When I arrived in Zurich after the visit to my second goddaughter,Gabriella, who had been skiing in the Swiss Alps, the airport was barricaded. We waited in the car park, uncertain of what was going on except that it was obviously a security problem.Ten years ago was just after 9/11, and the world remains on edge.
A muffled explosion, then silence. The security and army moved into the terminal, swept up the rubber mats that were torn and bent like some new piece of modern art. They cordoned off the immediate area, and ushered us past the smell of cordite. This time, with Swiss efficiency, they had blown up someones baggage that had been left unattended.
It made me think about what the Swiss banks do with money that is unattended? After how many years of no claims do they decide to move it into the car park and blow it up under protective rubber mats?
I never liked Switzerland.
Initially I was thrilled to be in a new country. Excited to be walking on pavements recently cleared of snow, the low sun adding no heat to the crisp cold that filled my lungs.I think we used to land in Basel then catch a train to Zurich. We would lug our rectangular brown suitcases with chrome latches and protective corners along Bahnhofstrasse and then branch off over the bridge and into the old town. There was a Swiss traditional restaurant as you entered the small suburb, walking over shiny,wet cobble stones.After dropping our baggage at the small inn with huge duvets and warm central heating, my father treated us to a meal there. I remember having cheese and meat fondues, and always leaving with a burnt tongue. Even the crisp white ice-cream covered in Champagne did not soothe the pain. When we left to go back to the hotel, we had to move aside for a Lamborghini Muira. The low car was so wide, not just because of the narrow streets. But the street amplified the guttural sound of the motor at low revs.
I didn’t like Switzerland because they were too organised. Rumor parallels similar White African fears at the time that had each Swiss man conscripted to the army and each family with a concrete bunker in which to survive an atomic attack. That’s why it looked so organised.There was just no heart in Switzerland.
Here I am ten years later, to discover if there is any heart in Switzerland. The money has long been moved into the Greek banks, where there is unlimited heart and maximum inefficiency!