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My Travels: Switzerland 1996

In April 1997, at the age of 19, I returned from Switzerland having spent the preceeding eight months over 2000 metres up in the Alps. At that time my head was all a little muddled, and so in order to try to make sense of what had gone before I commited my experiences to paper. Here is the result of that exercise.

For a very special photo of Kleine Scheidegg (taken from the seat of a Boeing 737) click here

"Eight Months in the Alps"
Click here to see my recent Swiss photos
Despite having disliked geography of any sort throughout my formal education, two of my closest friends and I had in 1991 decided to take a trip around the world in the year following our departure from sixth form college. When the three of us were reunited (having been at separate schools for a few years) we began to plan our travels.

Not knowing anything about the travel industry, or around-the-world tickets, we started off by getting an old atlas out of the local library, and writing down a list of all the countries that appealed to us. This ended up being somewhat longer than we had anticipated, and when presented to a local travel agent we discovered that a ticket tailor-made to our needs would break all of our banks. The next plan was to pick up a cheap year return for Australia, stopping off in several capital cities for a few months on the way. After further consideration these ideas changed once more, until it was decided that we would simply spend a year in Australia as many young people do these days.

Throughout this time of great dreams and pie-in-the-sky planning, a number of things affecting my personal life were triggered off when I was diagnosed as having a mild form of Epilepsy. The Epilepsy I could cope with, but I reacted badly to the medication that I was prescribed to control it. I quickly became irritable, tired, and generally had a feeling that I couldn't cope with life. Unfortunately for my education this coincided with my first year 'A' Level exams, which I started to fail fantastically. I was thirty minutes into a Theology exam (enough to send anyone around the bend), when I decided that I'd had enough. I finished the sentence that I was on, before writing 'Fish' several times. I then walked out of the exam, college, and my formal education.

It was then that I began an unrewarding job in my local Supermarket and also I decided to move out of my parent's house. I ended up in the smallest bedsit built in the entire Northern Hemisphere. I couldn't quite fit on the bed, and I couldn't hang my legs off the ends of the mattress as the walls got in the way. Needless to say, I moved out of this mouse cage before five weeks had passed. It was then that I moved into Stanhope Street with Jo. Our rented house was quite large for just the two of us with no belongings, but most of the space was taken up with crawling damp and high-running emotions. Stephen, my brother who had recently returned from Ireland, joined us for the last couple of months of the tenancy to help pay the rent and cook the meals.

It hadn't been long since we'd moved into the house of the living damp, when I was offered a position as trainee manager of Wormelow Stores, the rural shop near my parent's house where I'd worked part time since 1991. This wasn't just another job. I was seventeen years old, and it was presented as a career opportunity. Accepting the five-year contract would result in me having to give up any ideas I had about travel until I was at least twenty-two. Not knowing what to do, I asked my friends and relatives what they thought. Most did not react over-enthusiastically, but always reminded me that it was a good career move if I wanted to work in retail. As I didn't know what I wanted from life (except at that time security), I accepted the job. Any plans of travelling to Australia were promptly scrapped, and I tried to put the dreams out of my head as I settled into my new routine.

Five months later in April 1996, Emma, my recently divorced sister and myself decided to take a holiday on the Greek Island of Crete. It was a fantastic experience. We spent most of our two weeks abroad in the southern fishing village of Paleohora: walking, talking, arguing and drinking the local Raki being our favourite pastimes. Another attraction for Emma was the ugly barman of our local restaurant, 'The Pelican'. With his help she was able to make a complete fool of herself most evenings, much to my amusement. I however would return to our tent alone, where the huge rats racing along the overhead power cables would greet me.

Even though we had been away for only two weeks I found it very difficult to get back into the old UK routine. I realised for the first time just how much I was being constrained by my job at the shop. I didn't want to have to worry about the bags of frozen peas that were going out of date at the end of the month, and it drove me around the bend getting forty weather forecasts a day from the local population. This job was no longer what I wanted, but I felt honour bound to do it. My employers had trusted me with a lot; if I were to leave I would be letting them and myself down. Talking this over with my friends and family, I began to see that I had to do what I wanted to do. It took about a week of persuasion and a long phone call from Emma (who was feeling similar at WHSmith in Gloucester) to finally make my mind up - I was going to break another contract! As soon as my employers got back from their fly & drive holiday in the U.S.A. I broke my news to them. Although disappointed, they took it well and were very kind to me. I was quickly released from my contract (which their dog had eaten in any case) as their son agreed to take over management of the business.

