RADICAL EUROPE: And Up the Alps We Go

Since we’ve arrived in Europe we’ve caught glimpses of some mountains. The more we’ve traveled, the more of them we’ve seen. I’ve grown up around mountains, and I’m quite familiar with them, but the Alps are an entirely different story. At the bottom you’re hot and burning up in the 80 degree weather, but you’re staring up at snow covered peaks. And let me tell you, they are breathtaking.

Today, we got the opportunity to hike one. We didn’t get to the snow peaks, but where we ended was actually a spot that was covered with some snowy patches just a few weeks prior.

Our trek up the mountain was led by Dr. Werner Schwartz, an official “Bergführer” (mountain guide) and “Naturschützer” (nature protector) for 30 years. He taught us about the rocks, plants, animals, and water of the area on our journey to the top.

We came out onto the ridge where the top of a ski lift ended, and climbed just a little further to the tippity-top. With nearly a 360 degree view, I think it’s fair to say that the little breath we had left was stolen.

After admiring the view, we began our descent and took a shortcut down through the ski slopes. At the base was a large lake where the remainder of the group welcomed us back. We ate our lunch together and then decided to go for a swim.

We took the polar bear plunge into the pool. After dipping our toes into the glacial lake and thinking it would be warmer, we jumped off the dock and into water that was just as cold as the pool.

Taking advantage of the free time we had for the rest of the afternoon, we joined the masses and lounged around the lake in the   grass, soaking up some sun and relaxing after our journey.

-Sam Jacob