In the summer of 2017, I went on a three-piece vacation through part of Europe for ten days. The trip guide, a teacher of mine, three other girls, and I through Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. Although the entire trip was nothing less than enrapturing, the country that I resonate with the most in my travels has been Switzerland.
Our group traveled from Italy to Switzerland, and I felt a change as we crossed a seemingly imaginary border. From Venice, Italy, we drove to a small village-like place called Andermatt. The winding roads, tall mountains, and interlacing waterfalls were not kind to the tour bus. The drive was… unforgettable to say the least.
We arrived to Hotel Badus, quaint with no elevator and metal keys for the doors. As a teenager in Generation Z, it was a new experience. My friends and I grabbed our luggage, climbed three flights of stairs like Rocky-in-training, and found our room. The room had an enchanting view. Across the street was a picturesque dark brown cottage, and just a glance to the left was a steep mountain scattered with alpacas, cows, goats, and Swiss children running around playing with them. Peering out of the window turned into reading a children’s book.
It seems impossible to convey the way Switzerland impacted me. Traveling between three countries in ten days is exciting, but stressful. It encompasses waking up early with late nights too. As soon as we made it to Switzerland, I felt all of my stress disappear. As if I could take the deepest and most calming inhalations in my life. Stepping into Switzerland resembled diving into a cold pool. The air was crisp, and I never understood that description of air until then. The wind was electrifying and carried an exhilarating chill despite it being the middle of June. My body was grounded and taking root as if I had always been there, like the ancient pine trees surrounding me.
One of my most cherished memories from that trip is comedic, but lovely. I am an animal lover. As soon as I spotted the cows on the grassy mountain, I was drawn to them and wanted nothing more than to get closer. To attempt to appease my wish, my group and I wandered our way through the village of Andermatt. A small walk to the left of our hotel until the road split into different directions, and then taking a right until that road develops a small trail to the left that winds up the towering mountain, we found our way. Fifteen minutes into following the trail, it breaks into an amazing view. On our left were the cows, their bells clattering into a messy song, and to our right was an endless forest. I was really keen on touching one of the cows, but respectfully I would not invade the cows field. I became determined to coax the cow to me. On Youtube, I found a video where a man calls his cattle playing Royals by Lorde on a trombone. So I utilized this video, a red jacket, and my radiating love for these beautiful creatures to coax a beige-grey cow to the fence, where I touched its nose and felt an immeasurable amount of joy.
Switzerland lives in my dreams ever since that trip. Despite the time spent in the larger city of Lucerne, the subtle moments in our tiny ski-resort village ended up being my favorites. I cannot forget the lightness, the revitalizing energy that found its way into my bones, and the quirky bond I formed with a cow.
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