It was the beginning of summer, and I set myself a goal to save enough money to enable me to leave the UK the following September. As a result of my desperation to find decent short-term employment I broke my record for quitting a contract: 5 hours in that petrol station was enough to convince me that this was not for me! It was following this that I got what turned out to be the most physically demanding job I'd ever had. The interview was a mere formality; the interviewer simply handed me a bunch of forms and left me to fill them in. That supermarket warehouse contained some sad stories of people getting stuck in a job, getting so involved in the mind-numbing boredom of picking orders for stores nation-wide that they'd lost all sight of any dreams they may have had. These men got by by being angry and bitter. Thankfully our team was an exception to this rule, apart from one fifty-year-old living with his mum. There were about seven of us, all under twenty-five, with our hopes and dreams that we'd share with one another. The story that I was planning to hitchhike to Australia quickly got around - I was laughed at, but I believed in my dream.My passion for travel had been kindled and there was no stopping me. Going to Australia in the approaching autumn was no longer a feasible option for I had very little money. In any case, the idea of working my way around the world appealed to me immensely as I had recently bought an inspirational book of that very name. The tenth edition has become my personal Bible, without it I know that I would feel lost.

I decided to initially head for Switzerland. It was a safe country; fairly close to the UK should I find that I had to return, and most of all I had a network of relatives there, some of whom I knew reasonably well. I set a departure date, and worked as many hours as possible in order to save for the trip. At this point I had no idea how long I would be away for - months or perhaps years? I stopped all of my post and withdrew every penny from my bank account. The second of September swiftly came around. That morning Jo's mum dropped me off on the motorway with my ruc-sac and a sign reading "Abroad". I'd said my goodbyes as if I would never see anyone again - at that time I had no idea where I really end up. I wasn't sad to be leaving the place and people that I had known for most of my life. The challenge in front of me dominated my thoughts

Reaching Folkestone on the south coast of England was a little more difficult that on previous trips. The real trouble started as I approached London's orbital route, the notorious M25. Having been dropped on the wrong side of it due to a misunderstanding by the driver of a cement mixer, I walked for two hours in order to find a bridge. Three lifts and several hours later I found myself on the wrong side of London going around the M25 the wrong way. Eventually, however, things sorted themselves out, and by late afternoon I was standing in the very lay-by where, on my previous trip to France I realised I'd forgotten my passport. No such mistake this time. It was now 7pm. I was exhausted following the ten-hour hitch and getting a bit desperate as car after car passed me, despite the placard I held which read 'FRANCE: 10?' Just as the streetlights began to buzz a van screeched to a halt a couple of hundred metres past me down the road, I grabbed my impossibly heavy rucksack and lurched after them. "Ten Quid?" he asked, before opening the door of their small van. I was to share the back with several crates of beer that they had just bought in the duty free for a friend's wedding. There was no chance of a lift further than the French Chunnel terminal as they were simply returning on the next train. We cleared customs with only a verbal warning that I shouldn't be hitching. The journey was quick and smooth, a miracle of modern engineering! On the other side they left me at a motorway toilet-stop; I spent my first night abroad feeling alone and miserable, having to put my tent up in a dark soggy bog in order that I wouldn't be seen from the road. Thankfully it turned out to be near a large lorry park, and the next morning I was up early, clutching my Union Jacks on the slip road heading East towards Belgium. I figured that it would be best to head for Switzerland this way, avoiding the notorious hitcher trap known as Paris, but even so it was a very difficult journey. To make matters worse the weather was scorching. On the third day I was dropped off on the Brussels ring road, and having stood for hours in the sun with no luck I headed off down a small lane in search of water. I spent several unearthly hours feeling very light-headed - in the end I had to beg for water from an elderly couple using sign language. When the lady saw me starting to drink from the garden hose she rushed off, bringing back four bottles of chilled Perrier water. With that I felt refreshed and headed south once again. Two days later I reached Basle, a friendly city right on the border of France, Germany and Switzerland.

