Crossing the Alps – What a Challenge
Travelling is always a kind of adventure. You get out of your comfort zone, more or less, depending on how different your destination is from what you are used to.
A few years, after I discovered how enriching and relaxing hiking can be, I began my plans to cross the Alps during a 10-day hike with a small group of friends. The preparations were already very exciting: Which route should we take, where should we sleep, will space be available, what can be carried, and what has to stay at home since you have to carry everything in your back, the entire day, the entire trip.
Unfortunately, our group leader had an accident in the mountains shortly before our trip even began and it became clear that she cannot join us. We were quite unsure whether we could do it on our own, just with the maps and instructions prepared. But we decided to brave it on our own and were soon greatly rewarded.
Even though theoretically, you know what to expect, you can never be sure how it will feel when it really happens. Yes, I was exhausted some days and I had to overcome fears when the paths were quite narrow and/or steep. But I was so impressed by the landscape, the scenery, the blue (and sometimes grey) sky, the animals I could watch, and the flowers I saw. These rewards more than compensated for the struggles of the journey.
Seeing the mountain lodge far in the distance where you will spend the night was usually my motivation and gave me an extra boost of energy, even if it sometimes could still take quite long to get there – distances in the mountains seem to be different than in the valley.
Arriving at the hut I was glad, relieved, tired, hungry, thirsty – all at the same time. Then we were checked in and shown the dormitory which we had to share with sometimes 20 or more people, 6 or more mattresses in a row without any space in between. I also had to get used to just having super cold water to wash – brushing my teeth with that water was a bit challenging. Only a few mountain lodges had limited warm water for a shower. But I survived. 😊
In the evening we were pampered with a delicious and healthy meal. After dinner, we relaxed in the dining rooms, talked to other hikers from all over the world, exchanged experiences, and played cards. And all of a sudden I was happy to get up at 6 am, have a simple breakfast with just some bread, jam, and butter, and head off for our next hike, our next hill, or mountain. Luckily when we climbed up the mountains, we often had the opportunity to drink fresh, cool spring water. I now know that was the best tasting water I have ever had and it was the best beverage you could ever imagine. I will always remember these 10 days full of joy, achievement, and impressions.
Marion from Operations