The Mountains Win Again

Trip Start Aug 12, 2004
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Trip End Oct 21, 2004


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Flag of Switzerland  ,
Monday, September 13, 2004

I climbed to the top of the world and still there were mountains towering above me. The chorus of cow bells echoing from the valleys below assured me I must be in Switzerland.

I think I've discovered paradise. Nestled between the famous Eiger, Jungrau, and Monch mountains is the little town of Gimmelwald, and the tiny slice of heaven called the Mountain Hostel. I planned on only a couple of nights here, and now tonight will mark the fourth. It's simply magical here. Of course a place like this is going to attract good people, and I've made fast-friends with Dave, Ben, and Richard, semi-permanent installments here at the hostel. On Friday, Ben, Dave, and I hiked three hours straight uphill,where we picnicked on the plateau below the Shark's Fin, with panoramic views of the Swiss Alps and surrounding valleys. Breathtaking. On our way down, we came across a local man who had just killed a Gimsche (sp?), a deer-like creature in the prime of hunting season here, that he had bound over his shoulders with a sprig of pine in its mouth to carry down the mountain. Unreal.

Before heading back up the hill to the hostel, we stopped in to visit Mark and Diane, a couple from Britain who shared their beer and hilarious stories about running the guesthouse there in Stechelberg. It really was the perfect day.

Saturday night a big group of us headed down the mountain to Lauterbrunnen, where we attended the big party in celebration of the marathon in Interlaken that day. Never before have I seen two biker guys in leather dancing next to another man with a red and purple puppet in a huge beer tent, followed by what must have been the town marching band covering Green Day and Donna Summer. I also had my first taste of Raclette; a big slab of melted cheese sprinkled with spices and served with boiled potatoes, pickled onions, and pickles. Delicious. Lots of beer and dancing, and we were even served a pink-frosted cake with a sparkler stuck in the top.

I leave for Geneva today, but rest assured I will be back.
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