Currently.

A lot has changed over the past two months, but at the same time life feels very normal. Weirdly normal. I’m living in Switzerland, working for a couple I’ve only known for a few weeks, living in a hostel with a revolving door of strangers and grocery shopping with Google Translator in hand.
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Sunshine + Rain: Cabana de Plan Neve

It turns out the Swiss Alps really are littered with Swiss Alpine Club huts and their privately owned lookalikes. At Chalet Martin I met Caroline, another WorkAway from the States, and after a few days of extra fridge cleaning and bed making we ran away from civilization for a night in a mountain hut. At Merlin’s suggestion we headed toward Cabana de Plan Neve, a smaller hut nestled in a mountain valley.

When we left the hostel the low hanging clouds were threatening rain but as the day progressed the sun broke through the clouds and we ditched our rain gear for tank tops as we trekked down into Les Gorges, through Les Plans and up toward Pont de Nant.
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Chalet Martin: My New Home

About two weeks ago I lugged my over-sized duffle bag up a gravel trail to Chalet Martin, the hostel that would become my home for the next three weeks…or two months. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I had “met” the owners via WorkAway and we’d both agreed to commit to at least three weeks of a volunteer exchange — I helped out around the hostel [changing beds, basic housekeeping, etc] in exchange for a place to stay. As I walked in the hostel reminded me of the farm house I grew up in — a mud room for shoes + gear and cement stairs that led up to the creaky wood floors of the main level. I was home.
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The Chrinnenhorn Summit

I have done a terrible job of planning ahead for any part of my Switzerland wanderings. The actual events of my life are rarely planned beyond the upcoming 12 hours. Heck, prior to showing up at Chalet Martin I’d usual start my day with no real plan for where I’d lay my head that night. It was freeing, liberating. Waking up in the Glecksteinhutte was no different. I got up, ate breakfast, stared out the cabin window…and made the impulse decision to do a day hike up one of the “alpine mountaineering” trails leading to the peaks surrounding the cabin.
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A Night in Glecksteinhutte

My first day in Grindelwald was supposed to involve a long hike up to Steckhornhutte with a relaxing night surrounded by mountain views. Instead, the city welcomed me with rain and eventually storms that drove me right off the mountainside and into a “meh” hostel on the edge of town. The hostel’s kitchen was laughable and I didn’t even bother with the shower…but I did get a 6 bed dorm room all to myself and celebrated with a full 9 hours of drool-on-my-pillow sleep. Yup, I know how to have a good time!
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Schreckhornhutte: A Failed Attempt

One of the first things many people suggest when I ask for their “must see” parts of Switzerland is “Grindelwald”! With so many people – both city lovers and mountain explorers – telling me I had to visit this area I decided to make it a stopover on my way to my WorkAway in Gryon. On my way I stopped in Interlaken, another “ooh, you should go to…” suggestion, for an afternoon + night. Honestly, if I did it again, I’d just skip Interlaken all together. Maybe I didn’t do the right kind of exploring in the area, but it felt like just another tourist city and full of distracted tourists. [granted, I did not visit Harder Kulm or spend much time near the lake, so I may be biased]
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The Trails Above Zurich

trail-running

I’m always quick to say “I’m not a city girl”…and I think that is a true statement. Cities make me uncomfortable and I find them to be very overwhelming. They are complex with varied rules, confusing signs and hundreds of people to watch you flounder about. I get nervous and awkward in cities, there is no doubt about it. However, I still managed to happily spend 7 days in Zurich, Switzerland.
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Off the Beaten Path [Cabana d’Orny]

swiss-alpine-club-huts

When I left Champex, Switzerland on my day hike up to Glacier d’Orny I was really just hoping for some time away from tourist feel of the city. I wasn’t quite ready to commit myself to the extra bus ride that would be required if I stayed on the Tour du Mont Blanc trail, just to bail off the next day…so I hiked up, up, up.

There is a ski lift/cable car that will take you up the mountain from the edge of Champex but when you’re day hiking that is cheating, right? I tromped on past that cable car and found the single track that zigged and zagged it’s way up the mountainside one skree field at a time. Once I arrived at the top I sat myself down and ate half my stash of jelly beans while basking in the mountain sunshine.
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Get Outside, Now!

Remember when you and your brothers spent 20 minutes arguing over who go to use the red legos, simply because they were better than yellow legos at the moment? And remember Mom yelled “get outside, now!” just as her eyes were starting to cross? No? That only happened in our family? Yea…I doubt that! It wasn’t always a lego argument but whenever us kids started to get a little whiny and stir crazy Mom would kick us outside. We thought it was to give her space [probably true] but looking back it gave us a place to work out some of our energy and issues.
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