Arriving at 10:00 pm anywhere can be a little unsettling. I’ve seen a total of 8 cars in 45 minutes since I got here. It’s quiet. Too quiet. Just the eerie lights that reflect off of the stagnant, black lake over the cliff remain. After miles of a dark mountain trek, the light in the darkness is our hotel at last. With warm food waiting hours later inside, the Das Hotel Panorama reveals itself as heavenly. The air outside is thin and cold and finds its way through the most uncomforting spots.
Inside and settled, the dorm-styled room is every teenage girl’s dream sleepover setting. With a kitchenette, three bedrooms, a loft, and a living room, “girls’ nights” couldn’t be more memorable. The view outside of the room is other-worldly with a 180-degree panoramic scene of snow-capped mountains. They loom like ghosts in the night, covered by sheets of white that seem all too innocent. Everything is still and it seems as if you were to take a breath, everything would shatter.
The next morning, an abundance of carbs awaits and I can’t refuse. The food is different, but good different. Making our way to Mt. Pilatus, the twists and turns of the road mimic my stomach as we pass other cars with inches in between. Once we’re there and in line for the cab ride, my excitement starts to disguise itself as nervousness. Stepping into a moving cab car that is supposed to bring me thousands of feet up the side of a mountain just shows how much faith I unexpectedly have in foreign machinery.
Getting to the top of the mountain where a hotel, restaurant, and gift shop are, is a relief. Stepping outside sucks the breath out of my lungs as I look to my right and see snow on the ground. I make the journey up thin and unreliable steps to the very top viewing point of the mountain where I physically feel the air pressure squeezing my lungs and stealing my oxygen for itself. The fog covering everything is like a blanket that you don’t know is covering something until someone removes it. In this instance, the fog uncovers a beautiful, white mountainside, but only for seconds before it reverts to a hazy, gray curtain.
Another cab ride holding 50 passengers takes us up further into the clouds. Looking out the window reveals a single cable that starts to make me further question my decision, especially after evaluating my limited knowledge of European conveyor belts. Moreover, what makes me question my own sanity is the fact that the cable vanishes into nothingness after 5 feet in front of the cab. At the speed we’re going, the boulders look menacing as we pass by, our fault for intruding on their territory. We start to descend, once again not being able to see, but I am content. The blind expedition I’ve taken has opened my eyes more than I know. Switzerland may forever be known as being “neutral”, but after my experience, it is definitely on the winning team for the memorable sights it has shared with me.
Das Hotel Panorama: http://panorama-hasliberg.ch/de/Herzlich_Willkommen
Mt. Pilatus: http://www.pilatus.ch/en/
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