American Observation

I was in need of calories and was saving up for just the spot I knew – Bratwurst man at the Kleine Scheidegg station, directly beneath the North Wall of the Eiger. I was on my mountain bike having just ridden up from Grindelwald and doing a link up of valleys in the Swiss Alps.
Kleine Scheidegg is, unarguably, one of the world’s most stunning locations. Because of this, the chosen seating arrangement of two men did not escape me. With my Bratwurst, mustard and bread I sat facing them, and facing the Eiger, the logical direction in which to sit. The seat opposite these two was vacant, it was a picnic table. For whatever reason, they chose not to face the Eiger, the Jungfrau and the Monch, three of Switzerland’s most dramatic peaks, but rather to look straight on to a brown wall of a train station.

Then I heard it, American English. “Acquisition, merger, Lehman Brothers, Wall Street, blah blah blah…”

Their being 2 meters away, and speaking much too loudly, I could not help but tune into their discussion. Sure enough, plans were in the works to capitalize on the happenings in America.

Suddenly, and with no warning, a massive explosion ripped through the scene – an enormous piece of one of the many hanging glaciers had calved off plummeting into rock slabs far below. Behind it followed what appeared to be a waterfall while plumes of icy spindrift floated upward like a mushroom cloud.
Every tourist where we sat did the same thing; jump up, grab a camera, point, guffaw. Every tourist save two, the gentlemen in the out of place golf sweaters and slacks discussing matters of money and strategy, oblivious to the crashing and destruction around them.
Irony at its very finest.


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