For the following three days I camped in the open conservatory of my relatives, Hedi & Heinrich. Having stayed there during previous family holidays in Switzerland I felt quite comfortable in pitching my tent there, despite the fact that they were away on holiday. It was during these three days when I communicated with virtually no one that what I had done begun to sink in. I felt terribly homesick and debated with myself as to whether I should return home that week. As usual though, mum and dad were on the other end of the phone and gave me the confidence that I needed in order to continue. The following morning the neighbours invited me around for breakfast, which I thoroughly enjoyed, communicating using my appalling German. Later that day I headed back into the city centre to pass the time and also to get information on working in Switzerland. One of the highlights of the day was visiting a public toilet by the riverbank. Having inserted my fifty centimes (20p), the door to the space age cubicle opened. Once inside, the door closed and a fifteen-minute countdown began on the display panel. Traditional alpine music emerged from the ceiling, and a motorised loo paper holder dispensed sheet after sheet when required. It was so entertaining that I was reluctant to leave, but the fear of being locked in when the clock reached zero persuaded me that I should.

Hedi and Heinrich finally returned, along with 'Auntie' Adelheid, my most active and unstoppable Swiss relative. She's seventy-four, but blows away any ideas one may have of a lady of that maturity. Skiing, aerobics, not to mention visiting endless numbers of friends and looking after her grandchildren -all of these are amongst her long list of hobbies. She does it all with such enthusiasm, making one feel quite exhausted just watching her! She is also very generous, and it turned out that without her my trip might have been more of a short holiday abroad rather than the eight months that it was.


"Auntie Adelheid"

We headed south towards her hometown of Biel, stopping off on the way to meet her son, Beat, and his family. Once at our destination I met Adelheid's other son, Peter, his wife Susie and their two children Urs and Rolf. I was made to feel very welcome, and by this time any feelings of homesickness had vanished.

Switzerland is an expensive country, and I didn't have enough money to live for an extended period. Having consulted Work Your Way around the World, I left for Interlaken, a tourist haven in the Bernese Oberland. I reached it fairly quickly by hitching, and spent the night in the Americanised Balmer's Hostel. There they advised that I go as high up in the mountains as possible - there would be more of a chance of finding a job there. On the maps that I had Grindelwald appeared to be a tiny cluster of chalets on a steep mountain slope. I was very surprised upon my arrival there to find the 'village' was a bustling, well-developed ski resort. Having deposited my huge rucksack at the station I began my search for work, knocking on every hotel door. Unfortunately all, without exception, turned me away, either saying that they needed no more staff or they were just looking for women. Totally disillusioned I phoned home, telling my mother that all was lost and I'd probably be returning the UK shortly.

However, during that call I discovered that I was in the very place where my parents had spent their honeymoon, and in fact my grandmother had holidayed in the village too. Clinging onto the thought that the family had a connection with the area I opted to spend the last 20 in my pocket on the rack railway that disappeared into the clouds above Grindelwald. It was a magical journey unlike any other I'd experienced, the track winding its way up and up. The rain gave way to snow, the wind picked up and I found myself steeping off the train into a blizzard at Kleine Scheidegg. A few buildings, a couple of ski lifts, and a railway station - that was it. My first impression was of bleakness and isolation - what an accurate first impression that was! Yet I also felt exhilaration in the challenge between the elements and myself. Turning my thoughts to more pressing matters I headed towards the huge hotel that I could just make out one hundred metres away. I admired how it stood strong in the gale, defying the elements despite its age. Feeling very cold (it had been quite humid down in the valley) I entered the reception thinking, 'Oh well, it's worth a try!' - If I didn't get a job here I'd have to return to England. Two old gentlemen and a lady, all of whom were past retirement age, greeted me. Having introduced myself I asked if they had any jobs going, and to my surprise, instead of a flat "No" the lady replied, "What can you do?" Knowing that my trip depended on this and sensing that she liked me, I replied in a happy, confidant tone, "Anything!" Having told me that she approved of my proper English, (it wasn't like "that terrible accent those Cockneys have"), she went on to explain that yes, they did have a vacancy for a waiter, and when could I start? I couldn't believe my luck, and was even happier when she told me that I'd receive 800 a month pocket money, in addition to full bed and board.

