It is Sunday, the wind is sweeping over Lago Maggiore and creating small waves, sometimes with a sprinkling of white foam. I’m sitting in my Laser, a small one-man yacht, in which even when there is scarcely any wind one gets a wet bottom. I’m sailing from Ascona to Ronco with the objective of sailing round the tiny island of Brissago and then returning with a following wind to the harbour in Ascona. Continue reading
As a child I was forced by my father to weed his fruit and vegetable garden. That was uncomfortable, boring and for me quite senseless. I would have preferred to play with colleagues, instead of making a contribution to the economic success of my father, the hobby gardener. His successes were also mixed and it seemed to me that that the cost far outweighed the benefit. Once condemned to gardening, there was no escape. Continue reading
They were always very short of money. As long as Karl could remember, at the end of every month there had been a yawning hole in his mother’s housekeeping budget, the result of which was that he had to take stale bread for his snack or in the worst case no bread at all. But Peter, Karl’s classmate, always shared his sandwich with Karl. So Karl was never really hungry. Continue reading
Das Geld war bei ihnen immer knapp. Soweit sich Karl zurück erinnern konnte hatte es am Ende jedes Monats eine gähnende Leere in Mutters Haushaltskasse gegeben, die dazu geführt hatte, dass er uraltes Brot zum Znüni mitnehmen müsste oder im schlimmsten Fall gar kein Brot. Aber Peter der Schulnachbar von Karl hat immer mit Karl sein belegtes Brot geteilt. Continue reading
Then I was on a student exchange in Leningrad. It’s years ago and in the meantime the city is called St. Petersburg. Then as today I lived close to the centre. Our student home then was five storeys high. The dormitory was large enough for 30 girls. The girls’ showers were on the fourth floor, the boys’ on the second. Everything was Spartan.
At 9.00pm the porter locked the main door and, whoever was not inside, had to wait until 6.00am until it was unlocked again. For a twenty year old ambitious economist, as I then was, this rule cried out to be disobeyed. It didn’t take long before I discovered that the cellar of our home was connected to the cellar of the next house. The other house stayed open the whole night. The way into the cellar was barred, but I was probably not the first or the last to disobey this youth unfriendly rule, One of the bars could be pushed aside. When one is young and very slim, a perfect way in. Continue reading
The Pfingsteggbahn cable railway is celebrating its 50th anniversary on 2 July 2017. The prices are the same as in 1967: Fr. 3.60 single, Fr 5.40 return. A bargain. Everything else is free: the view of the Eiger, the mountain air, friendly and down to earth locals, a calmness that is missing in city dwellers, the fantastic view down to the valley, the toboggan run, the play area, the bells of small goats grazing, the mountain bar and perhaps a few yodlers practicing. Continue reading
Cycling along the wild Maggia in Tessin we enjoyed with my youngest the day off, the warm sun, the fresh air and the scent of summer. There is always something to discover and so it was not long before after half an hour my youngest stopped by a stone mosaic beside the cycle trail. Continue reading