Sunday, January 16, 2011

Got snow?

The Jet d'Eau with a clear Mont Blanc
in the background, middle.
Well, it’s mid-winter and Switzerland doesn’t. I confess that having never really seen snow before, seeing fresh, powder snow was high on my list of must-see things when I first arrived in Switzerland, now just over a week ago. Before this, the closest I’d come to seeing snow was seeing slush – snow that had fallen a few days previously – on the top of Mt Rigi, near Lucerne, ironically also in Switzerland. That was in June, which is the beginning of summer, four and a half years ago.

Since I arrived, the weather has been unseasonably warm. Switzerland should be buried under two feet of powder snow and its citizens should be shivering under grey skies in temps hovering around 0C. Instead, I’ve been welcomed by temps around 10C – 13C (although today was a little colder, ‘only’ 6C) and brilliant, clear, sunny skies.

I should be grateful, especially since this Aussie came from mid-summer temps in the high 30s. I guess its Geneva’s way of providing me with a warm welcome (sorry, bad pun) and allowing me to gradually acclimatise to the cooler weather, rather than the shock of arriving in snowy, freezing conditions.

Images like these – bright sunny skies and warmer than expected weather – has certainly endeared me to Geneva. It’s much easier to like a place under these skies than grey wet ones.
A glorious sunny day in Geneva, but no snow
on the mountains says it all.

Still, I’m a little disappointed at seeing no snow. There’s no snow on top of the mountains either. In fact, a planned day to go snow shoeing in the Jura mountains with my new work colleagues had to be changed to a terrifying attempt at ice skating instead. No snow means I had to try ice skating for the first time since I was 16. It was not pretty – even 5 year old Swiss kids put me to shame.

The Genevoise are certainly lapping it up – some literally. I was too nice not to take photos, but yesterday I saw nude sunbathers soaking up the sun – despite it being only 13C – and today someone was swimming in the freezing cold water of Lac Leman (that’s Lake Geneva). More than one person stared and pointed at this lady, who clearly had a death wish by wanting to contract pneumonia. 

The Genevoise take advantage of the sunshine
Other Genevoise take to the promenades, strolling, riding, rollerblading in the sunshine with family and friends. Emperor D and I joined them. With Geneva even more backwards than Perth in having all the shops closed on Sundays, there’s not much else to do, but on a day like today, nobody would complain.

How could you when you’ve found yourself fortunate enough to live in a place like this? 

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