Over the week that I’ve been home, many of you have already asked me, “so what was your favorite place?” And, to many of you I responded without hesitation, “Switzerland.” Why?
Shaun and I visited many extraordinarily beautiful places over the course of our trip. But, what many travelers will tell you and what Shaun also will tell you is that traveling is not always about the places you go, but the people you meet. Switzerland was a sweet picture of that.
This summary of Switzerland was written by Shaun, and I think it quite accurately describes our experience there. I have added some commentary in parenthesis. Enjoy!
“Three days ago we got to Switzerland, finally walking the streets of Interlaken at 12:15 am. We got some sleep and headed out to the Eiger Trail close to 1pm on the 23rd of July. Eating uncooked pasta, grocery store cheese and salmon–we embarked on an adventure that would blow our minds. (For the record, we found out POST-purchase that the pasta was uncooked. And we could either eat it or starve, so….yeah. We did on occasion have good food, though. Promise.) We came across views that will forever be etched in my mind. Ice caves and endless waterfalls and glacier peaks surrounded us.
Our plan was to spend the night on the trail in the Swiss alps (Shaun’s idea) but a storm rolled in and the second loudest thunderclap I’ve ever heard freaked Brooke out (in my defense, it was UNCANNILY loud). So, we made our way down to the next city to look for a hostel. Most of the places were minimum €45 per person–very expensive compared to the other places we had stayed. Another idea we had was sleeping in a tunnel we had seen down by the train tracks (actually it was *under* the train tracks). We were so indecisive we literally drew straws for our place of stay. Brooke told me a verse in Leviticus (actually Psalm 16:33) where it says that God is in control even if we draw straws to decide. We ended up staying in the €45 hostel. What came next was really interesting.
We had been praying to meet Christians who shared the passion we have in serving Christ. That night we met two guys: Zach and Justin. They were staying in our room and after talking a bit, we went to get a beer together. (two beers, an orange juice and a coffee). On our walk to the bar, we heard a story about Zach’s friend who had fallen off a cliff to his death exactly two years ago; the two of them were visiting the place where he fell.
They told us how before the friend had died, he said it was like he walked right into heaven. That’s what Switzerland feels like. That led to us finding out that they were Christians. We shared stories and laughed and had a great night. The next day, we hiked down to their rental car a few cities down after playing volleyball with some Saudi’s about halfway down (BTW we won ). The spontaneity and adventurous spirits of these guys was so refreshing. It was so unlike Greece. These guys loved Christ and wanted to explore his creation.
We got soft serve ice cream and continued to hike. We got to their car and drove around the valley in Laterbrunnen, then headed back to Interlaken so we could shower and take naps. Around 6:00 that evening, we went out to explore and drove around the lake. We witnessed the incredible sight of the light peaking through the clouds over the aqua blue lake with massive mountains emerging on either side of the lake.
We stopped to look around and ended up jumping off a bike ramp into the lake in our boxers (I jumped in my jeans). Eventually we got kicked out, so we went to get dinner.
We were enjoying a bottle of wine when Zach noticed the sun was setting with one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve seen in Europe. Actually, no-the prettiest. We ran back to our table (which we had just abandoned in childish excitement), and the waitress told us to take our food and wine out on the dock to watch the sunset. We talked about the blessings God has given us and just fellowshipped, smoked Cuban cigars, drank a little Scotch and enjoyed one of the best nights we’ve had in Europe. I’ll never forget that day. After the sun set and it got dark, we drove to a castle we had seen from the docks. Once we got off to the city, we saw a Ferris wheel (and that was a whole another little adventure). We got to the top of the wheel and overlooked the entire city. Overall: Incredible day.”
All this to say, It’s incredible how God provided for us exactly what Shaun and I had been praying for precisely after visiting a place like Greece where we felt so out of our comfort zone. I don’t quite know how to say it, but I know that I felt God’s Fatherly care for my soul. What a coincidence that rather than spending the night in a cave (or a little tunnel under the train tracks) in the Alps, we were caught in a un?fortunate thunderstorm that resulted in a richer memory and fellowship.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
8 Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to [h]grow on the mountains.