Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Swan Diary

When the captain announced that the plane had started to descend, at first Mom and I could see nothing but clouds. Then eventually, when we felt the popping sensation in our ears, Switzerland came into view.

The aerial view of Switzerland was like one of those pictures you get on postcards. I dont know why I felt so, but it was the first thing that popped into my head. Everything being so proper and perfect.

But the real beauty was when the Alps came into view. Even from far away, the sight  was breathtaking. We could see the snow on the peaks of the mountains. We’d never seen snow before in our lives, so it was exciting.

Snow was something we had only seen in photos and on TV. The closest chance I had got to see real snow was in Ski Dubai and in Disneyland in France, even though Ski Dubai had technically ice and Disneyland could offer only fake snow, as France had decided not to snow while we were there, but if that was a blessing or a curse, I could not tell, as in reference to my aforementioned fact, we had never seen or touched snow.

Anyway, Zurich was a small city, its river filled with plenty of ducks and swans. Plenty. But these birds provide the liveliness and beauty of the lake, because it’s entertaining and peaceful to watch them float on the water, occasionally disappearing inside and reappearing somewhere else.

Swans though, are anything but peaceful. They are a beautiful, clean colour of white, the colour of peace, but try and throw them food, and they’ll follow you around until you either throw them more food, or decide to make a run for it, whichever feels safer.

I remember the incident we had with swans in London when I was young. We bought food to throw for the swans, and went right to the edge of the bank. There were several swans there, about seven or eight. The minute the first handful of food was in the water, they’d all come together and fight over it. One particular swan was very vicious, pecking every other swan that came close.

It also pecked the food I was offering it in my palm, but not in the calm, polite way I had expected. Its beak touched my pinky, so for a second, I thought it was going to bite it straight off and I gave a little scream before hyperventilating (I was five turning six- don’t judge me).

When we got up and began to walk to the other side of the bank, they followed us on the water. All of them. Then the honking started and we decided to go further away from the Thames river and return some other day.

A few days into the Zurich trip, we saw a pair of swans fighting. It was all quiet and calm, and all the water birds had decided to become land birds for a few minutes, (Seriously, all the ducks and swans just came on shore. It was like a bird meeting. Or a bird council.) and we were watching them waddle on shore, and then the silence of the night was broken by a swan’s shrill cry when it flapped its wings and hit another swan which in return flapped its wings and hit the first swan and the action went on for about a minute until one of them got pushed into the water.

Personally, I felt like lifting the winner swan’s wing into the air and shouting ‘We have a champion!”.

I’ve given my verdict on swans and now it’s time to come back to the present scenario.

We’re currently at Heidelberg in Germany, where we reached by train yesterday after our five-day trip in Zurich.

It took three hours from Zurich to Heidelberg, Germany. We didn’t even know how fast the time flew. Trains are great to travel in if there’s a good view outside. Plus, I had my Kindle, so I could finish reading Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Rainbow, please don’t forget to write a sequel. I’m dying to know what the postcard said. Even though I have a very good guess).