And so that was that. I was told that my work permit would arrive at the address I gave in about a fortnight. Having phoned home with the news, I returned to Adelheid's apartment feeling jubilant; all I had to do was wait for the permit to arrive.In the end it was a month before it appeared in the post box. During this time I lived with my aunt who was very generous in looking after me. However, it was difficult for us both, and despite the effort that she put into keeping me entertained I think that we were both glad when I could finally return to the mountain. And so it was, that on Monday, the fourteenth of October 1996, I started work at the Scheidegg Hotel. My first shock came when I was shown my room. It was situated in a kind of three-storey cow shed; I had thought that the bedsit in Hereford was small, but then, I hadn't seen this 2.5m x 2.5m cupboard. The door couldn't be opened properly as it would come up against the wardrobe, and the actual clear floor space was limited to a strip, 45cm wide by my bed. Still, I was determined to throw off my old hang-ups, and accepted it with a laugh. The first person to introduce themselves was Alex, a tall and seemingly self-confident Portuguese guy, a year or two older than myself. He was friendly, and soon started to explain to me how to relate to his colleagues (most of whom were also Portuguese). I also learnt that we really were isolated - once that six o'clock train had gone, there was no way you could get away from Scheidegg, (although we were later to prove this wrong...).

The first few weeks passed slowly. With the bad weather of autumn we had little work. The hotel was closed to overnight guests, and the number of Japanese tourists lunching with us on their way to or from the Jungfraujoch 'Top Of Europe' was limited - eventually, in early December, most of us were allowed to have a week off. During this time, as I got to know the other Scheideggers, I kept myself entertained by writing many letters to friends and relatives. I also started to read once more, something I'd wanted to do for years but never made the time for. Now, I had all the time in the world. There was always something to do, even if it was just hand washing my socks and shirts in the pig trough provided. I soon got to know the owner, Frau von Almen, who had given me the job. It turned out that some of my friends didn't even know her name, and just called her 'The Old Woman'. The seventy-four year old was not popular, being renowned for her absurd rules and customs (such as hiding the handle for the hot water tap, it was far too expensive to use hot water for washing up), all of which were surely designed just to make our lives more difficult. Generally, if you saw Frau von Almen ahead of you, you turned around and ran the other way. She also kept two decrepit Alsatians, who always insisted in lying in doorways in order that they got trodden on, and terrorising every guest that walked in. They were far more welcome than she was however, as we could shout at them to tell them to shut up.

To compliment our Swiss boss, we had an irate, middle aged, Italian manager. He wasn't too keen on listening to us, but preferred to pump his amazingly high stress levels even higher by screaming wildly in rapid Italian. Over the eight months he did improve as he got to know us, and on some occasions he was even pleasant towards us. Thankfully our headwaiter, Jaime, was much more human, not so much of a Scheideggerous (although his twelve years up the mountain had clearly taken their toll). Born in Portugal and schooled in America, he wasn't as blinkered as the other members of management and was always willing to have a laugh. Generally he was cool, and at times a few of us would have left if it weren't for him.

In November the first snows fell. Alex, Sito (or 'Alfy' as we called him) and myself got on fairly well, keeping together as a group. Alfy was a kind-hearted Spaniard. Ten months younger than myself, he was always generous and after a little (or a lot) of persuasion, he would nearly always agree to accompany me in some activity or other, like go and have a hot chocolate in the Bahnhof Buffet. However, if he had some shirts to wash or iron then there was no way I could tear him away. Communication was not a problem as the majority of my colleagues spoke English or German - I could always use one or the other. There was an exception to this rule: DiDi. DiDi was a political refugee from Algeria. He was a great character, so laid back one couldn't help but feel relaxed in his company. He got by by using a language unique to him, which everyone seemed to understand. It was based on French and English, but had bits of German and Italian thrown in, not to mention words that he created as he went along. He developed catch phrases that we all found hilarious, and they rapidly spread around the hotel until they were in general usage. In all, there were about forty of us at the Scheidegg. The majority of these were Portuguese, but there were also Germans, Italians, Alf the Spaniard, Didi the Algerian, Austrians and Swiss, and of course, myself.

