Friday, June 13, 2008

day 8 - Travel Day to Switzerland

Today was another tough slog of packing, walking, carrying, embarking, disembarking, schlepping, toting, and whining through multiple trains and stations. Fortunately, the travel time itself was only about 4 hours, but it was followed by thirty torturous minutes of dragging our crap very slowly down the main drag of Lauterbrunnen until we got to the campground. Zack was so done with traveling that he didn't want to pull his suitcase anymore, so there was a lot of coaxing and reshuffling of bags and rest stops along the way. I wonder how long the walk is normally; probably not too far.

#1 Lesson Learned The Hard Way: "Pack Light" is not just a suggestion - it is a commandment.

I tried very, very hard to pack as light as possible, but when you are a pack mule being herded through an Alpine valley instead of enjoying yourself sauntering casually down the same path, you know you've overpacked. The real problem is that one member of our group (Darcey) is too young to carry her own stuff, and another (me) is pushing Darcey in the stroller, so also can't pull her own stuff. So you end up with four people, one of them a four year old, carrying six people's stuff, and that is cumbersome. We've already decided that when we do this again (it's not an "if" it's definitely a "when") we'll wait until Darcey is old enough to pull a carry-on size bag herself, that way we can each have one small bag and no one needs to be the pack mule. Or maybe we'll just rent a pack mule.

#2 Lesson Learned The Hard Way: Hard-bound cookbooks do not make the most convenient souvenirs. But I don't care.

I could tell that Ryan was torn today between hating the travel day and loving the result. He bears the burden of loading and unloading all of our bags from the train at each stop, and finding a place to cram everything can be tricky. Add to that the fear that if we don't move fast enough, the train will take off with our stuff (or Ryan!) still on it, and it ends up being a fairly stressful job. Also, he tends to carry the most stuff everywhere, because Zack is limited by his tiny four-year-old muscles, and I've got the baby and the stroller and the huge backpack full of everyone's carry-ons.

But he had a hard time complaining once we got here, because Lauterbrunnen is absolutely gorgeous. As Ryan said, everywhere else we've been, the beautiful things we've seen have all been man-made, but the beauty here is all natural. He couldn't stop looking out the windows and pointing things out, or stopping to take a breather and just stare at the green, lush trees on the mountainside. Our campground is just past a mammoth waterfall that makes Bridal Veil Falls in Provo look like someone left the water running in the sink. It's called Staubbach Falls, and it's not even the biggest one around here. A river flows right past our campsite, so instead of listening to the fake ocean on our noisemaker at night, we get to listen to authentic running water. (It's not quite cool enough to make me get over my almost paralyzing terror of my kids somehow ending up in that river. I've told Zack about a dozen times not to leave our trailer without a parent, and I think he'll listen to me, but man, is it scary.)

Switzerland was Ryan's choice of vacation spots on our trip, and I'm gratified to see him enjoy it so much. When I've heard of an interesting place to live, I'll say to Ryan, "You can work from anywhere, right?" Today was the first time he reversed it onto me. He loves this place so much that he said he'd love to live here at some point, although he doesn't understand how anyone can get any work done with all this to look at all day long.

For me, I think it's beautiful, there's really no denying that, but it is obviously not affecting me the way it is Ryan. I'm not much of an outdoorsperson, and to be honest, being out in nature is not my strong suit. I had the window open in our trailer and when I closed it I didn't see the snail that I had accidentally crushed in the window. When Ryan pointed it out to me, I just about gagged and could barely stand in the kitchen until he cleaned it up. I don't care what you say, any man who is willing to clean a crushed snail out of a window for you is alright in my book.

My one complaint is that it is raining, off and on. Tomorrow we had planned to take a train to the top of Jungfrau, one of the tallest mountains around here, but I read that it is not worth the money if it is raining, because you can't see anything. The train stops halfway up the north face of the Eiger, which is a major rock climbing mountain. How cool is that? We'll find out, if it stops raining. The other problem is that I can't tell when the rain stops because the sound of the river drowns out any but the hardest rainfall.

To be honest, though, any complaints here are like Eve complaining that the Garden didn't have enough flowers for her, or it was just too perfect for her taste. This valley is beautiful, so beautiful that I think I've worn that word out and might have to come up with another one before we see anything better. And I think it will get better, too, which is the truly amazing part. I cannot believe I'm blessed enough to be able to do this. This trip has been everything I ever wanted it to be, how amazing is that?

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