I'm exhausted. Jonathon and I just got back from a long weekend. We rented a car and traveled to the Berner Oberland area of Switzerland. It's only about two hours away from Zurich, and one of the most beautiful places on the planet. We wandered and hiked, we drove all over the area, and saw some absolutely gorgeous scenery.
I'd been to Switzerland before when I was about eighteen and remembered it as being filled with lovely mountains and verdant valleys. But we just drove through, barely stopping at all. (I was on a singing tour and on our way to the next gig) This time we did stop, whenever we got distracted, and I promise you, THAT happened a lot. LOL
We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. From the mellow sounds of cowbells in the night air, to the crashing roar of a waterfall as we stood behind it. We tasted local beer, wine and cheeses in some of the most scenic places you can imagine. We hiked for miles--sometimes uphill to find all those sweet spots most people don't get to see.
We trekked to the base of the Shilthorn mountain in the Jungfrau area, following a goat trail and drove over the Sustenpass (about 7,300 ft), literally touching the clouds where we had a very cold, very wet, snowball fight. We followed the Woodcarvers trail in the tiny hamlet of Axalp, where there are dozens of wooden sculptures made from tree snags all along the way. That was like a treasure hunt and added to the enjoyment of the hike.
And the last day we went to the Ballenberg Open Air Museum where they've brought together actual houses, barns and outbuildings from all over Switzerland. The different styles of buildings, traditional Swiss crafts and different animals make this place great! You can learn so much and all in one place.
But I think my overall favorites--if I have to choose--were the times we spent at two places very close together. Reichenbach Falls (of Sherlock Homes fame) and the nearby awe inspiring Aare Gorge.
The other area I enjoyed just as much was one of those places I found by accident. Nearby Reichenbach Falls is something most tourists don't know about--a place that is now one of my favorite places in the world--AND the inspiration for my story about Switzerland.
The Aare Gorge is beyond description. We went the first night we arrived--Sunday--because they keep it open late and illuminate part of it. Pathways traverse through the gorge following a swiftly moving river, cutting through solid rock as well as having boardwalks poking out over the river itself. It was amazing and so much more than the pictures you can see online. I can't begin to describe the magical feeling it gave me. And as I wandered, I dreamed up the next story for my Wandering Star series.
Tentatively called, The Dragon and the Damsel, it gives a nod to the legend of the Tatzelwurm, or land dragon that is said to live in the gorge. You can even hear him in one area--where the water rushes through a channel less than a meter wide--he growls at the idea of being forced into such a narrow area.
I love getting inspirations like that. The story jumped into my mind as soon as I heard the growl, and since I'd wanted to write a fantasy here in Switzerland, this was perfect!!! And knowing I would have missed this gorgeous place altogether if I hadn't taken the extra time to click on a link, tells me serendipity is alive and well in my adventurous life!
We pushed ourselves from sunrise to sunset and had to come home to get some rest! LOL But it was worth it. We've now gotten our first taste of what Switzerland has to offer and we're hungry for more. In fact, next weekend we're taking that hunger and going on a cheese and wine region tour down near Lake Geneva.
We can't wait to go get exhausted again!!!