Late Friday night (after Friday Funday), we decided to go to Glacier 3000 in Les Diablerets to ride the Alpine Coaster on Saturday morning. Another item on my European Goal List! For those of you who are remotely curious about the 520-degree loop, 6 waves, or 3 jumps awaiting those who are willing to ride this coaster, you should probably watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYsk6R1naw4
We coordinated our plans with a lot of other people, and as of Saturday morning, 10 of us were ready for the adventure! Then one member of our party texted me to say that she saw someone in town that morning who said they thought it was closed. WHAT?!? I checked the website and sure enough – you could barely see the track, because of all of the SNOW! I had no idea that we would be contending with snow on August 16! It was a beautiful day in Vevey, so we made a game time decision to take the train up Rochers-de-Naye – a mountain peak overlooking Lake Geneva. Seven of us were in for this new adventure, and I was happy that the day wouldn’t be a bust. I ran to the grocery store to buy supplies for a cookout later in the evening, in case we decided to do that. Just before I was about to walk out the door to catch the train for the mountains, I realized it was RAINING!!
Now, I’ve been traveling a lot this summer, so I can’t possibly be as frustrated as everyone else living in Switzerland. But let me tell you…it was rained SO MUCH! From the sound of it, it’s WAY more than what is typical around here. I was so upset that it was raining on what originally looked to be a perfectly lovely day that I pouted all the way from my apartment to the train station. I could see a big cloud sitting at the top of the mountain, so I knew our visibility would be limited. Where did this rain shower come from?
When I got to the train station, I bought a Coke Zero in an attempt to brighten my mood, and what did my Coke bottle tell me?!?
How did Coke know?! I decided they were right. I needed to get over the rain and get happy about going up to a beautiful mountain top with fun friends.
Before heading out on this adventure, my friend asked if we would be hiking. My answer, “Definitely not.” I mean, we had seven people who were planning on a different activity altogether – not a strenuous hike. And, I knew almost all of us would be hungry for lunch upon arrival. Plus, we were riding the train to the top of the mountain, not getting off early to hike up the rest of the way. I imagined a beautiful train ride, some pictures of us with the view from the top, and a leisurely lunch before taking the train back down the mountain.
Well, I’ve clearly learned NOTHING about summiting mountains in Switzerland, because two things happened when we got off the train at the top of the mountain:
- I realized was cold. Turns out my sparkly tank top, jeans, light jacket, and my Haviana flip-flops (which I was also wearing when we were on the top of Jungfraujoch a couple of weekends ago) were not appropriate for the weather conditions…or the location.
- I also realized that while we wouldn’t be on an official hike, we would be traversing hazardous terrain in order to see the views below. As much as I love my Havianas, closed toed shoes would have been WAY more appropriate for maneuvering.
(Oh, and a Michael Kors summer purse, while adorable, isn’t exactly the right bag for this situation. When will I learn?!?)
Thankfully, there was a lovely surprise waiting for us when we exited the train. It was some kind of weekend folklore celebration, and there were quite a few musicians playing the Alphorn! There was a flag twirler, too!
Another surprise at the top? Marmots! I have several pieces of outdoor gear from the brand Marmot, but I never thought to wonder about what it stood for. Last weekend, two friends taught me that marmots are an animal similar to a beaver or a groundhog. I didn’t realize that the timing of that lesson would be so perfect! There were several enclosures with marmots inside. One of them turned out to be quite friendly!
Yes, it’s true that there were clouds, but I have to say that even so, it was beautiful.
It was so peaceful with little noise other than the sound of cow bells ringing in the distance.
As an aside, I am willing to do, taste, or try a lot of different things. But, let me tell you that rock climbing is not one of them. Can you imagine descending the side of the mountain from this point? Yikes!
After our photo shoot, everyone was hungry. We made our way through a tunnel in the mountain to the restaurant in the rock. Typically, there would be an amazing view, but when we arrived, all you could see out the window was a cloud.
I told them we had seven people, and they told me they were closed! At 3pm! Nooooooooo!!! So sad! Another pouty face moment until I remembered my Coke bottle: “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
We had a much quicker meal in the self-service restaurant before catching the train back down the mountain. My friend had several visitors in town, so it was fun getting to know them on this outing, even if the day didn’t go as expected.
That evening, I planned to enjoy my terrace. I spent a lot of money on patio furniture at the beginning of the summer, and I’ve only used it a couple of times due to travel and bad weather. The weather was starting to clear when I sent out a message for those interested to rendezvous at my place for dinner later in the evening. It was nothing fancy, but it was EXACTLY what I imagined summer nights on the terrace to be like when I bought my patio furniture. Food from the grill, good company gathered around the table, conversation lingering into the evening well after sunset, and brownies & ice cream, of course. I did have to put on some socks part way through the evening, because my feet were freezing, but that’s a small price to pay for a wonderful night of laughter and story-telling with friends.
This morning, the message at church was fantastic. I’m so grateful for C3 Church Lausanne. I realized during the singing that I’m starting to commit some of the French worship songs to memory, which is really exciting for me! Little by little.
The weather didn’t really warm up that much today, but we were committed to accomplishing another goal on the list…paddle boats on the lake – complete with a slide, so we could slide down and SWIM in the lake! Now, I am the person who jumped out of Lake Michigan screaming the one and only time I thought it was a good idea to put my feet in the water. So, it’s safe to say that I don’t do cold water. However, the lake here is too beautiful (and too clean) to not take advantage of a swim!
We paddled out into the middle of the lake before taking the plunge, and whoa – it was COLD! Of course, once we were in, we were committed to staying in for a little while. I could have hung out all day, if we had a noodle or a raft to help us float. But, our paddle boat was due back in an hour, so we went back in and found a grassy spot near the water to lay down and enjoy the rest of the afternoon (complete with some fantastic people watching). This place unbelievably beautiful. I just can’t get over it.
The Alpine Coaster may have avoided us this weekend, but we will conquer it sometime soon! Despite the change of plans, I would say that this was a pretty fantastic Swiss weekend. And maybe, just maybe, I will know to wear hiking gear the next time I go to the top of a mountain by train or by foot!