We left South Africa on a late summer’s day in the middle of March and landed in a wintry Switzerland. Our final destination was Hamburg, where family would meet us at the airport.
I’d been preparing for a year to exhibit my books in a tiny stand at the Leipzig Book Fair with a group of German authors, and whether I liked it or not, the book fair took place at the end of March. I’d packed goodies for bloggers and readers - and winter clothes galore.
The plane glided over the Alps, just as the sun came up, and the snow-covered peaks were a sight to behold. As long as we were inside, it was okay, but we dreaded having to leave the well-heated planes and airports.We were preparing for a speedy transit in Zurich, as our next flight was taking off in just over an hour.
Passport control, luggage control. 4°C outside.
A short underground train left the terminal to take us to Departures.
“Yodoleyheehoo... Yodoleyheehoo. Welcome to Zurich Airport.” We looked at each other half-asleep. “Mooooooooo.” Now we burst out laughing. Really?! Talk about clichés.
“Do you think, they mean it as a joke?” my husband asked in dry northern German. “You should know better than that,” I said. He’d lived in Berne for two years, before moving to South Africa. Hamburg, his home town, welcomed us with sunshine and a sweltering 11°C.
“I can live with that,” my husband said, but the weather didn't hold. Schmuddelwetter, the locals call it. Mucky weather. Not ideal for sightseeing.
Everybody made fun of us for not liking the cold. “You’re such softies,” they laughed. “Thanks guys, we’ll remember that, when you come visit in the South African summer again,” we grumbled. They weren’t very convincing, complaining of the cold and praising the advantages of having different seasons at the same time.
From where we were sitting, they had two seasons: Winter and Winter. I mean, there’s a reason, why we prefer living in a warm climate. Slowly overcoming our climate shock, we took the train to Leipzig a week later. The air was still chilly, but at least it didn’t rain or snow and my book fair adventure could begin.