Some Things Swiss

Luzern with its centuries old Italianate buildings along the River Reuss, is a place I’ve known, with growing intimacy, since I was thirteen.  Once a trading center with Italy, nowadays and for close to two hundred years, Luzern resonates instead with those seeking an idyll of urban life centered close to the mountains and beside an enormous lake.

This morning, which is a weekly market day, I stopped by the booth of my friend Rolf Beeler, who  I’ve known seventeen years, whose Gruyere and Emmental are simply the best.  The depth of their flavors and the textures are memorable.  Rolf, a former teacher, has a feel for the work, and an awareness of structure needed to repeat each year the tastes of his cheeses.  Today we talked about a farm in Glarus; I’ll need to go there apparently to write about the family’s work with an Alpine herd of cows that graze on high grasses and then lower hay that is so carotin rich it changes the color of the milk from white to a faint orange.

Later today the idea is to take the boat to Vitnau and then the train to Rigi and then walk down to Weggis.  It’s a walk I’ve done many times, and it’s always refreshing.


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