May 1st and B and I are sitting in Toulon train station after a quick stopover for mussels in the south of France. About to catch a first class ride to Switzerland. It’s a bit wild here in France right now, air and rail strikes are happening everywhere by the people in order to secure the 5.1 percent wage increase they're after. All shops and stores are closed too. Yet we were provided a train out of here.
We clicked our way out of France and seamlessly into Switzerland. We are traveling mostly by train via the Eurail, hands down my favorite way to travel. The views were almost too much to handle with only our sense of sight, we experienced the splendor and beauty of this part of the world.
We watched the terrain change from coastal views and palm trees to mountains, rivers and streams all while cozy, content and comfortable catching up on photo edits for clients thousands of miles away. And I’m not kidding when I say that only a month before this, I was day dreaming of working remotely from a train cart! My dreams always come true when I allow myself to actually trust it’s unfolding.
We wind around mountains hugging their edge along fields of flowers or lakes slowing to a stop in Interlaken Switzerland where a heavy fog greets us with it’s chill and a romantic walk to an open market where we find fresh food and a driver to take us up to Gasthof Schoenegg Inn. I know I’ve said this several times already but this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life.
We awake in complete awe of Switzerland. I arose early and walked down the stairs of this traditional Swiss building built in the year 1850. As I walked across the squeaky wood floors, the smell of fresh baked bread and hot coffee fill the air. I sit near the window and witness the fog roll over the still snow capped mountains. It’s raining and the Aare River below flows through the Interlaken village, which we found out is a tributary of the High Rhine and the longest river that both rises and ends entirely within Switzerland. It’s so cozy and I love the opportunity that rain brings for us to slow down. Bryan is still sound asleep upstairs but other early morning risers have joined me in the dinning room and I realize every one of us is a different nationality. I can’t explain how amazing this feels.
Walking, hiking and biking trails cover every beautiful stretch of this country. Bryan and I set out to explore, following these trails through the most adorable homes I’ve ever laid eyes on. The Swiss take such amazing care of their plots of land and every precious landscaped homestead seems to have their own garden that blooms with rare fragrances and perfectly stacked firewood. We heard the sound of bells in the distance and knew right away what it was. We came upon the healthiest free range dairy cows all fashioned with Swiss cowbells grazing in a field of wildflowers with the Swiss alps gloriously rising to the heavens beyond them.
Spontaneously stumbled upon a cozy 200 yr old mountain home on an Alpaca farm for rent in the land of a thousand waterfalls. We caught a ride up from Lauterbrunnen with Juergen, a jolly Swiss man who was cracking us up while honking at cows and enthusiastically pointing out all the peaks and waterfalls even though we could not understand a word he was saying. I wish I photographed his smile. By the end of his tour we had arrived to this hobbit shire tucked in between mountains and waterfalls in Stechelberg.
The spring has sprung here but when we arrived yesterday it was misty and that same fog rolled heavy above us. The waterfalls seemed to be falling out of the clouds. A moss covered tree full of white blooms grows right outside our bedroom window, a place I have been resting in since our arrival.
To be honest, I’ve hit a wall and am in a total emotional funk and have felt like I have nothing to add. It’s as if all this travel and newness away from the routines of life in America has allowed room for stuff to come up and its effing hard. Digging so deep into past traumas, hurts, failures and loss has put a dark cloud over my spirit and yet I am in the most beautiful place in the world. Navigating through these hurts and pains that I caused and ones that happened to me has brought such a heaviness that it has seemed hard to see out. We are doing this thing that I know in the depths of me I am meant to do, yet every doubt, fear and insecurity you can imagine has waged war on my spirit telling me I am a complete fraud. I’ve tried to do anything possible to avoid the fear within but here I am in the middle of the Swiss alps and I have no other choice but to face it.
I have been given the gift of the most beautiful husband who is a mirror to me of the goodness he sees in me, reminding me of how loved I am when I feel shame or insecurity. Love comes after us and there’s no shadow it won’t light up, no mountain it won’t climb up to bring the truth in so shame loses its power. I share so I can remind myself of truths I so desperately need to hear. I share because my past and present failures don’t define me or make me unworthy of sharing my story with you, they are exactly why I should…so that you also know that you are not your failures, you are worthy, you are not alone and you are GOOD!
All discord has rolled away, the sun is out and clear skies reveal the the very top of the mountain glacier in the distance. We set out to venture on a 3 hour hike up to Murren. The scent of pine that is carried on the soft mountain breeze kisses my cheeks and I have a renewed sense of gratitude for this new day.
Beautiful blooming trees cast lacy shadows and bright plumaged birds sing from the branches all the way up the mountainside. The silence of the natural world is in fact a constant, wondrous, never-ending symphony! We climb higher and higher the views becoming more and more epic. Fields of yellow dandelions and lush green meadows cover the steep mountainsides. You can drink this spring snow melt straight out of the streams and waterfalls. Adorable faucets pumping this pure water dot the trails. I am so in love with Switzerland. I also found out that the Swiss were never a part of any war and they have their own currency, the franc. It’s like no other place I’ve ever been.
Our 3 hour hike has now taken most of the day as we stop to photograph or sit and take in a view. We are not even half way up the mountain when we serendipitously stumble upon the Mountain Hostel. A legendary place where my dad stayed in the 70’s with his buddies and took my mom back there in the early 80’s. Its also where my brother and his tribe visited in 2008. We were climbing a set of stairs and starting to grow weary when Bryan grabbed my arm and gasped. I looked up and saw the sign of the Mountain Hostel and my eyes leaked with joy. We had not noticed that we would be hiking right through Gimmelwald, but it provided the most unforgettable surprise. We were greeted by our newest friends, Ivy and Joel, with cold beer and great conversation. We became the first walk-in guests of the season and booked a bunk for the night. Together we played guitar and sang old Lion King songs as the sunset behind the Alps.
i am currently in a lush fluffy bed in the Château Gütsch in Luzern Switzerland. Clothed in a robe with our bay windows wide open and sheer white curtain blowing in the breeze. Beyond is an incredible view of Lake Luzern and the city that built itself up around it. I feel like a princess in a castle above her kingdom.
This historic inn was purchased 1879 and expanded into this hotel, a crown jewel among Switzerland’s landmarks. Particular attention was paid to the fine historical design details such as the ceiling stucco work, wood carving and exceptional decor, all of which is now presented in renewed splendor. With it’s royal flare, Chateau Gütsch stands as a homage to all those who have graced its halls with their presence over the past 130 years - including kings and queens.
Today we did nothing. No museums, cathedrals, or botanical gardens were strolled through. No croissants were had, no people were watched, no street entertainers tipped. We spent the day in this cozy bed. Doing… absolutely nothing.
I had to remind myself today that even though we are traveling in a foreign place, full of exciting things, limitless possibilities and amazing hikes, it’s okay not to do anything.
We’ve been go-go-go since we began traveling 21 days ago, restlessly trying to fit everything in and seizing the day. I could see my “must be productive all the time” habits infiltrating into this trip! Today I planned on doing a bunch of stuff, but my body resisted anything more than a walk downstairs for food and a creative cocktail in the gorgeous Gütsch Bar.
I had some guilt for sitting on my tush in the middle of a beautiful city when I “should” have been out exploring, but really, the body wants what the body wants.
So here I’ll be for the rest of the eve. Except for a make out sesh with my man on the balcony at sunset 😉