Encounter of Nature and Literature: Exploring the Beauty of Switzerland and Italy

Original link: https://www.camelliayang.com/blog/zurich-bologna-florence


concept art made from MidJourney
This month’s walk-and-go trip will delineate Switzerland and Italy ! The opportunity to go to Zurich is on the one hand to visit old friends I met in London, on the other hand, my little crush just moved there, and I happened to find an excuse to meet again. And Italy has become my favorite European country. Last time I visited Rome, Capri, Milan and Naples, I will come to Bologna and Florence again this time to experience it.

The following is my atypical travelogue for your reference.


As an old football fan, the first stop in Zurich is of course to pay homage to the FIFA Museum, review the history of the World Cup over the years , archeology and nostalgia for the funny picture quality of FIFA games, and take a photo with the Hercules Cup by the way.

​Next, wander the streets and alleys of Zurich to feel the scientific research and literary atmosphere here. Einstein was a professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), where he published a series of scientific papers in 1905, including the important theory of relativity, which won him the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. And the old friend JH I visited this time is studying for a Ph.D. in mathematics at ETH. When I was making dumplings at his house, I saw my English novel “The Invisible Third Cultural Adult” on his bookshelf , and he happened to be on the cover of ETH University Magazine, so he gave me a copy in exchange, like this A friendship that encourages each other to make progress together!

Zurich has a long literary tradition and the city has been attracting writers and literary figures since the 18th century. In the early 20th century, James Joyce escaped family and financial problems to Zurich, where he wrote and completed one of his most iconic works, Ulysses. German writer and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann lived and worked in Zurich on several occasions. He completed his world-famous The Magic Mountain in Zurich, a complex story of time, disease and philosophy set in the mountains of St. Moritz near Zurich.

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I came to Lucerne for a walk with JH on weekends. The feeling of returning to nature is so wonderful. I can’t help but think of Byron’s famous poem:

“I love not man the less,
but Nature more,
From these our interviews,
in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.”

I love humans, but I love nature even more. From our constant encounters, to being one with the universe, to feel everything. Although I can’t say enough, I can’t express it either. Only by immersing myself in nature can I feel this mysterious power with my heart.

During my stay in Zurich, I also communicated online and offline with two readers and friends, and I got a little inspiration all of a sudden. As a very independent woman, I seem to have a “male artist mindset”. When choosing a mate, I have always been looking for a muse, not a boyfriend in the traditional sense. From time to time, I need a crush to provide me with creative energy. The entity of this person is not important, what is important is the feeling he brings to me, and everything I imagined in my mind based on this person.

Phases are born from the heart. No wonder I’m always attracted to or attracted to similar people. The next step is to analyze my “heart knot”, to understand why I am fascinated by this kind of “phase”, and what the universe wants me to express and create through them.


Bernina Express

I must recommend the Bernina Express, which is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This railway from Switzerland to Italy is known as one of the most distinctive and magnificent railways in the world. The Alps, deep canyons, beautiful lakes and charming towns, it happened that I took pictures at a small stop halfway, and I saw Eric Jørgensen, the author of “The Book of Navarre”, tweeting about the same place photo. By the way, I recommend the interview when I invited Eric to be a guest in the writing course (you can listen to it by searching Chiwi Journal in major podcast apps: https://www.xiaoyuzhoufm.com/episode/62fa2ca11627d0ffaac2e7a7 ).

The following is chatGPT’s introduction to this train: Let us cross the Swiss Alps together and enjoy this intoxicating train journey! As your virtual tour guide, I’m excited to introduce you to this express train line beloved by travelers around the world.

Imagine sitting comfortably in one of our luxurious train carriages, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows that capture the majestic vistas of nature. The Bernina Express is more than a means of transportation, it is a voyage of discovery, a symphony of colours, and a testimony to the marvels of engineering.

We depart from the bustling city of Chur, the oldest town in Switzerland, where history meets modernity. As we leave, wave goodbye to the stunning cityscapes as they are merely the prelude to the wonders of nature that await us.

The train winds its way along the tracks with ease, climbing to the summit of majestic Alps. Prepare to be mesmerized by the majestic scenery as we climb. Glaciers shimmer like jewels in the distance, while emerald green valleys invite you to discover their secrets. The air becomes fresher and the silence deepens, creating an atmosphere of intoxicating tranquility.

The pinnacle of the Bernina Express climb is the Lanwasser Viaduct, an architectural masterpiece that seems to defy gravity. It gracefully spans deep valleys and connects to mountainsides, which is admirable. You will marvel at the bold design of this soaring structure, as if it gracefully connects the valley.

As the train continued on, we came to the pinnacle of the expedition – the Bernina Pass. At an astonishing 2,253 meters (7,392 feet) above sea level, we are in a world of raw beauty. Snow-capped peaks, mirror-like lakes and alpine meadows blooming with wildflowers combine to create a breathtaking picture beyond words. It’s as if nature painted this masterpiece especially for your eyes.

But the beauty doesn’t end there. We descend to the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, where the palm trees sway gently and it is full of Mediterranean style. As if frozen in time, the train travels through quaint villages, inviting you to disembark and soak up the rich culture and mouth-watering cuisine.

