Tag Archives: Switzerland

Dear Susan

[My partner, Susan, died two weeks ago of ovarian cancer. This is what I read at the memorial service today, December 16, 2012.]

My dear dear Susan,

In the much-too-short video you left for me, you told that me one of the most important things to you in our long relationship was that I had come to share with you your love for Switzerland. Many of our sweetest memories together (and then with Gus) were there, the homeland of your beloved father Gaudi, who inspired in you his own love of Switzerland. I am so grateful you shared with me: Basel, Samedan, the Engadin, hiking . . .

Remember in 1996, when we stayed at Il Fuorn, in the Swiss Nationalpark?

On the way there, we stopped in Zernez to find hiking boots for me. You explained in apologetic but, of course, very good Swiss-German that I needed boots that were curt und brite (short and wide). The shopkeeper found some, and then made a custom fit for me by pounding out the toes with cobbler’s tools.

The bus into the park went up an incredibly narrow, winding road next to a sheer drop-off. Just in time, I turned to follow your finger, pointing at the Tannenhäher, the bird your Dad had told us about, as it dove down to the valley below.
Continue reading Dear Susan

My hike to Alp Muntatsch

One day last summer I decided to take a hike by myself. We were vacationing in Samedan, Switzerland where my partner’s parents used to live. Samedan is a small village in the Engadin, the upper valley of the Inn river. In every direction there are stunning alpine trails. I love hiking there with my family more than anything in the world. But that day I needed to be by myself to exercise my body and clear my head.

L'Hom Propuona e Dieu Dispuona

I started up the steep cobblestone road to my partner’s parent’s former house, still emblazoned in scraffito with the Romansch phrase her father had chosen: “Man proposes and God disposes.” [Wish you could see larger photos? Click on the images.]

Stucco staircase.

As I passed by the house, my mind wandered through the apartment, holding the iron rail as I followed the curling stairway onto the stone floor, then padded into the Stüva (sitting room) and sat on the bench behind the slate table. By the time my mind was reacquainting itself with the mahogany music stand near Stuva’s the wood stove, I’d gone up the gravel road behind the house and almost reached San Peter, where dear Gaudi’s urn is buried. Continue reading My hike to Alp Muntatsch