8.07.2014

3 Best parts of Switzerland

Switzerland was a dream. Sure, half the dream was full of rain and clouds, but the parts that mattered were dry (i.e. the parts in the mountains where we were outdoors all day).

The best parts of Switzerland?

1. The views
I mean really. It was like every day, all day, at least once an hour one of us would either point out a suddenly even more gorgeous normal site, or, by the end of it, almost disgustedly comment how it just wouldn't stop being beautiful EVERYWHERE. All those idyllic meadows full of cows and bells and grass so green it looks dyed. Peaks. And clouds. And clouds just rolling around peaks like they've been placed there on purpose, for the sole purpose of looking breathtaking to the few hikers with the chance to see them. It's not normal, there being this much beauty in one place. I've been to a lot of beautiful places. Or at least I thought I had, until the freaking Swiss Alps showed me that the beauty of the rest of the world is a mere twinkle in the eye of glacier-covered passes under glowing sunsets. 


Effing green meadow
A glacier melting right below itself
An Ibex!
Even the non-mountain sites were captivating. We had some great walks in the rain. And walking tours of cities. And, as is my favorite, we just wandered. These views were memorable in a more normal, old, beautiful, European way. Museums; hearty pubs with black and white photos of important-looking men and dark mahogany booths, winding stone paths through towns with castles; fountain that NEVER TURN OFF, churches with painted ceilings:

2. Walking around
Mostly the walking in the mountains is what was great. Though, not if you asked me right about this time:
"Quiet expletives and burning rage"
That's when I was over hiking and heights and glacial snow I was sure I'd slip on and tumble to if not my death than at least pretty miserable injury. 

Yes, this face shows much more hiking happiness:

Switzerland is full of these mountain lodges where you can essentially show up with the clothes on your back (and a sanitary sleep sack) and they will feed and house you. We ended up making some of our own food, but the lodges were a great way to see the outdoors without having to pack in tents and sleeping bags and all the other bits and pieces backpacking usually requires. I don't know why we don't have any similar setups here in the US. We have enough wilderness. The huts aren't luxury, but I'd still say 'hut' is an understatement for their full kitchens and plenty of bunks. Our first hut slept 90 people. Our second could have maybe fit 20, but there were 9 there. We had a pretty difficult time picking a route (not helped by the fact that most all websites about the network of huts are in German), but I'm really happy with the route we picked. We had to cut off a night due to the storm, but what we had was AMAZING.
Our mountain hutte
We also had to carry clothes and supplies for the rest of our trip, so our bags weren't as light as they could have been if all we were doing was hiking. 

At one point, the highest point, both literally and emotionally (at least for Porter) was making our way over a the final pass before our descent (and where we were warned a storm was coming, fast). I thought I was going to die from an overactive fear of heights, as well as really struggling physically. My super man offered to take my bag, climbed over the scariest of the snow fields, up a ladder, and to the peak. That 30 minutes was the lightest (physically and emotionally) I had felt since we started hiking. And the most fun for crazy people who love not being able to see their feet when footing is important, and who love the pain of effectively doubling ones' load, and of course making their wives' lives a bit easier when it really counted. 

3. Hanging out with this guy
Seriously, he's so much fun to hang out with. And make fake German accents with. And learn about Swiss history with. We ate and wandered and shopped for cheese and sausage and knick knacks. We made some new friends and ate some really awful powdered eggs, and ate some other really amazing mea;s. We read in beautiful places and slept in some unusual places. He kept a good attitude when the rain was getting old and never got bored of learning something new. He never does.
One one of the many forms of transportation we took (Planes, trains, funiculars, trams...)
Hiking !
I have no idea what prompted this series of photos. But doesn't it just make you wanna kiss him?






3 comments:

Justin said...

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Kami Bratten said...

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Erin said...

GORGEOUS!! It's on my bucket list for sure!