Zürich, Switzerland – January 2010
I make a lap around the old city, dropping by the Cabaret Voltaire, and then I return to the hotel for a long sleep. When I wake up, I venture out to the Kunsthaus. The rich canvasses of Chagall and Macke mesmerize my fever-dazed brain. I linger until my head spins. The Swiss National Museum will have to wait until tomorrow. Short, brief outings from my hotel room are all I can manage. The worst flu of my life hasn’t totally loosened its grip. Bird flu, H1N1, pandemic, whatever. No vaccines for me, thanks. And no regrets. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Almost two weeks in bed and it looked like I wouldn’t be able to take this trip. Be strong, I told myself when I got on the plane. You can do it.
I lift one leaden leg after the other and climb the treacherous staircase to the top of Grossmunster church. There’s a mountain to climb not far from the city. A lake to walk around. My head spins and I grip the railing to steady myself. Be happy, I tell myself when anger rises up at my weakness. At least you’re here. I stare out over the rooftops. The Alps and the lake are obscured by a lavender haze. I’ve seen all there is to see.
Back at the hotel, I sink into the obscenely comfortable bed. A bag of Toblerone chocolates and a cup of tea at my side.