It was dark as we zoomed up the inner bowels of a mountain, and cold too. The train racing at speeds likely greater than 60 miles an hour. The pressure changes were recognized by me and my friends through the popping in our ears. As much as my ears had been popping in the days previous, certainly it had not happened at these speeds. Remembering the last light we had seen in the Zermatt station in Switzerland who knows how far below us now. As the train reached the top, Sunnegga Paradise Station, in the Swiss Alps I had no idea what to expect, the drive to the train station was certainly heavily laden with picturesque waterfalls and villages and lone church steeples visible from the mountain peaks.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
A Florida boy like myself living in one of the notoriously flatter states in the U.S., mountains were a complete 180° difference in setting, I loved it. It was, oddly enough, the memories of the “Sound of Music” that filled my memory with visions of Julie Andrews belting her lungs out atop these altitudes. It was these landscapes that tantalized my senses from the smell of pine to the sights of the not-so-distant Matterhorn to the feeling of the ice that had failed to melt by the early summer heat. Playing in the snow was a new experience for me, 17 years on this planet and not one glance of snow in living color. It took a trip to Switzerland as an ambassador of music for the state of Florida though Voyagers International to experience the cold wonder. One of my friends decided that she wanted to go further up the mountain and not knowing what to expect I accepted her invitation. When we finally got to the place that she had set out to climb to, we were higher than everyone else on the tour. The views from that point were breathtaking, that is not being cliché, I legitimately couldn’t breathe and my friend almost suffered an asthma attack! The climb was utterly terrible but the shortness of breath was a fair price to pay to see the Matterhorn wrapped in the clouds set in the background of the expansive fields of flowers and valleys full of distinct tiny villages.
Coming down was the worst feeling in the world, not knowing when I would see the same views, and not knowing how to place my feet in order to avoid falling. I suppose my feet didn’t want to carry me down and my body decided to take the short route for at least a little while, in short I have grass stains on the back of the jeans I wore that day. It was when I finally sat down on the bus home that my legs began to feel like Jell-o, but the memories would last a lifetime. The flashbacks I’m having just writing this are so vivid, if I close my eyes, I’m transported back to that magical place. A place I can only hope to one day visit again.
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