 

It was a strange place of extremes. Nothing would happen for weeks, and then we'd find ourselves in the national press. This happened a few times during my stay, the most memorable being in early November. The weather was atrocious, with winds of over two hundred km/h battering Kleine Scheidegg. For some bizarre reason the Railway Company chose to run a train down to Grindelwald, to ferry the hundred or so Japanese holidaymakers back to their tour buses. The first train left, with about forty passengers on board. I remember sitting in the buffet watching it depart, followed by a second train. About ten minutes later the second train reappeared with a lot of agitated people on board. Word quickly spread that the first train had been blown off its tracks. Scheidegg had seemed quiet, but all of a sudden men appeared from everywhere, carrying blankets and first aid kits.Didi and myself quickly joined the chaps running down the railway as fast as possible. It was such a struggle to not get blown down the embankment and onto the scrub, let alone move forward. At points I had to fight as hard as I've ever fought, just to stay in one place. When I finally turned the corner in the track, I couldn't believe my eyes.The train was just lying there, on its side, surrounded by people. It was all so... strange. The passengers were being helped out of the front of the train through the broken window. It was a miracle that no one was killed. Most were just in shock, and only a couple had minor injuries. We all clambered into the back of a truck, comforting the passengers. Later that day they were all ferried down the mountain fifteen at a time in a Piston Bulley, a huge powerful monster on caterpillar tracks that was capable of conquering any incline. Two days later a few of my colleagues (including Didi and Jaime) starred with the train in several national newspapers. Following a few days of being cut off by the weather and buckled railway tracks, life once again resumed normality. By mid November the stresses of working, eating, and partying with the same people all of the time began to get to me. This was especially apparent in the case of Alex, the very one who had been so welcoming in the first place. He had a 'large' personality, and tended to impress it upon all those around him. I found it very difficult to deal with him telling me what to do, and generally trying to get everything done his way. By early December I was ready to call it a day; thankfully Alex timed his holiday perfectly, and I had the opportunity to calm down.

The heavy snowfalls of the alpine winter were well under way. It was too good an opportunity to pass by, and so I bought an amazing sledge that surpassed all my expectations. Being very early December the ski-pistes that seemed to appear from nowhere were deserted, and so I spent many days practising 180 handbrake turns, whilst careering down the mountain at crazy speeds. I learnt how to drive according to the different snow conditions, how to disperse my body weight in order to navigate seemingly impossible corners, many of them sideways. I never hit a skier, but usually overtook them instead. In the end I won the title of 'Best Amateur Sledger of Kleine Scheidegg', beating my closest rival by two minutes as I setting a new record of twenty-six minutes (non-stop) to Grindelwald. My days were also filled with exciting events such as having my waistcoat eaten by a huge St. Bernard - whilst I was wearing it.

The Japanese groups, who until that point had just been faceless tourists, began to take on a new meaning for us. Rather than treating them as just another part of work, we began to try to learn their language and become more involved. Admittedly, our repertoire was somewhat limited, but the few words and phrases we did know we would develop and mix with English. They always found this hilarious, and many situations occurred where we'd find ourselves with a few tables of Japanese folks in hysterics. We resolved to enjoy ourselves and not cave in to the manager's style of work where smiling was a crime. After a few months the common language between us during working hours was Japanese, and we'd starred in endless numbers of photos. On several occasions we'd even form a little choir to celebrate the birthdays of a couple of our lunchtime guests. We now looked forward to work: it wasn't the drag that it always used to be.

I now felt a great deal more freedom than at any point in my life beforehand. As a result of this I began the process of discarding cares of what others thought of me. My sense of humour shone through, and so it was that I gained my rightful reputation of being an absolute nutter - this combined with my further attempts to speak Portuguese ensured that I was truly accepted into the community.

The snow continued to fall. No longer able to resist the attraction of the slopes we soon equipped ourselves with either skis or snowboards. This was after the New Year, which was an absolute nightmare as we were totally understaffed. It was at that time that I decided to leave, as I felt I could no longer cope with the strain of living so high up in the Alps, but skiing soon changed my mind. We all took part in the 'Kleine Scheidegg Personnel Ski Race 1997', and had a great time. There were fourteen teams of four; our two teams finished thirteenth and fourteenth! However, I was second best out of our lot, only falling over and losing a ski once, oh, and almost flattening the race photographer. At least I didn't miss nine gates as NeNe did.

We rarely ventured out to the local discos or bars. This was mainly due to having nowhere to stay down in the villages. On one of the two occasions when we did go out, I found myself trying to lead Alf and the German secretary, Katrin, down to Grindelwald by sledge in the pitch black one night. It had been a spur of the moment decision, and the last train had gone several hours previously. We got rather lost despite my wonderful navigation and found ourselves soaking wet when we finally reached our destination. It had taken us ninety minutes - I was a little surprised being more accustomed to completing the run in a third of the time! The night turned out to be a bit of a disaster for Alf and myself. The Disco was tediously boring, so we resorted to a drinking competition. At two in the morning we'd lost Katrin who had the key to our room. Never mind, we thought as we staggered there, she must have already gone to bed. Unfortunately for us there was no sign of her, and we were forced to sleep in a freezing cold, tiled, fourth floor corridor. We were so drunk however that we didn't really mind. It turned out that she was never one to be trusted: when she left Scheidegg she raided the petty cash, and Frau von Almen set Interpol on her trail.

