05.21.2012 25 °C
As much as it saddens us to leave Nepal before planned, we have finished our charity work and a new adventure awaits us.
We board our plane to Doha, Qatar then to Frankfurt, Germany and drive off to.....
We have a lot of adventure to make up for, so we have decided to wing it from now on.
We stop in the town of Basel where most of the buildings are over 800 years old and the architecture blows me away. Churches, apartments, and stores all carry with them a certain mysterious essence that makes me feel like I'm living in the 1300s.
We immediately feel an indescribable difference of this place from Nepal (obviously).
First, the bad. Since the Swiss people voted against joining the European Union, they are charged a tariff on all their goods. Unfortunately, Switzerland doesn't have an abundance of natural resources and must import a lot of goods. Ergo: mediocre pizza for 3 costs us almost $60. Quite a shock in contrast to the free breakfast, $1 lunch, and protein bar for dinner we were having in Bhairahawa.
Now the good stuff.
1) Everywhere here smells like sweet mountain air. Or bacon. Or some euphoric combination of the two. I'm not kidding.
2) The food here is amazing. I mean, I did love the food in Nepal, but there's just something about an unlimited amount of cheese and chocolate all made in this very country.
3) The scenery. Everywhere we look is a panoramic view with mountains completely surrounding us. I couldn't believe it when my dad opened the curtains in the morning and I was staring straight into a gorgeous mountain view.
Our first stop after Basel is Interlaken (literally- between lakes). We start our day by touring a waterfall that esentially twists and turns through a cave. A shameless tourist trap, but awesome nonetheless. I'm amazed that a waterfall of such power doesn't completely erode the rock around it. Instead, its leaves massive smooth surfaces with even smoother holes throughout the cave to wander through.
We then take a gondola up the mountain and get started on our hike. It starts through a gorgeous town catered to skiing and consists of mostly chalets with dark wooden exteriors and flowers on every porch. After hiking for a few hours, we take the train back to where we started and the gondola back down.
I much desire to open a Swiss bank account to hoard my millions, but am soon informed that they aren't even run by goblins like in Harry Potter. I mean, you can store thousands of pounds of gold and diamonds in those things, right? How do they expect to keep that safe without goblins? We decide against the Swiss bank account.
Despite the similar glacial processes that created both the mountains in Nepal and the Swiss Alps, they couldn't be more different. Driving through the Nepalese mountains was overwhelming as our van climbed the never-ending switchbacks and we delved deeper into vegetation. Erratics littered the ground and the peaks were largely spaced apart and unimaginably tall. The Swiss Alps include endless hills and mountains, but mostly vertical cliffs off each mountain. Perfect for bungee jumping off of.
Peace and blessings,