The weather; something you have no control over but it is still fascinating.
The first couple of years I was here, when everyone else was running around in shorts and t-shirts, laying in the sun like dead flies, oh-ing and ah-ing about how hot it was, I was looking for a sweater. Frankly, I thought it was cold out there. For me hot was the humid, hot feeling of walking through a sponge, Maryland kind of weather or the burning hot, fry an egg on the hood, Chicago kind of weather, or the cancel the flight, it’s too hot for the instruments in the airplane to work, Arizona kind of weather. That’s hot, bring on the shorts and t-shirts. But as with everything in life, it’s relative. Switzerland has a much milder climate, although it can get hot and cold they are rarely extreme and with time you do get used to it or maybe you just learn to differentiate more and the real extremes are just things you see on TV.
There are four, nice distinct seasons in Switzerland. Depending on where you live fall can be very mystic, which is a rather nice way to put ‘a heck of a lot of fog’. It’s a good time to sleep and a bad time to drive. If the three or more weeks in a row of no sun and not being able to see the neighbor’s house get you down, all you have to do is take a day trip to the mountains. You will be in a different world full of blue skies and white peaks.
If you like to ski, cross country, snowboard or sled, you can always find somewhere where there is snow in the winter. Otherwise it is usually just cold and nasty and makes for perfect stay-at-home, put another log on the fire, hot chocolate, let’s watch an ice hockey game on TV kind of activities.
Spring is the season of rain or you might just want to call it the flooding season. That’s when the snow melts in the mountains and depending on how much snow there was, there will be that much water storming downstream. More than once I’ve seen how Berne has gotten its feet wet. But all the beautiful and sweet smelling flowers makes the rain worth it. Nothing beats the sounds, smells and color explosions of spring. Truly a treat for all your senses.
Summer is just a ‘get out and be active’ time, that is if you are not laying in the sun like a dead fly. There is a lot of serious hiking going on in the mountains in the summer. Although summer can be fickle it tends to bring out the optimist in the Swiss. Motorcyclists abound this time of year, they love to curve up and down the narrow mountain roads and if they aren’t on a mountain they will waddle back and forth on a straight stretch of the street to express their joy (personally I keep a safe distance when I see them doing that!). Like I said, Switzerland’s weather is mild in general so summers have maybe two weeks of really nice weather.
What makes me smile are the true optimists: the Swiss who own convertibles. The number of people who have convertibles here is considerable and as soon as the calendar says it’s summer and the sun is considering coming out they actually drive with the tops down. Sure, it’s nice those two weeks in the summer and it’s really nice to be able to drive with the top down, but what about the rest of the year? I think I have done a good job of acclimation, I wear shorts and t-shirts in the summer and like everyone else now say oh and ah when it gets warm but you will know that I am completely acclimated if our next car is a convertible.