A Seafaring Nation

My mother always told me I could do or be anything I set my mind to. Obviously the Swiss think the same way. Who would have ever thought that a small, land-locked country could ever pull something off like winning the America’s Cup, THE yachting event?

In 2003, 0-5, Alinghi won the Cup from Team New Zealand, not bad. In 2007, 5-2, they successfully defended the challenge against Team New Zealand, this time in Spain. Sure, we’ve got lots of lakes and rivers here but waters to race yachts in are a rare commodity, okay, nonexistent. Amazing how winning something so prestigious can make the national pride bubble over (and after all these years it’s still bubbling). All of the sudden all the Swiss were talking about was how good WE were (as if we all had been sailing with the Alinghi crew).

On a much, much smaller scale the Swiss enjoy spending the summer on the lakes in their sailboats or rafting on the rivers. I too have spent a considerable amount of time floating down the Aare river that flows around the city of Berne with friends and then grilling the national sausage “cervelat” (pronounced save-a-la) on a stick over an open fire along the way. Sometimes there are so many people swimming, or rather floating down the river you feel you could walk from bank to bank without getting wet by just stepping on one head after another.

Who knows, with all this love for water maybe one day Switzerland will return and win the Cup back. I saw some graffiti under a bridge that made me smile and pretty much says it all: “Nieder mit den Alpen, freie sicht aufs Meer!” (Down with the Alps, clear view to the ocean!).

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