Dear travellers, the Bernina Express is not just a train journey, it is a symphony for the senses that will linger in your mind long after you step off the train. It is an experience that awakens your soul and gives you eternal memories. So, board the Bernina Express and let it be your guide on an extraordinary adventure that nourishes your soul and ignites your desire to discover.



Reunited with Mo in Italy ! Let’s experience Bologna’s famous twin towers, Le Due Torri: Torre degli Asinelli and Torre Garisenda.

Built between 1109 and 1119, the Tower of Asinelli, mainly in brick, is an outstanding example of medieval architecture. There are a total of 498 steps leading to the top of the tower, where visitors can enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. The Garisenda Tower is comparable to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was originally the same height as the neighboring tower, but it was forced to lower due to the instability of the foundation. The combination of one tall and one short towers has become a fascinating landscape.

I am so grateful to meet fellow travelers with a similar path on the road of self-discovery, and Xiao Mo is one of them. I have recorded three podcasts with her before (two Chinese: Ideal Tun 85 and 91; one English: Chiwi Journal: 116), if you want to know about our current lifestyle, welcome to listen!

It is said that in addition to being famous for its food, Bologna is also famous for having the earliest university in the world. Outstanding alumni include Dante, Copernicus and Guglielmo Marconi. Walking in the university area, you can feel the vibrant youthful atmosphere everywhere. When you visited the church where Copernicus was buried, you also encountered an English mass, holy and peaceful.

In the past two days, I had the same dream with my fellow Mo, and many coincidences happened. For example, I played a song randomly in the room, and within 5 seconds, Mo recognized that it was the Italian boyfriend he was dating. The guitar song Tiangang played for her; during the meal, Xiao Mo asked me if I had read a certain book, and I said that I just placed an order a few hours ago; not to mention the signs that can be seen everywhere and the frequent dense Déjà vu .

Recently, while practicing meditation , I read a lot of books and literature about psychedelic , which gave me a new understanding of reincarnation. The energy fields of Xiao Mo and I should be entangled in a certain time and space, otherwise how could we have such similar life trajectories and circumstances. I once again sighed that Einstein was honest and did not deceive me. He said that there are only two ways of life, one is to believe that there are no miracles in everything, and the other is to regard everything as a miracle. I must be the latter, maybe this is the reason why Xiao Mo and I are so lucky to pursue our dreams.



I remember when I was a child, my aunt would take me to a bookstore called “Fei Leng Cui” every week, where she studied textual research, and I collected all the interesting books on the bookshelf and read them all afternoon. Later, I learned that Fei Leng Cui is Florence translated by Xu Zhimo, and the boss of OSV I am working for now is very similar to the Medici family who established a foundation in Florence and selflessly supported artists.

With these inextricable connections, I seem to have no sense of strangeness to this city. Walking in the streets and alleys, listening to the compliments from the sweet-mouthed Italians, I feel very happy. Eric, the author of “Naval’s Book” interviewed before, recommended to me the super famous sandwiches here (Google 30,000+ ratings, and it is also a check-in place for many Italian stars and movie stars). After knowing that I am from Portugal, the clerk then spoke to me in Portuguese Talking, I didn’t expect that I could understand and pick up the words, so I got a lot of sauces and a lot of pistachios for free.

This is the importance of learning a language! To sum it up, every time I go to a new country, the first thing I do is to learn to say “I don’t speak xxx, do you speak English” in the local language. On the one hand, respect the local language and culture. You see, I have already worked hard to speak your language. On the other hand, don’t talk nonsense, just use the default international language to communicate! Today I have learned to speak in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and German… The previous goal was to learn to say “I love you” in different languages, and now I have moved from romantic to pragmatic.

When I was chatting with my friends in Florence, I was asked about the major setbacks or obstacles in my life. But every time I talk about my life experience with my friends, everyone thinks “Damn, if I can’t get through this”, “Why is there such a thing, does it affect you?”

Thinking about it now, this may be related to my high pain tolerance rate, just like some people have a low point of laughter, and can laugh for a long time about anything that is not interesting, but my physical/mental pain seems to have never been higher than that of me. Others are taller. I feel that this has a lot to do with the self-consistent function of the brain. No matter what I experience, my brain can always come up with a particularly reasonable explanation, which makes me feel “Oh, it doesn’t really matter.”

This is actually not a good thing.

According to the book “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bethel Vanderkool, after human beings encounter trauma, the brain will start a self-protection mechanism to bury the memory, refuse to talk about it or fall into deep self-blame and shame However, the body does not forget the trauma and reminds us with various symptoms that we need to deal with those avoided problems.

This is why I used to have panic attacks, but now I need hypnosis or herbal intervention to disarm the rational mind and enter the subconscious mind to see what mess I have buried.

Another solution is to deal with people with different identities and backgrounds as much as possible. Certain characteristics of others are likely to inspire some hidden emotions and behaviors in you. In interpersonal communication, we can help each other recognize each other’s blind spots and understand what triggers unknown and buried memories in the subconscious.

People are really fragile and frightening. The conscious mind has already kept us busy, and the subconscious mind has deeper problems to deal with. Be nice to yourself and everyone.


Finally, I marked the worthwhile sights and delicacies in Italy that I have been to on Google Maps , and you are welcome to use them as a reference when you come to visit.

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