Switzerland is all mountains and lakes and nearly everything an adventure seeker dreams about. Which is precisely why I am here. I must also mention how fortunate I am that I know people who like me for no apparent reason other than the fact that I exist. Some of these people include my hosts, Christine and Otto (CO). When I told them that I want to backpack through Europe, didn’t just offer to show me around, but invited me to stay at their home at no cost. The only thing they asked of me is that I make most of my time here.
The kindness of the Swiss people knows no bounds
When I arrived in CO’s home, a quaint village in central Switzerland called Weggis, I was pleasantly surprised by how dedicated they are in making my hiking expedition a memorable one. In my room I found boxes of energy bars, some hiking gear and they had gone through the pain of finding English maps for me. That my dear friend is Swiss people for you, their kindness knows no bounds.
Maps, compasses and mountain signs
My mornings start off with a short session of map reading, breakfast, planning my trails, a lesson in reading and understanding the million signs one finds on these mountains, eg: a blue and white flag means the mountain has ice, snow and is steep (read: one stupid mistake you are dead). The red and white flag means it’s steep, and rocky. The yellow and white flag means the trails are easy but still strenuous. I’m attracted to the first two.
Christine is also teaching me to find direction using a wrist watch, this way she says even if I don’t have a map, I can always find my way home.
So far we’ve trekked three trails, ranging between eight – nine kilometers. They’re on the red and yellow range of flags.
There are 26 Kantons (provinces) in Switzerland, three of which are half Kantons, so far I’ve hiked through three of them. In my next blog post, I will write more about the trails I’ve done so far, the villages I’ve crossed and the historical sites I’ve seen. And maybe even about the quirkiness of CO, they are hilarious. My favourite time is at the dinner table, where we chat about the events of the day and laugh at ourselves for being so different, yet so similar (how is that for an oxymoron?) Christine and Otto were super-tramps in their heydays. The journey I’m undertaking now, is not new to them, they’ve done it before and they are only too happy to do it with me again. They’ve walked across other countries too. Now they’ve just upped their cool and are chasing summer around the world. But right now, they’re home, showing me all the ropes. Some mountains we will traverse together, and some I will do solo (you will read more about that at a later stage).