The Alps That Weren’t There

I believe I’ve created a false impression on this blog.

Despite my attempt at cheerful travel writing, traveling to foreign countires is not always rainbows and butterflies. Not everything city is young and vibrant. Not every journey is smooth and worry-free. And the weather doesn’t always cooperate.

In a hasty photo-essay during October of last year, I posted pictures from my time in Geneva, Interlaken, and Zurich, Switzerland. I didn’t write this at the time but, while Geneva was politically insightful and Zurich was architecturally beautiful, the Swiss Alps were, unfortunately, disappointing.

Locals at the Alps live by the everchanging weather there. When the weather is bad (read rainy, cloudy, and foggy), it can spoil your entire trip. It was my bad luck and forgetting to check the weather beforehand that it poured every single day I was there. I spent my entire time at the Alps trapped inside the hostel, glued to the weather channel on TV, and praying that the viewing cameras would show just a glimpse of the snowy peaks I had travelled so far to see.

Instead, a thick white smog covered the sky for three days.

I had travelled to the Alps on what I thought would be the single most amazing trip of my entire European journey. The Alps had other plans.

It was frustrating and disappointing all at once. But what can you do when something out of your control stood to ruin your time in a supposedly amazing place?

I snuggled up in bed with lots of hot chocolate and a good book; I got to know my roommates, an engaged American couple who were backpacking across Europe; and I read up on the history of Switzerland.

When it was time to leave Interlaken, I was confronted by my mixed feelings. I was excited to discover the more amazing journeys ahead of me, yet, in an unexpected way, I felt attached to the warm shelter I had called home for the last three days. Perhaps leaving the Alps empty-handed also left me with a strange connection to the place.

Switzerland, I’ll be back for you.


4 responses to “The Alps That Weren’t There

  1. I was in Switzerland again for the summer of 2010 and it was actually snowing and raining (summer!) for a lot of the time too, it does make it hard to enjoy the Alps, but…..

    Next time I recommend you go to Jungfrau Joch in the Swiss Alps, one of the most amazing journeys (albiet expensive). You travel by train through the Eiger Mountain tunnel and end up in a world of mountain peaks, ice caves and glaciers. Beautiful. On my trip there in 2005 it was foggy and misty, but that high up you were actually above all the cloudiness. The views are amazing! 🙂

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