Sweet mercy, ladies and gentlemen.
Switzerland has got to be the most incredible place I have ever visited.
The moment I got off the nine-hour overnight bus ride in Zürich, it was as if all the sudden I was cured of a smoker’s lung I didn’t know I had; like someone stuck a filter on my nose that only let in sweet air; like taking off a pair of sunglasses I had worn my entire life to see what color actually is.
It is the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of the real world.
The grass appeared lusciously delicious, the flowers made honey for your eyes, and the water, which trickled down the mountains was pure, sweet nectar.
If I could go back, even if I were to take form as a hobo on the side of a mountain, I would.
And I can say that, because I was temporarily a hobo on the side of a mountain in Switzerland.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
My friends and I boarded the bus for our weekend getaway to Switzerland. Two weeks prior I had found dirt cheap tickets for over-night buses to and from Zürich, and I formed a group of friends willing to travel with me and train hop around the country for three days.
As International students, we were able to purchase a special, reduced price ticket which gave us unlimited travel for 3 days straight on any form of public transportation in Switzerland. I always wanted to travel across some country with nothing but a backpack, so, when I found that one option would be for me to travel across one of the smaller countries which happened to be bordering the one I was staying in for 3 months I was more than thrilled.
Like I said, we arrived quite early in the morning after a long, sleepless, overnight bus ride to a warm and cheerful greeting from, Astrid, one of the women a friend who served his mission in Switzerland knew and who had agreed to take us in. She picked us up and zoomed us in her little car down to her one-bedroom apartment where she almost literally tucked us in and told us to rest up before heading out for any adventures. The little nap was followed by a hearty breakfast complete with an assortment of different swiss cheeses, fresh alpine butter, and robust bread.
To say I felt as though I had entered heaven is a bit of an understatement.
After listening to her explain the ins and outs of finding free wi-fi in Switzerland and looking through the first couple of a stack of 67 pamphlets pertaining and relating to the Alps/Swiss countryside (all provided by Astrid), we took off on an unscheduled train to Bern where we would start our journey to the little village of Lauterbrunnen, tucked up into the folds of the Swiss Alps.
Now, I feel it is noteworthy to mention that the weather forecast for our little weekend went something like this (oh, and, by the way, we arrived Thursday):
Wednesday: Sunny 73 degrees
Thursday: 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms 50 degrees
Friday: 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms 58 degrees
Saturday: 95% chance of rain and thunderstorms 60 degrees
Sunday: 95% chance of rain and thunderstorms 59 degrees
Monday: Sunny 10% chance of rain and 75 degrees
We went back Sunday night.
So you could definitely say the future looked slightly bleak, but we were determined to enjoy it, whether we were sopping wet or struck by lightning.
So, you can imagine my surprise when on the entire train ride to Lauterbrunnen, on the big cross-country trains and the little steamers which chugged us up and in between mountains, the weather looked a little like this:
I think I praised God’s name and glory about 300 times on that stretch. I cried as the lakes revealed blues I had never seen before and we passed dozens of little towns whose names I will never remember, but whose existence and impressions I will never forget
The train rides were enchanting as we weaved our way to the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Minutes after getting off the train in the little town of Lauterbrunnen, we made a snap decision to ride the gondola up to a little town called, Mürren. On our way up the mountain, I met two lads from Scotland and we talked with them as we got into the next little mountain train that would take us from the gondola station to Mürren.
If you can’t tell, it is about to get interesting.
These lads worked at non-profit organizations. One of them worked in Dubai, and the other lived in Mürren. They grew up together in Scotland and together, much to the agony and anxiety of their mothers, developed a knack for base-jumping AKA jumping off of cliffs.
Being the world-travelers that we were and having 0 bad feeling about these dudes, we got off the one car mountain train at a little stop in between Mürren and the gondola station to hike down the mountain to a cliff where they asked if we would like to watch them base jump.
Much to the future agony and anxiety of my own mother, we totally did.
So, after being assured that the last gondola car went back down to the ground at 11:45pm, and it only being 7:00pm, we trekked down the slimy, mossy side of an alp. On the way they showed us their favorite little stream to drink from (again- the water was actual ambrosia), and they told us stories on how they went to places where people were rich and made friends with the people and then became rich through connections. How they base jump pretty much all over the world and the high you get right before you jump- then the blood and adrenaline mix into each other and you start speaking total gibberish.
Finally, we made it to the edge where we watched these two grown men tighten and double and triple check every strap on their bodies
I found this old thing in my drafts folder, having not realized that I never posted it. Well, turns out this is also a really good way to tell you I am moving this lil’ blog over to a new, less specific to an internship domain at http://www.therealdani.com
I’ll make sure to finish this post over there ❤
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