Memories from my almost eighteen-month stay in Switzerland always fill me with utter joy. I loved living there so much that I never wanted to leave.
This photo is from the time we visited Gruyères. Miles before we reached the town, the pungent smell of its namesake cheese drifted in through the car’s closed windows and into my nose.
I love cheese, not as much as the next person, but still, I do; however, Swiss fondue, which is made mainly of Gruyères cheese, was not exactly my favorite, partially because of its distinctive odor. But, I did attend the parties, more for their atmosphere, to hang out with friends and, of course, for the drinks.
But, once I entered the village, my wrinkled nose was replaced by widened eyes. The cobblestone pathways took me back to the late 1200s when it must have been bustling with shop merchants and residents. At the far end rested the town’s landmark, Gruyères Castle. A healthy hike took us up to its hilltop, from where green, rolling highlands, bordered by snow-capped alpines in the distant background, came into view.
Up there, I was reminded of how minuscule I was, my life was. Then again, it was easy to dwell in this type of introspection in Switzerland, where one is constantly surrounded by Mother Nature, who didn’t let anyone forget that she’s the only who controls us, as much as our science discoveries try to tell us otherwise.
For many, that feeling of awe might have been the takeaway, but for me, it will still be its singular aroma.
Paffi S. Flood is the author of A Killing Strikes Home. You can also find her on twitter and facebook.