July 7, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 7-9

Oh boy. What an adventure we have started! We are only two weeks into the three months and I realize this journey may better be described as a voyage...

So we spent three nights high in the Swiss Alps in a tiny mountainside town called Gimmelwald. To reach it we had to take one big train, one small train, and a really really really steep gondola up the mountain. Both Andrew and had been super excited to be in the Alps-- who wouldn't be? Those breathtaking views? That pure, refreshing mountain air?

Upon arrival, we sadly discovered that rain and clouds were in the forecast. This was okay with us, and of course, frustrating.

Why were we okay with it? Well, as long as no one snores, the cool temperatures would allow us to catch up on much-needed sleep (no thanks to Bern).

Why bad? Who wants to go to the Alps if they can't see the Alps?

This is what we experienced when we first arrived. Even though we couldn't see anything, the clouds were so beautiful. It felt like we were taking the cable car into a cloudy, mysterious heaven...

Sooooo... even though the clouds were pretty cool, we were stuck inside. Because most people who come to the Alps spend most of their days hiking in the mountains, there wasn't much to do inside the hostel except swat monster flies, drink beer, eat cheese fondue, and play UNO with some really cool Canadians. Yes, it was fun. But we were there for the view, not the fondue. And we didn't want to play UNO for three entire days.

So, to bide the time, Andrew literally kept his eye on the cloud, for any glimpse of the neighboring mountains. Don't get me wrong, both Andrew and I love rainy and cloudy days (holla Portland!). The layers of clouds helped give depth to the outstanding, panoramic view. The hues and general aura of the mountains were amazing. There were times when we would step outside and literally be enveloped in a huge cloud. And once in a while, we would glimpse a peek of the mountain peaks (yes, I just did that), and would try to imagine what they really looked like.

We went to bed the third night bummed out because we were going to leave the Alps without ever having truly seen them. But alas! Andrew woke me up the third morning and told me to run outside to see... a perfectly clear day!!! We spent two blissful hours eating breakfast and staring at the unbelievable beauty before we trucked it back down the mountain.

Some highlights (with a few added lowlights):

-Falling in love with my food for the first time since we began our trip. Thank you, Cafe Airtime.

-Hiking in Toms and flipflops because someone didn't come prepared.

-The hostel staff partying until 3AM even though quiet time was midnight.

-Having a minimum of ten monster flies on me at once.

-Walking on a really cool foot massage garden (see pic).

-Seeing lush flowers and gardens!

-Sharing sleeping quarters with eight smelly hikers who decided to synchronize their snores.

-Stuffing my face with Alpine pizza and cheese fondue.

-Andrew realizing that he owes me one: He persuaded me to go with him to visit a neighboring town, Murren, which was above us on the mountain... up a beautiful, but extremely long, mountain road. Andrew said it was "only a 30-minute walk." An hour later, feeling the burn in my quads, with aching feet, dripping with sweat under the poncho, dripping with rain over the poncho, Andrew realized I hadn't spoken to him in quite a while. (Don't tell him, but I actually had a wonderful time.)

-Laughing with our Canadian friends.

-Happening upon random cows chilling in the woods.

-Deeply breathing the fresh mountain air.

-Realizing we were roughing it: Yeah, about that. From the planning stages, I have felt very strongly against "roughing it" for three months. Yes, we are staying in hostels. Yes, we take public transportation everywhere. And yes, we are carrying backpacks. But there is no way I will willingly rough it like a dude. I apply my usual makeup every day. I shower every day (even though I may have to enter a coin and finish  in under five minutes). I make sure we eat well. And we even carry ponchos and an umbrella. HOWEVER... This hostel was pretty rough. I felt like I was back at camp. Woodsy. Smelly. Flies. Grimey. Dirty.

(Lack of sleep helps keep the negative vibe going...)

If this is as bad as it gets, then I will be happy.

WHEN we go back to the Alps, I am bringing proper hiking boots and clothes.
WHEN we go back to the Alps, I will read the Farmers Almanac first.
WHEN we go back to the Alps, I will be sure to rent a private room in one of the more accomodating chalets around town.

You should too.

Until then, it brings me great pleasure to give you a glimpse into this breathtaking world...

>Food 1
>Location 1
>Activities .5
>Comfort 0
>Hostel 0

The FLACH? 2.5  monster flies stars.

Keeping his eyes glued to the sky.
View from hostel.
A tiny break in the clouds.
Alpine pizza, beer, and that lovely cheese fondue.
Andrew discovered a waterfall on one of his hikes.
Clouds giving depth.
Our porch with the best view around.
That darn road up to Murren.
Our precious Mountain Hostel.
Cow chilling.
Cow trying to blend in.
Beautiful Alpine flower.
The pretty town of Murren.
Pretty windows in Murren.
Hanging out, together.
Valley view.
The highest peak!
Sheeps on a hill!
The foot massage garden thing. I'm having one of these when I grow up.
Surrounding towns.
More Alpine beauty.
This was us after the walk up the moutain. I'm trying to be cheerful. Andrew is trying a little too hard.
I could sit here for ever. Apparently, he already is.
Another break in the clouds.
Trying to make me laugh.
... We can almost see it!
Its covered up again...
FINALLY! The whole view!
So beautiful!
If I could live here forever, I would.
Cafe Airtime
It takes a cloudy day to truly appreciate a sunny day.
Interlaken, a town lower down on the mountains.
The scary cable car ride.
The small train.
Andrew fulfilling his "owe me one."
Full of hope for better accomodations in the next city.

1 comment:

  1. Melissa, thanks for posting these! I love reading about your experiences! Sounds like a fun adventure!!! Live it up because you will look back on these times with fond memories, I'm sure!!
    Lots of love and happy travels!!!