Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

a mountain high - part I

“All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am…”

A week ago today, I met a cow. I stood on a mountain top. I bought some ‘magic’ boots and I had a birthday. Honestly, I had not been looking forward to this particular birthday. For weeks I had been frustrated and unsatisfied with how my life looks as I reach this day. Like a long period of cloudy weather, my mood had been gray with bouts of drizzle, and only a few sunny breaks.

So already a while ago, I knew that I needed help. I needed to tank some good energy (a lovely German saying “Energie tanken”, which doesn’t translate so well into English). To make a long story short, I decided to rent a cow (cause you can do that here!) for the month of August (alpi-cheese included), so that we would go to the high Alps where she lives and say ‘hello’. Sometimes you need a hook to get certain people to leave their house…like baiting a mouse with cheese, but in this case it was a man.

“So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am…”

Since I grew up a stone’s throw away from the young, zackig Rockies, I am missing me some mountains; living here in the land of wine hills and castle-dotted rivers there are only big hills. Even though the Germans here name every small and large hill ‘Berg’, they are all still just hills. I wanted to feel the energy from creation, in a big way, and I wanted to remember it.

So, a mountain top with a cow it had to be. Needless to say, great guy and the father, along with some other dear friends, couldn’t help mocking me about this idea for weeks. “When are you off to milk your cow?” “Say hi to Kuh Elsa!” “It’s a long way to go for some Alpikäs.” Ja, ja.

room with a view
Saturday morning arrived, with a cool, fresh gust of mountain air streaming into our quaint berg B&B. Great guy opened the wooden-framed windows and all I could see was mountain. The big three: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. Like Dorothy, I had followed the yellow brick road to a cow, but had landed in Grindelwald; an overrun mountain town for every type of outdoor enthusiast. We were only here about a cow, so this was all a big surprise for us. I had known that there were mountains and some big lakes in these Swiss Alps; but that we would land in front of the Eiger North Face was like chocolate icing on my birthday cake. (Although, this year instead of cake we had cheese fondue, with Grindelwald cheese, of course….when in Rome.)


 “But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to…”

Immediately I realized (even though g.g. had to mention it repeatedly) that my runners would not be adequate for my birthday pilgrimage to Lotti. So, while he went to get Swiss francs, I decided to peek into a small shoemaker’s shop advertising a sale. A soft-smiling, elderly man with a brown apron tied around his waist, greeted me as I walked in. “Gruzzi”, he said. “Hallo,” came my boring reply.

The lilting Swiss German is lovely and funny at the same time. Great guy began ‘speaking’ it the moment we heard the first Swiss person talking on the radio as we drove across the border. Actually, it reminds of my father when he’s telling stories about the good ‘ol days, or when he’s back in his native habitat; a wonderful sound… a bit like home.



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