A Conversation with Winter in Zurich

Last month, I was surprised with a one week all expense paid trip to Zurich. I had all my winter clothes ready and all I expected were indeterminate stereotypes– cobblestones and fondues, mulled wine and marionettes.

Perhaps it’s best I didn’t know anything about this Swiss city and its surrounding towns. Conversations with strangers can in fact, bring you to unexpected territories. Here are brief snippets of some of my most memorable experiences.

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The first snow began to fall the morning we arrived at Uetliberg, and the hills that surrounded us were caked in them, staging a rebirth as observers like ourselves partake in this immaculate ceremony.

Here, I forgot who I was and what I desired, and instead relished the immediacy of nature’s transformation.

We hiked upwards and glide along slippery paths, looking ahead at the pearly foliage that held us captive. It was cold and our noses were numb, and upon arriving at the peak, we hurried indoors and unbundled our scarves. The first sip of coffee became a wholly under appreciated comfort.

Gobbling up our breakfasts,– which mostly comprised of bircher muesli, cheeses and rosti– we rushed back out to play and prance and make snow angels. I hoped to contain all senses of beauty the snow had bestowed on us, but I am humbled by the very fact that we were too small to carry it all.

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Standing inches away from the Rheinfall, the largest waterfall in the world, made my knees a little weak. The way the water hits the rocks in differing depths created the most beautiful spectrum of blues and greens and whites.

Watching it all rush toward me, water engulfing water, is therapeutic, scary, rapturous and melancholic all at the same time.

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At Sertig, we took a stroll along a deserted winding path. There’s a stream running beside it and I planted my feet in thick snow. Walking alone, I smiled, and then laughed a little to myself, letting out a happy heaving sigh. My steps grew heavier as I reached the end of the path.

It’s a difficult, almost impossible task to make sense of my elation. Perhaps, it’s a secret only mountains will understand.

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