Montreux, Switzerland: My Special Place


{The following is a post I wrote in 2008 (my first blog)}

My Special Place

I would imagine most people have had a special place somewhere in the world, beyond their current hometown, where they would have wanted to live out their lives. A special place in their mind and heart that seemed to be the very definition, the perfect picture, of peace, beauty, joy, contentment and life. A special place where the rat-race of daily life seemed to fade away. I found such a special place, thirty years ago, and I would, if it were possible, move there tomorrow!

In the Summer of 1978, it was my great pleasure to have experienced the beauty, peace and joy of Montreux, Switzerland. I had spent four, wonderful days there, with my college jazz band. We had been invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as the jazz festival in Nice, France.

Montreux sits on the northeast shore of Lake Geneva and is surrounded by the French and Swiss Alps. Lake Geneva is a large glacial lake, filled with dark-green water, and it seems to stretch on forever. Looking out over this huge, beautiful lake, the alps rise in the clear blue sky and reflect off of the water.

There were several of us who would rise early every morning, eat our continental breakfast, which usually consisted of fruit, pastry and a variety of different coffees and teas, and then we would walk the beautiful shoreline. There is a walk way that stretches out for miles, and is lined, on one side, by the lake, and beautiful gardens on the other. We would walk for miles along the shoreline, as our senses were filled with the beautiful surroundings: the smell of freshly baked bread and flowers, and the clean, crisp alpine air.

Montreux is an immaculately kept city: every morning the home and store owners could be seen scrubbing their sidewalks and street gutters. I could have literally eaten out of the gutter without a single concern.

The French Swiss were small in stature, but the men were broad at the shoulders, sturdy and strong. Everyone looked so content and healthy. They were a quiet and friendly people who always seemed to be looking out to see if we needed anything. The stores and shops were quaint, for the most part, and the food was out of this world!

Our lunch and dinners, which we had to supply for ourselves, usually consisted of French bread, a hard salami, cheese varieties, and a salad and wine. Our evenings, when not performing, were spent under the influence of the best tasting, as well as most potent, beer that I have ever imbibed. And on this note, the Swiss, and Germans as well, were always surprised to find that we Americans couldn’t handle the potency of their beers and wines. They all seemed to find this very amusing, as did we.

On one particular morning, after breakfast, I decided to walk on my own. I walked for quite a while, and then I stopped to sit on a bench facing the lake. As I sat there on that beautiful, July morning, and attempted to comprehend what my senses and emotions were taking in, I found myself suddenly overwhelmed by the thought that what I was experiencing could have never come about by mere chance. In those few, amazing moments, I came to understand, somewhere deep inside my mind and heart, that a creator, an intelligent designer, existed and was responsible for the beauty, joy and peace I was experiencing. It was a life changing experience I will never forget.

Oh yes, if I had the ways and the means today, I would have a little villa that sits on the shore of Lake Geneva, in that most beautiful and friendly city. And every morning I would walk for miles, and then I would sit on one of the benches, while sipping coffee, and take in the beautiful creation that surrounds me.