Geneva Diaries #24*

The Matterhorn – Monte Cervino – The Italian Alps – Climbing Mt. Shasta


Dear Roger

Just spent the night at the recommended hotel and it was perfect, room, views, location and the breakfast was ok but the cherry on the topping was the old 1980s Euro-pop that brought back memories of fun dance parties and friends left behind.

I almost shed a tear when I hear “Gloria” whose name should now be replaced with “Purnima”!


(hear me sing this today, 20 years later)

Check out this video on YouTube:

Onto Zermatt.


Dear Roger

The train ride from Visp to Zermatt was enchanting, the vistas of quaint wooden homes with stone slabbed rooftops tinted with moss and embedded in the hillsides appeared almost alive, breathing, armored to face the next onslaught from the heavens/ hillsides. They certainly take the “sky is falling on our heads” seriously, i sensed in my bones that we couldn’t be far from Asterix and his charming hamlet. I was convinced that if I went knocking I would encounter all my fairytale characters complete with gnomes, gremlins, Getafix and the occasional Prince Charming.

See below stone slabbed rooftops – a view from the Italian side of Cervino – The Sleeping Giant:

Monte Cervino-Video by Purnima Viswanathan

At the end of this spectacular train ride we encountered the Snoring Giant lying prostrate with his gigantic protrusion, which has captivated and mesmerized millions across the globe, is embedded in California culture and wedded to the Yeti ( you could not convince a youngster from California that the Yeti is really associated with the “other” mountain range), yes, we are back to “the nose”. Don’t you see it, The Matterhorn as a large “buumpii” nose?!?

The Matterhorn:

We did take the Glacier Express enjoying seven hours of breathtaking scenery that left us gasping at every bend. 

The Glacier Express-Photo by Purnima Viswanathan

I stopped clicking after a while and tried to inhale it all, hoping it would stay within me, enmeshed with me, as I continued on my endless journey. We reached St. Moritz by early evening and after giving my mother an hours break, i dragged her to see the lake ( i could almost read her thoughts that she would NEVER leave planning the itinerary to me), by this time we had all OD’ed on the spectacular. As I looked around, I found the brilliantly hued and multi textured wildflowers, and sighed that if I were to be reborn, how I would wish to be a wildflower on this hill with a view, my mother gasped, who unlike her heretical daughter, actually believes in rebirth and drew the line at my fantasies with a firm NO!

See The Glacier Express Below:



Dear Purnima,

Ah, your email made me so nostalgic for Zermatt and Le Cervin.  It took me

back to my first stay in Switzerland and a day-trip to Zermatt.  I had so

been looking forward to seeing that majestic Snoring Giant, as you call it,

but luck wasn’t with me that day.  It was a fairly sunny day, but there were

enough clouds in the sky that it made it impossible to get a clear view of

Le Cervin the entire time we were there.  We rode the cog train up to

Gornegrat, where we had a wonderful, unobstructed view of every mountain

surrounding Zermatt, but not the Matterhorn.  It remained enshrouded the

entire afternoon, as though there were some kind of magnetic field enticing

the clouds to cling to its summit.  I, however, didn’t have thoughts of

gremlins and Yeti (it was prior to my moving to Oregon and the vicinity of

Mt. Shasta, which has a fairly rich culture of Yeti sightings), only the awe

brought about by staring up at those towering peaks and wondering what it

would be like to climb them, but then reading of the first ascent of Le

Cervin by the British climber Edward Whymper in 1865 and the tragedy that

befell his climbing party on the way back down reminded me of the pitfalls

of such adventures.  (I did climb Mt. Shasta twice while I lived in Oregon,

but now am perfectly satisfied to live vicariously through the exploits of


See Mt Shasta below:

It must be a drastic change for you to be in flat, ordinary Strasbourg now

after all that alpine beauty, but the city does have its charms, especially

the old part around the cathedral with its fantastic clock.  The story our

guide told us during my first visit to the city was that the clock had been

in a state of disrepair for many years, and the city finally found someone

who was able to repair it and make it work again.  When he finished his

task, he was blinded by the city fathers so that he could not ever build a

rival clock for another city that might possibly put Strasbourg to shame.

I put Charlie on his Portland, Oregon bound plane (via Amsterdam) this

morning.  I enjoyed having him here, but it is also nice to return to a bit

of normalcy.

Do enjoy Strasbourg and your reunion with your old classmate. I hope it is

everything that you hoped it would be, but such encounters are often fraught

with pitfalls.

See you soon when you return to Geneva,


Valtournenche – The Italian Alps-Video by Purnima Viswanathan


Disclaimer : P

All persons, places, events are fictitious; all imputed relationships purely aspirational. There were no men harmed during the penning of the Feminist Manifesto

Published by Purrnima

Travel Writer - Art Blogger - CyberSmurf

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