Emily Luxton Travel Blog featured my Switzerland trip in her ‘Postcard From…’ section! I had an awesome time in Switzerland and I’ll be writing more about it in my Backpacking 2014 category but, in the mean time, check out this Postcard! 🙂
You guys should check out Emily’s website too. She is a seasoned traveler with many awesome stories to share. I’m hoping to get to that level of worldwide travel eventually but for now, thanks for following and sticking with me from the beginning!
Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels. If you would like to take part please get in touch – eluxton@ or @em_luxton – I would love to hear from you!
This week’s postcard is from the awesome newbie blogger Lisa Day; awandering enthusiast, thinker and writer from Seattle, Washington. She is a university graduate, rejector of most things conventional, and an aspiring worldwide nomadic traveler. Lisa recently started a new blog called Univagabond: A Day in the Life, with which she plans to share her travels, talk about life, and provide a place for discussion about all things travel, life and adventure. You can also follow Lisa on Twitter @Univagabond.
Hi Lisa! Congratulations on your fab new blog! Tell us about your latest trip…
Mid-August, I embarked on a European backpacking trip and visitedSwitzerland for just over a week. The bulk of my time there had been spent in a small town called Huemoz just southeast of Lake Geneva. The place I stayed at was called L’abri which is French for “the shelter.” I had heard ofL’abri from a friend of mine and when I went to check it out, it ended up being a place dedicated to thoughtful discussions, learning and community living. That was pretty different from what I was used to but completely worth it.
Wow, L’abri sounds really interesting. What was it like?
About 30-40 of us were lodging in an old cabin-like chateau madecompletely of wood and fully equipped with adorable green shutters and pots of red flowers hanging from the balconies. It was community style living which was really fun. We all cooked and cleaned together, talked and read and played music. It was all very “hippie-dippy” but kind of perfect.
Sounds amazing! How was the summer in Switzerland?
I had apparently arrived just after a huge rainstorm but it was clear skiesalmost the entire time I was there! It was so beautiful so see all the mountains and scenery with literally no obstructions. We woke up and went to sleep with the sun and could actually see the stars at night (something that’s pretty hard to do back in Seattle). We were right near the Alpsthough so it did get a bit chilly at times, but it wasn’t anything a big sweater couldn’t fix.
What did you get up to?
Just behind our chateau was a hiking trail leading to Roc d’Orsay in the Alps summit. A group of of us first hiked up the so-called “Death Hill” (referencing its steep and rocky terrain), and then 2.5 more hours until we reached the summit. There was a complete 360 degree view of the Alps at the top! We actually took a gondola ride back down for fun and supposedly floated within view of Putin’s future house. Who knows if that’s true?
I also hitchhiked for the first time! Switzerland is apparently one of the safest places to hitch. A few friends had told us about a time when they had a contest to see who could hitch the farthest. The winner ended up four countries away!
That hike up “Death Hill” sounds right up my street – although I bet it was tough! What was the highlight of your trip?
The best part about my stay in Huemoz was definitely meeting so many different people and living as part of a community at L’abri. I think this is a valuable thing people should try to experience more often in life. It’s soothing to the soul and gets you back to the roots of what makes ushuman. Plus, you make great friends almost instantly. That being said, one of my highlights was actually just walking around and picking flowers for the dining table after helping preparing dinner. Definitely not one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done, but it was oddly humbling and satisfying.
Did you try much of the local food while you were there?
At L’abri, all of the food was homemade and delicious but not necessarily Swiss. We made muesli, casseroles, soups, bread, salads, etc. It was kind of nice to prepare all that food and then display it; really reminded me ofthe importance of community and eating as more of a social activity. AfterL’abri though, I got a bit of Swiss cheese fondue action in at the Happy Inn just a few train rides away in Interlaken. I’m actually not the biggest fan of cheese but it was really good!
Did you have any disasters on the trip?
On our Roc d’Orsay hike, a few of us decided to run the last little lag up to the summit. There were a lot of cows near this one area and I somehowended up losing my shoe in a “mud” pile mid-run. At least I’m really hoping it was only mud. I had to do the rest of the hike less one sock and with a shoe full of something. We were only allowed 2 shower days at L’abri to save water, so that was definitely one of mine.
Yuk! Let’s hope it was just mud! Do you have any tips or advice for anyone else headed to Switzerland (besides “watch where you tread”)?
I was expecting Switzerland to be ridiculously expensive but it really wasn’t too bad, even after L’abri. Although, had I gone paragliding for a few hundred francs that would’ve been a different story. As for recommendations, just make sure you have the right money. Switzerland is not part of the EU, so they use Swiss francs instead of the euro.
Did you pick up any of the local lingo at all?
People mainly speak German, French or Italian based on which part of Switzerland you’re in, so knowing some basic German location words likeober (over), unter (under) or inter (inter) turned out to be a huge help.
And of course, “danke,” “merci,” and “grazie.”
Now for some more general travel questions – what’s your favourite travel read?
One of my favorite travel reads so far has been ‘Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel’ by Rolf Potts. It’s all about how long-term travel shouldn’t been seen as some impossible dream that can only be funded by an inheritance or a mega trust fund. I find myself recommending it all the time to friends who want to travel but don’t think it’s realistic. This book is really inspiring and makes the dream much more feasible.
Excellent – that’s added to my Amazon wishlist! And finally: what do you love most about travelling?
The thing I love the most about travelling is meeting people along the way.The sites are beautiful too but you can’t really have a relationship with a 1,000 year old castle. Travelling also gives you a much broaderperspective on life and just how dramatically different yet similar the worldand its people are. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of our own little worlds and routines, but travel allows us to see the bigger picture and for that I am grateful for that.
NB – all images are owned by Lisa Day