Michaela Merz


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Vedi Napoli e poi muori!! Or in translation «See Naples and die”


As a child I read this sentence and imagined that travelling to Naples is the last thing one should do, if one would then die.  My interpretation of the well-known Goethe quotation was of course completely wrong. Nonetheless Naples was for me a symbol of death and not of life. Regardless of whether I thought about the crater of Vesuvius, the unfortunately buried town of Pompeii or the deadly Camorra. But there is really a lot to see and admire locally and so finally I recently went there.  Despite the slightly queasy feeling I had based on my early childhood, mistaken interpretation.

I had a cold and didn’t feel particularly well, but everything had been booked, so I hoped for an improvement. The opposite happened. After arrival the flu knocked me out. My throat hurt as if someone had stuck a knife into me at short intervals, every time I coughed I thought that part of my lung had come with it and my limbs and head hurt so much that the first two days I could do nothing – except sleep. Continue reading


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The first time


The first time

There is a figure of speech that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But I believe that is simply not true. What matters is the will to try something new and not give up until one has learned it.

Unfortunately, when I was young, I failed to learn the ten-finger system. At school it was not on the curriculum and as at the time one usually wrote by hand, it was of no relevance to me. Therefore I write using the „searching eagle“ system. Continue reading


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The world’s scariest swing!


Everyone goes abroad for a vacation. I feel almost guilty because I want to remain in Switzerland. There is so much to discover and best of all one can avoid a lot of unpleasant surprises. You know what you’re getting.

Part of the vacation took us to Grindelwald. I have been there on numerous occasions, but mainly in winter. But at mid-summer never. You can discover the village, like all the Arab and Asian tourists: the 10 places you have to visit or you can decide for the quiet discovery away from the great streams of tourists. We chose the middle route. By foot to Pfingstegg to toboggan. The blood freezes in one’s veins, when you see how the Arab women tourists, veiled from head to foot sit in the toboggans and their various layers of material drift behind them. I once read that Josephine Baker was strangled by her scarf in a moving car. Maybe this story is not true but since then I have to think of this horrible way of death, when I see such flying clothes. I understood that the staff, because there are so many Arab tourists, even speak Arabic. Now they only have to explain to the tourists that such flying material can be fatal when tobogganing.

We then travelled to a marble quarry, to see where the doorframe, which stands in the parliament building, comes from and then on to the glacier gorge. 1 kilometre of bridges and tunnel, rock faces up to 300 metres high, a roaring, refreshingly cold experience. If there is anywhere clear evidence that the climate is warming, this is where it is. Years ago the bridges ended by the glacier, quasi a glacier to touch. In the meantime the glacier has retreated 2.5 km. The forecast is that in 2050 there will no longer be a glacier there. In the gorge it is about 14 degrees, because the water that flows with deafening noise, comes from the glacier itself. And that at a temperature of 35 degrees in the shade outside the gorge. The first highlight is the 170 m2 large walkable net, which is spanned 7 metres above the wild stream in the gorge. One needs courage and skill to climb on to it. It is worthwhile. An invigorating experience.

The next highlight is the canyon swing. One lets oneself fall from 300 m high and first flies down like a stone and then swings on the rope in the gorge to and fro like a pendulum. An indescribable feeling of joy, because the body has shaken out so many stress hormones.

You can bathe in the glacier water, but the fun doesn’t last long, because the water is painfully cold, as we ourselves experienced with my youngest.

Every Wednesday evening there is a street party in the village with drinks, music and a lot of fun. It was a wonderful end to a fantastic day. We had enjoyed a super vacation day. Caused no CO2 emissions at all, because we did everything by foot, supported the local economy and so contributed to preserving jobs in the area. Finally, by paying VAT, we increased the Confederation’s tax revenues. A WIN/WIN situation all round.

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The judge – a story I was told last week


After she left school Jana studied law. Somehow she became a judge. A divorce in the morning, then an inheritance dispute, after lunch a quarrel between neighbours and to close the day another divorce.

She lived with her friend, Karl, in his large house, liked going to the cinema and the theatre, read a lot and like walking through the neighbouring wood as it got dark. They had no children. It was a good relationship, one got used to the faults and with time became tolerant towards the weaknesses of the other. 20 years passed in a flash. Continue reading


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Being invisible


My mother is a spry lady with more than 40 years of professional experience as a maths teacher. She is not frightened, knows how to get her way, is clever and pragmatic. We had already celebrated her 70th birthday. She told me what it means to reach that age and how values, perception, horizons and also the body are changing. Continue reading