I often feel like a Sigmund Freud case when I see these prompts. Word Association: South. My weight goes South, unfortuantely. I used to have a waist line, you know that part of your body in the middle to separate two halves of your figure. As time goes on this line disappears and is now uniting the two halves of my body. In this case wear comfortable trousers with a tunic top. the tunic top hides the part where the waist used to be and makes it a straight line. It looks OK, but you cannot stop your acquaintences looking at your new fashion and thinking that she has put on some weight.
The sound of the word “South” for us highlanders living in Switzerland, brings the feeling of “sun, fun and nothing to do” so we mostly go on an exodus across the Gotthard mountain to the southern part of Switzerland called “Ticino” which borders on Italy and where the sun always shines. In modern times you would probably take a plane to Spain, Italy or even the Maldives. Mr. Swiss and I have done this, but at the beginning of the Swiss family Angloswiss, we had 2 small children and not so much money, so we stayed in Switzerland and went South with the other few thousand. This Gotthard mounta is big, but now resembles more a sieve, with holes carved into it here and there known as tunnels to avoide driving over it. The latest tunnel was finished about 2 years ago and we even had a television programme showing us the removal of the final piece of mountain. Today I received one of those express reports with a “ping” on my iApparatus telling me that you can now travel through the tunnel in a minute by train.
In the days of our family holidays, even the motorway was incomplete. We would begin the journey at 4 o’clock in the morning to avoid the holiday traffic. The first two hours were fine until we reached the Achsenstrasse which was a complicated road leading through the lake district of Switzerland, Interlaken and lake of Brienz as well as a further conglomeration of lakes. This was the first introduction to the not so smooth running of the ordeal before you. The traffic was also increasing and our kids in the back of the car were growing restless. There were a few complaining voices and even cries of being hungry or “when will we arrive”. We did our best to ignore these pleas of understanding for their situation, as I also needed badly a toilet stop.
Somewhere along the thrills of twisting and turning with a deep lake at the side of the road, we arrived at the town of Altdorf, also near a lake, the Urnersee, alhough I do not actually remember seeing this lake, I had seen so many on this Achsenstrasse, I had lost count. I remember Altdorf having a few monuments dedicated to William Tell, whose existence had not exactly been proved, but it is a good pull for the tourists. This overgrown village called town is the last civilised chance to have a coffee and find a decent toilet, because the next part of the journey means either putting your car on a train that will speed you through a tunnel beneath the Gotthard mountain or taking your chance on the Tremelo road, with its over 80 hairpin bends. We did both in our young family days and survived. By now the traffic had collected from North, West and East, all meeting near this Gotthard place.
I remember one journey where we put the car on the train to save the exhaustion and stress of driving over the mountain. The first two or three minutes were OK, until No 1 son, who is autistic and then about 8 years old, was convinced that we were on the train to hell. He screamed his way through the tunnel until we arrived in sunny Ticiono at the other end after 20 minutes. We were now in the South and almost there. It was now about 10 o’clock in the morning, and if the going was good, we would be at our destination in Lugao and eating lunch on our terrace in the sun in our rented holiday appartment, we thought.
The next four hours were spent on the road, sandwiched between the Swiss looking for the sun and the others who were crossing Switzerland from the northern countries like Germany and Scandinavia to get to Italy. It was the only way through. Of course No. 2 son, who was just out of the nappy days, decided that his sandwiches were not digestable. Luckily we had a towel for such emergiencies in the car.
We once crossed the Gotthard with our car, they had built a motorway to make it easier and the hairpin bends were a thing of the past, melting into the shadows and looking like a ghost road with its various weeds growing between the crevices.
Here you can see Mr. Swiss and No. 1 son standing on the Gotthard Pass. I do not know where I was perched for the photo. No. 2 son was then visiting the pope in Rome with our local cathedral choir. They had their annual tour. The funny thing was if I remember rightly that whenI took this photo he was on his way home by train, and probably at that moment passing through the tunnel going through the mountain. I remember he called us from a mobile phone whilst we were having a coffe in the Gotthard Pass restaurant.
This is all I can bring for “south” and I sincerely hope that “North”, “West” and “East” will not follow this prompt. Just one last photo of a younger Mrs. Angloswiss . Yes we arrived in the South eventually. I will not bore you about the long drive home, but we were glad to have it behind us.
Daily Prompt: South