The Alps, the Alps, the Alps. Everyone is always talking about the Alps. I remember watching the screen on the plane to Milan as the airplane symbol moved slowly across the image of the Alps and wishing that I could see them through the clouds. Well, I’ve seen them now, and I truly think that everyone should see them or something like them at some point in their lifetime. Granted, I have never been to the Rocky Mountains in the US; in fact, the most extreme mountains I had ever seen before last weekend were the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, but the Alps are just incredible. Whether I was glued to the train window, craning my neck to take in as much as possible or standing next to the window in the cable car, the views were breathtaking.
We went to see the Alps on Saturday. After waking up semi-early and cooking an American breakfast of eggs and bacon we hopped on some trains (some of which weren’t ours and we had to run like all of the other Swiss people in the train station) and headed to the mountains. Once arriving at a small train station in the foothills of the Alps we hoped on a bus and made our way into the mountains. Our plan upon getting to the actual mountains was to take a cable car to the top of one of the mountains. Although this sounded all fine and dandy, a few people in our small travel group started to get a little nervous once they caught a glimpse of the steel cables disappearing into the clouds. I on the other hand was ecstatic. A cable car to the top of the Alps? Sign me up!
So, after a short wait we found ourselves in a glass box hanging over Switzerland. There was a point in our ascent where we were completely encased in clouds, and a few minutes afterward we could see the peaks of the mountain range around us. Beautiful just doesn’t do the view justice. When you are 7500 feet above the rest of the world, the view is indescribable.
Once we reached the top we spent time walking around and taking in the views. One of the things I immediately noticed was how quiet everything was on top of the mountain. All of the ambiguous noise which fills the background on a regular basis was gone. People were talking, of course, but everything else was silent. It was an interesting feeling. We found a little restaurant perched on one of the peaks and sat down to enjoy a coffee on top of the world. Best coffee ever (followed by a wonderful apple pie that Kristy and I devoured almost without taking time for a breath). Even if Zurich hadn’t been wonderful (which it was) the Alps would have been enough to take the trip to Switzerland.
The rest of our time in Zurich was devoted to wandering around St. Gallen, checking out the Swiss “discotecas,” and taking advantage of the Starbucks coffee which could be found every few corners. Don’t get me wrong, I love Italian coffee, but every once in awhile it is nice to get that soy latte fix.
Hopefully the pictures can do a better job communicating Switzerland than a measly blog post :)
A view from our cable car about half-way up
This weekend I will be backpacking Northern Italy with a group of four other girls (five in all). Most of our study abroad group is setting off for Barcelona this weekend, but we decided that we wanted to get Italy under our belt before setting off for Spain. It is going to be a jam packed weekend. Here is a short itinerary:
Thursday: Cooking class at Lake Garda (Italy’s largest lake)
Friday: Bolzanno (German town in Italy and home to the “Ice Man”)
Saturday: Milan (Last Supper, here we come!)
Sunday: Torino (I hear they have summer luge….)