overwhelming such that you focus on the drastic. On subsequent visits, the light dims and we see those things hidden in the shadows, the nuances that give a place it character, the color of it’s vitality.
I walked through the old section, through the narrow, cobblestone streets before heading up into the hillier sections of the city to explore places I had never before visited. Unlike the bustling center of commerce in downtown Zug, the streets were largely devoid of people and vehicles. I did happen upon a couple of groups of kids playing soccer in the local parks. I wanted to join in but was not dressed for the occasion. Had their been a match, I would have stopped and watched. Alas, it was just kids kicking the ball around and taking shots on goal.
I was surprised by the seeming lack of friendliness of the Swiss I did encounter in the streets. In other small towns I have visited home and abroad, people in small towns are generally quite friendly when meeting strangers. The norm is a smile and a “Hi”. When I made eye contact with the locals, and smiled, not a one smiled back.
As I wandered, I became a bit unsure if I was headed in a direction that would take me back to the city center. I felt like I was making proper turns that would lead me back but, in the hills, I could not identify any familiar landmarks, could not get my bearings. I finally found a grandma and her grandson and asked how to get back. She, in an English accent, said to keep following the street I was on and I would be there shortly. Sure enough, another mile or so down the street, I saw the familiar sites of the downtown Zug. I was frustrated that I did not trust my instincts and, instead, asked for directions.
For dinner, I went to the very first restaurant I ate at in my very first trip to Zug many years ago and had the exact same meal, a wafer thin Magherita pizza. I remember the meal clearly because I was not a very adventurous eater back in those days.
Tomorrow, I plan to explore another part of Switzerland. Perhaps Zurich or Basel or Bern. I will wait and see what the day brings. For now, I am exhausted and need to get some sleep.