This is my bomb shelter. It is designed to withstand not just bombs, but chemical and nuclear attacks. The door is six inches of concrete, and it has an air filtration system. Every home in Switzerland is required by law to have one of these. It takes a great deal of power to remain neutral during a time of war, and Switzerland remains vigilantly ready to guard its border and people, even now in this time of peace.
This bomb shelter used to be a source of levity to us. We use it for storage, things like winter coats, extra diapers and Christmas wrapping paper. The cool air and stable foundation makes it an excellent place for a wine cellar. I will admit that every time I walk past that heavy door I get a small frisson of anxiety. It is a potent reminder of what people once needed protection against. Imagining huddling in that small claustrophobic space with my loved ones, listening to the booms around us or sitting quietly, watching the hours tick by as I guess and pray as to when I can safely return back to the world as I knew it – never fails to stir a deep-seated disquiet. Continue reading