August 17, 2012

GSTAAD—My chalet lies far above the village of Gstaad, but I happened to be en ville when I heard the pleasant sounds of an Oom-pah band and saw the Swiss burghers dressed up in their finest lederhosen marching through. It was a magnificent morning, the mountains glistening in the sun, the air fresh and clean, the kind of day Papa Hemingway could describe like no other. An elderly but very friendly American man jokingly asked me if a war had been declared. In America they call it a fife-and-drum band, which has a military angle to it; hence the Yank’s question.

Nothing special, I told him, just the day the cows are brought down from their pastures up high. Hundreds of years of armed neutrality have kept the Swiss out of European wars and—unlike the neocon-inspired American foreign disasters—the Swiss mind their own business and do not engage in faraway adventures trying to introduce democracy and other such alien notions to people who chop off thieving hands and cover up their women.

“What is lousy about birthdays at my age is obvious. What is great is that you celebrate only with good friends at home.”

Switzerland is a paradise of sorts, but the plague of immigration from Africa and the East is threatening the cities. All I can tell you is that the Swiss do not commit crimes, but people in Switzerland now do. The EU blackmails the Swiss Confederation nonstop, eager to force the Swiss to join the happy gang of thieves in Brussels, something good old Helvetia has resisted until now by constantly giving in to various treaties concerning tax, banking laws, open borders, immigration, and other such horrors that the scum in Belgium and Strasbourg impose on us. Switzerland’s cities are for joining the crooks, while the great German-speaking countryside wants to stay neutral and independent.

I have not set foot in a Swiss city in a long time. I drive by them en route to an airport, and that’s it. Call it escapism or cowardice or whatever. As someone once wisely asked, “Why eat at McDonald’s when you can have caviar at home?” (It was actually Paul Newman referring to his wife as steak and all other women as hamburger.)

Speaking of caviar, I threw myself a birthday party at home last week, one that might not have matched the elevated gastronomic estate of Talleyrand dining with the Congress of Vienna’s ministers, but it came close. The mother of my children organized it, disobeying my orders to offer little to weight-watchers but dried fruit and retsina. Being an Austrian, she tried to emulate the dining habits of the aforementioned Vienna ministers, and to my horror she almost succeeded.


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