Train Travel Theatrics

Posted on July 10th, 2019 by

Early this morning, we once again found ourselves biding Auf Wiedersehen to our hostel as we left Zermatt and traveled to Grindelwald. Though we have ridden many trains during our thirteen days of travel and could almost, by the most liberal of definitions, be considered experts at navigating Swiss railway stations, our journey was slowed by some unexpected delays. We were first held up by a 17 minute train delay, though this was not so bad the station was situated in an area that provided a beautiful view of the lakes of Interlaken. Though not unpleasant, this delay resulted in our missing our next train. This again was not much of a concern as the views and weather were both beautiful and we had no commitments for the afternoon. Once our third train arrived, we were forced to wedge ourselves into a car full of beach visitors and tourists, with only standing room to spare. So uncomfortable and confusing was this leg of our travel, that we actually got off one stop too early for our connection and had to wait for another to take us one stop further. The last train of the day was also quite full resulting in the entire class grouping together in an open compartment near the engine car and promptly finding a seat on the floor where we could wait out the remaining 25 minutes of our travels. Though we experienced quite a few mishaps and had to think on the fly, the delays were handled well by the group and we did eventually make it to our destination (which is, after all, the most important point).

View of the Glacier Express  as our train departed from Zermatt

From the train station in Grindelwald our hostel was a 17 minute walk, which sounded all hunky dory until we realized that 10 minutes of that walk was up a steep, narrow hill. Arriving at the hilltop in a sweaty and hungry pile, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the hostel, in addition to providing accommodations to travelers, was home to a rooster and flock of multicolored hens. Though we were certainly were hungry enough to eat right there at the hostel, we decided to head back into the main town to scrounge up some lunch and possibly even an icy dessert.

Apple fritter and ice cream for dessert

During our time in Grindelwald, we will continue to explore many of the themes and topics we began in Zermatt and Chamonix, including the function of glaciers in the hydrologic cycle, the land forms that result from glacial forces, and the relationship between glaciers and tourism in the Alps. In particular, during our time in Grindelwald we will look at the roll that art has played in recording the history of glacial advancement and retreat. Additionally, the creative works of artists throughout the past centuries provides insight into how and why the perception of glaciers has changed. Though our travel day may not have been the restful and predictable day we had hoped to have, it was full of interesting surprises and excitement of exploring a new place. And finally, at the end of the day, despite the steep and tiresome hike required to get to our hostel, I believe that the views we find of the mountains will always be worth it.

View from the hill top near the hostel


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