Swiss cheese, Swiss chocolates, Swiss Alps, and Edelweiss must ring a few bells for everybody. Switzerland is known across the globe for these beautiful, sweet things, and for good reasons. Visiting this country was like enveloping myself in a world of cool, clean air and really, really heavy foods. I thoroughly enjoyed all of those things (especially the mountains, because as clean as the air was, the view took my breath away every time), but there is so much more to fall in love with.
The cleanest, bluest water I have ever seen was all over the place; even the water flowing through the cities was clean. Everything was so clean, and maybe I am only so shocked by this because I have become accustomed to dirty American cities, but the observation still stands. It was a comfortable place to be, and it was especially pretty because of the abundance of flowing water. It must have come from the mountaintops. Standing at the base of them, it was easy to picture how the sun melts the ice slowly until it is ready to trickle down the mountain and join the rest of the flowing water. Creeks, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes are generously sprinkled across the mist-frosted country– and it makes me thirsty to think about it.
I climbed to the top of a waterfall alone on a rainy day. It was a long, uphill hike, and my mouth felt like tissue paper by the time I was high enough to see the village below. There I was, an amateur with an empty water bottle, struggling across slippery rocks and mud, only mildly concerned by the idea of being struck by lightning. I was thirsty… and… I was standing right next to a waterfall in a country with the cleanest water I had ever seen. I probably deserved to be struck by lightning for not putting two and two together sooner.
At the moment of my clever realization, the water was a bit out of my reach. I had to scoot my way up a sloping bit of vegetation to drink from a smaller waterfall, but it was worth getting mud all over my hands, knees, and pants. It was like sugar. It was exhilaratingly cold and sweet on my tissue paper tongue, and I still don’t know if the goosebumps I got were from the temperature or the taste. It was unbelievable. I never, ever would have put untreated water into my body until I visited that mountain in Kandersteg, but I happily swallowed a belly full of that water. It made me appreciate how clean water has always been provided for me.
It reminded me that not everyone has that blessing. I know I am lucky to have what I have, and I want to make it available to as many people as possible. Clean water is not nearly as common in other parts of the world, but we can make it so. My solo trip up a waterfall ignited my desire to quench a thirsty world, but that is a feat that I cannot accomplish solo.
Switzerland’s chocolates, cheeses, and landscapes fully deserve the recognition they receive. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy all of the things that a typical tourist would. However, like I said, there is so much more to experience there. It is a safe place to have an adventure alone, and when a mind is alone with its thoughts, inspiration is bound to ensue. As sweet as Swiss chocolates are, the sweetest experience on my trip was when I was kneeling three quarters of the way up a waterfall with a mouth full of water and a mind full of inspiration. I was a happy girl.
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