With only 72 hours to spend on a long weekend, where would you go? Take a moment to think what your life needs at this very moment. Do you need to discover some inner peace through tranquility? Or do you need to just get away from your daily routine? How about both?
We made a last minute decision and set our eyes upon Switzerland. We had a very relaxed attitude on “things to do” based on the places we planned on camping and sightseeing destinations. On Friday morning we packed the “Mini Moo” (car), with a tent, couple changes of clothes, and a few cheap bottles of wine and we were off on our next adventure throughout Europe. The first requirement when road tripping through the countryside is a good bullshitting partner. An engaged conversationalist is definitely a plus when crossing through southern German towns and into the mountains of the Swiss Alps. It’s also quite pleasant to share the visual experience with someone.
Towards mid-day, we finally arrived at our campsite and began to set up our living area and somewhat organized our plot. Lake Lauerz was amazing to walk around, although we probably walked through someone’s backyard to get to a bar. Desperate times call for desperate measures. However, there is nothing in this world that can beat walking through an endless field, inhaling fresh air, and soaking in the sun of the day. The mountains and cliffs that surrounded the lake isolated me from the high tempo and stress of work in addition to the negativity that we all have once encountered. In a way, it sheltered me from the outside world, blocking out anything but the conditions of the current living environment. It also protected us from the mundane 9 to 5 that a majority of people work. It wasn’t just the mountains, it was more so about being able to escape and find yourself within the beauty of nature.
After enjoying a few beers on the lake at Seerestaurant Fischerstube, we noticed a small island, “Isel Schwanau,” and decided to find a ferry to take us there. We quickly found out that the pub on the island was only hosting members for the AV Bodania fraternity. This restriction, however, did not stop us from partaking in a mini-adventure. Small talk, light cigarettes, and something about “Ohio” punched our tickets on the ferry with the senior alumnus and open invitations to bottomless pints of Eichhof (A Swiss Lager beer). After a few hours of pint consumption and intellectual/drunk conversations, we found ourselves sprinting at top speed through another field adjacent to the lake. We somehow got back to our campsite and capped off the evening with a few bottles of wine and grilled rump steaks. Side note, always bring bug repellent, even for European camping.
The next day, we drove roughly an hour toward our second campsite in Giswill. The further south we traveled, the greater the abundance of mountains and lakes that made the experience that much more worthwhile. I guarantee this would be a geographer’s lifelong fantasy just to see something similar to what we did. Just as the day before, after arriving to Giswill, we set up camp and got ready for exploration. This day consisted of dipping in glacier runoffs, napping, and lounging in a creek bed that stretched approximately 5000 meters from the top of Schimbrig (a mountain of the Alps) and dumped into Sarnersee. The constant realization we kept coming back to while exploring amongst the vast mountain and waterbeds were how small we really are compared to the landmasses surrounding us, the sea of stars above us, and the beauty of what life had to offer. A truly tranquil yet immense feeling.
Both of us gained stories to share for the rest of our lives while discussing various hardships that we have had to endure. This trip/experience linked the good with the bad and brought us closer. I realized that as humans, it is much easier to speak of accomplishments and other positives than to admit or succumb to the darker sides of life. I have no idea what it was, but at that moment, beneath the shooting stars and being completely enclosed by the Alps, I knew that this is what we wanted out of our trip. Utter tranquility and removal from our everyday lives, trapped on our own accord.