Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Missing the Swiss...

I have spent the last few days in the Swiss alps with my cousin Carlyle...and let me just start off by saying it literally warms my heart to know places like Gimmelwald, Switzerland still exist. It is easily one of my top five favorite cities in the world.
My cousin "baby carlyle" and I with a foggy Gimmelwald behind us.

And I'm sure you're probably wondering why? I was also pretty skeptical when Carlyle wanted me to meet him out in the middle of nowhere, Switzerland. As a matter of fact, when you ride the train to Interlaken (the nearest big city) you still have to catch a local train, a bus, followed by a cable car to get up to Gimmelwald...but the hassle is worth it twenty times over. This tiny town is tucked in the middle of the alps, with views of the river rushing through the valley below and the snow capped alps everywhere you look! Gimmelwald has no cars, one hostel, a few hotels, a couple resturaunts, and then some residential homes.  I don't know any other way to describe it besides saying it is a quintessential Swiss village. Our hostel, which was built in 1563, had breathtaking views out every window. Even as I was washing my face this morning, I glanced up to see one of the prettiest scenes I have ever seen...and it has been a constant reminder of God's intricacy throughout creation.
no words needed

To start my adventure, my train rolled in and it began to rain a little bit, just as a double rainbow appeared in the alps. Immediately I was reminded of Gods faithfulness and the beauty in his creation. As I got off the cable car, Carlyle was there to welcome me and we walked around the town (took a grand total of 10 minutes!) and then we had a nice dinner as we enjoyed catching up! the ladies next to us at dinner were eating chocolate fondue, which Carlyle commented looked delicious, and when the women left they bought us a huge fondue tray and the waitress delivered it to us. It was neat for us to receive such a random act of generosity from strangers...and we devoured the fondue!
sorry for the low photo quality...it was through a rainy train window!

As for activities, the first morning we went with three friends from the hostel, paid 25 swiss franks (which equals 25 dollars) to rent climbing equipment and embarked on a 5 hour climb! this climb entire climb was surrounded by beautiful scenery, but we had spirts of hiking, climbing, tight rope walking, and even a 15 minute stent in a cave as we waited out a brief rain shower. 
As you can tell, I am screaming/laughing because Carlyle was shaking the line as we walked with nothing but a 700 foot canyon below us. (Also note our styling' hiking clothes. #backpackerproblems)

The next day Carlyle and I took a sceneic hike up to the glaciers...it was amazing because we started out sweating, got cold and put on our sweatshirts as we reached the snowy glaciers, then a major thunderstorm blew in and we were soaked...we still managed to enjoy ourselves and chat the whole time and just appreciate the beauty of all the different weather. because we were wet to the bone upon our return, we each treated ourselves to a ten minute shower (it costs two franks for a 5 minute shower!) so that was a nice reward. we also bought local gimmelwald cheese, eggs, and sausage to make one of the most delicious dinners I've ever consumed, followed by some fun piano and guitar playing at our hostel!

Here I am standing on the glacier...about two seconds later the rain started pouring!

This morning we woke up at 7 am (and I am NOT a morning person...) to see if it was clear enough to go up to Shilthorn. The sky was clear and the crisp mountain air was perfect...so we hopped on the cable car and went up to the second highest point in Europe. After being completely in awe of the view, we went inside for breakfast in a resturaunt that slowly spins 360 degrees so you can enjoy the sights on every side. We looked right out on the steepest mountain in the world, the north face. We could see Geneva in one direction and almost to France in another. Needless to say, we had a spectacular 3 hour breakfast before heading down and saying our goodbyes. But it was definitely a fun few days filled with great conversation.

We literally felt like we were standing on top of the world!
I will undoubtedly be going back to gimmelwald (hopefully sooner rather than later...) and I am so thankful that I got to experience the beauty and peacefulness of this town that remains untouched by the busyness and tourists of the twenty first century.
The cute town of Gimmelwald...this is our hostel and some of the scenery.
xoxo

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