Chur is an amazing city. With a history of human settlement more than 5,000 years old, it is probably the oldest city in Switzerland. Nestled in a deep valley near the source of the Rhein, it’s surrounded on all sides by steep mountains. The club we were playing at had opened just the night before. We would be opening for Satanico, a cool bunch of dudes, mostly from Venezuela, based now in Amsterdam. They play a lot of Latin Metal, but once a year they do a tour in Switzerland playing Santana covers. An explosion of languages erupted over dinner: Spanish, German, French — I was speaking Hebrew with Robbie, the half-Swiss, half-Israel promoter of the show, and with one of the Dutch-Israeli guys from Satanico too.
I was feeling pretty sick, so after an unexceptional set I decided to make it an early night. In the morning I woke up to walk around and quickly found an alpine path up one of the mountainsides. One of the amazing things about Chur is that under the low-hanging winter sun, the city is perpetually in the shadow of the mountains that surround it. Around 11:30, when I had hiked pretty high up on the path, I saw the sun suddenly break through a narrow gap in the hills and shine its light on half the city below. It seemed like every church bell in the city was going off, as if to mark the appearance of the sun. By the time I had descended, the sun had disappeared once more, leaving the city in its accustomed shadow.