Mid-February brought tensions between Alex and myself to the surface again. This time it ended on a violent note, when he slapped me around the face a couple of times, and grabbed me by the throat after I had told him he was stupid! I was totally shocked by the experience as I have a strong dislike of physical violence and have rarely experienced any directed towards me. Things became very difficult after that, and for a whole month the two of us found it impossible to look at, let alone speak to one another. It was an extremely painful and draining time for us, but it seemed that nothing would break the deadlock. We were both at fault, and neither of us would concede to the other. It took a monumental event to sort things out between us. I'd had a particularly difficult day.

The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau provide a beautiful backdrop to Kleine scheidegg

At Kleine Scheidegg a Tipi capable of holding well over one hundred people had been built to house a ski-bar, complete with Indian hangings and Bison Head. Despite the fact that I was due to work that night, I persuaded Alf to accompany me for a drink or two. He wasn't that keen, but on hearing that our new Secretary Dana was there he quickly came around to the idea. The next few hours were great fun; initially feeling so depressed I downed vodka after vodka (mixed with Red Bull), until by four o'clock I'd managed to spend fifty pounds. By now I was having a great time, introducing myself to everyone, and making sure all were happy. Even the bar staff were plastered by this time. The feeling of mutual friendship and happiness in the Tipi was great; it was an experience not to be forgotten. The next few hours I have had to reconstruct from what others have told me. Apparently I went to Alex's room, we had a long talk, and got everything sorted out. Having no memory of this, I was delighted the next day when things between us felt so different. Apparently Alex had then helped me stagger back to my room. I could only think of work though, and when I couldn't find anyone to do my shift for me I tried to get dressed for it. Allegedly, I turned up in my dirty jeans, unbuttoned shirt hanging out, one ski boot, one shoe, and generally looking in a terrible state. No one stopped me until I got I got into the main corridor of the hotel where I came face to face with the Italian manager - thankfully there were no guests around. I was sent to my room; by this time I was an emotional wreck too.The following day was terribly embarrassing with everyone making fun of me. I virtually went down on bended knee in front of the manager to ask his forgiveness. He basically told me not to do it again ("Please!"), I knew that I had been very lucky. I learnt that I had been excused due to the difficult circumstances in which we were all living, it was accepted that sometimes we have to let off steam. Looking back, I saw that that was just what I had been doing. Following that episode Alex and myself experienced something of a honeymoon period that lasted pretty much until my departure at the end of April. We spent a lot of time hanging out together, going out of our way to accommodate one another. We laughed a lot too about what had happened. I had learnt a lot from that experience, and was very grateful that he'd made my life so difficult at times.

My last month was spent talking and reflecting upon my experiences with Dana, our new secretary from Germany. As she and Alf were an item I felt perfectly at ease when spending a lot of time in her company just talking. For seven months I'd had no real friend with whom I could discuss 'life' and my feelings about Scheidegg - things that mattered to me. It was a wonderful relief to us both when we found that we could share our thoughts with one another. Dana enabled me to think through my time in Switzerland, to reflect upon it, and to come to the conclusion that I was indeed very fortunate to have lived there. It cleared my head, and when I left, I knew that it was absolutely the right time to go. I felt very happy, and although I was sad to be leaving my friends behind, I was looking forward to being back in England. My last day at the Scheidegg was perfect, walking in the lush spring fields, and higher up, the snow-covered mountain slopes. The sun shone, the birds sang and my tan got that last top-up that it needed!

I returned to drizzly old England feeling happier and healthier than I had ever felt before. I was given an amazingly warm welcome by all of my friends, relatives, and even people that I hardly knew before. I was taken aback by how good I felt within myself and towards others. They say that travel enables one to "find oneself". My thought is that Kleine Scheidegg just gave that process a kick-start within me. That's just one reason why I will always love that crazy place, way up in the Swiss Alps.

Joseph Tame

Summer 1997

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