Fitting to wake up to the sound of opera music in a country of snow-covered alps, red sunrises, and lush-green forests with reindeer. The epitome of tranquility and beauty, it’s no wonder poets write about it.

As the temperature rises to -2°C, I also notice it’s a country divided by language — Italian, French, German and English – as well as mountains that kill hikers. Still, people are gracious and bears are kept fat and happy under the bridge. Cute but sad.