The muggy, humid air that beat down on our travel group had been accompanied by a blazing, fiery sun. As our tour bus crossed the border between Italy and Switzerland, however, the veritable inferno of heat outside the air conditioned confines of our vehicle seemed to lessen. As the bus rose through the Swiss Alps, the entire tour group breathed a collective sigh of relief. We had done the impossible and had somehow escaped a freak European heat wave.
QUARTER-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
It was at that moment that I realized that I was going to love Switzerland. The green Mountains that stretched into the sky slowly opened up as we continued traveling upward. Tiny specs slowly turned into houses, people, cars, cows… A gradual transformation that had fascinated me throughout our journey across Europe. We entered a tiny town near the top of a mountain. The buildings were quaint and pretty in shades of deep red and mustard yellow. Green grassy fields stretched endlessly in all directions and were dotted with grazing swiss dairy cows.
As we exited the bus I breathed in the fresh, clean mountain air. The hotel that we stayed in was small and homey. Friendly staff members quickly filled our bowls with a delicious homemade stew as we sat down to dinner and ate our fill. My travel group and I talked and joked as the past week of hiking through hellish heat seemed to disappear.After dinner, everyone went to their rooms. Most of the group was exhausted from the long journey and wanted to go to bed early.
I, however, wanted to explore. I left the tiny hotel to go for a short hike. A bit beyond the hotel I saw a park full of natural beauty. A rushing rocky river hidden by dark tall trees ran alongside the quaint houses. Small animals skittered about as the sun set and strange, mysterious slugs crawled over the earth. I walked into a grassy meadow and lay down, arms outstretched as if to make a snow angel. Everything was at peace. I looked into the purpling sky and felt a deep, profound sense of calm. An emotion so intense that I still cannot quite put it into words. I smiled and sighed happily. I had achieved inner peace in the Swiss Alps. Suddenly, I heard the ringing of cow bells sound off in the distance. The farmers were locking up their livestock for the night, and it was time for me to return to the group. I walked back to the hotel slowly, a bit hesitant, but knowing that the peace that I had felt would stay with me for the rest of my life.
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