November 1999, July 2000, July 2002, November 2003

The Heart of Europe -- David Hockney first traversed the Swiss Alps at the back seat of a cramped car. When he painted his impressions from that trip, the majestic Alpine peaks were reduced to a kid's doodle. 

It wasn't that much different for me back in 1988. From Milan, my train sped past Lugano by dusk; the only mental image left in me now was of  the clean streets that stretched beyond the open platforms at Lausanne. I had to make it to Paris that night from Lyon, aboard the TGV for which I couldn't even get a seat -- someone was charitable for me to occupy his while he went off to get a drink, after which I had to take his place at the smoke-filled bar.

Beautiful, charming and expensive Switzerland -- the prima donna of European states -- kept drawing me back no matter what other nearby destination I had in mind. 

On Thanksgiving 1999, in Geneva, I celebrated this American holiday with the hospitality of Portuguese and Iranian immigrants who opened their eateries near the Cornavin train station.

The following summer, while touring Lake Como in a green Opel I almost wrecked near Bellagio, I stayed for lunch at Lugano, relishing the fact that I could order a Bratwurst in Italian.

Had Hockney seen the Jungfrau the way I did in the summer of 2002 -- walking four miles from Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen, past meadows in spring bloom, glaciers, brooks, dense fir forests and bell-ringing cows -- his impressions would have been something else. Then again, he was never a landscape photographer.

I reprised much of this trip just one year later, in late autumn. This was my father's first time in Switzerland, and I was to be at his side to explain, without saying so many words, why I've been coming back time after time.

bulletNotre Dame Church, Geneva
bulletTicino, near Lanzo d'Intelvi
bulletThe Matterhorn, seen from Schwarzsee cable car station
bulletMonte Rosa and the Gorner Glacier, seen from Gornergrat train station
bulletThe Jungfrau
bulletThe Lauterbrünnen Valley
bulletAlestch Glacier, seen from above Jungfraujoch observatory
bulletA walk from Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen: Alpine meadow
bulletA walk from Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen: Down from Lauberhorn and the Trümmelbach
bulletA walk from Kleine Scheidegg to Wengen: Approaching Wengen through the woods
bulletSchynige Platte
bulletKappelbrücke and Old Water Tower at Luzern
bulletBasel Cathedral
bulletBasel Rathaus
bulletPrediger Church, Zürich
bulletBahnhofstrasse, Zürich
bulletZeitglockenturm (Clock Tower), Bern
bulletBern Cathedral
Gear - Nikon F100 with f/2.8 20mm and f/2.8 70mm macro lenses, Canon G1 digital, Nikon D100 digital with f/2.8 20mm
Base - Hotel Alpenruhe (Wengen), Hotel Daniela (Zermatt), Alexander Guesthouse (Zürich)
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