Nature

Fall is amongst us; I fear it is about to take over and drive away the idyllic, mid-70s temperatures. Today’s weather was perfect for a walk and I knew just what to do with my free time this afternoon– this was also a way to continue to “get my fitness on.” After a special Skype sesh with Courtney (who arrives in 18 days, not that I’m almost wetting myself with excitement) I caught the PostAuto bus to take me to the base of a trail leading to Etzel. I had been told recently by my new friend Crystal, also an au pair in my village, that this was a must-see location. Etzel sits 1,098 meters above sea level, which is roughly 400 meters above my house. I set off this afternoon with my ever-increasing sense of adventure and almost Lewis-and-Clark-level enthusiasm.

The peak in the distance is my final destination

Currently, I am sitting at the table in the dining room, drinking a Hell Quöllfrisch Appenzeller Bier (Hell means “light”– get your mind out of the gutter), and feeling my muscles get progressively sorer. I feel my pictures can do a much better job, at this point, telling you about my afternoon.

On the road again...

Getting started on the trail

The trail quickly turned into an "off-roading" experience

Must be sure to follow the yellow diamond road... Doesn't have the same ring, does it?

Hopp Schwiiz! Cool flag along the trail

Upon reaching the summit (can I even call it that? I might be exercising my poetic license here) I turned around and much to my Shock and Horror, uttered an expletive. One that often follows “Holy,” which it most surely isn’t. I was just completely blown away by the scenery. I had been hiking for an hour at this point with only my playlist to keep me company. I had been stuck in the trees, and as cool as it was there, I didn’t have much chance to look around. “Wildcat” by Ratatat was playing as I reached the top (could there have been a more perfect song? I think not.) and I was truly amazed at how beautiful it was. I knew I would be able to see a great chunk of the Alps from here, but I was still taken aback. I kept snapping pictures in the hope of capturing what I was seeing, but as is the problem with landscape shots, they just never seem to turn out right. The visibility wasn’t 100%, so this also lent to the problem. Below are a few samples of what I saw, but just know they don’t do the view justice. It was just an absolutely perfect afternoon.

The joyous reception at the top.

Aerial view of Rapperswil

The reason the picture looks completely manipulated is because it is. I had to adjust it like crazy for you to see the awesome mountains in the background.

Ditto on the manipulation bit.

This is my village, settled in the mountain.

Check out the Hot Air Balloon in the corner.

On a completely unrelated note, my friend Pei Wen left Switzerland today and returned home to Canada. I met Pei Wen at my first meeting, and to say it was strange would be an understatement. She had just finished purchasing an absurd amount of candy for a party for one her charges and had (smartly) filled a bag for herself. She then proceeded to give away the pieces of candy to the little kids at the meeting in exchange for a kiss on the cheek. She was essentially paying for friendship… from three-year-olds. I knew this girl was one to keep my eye on. From then on, however, I found her to be an amazingly great friend. She is one of the most open-minded and adventurous people I know. She knows no boundaries and lives to explore– waaaaay more than I do. She has a great, infectious laugh, and one can’t help but feel at ease in her presence. I never tire of her travel stories and always have a good time hanging out with her. I will miss her tremendously. Looking forward to seeing you soon, Pei Wen, as I am positive our paths will cross again.

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