Waking up to 2022 looking out on a fog covered Lake Zug. Visiting dear friends, we go back over 30 years. Feeling privileged and thankful. That we could travel this week. That we kept in touch through the decades and through life’s changes. That conversations as always pick up where we left off last time, even though we couldn’t visit each other these past 2 pandemic years. I missed them I realise now seeing each other again.

Sunrise in Walchwil, with a view of fog covered Lake Zug, and Rigi mountain

Kehlmann is a German novelist whose books I quite enjoy. His language appeals to me a lot. Previously I read his book Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World) putting Von Humboldt and Gauss side by side in their quest to measure the world, and last year Tyll, a newly and beautifully imagined retelling of Till Eulenspiegel.

A few weeks ago, in our book case I found Kehlmann’s book Ruhm (Fame), a small collection of 9 stories that turn out to be connected and form a novel as a whole. I couldn’t remember buying it, nor if I had already read it, and started in the past days. Probably I read about a third because that is where I encountered the receipt from the bookstore: The Balmer Buchhaus in Zug Switzerland, dated 27 November 2010.

Me, in Zug in November? That sounded not quite right. We visit friends there regularly, but usually around New Year and at some point during the summer. Did I or we really visit there in November a decade ago? My Flickr photo stream provided immediate proof we did indeed.

Lake Zug at sunrise in late November snow, 2010

Checking my calendar from 2010 I found out the reason for our trip. We helped my sister move house that month (which I do remember). She lived in the neighbouring part of Austria, and had been recently widowed, and moved into a new apartment right on the Swiss border (now she lives in Brussels with her new husband, and is about to retire to Portugal). On our way back we stopped at dear friends near Zug (which I also remember). And visited the local bookstore (which I forgot).
There’s also photographic proof of it, as I snapped an image of books I wanted to maybe research online after our visit.

The one on the left I think we decided to buy after I took the photo, because I think it is in the bookcase somewhere too. Update: It is. But I ordered it a few months afterwards, in February 2011.