Wengen, Switzerland

We are now at the part of our journey that nothing is planned. Okay, most things up until now haven’t been planned, except for usually knowing what city/country we would be going to and having our lodging booked as well. The South of France in August was completely unplanned before a week ahead of time and then things like certain plane flights or train tickets or ferry rides have not been booked or scheduled til days before or the day of them happening. But now is the point in the trip where we don’t know where we are going or staying or how we will get there. We heard consistently by other travelers or travel blogs: “Don’t plan anything; don’t even plan for where you’ll go or where you’ll stay. You’ll want that flexibility.” Maybe we are totally crazy, but the amount of things that we have had nailed down ahead of time has allowed us so much more freedom to relax and enjoy the ride, not to mention, it’s allowed us to enjoy our time in each place a lot more because we haven’t had to waste a ton of time stressing about what’s happening the following week or waste hours finding an available airbnb that’s in the location you want to be in for a good price, not to mention planning how we’ll get there.

So while we were in Santorini we started thinking about where we would be after Paris. We knew we wanted to go to Switzerland, so we started searching for affordable places still available this last minute. We had no idea where specifically to go in Switzerland, except knowing we didn’t want to do Zurich or Geneva. We wanted something with more like a cabin in the woods feel. We heard that Interlaken is a great place to stay as a hub with a lot of options for day trips into the mountains by train. Not a lot was available there at a reasonable price, so we kept looking. We found a couple who had just started hosting their ski chalet in Wengen (pronounced “Vang-en”), Switzerland on airbnb (only having 2 reviews so far) so the price was much lower than it was worth to help them get bookings at first. This definitely worked in our favor. We had never heard of Wengen, but it was about an hour train ride from Interlaken, and we knew from photos the area was gorgeous, so we thought we’d go for it. We confusingly booked train tickets from Paris to Basel to Interlaken with Natalie’s help on the SNCF (France’s train company) website one evening a little less than a week before our departure. We had so much trouble getting the website to confirm our tickets, but a couple hours into the frustration of it all, it was booked. (Thank you, Natalie!!) We thought we’d grab tickets from Interlaken to Wengen last minute the day of.

We literally had a five minute gap between when our Paris train arrived in Basel, Switzerland and when our Basel to Interlaken train departed. Thankfully the two trains were physically side by side, so as we exited one, we simply just walked ten feet across the platform to the other. It’s these little things on the trip that we become so thankful for.

The train from Basel to Interlaken was a couple of hours of the most beautiful scenery we have ever seen through train windows. Italy by train was nice, but not as special as I thought it would be. Switzerland, on the other hand, especially in October, was beaming yellow, teaming with trees, surrounded by mountains and crystal clear lakes. Our hearts were beating faster as we got closer to our destination. We emptied out at Interlaken West station. Somehow we managed to figure out how to get tickets to Wengen on a machine without the help of a person at a ticket or information counter (this is progress for us! haha). We would need to ride the train just one stop to the larger Interlaken station, Interlaken Ost. Then from there catch a train to Lauterbrunnen, a town situated in the valley below many mountains just south of Interlaken. Then get off and take one more train up to Wengen. Wengen is a town in the mountains at a 4,179 foot elevation. Wengen is an (almost totally) car-free town. They don’t allow tourists to bring cars here, and only a percentage of the residents have cars. I guess many people leave their vehicles at a garage in Lauterbrunnen and then take the slow, thirty-minute train straight up from the valley and into the town. So interesting!

Waiting for our train to Lauterbrunnen at Interlaken Ost was so much fun. The sun was shining bright, tricking us into thinking it was springtime, not autumn, and we really couldn’t have been happier to be in Switzerland. We mentioned several times how good it felt to be back in a place like this, where the landscapes are your focus rather than being in cities (although both are wonderful for different reasons). It just felt right to us, and we were overcome with take-your-breath-away emotion. There was genuinely no one around as we sat waiting for our train in the open air station watching colorful paragliders floating down from cliffs in all directions. Our train arrived and we were one of maybe a dozen people on board. As we chugged deep into the valley, my heart felt like it did on the airplane into the Faroe Islands two months ago. Robbie had his arm around me, his hand squeezing my shoulder with anticipation, both of us eagerly looking out the windows at it all, then looking back at each other with enormous smiles. We were in a place we would love and adore, we just knew it.

We got off the train in Wengen to see the most majestic peaks surrounding our little town for the next nine days. We made a pit stop at Coop (our favorite European grocery store) and then trekked past the main street of the city about a twenty minute walk straight uphill, through a forest and then opening up to our “rural” neighborhood. Where our chalet is located is a higher elevation than the main area of the town, and the view is unbeatable. We later found out that our home is situated along an actual paved mountain trail… so if that helps you understand how steep this walk “home” was each day, every evening we literally hiked back to our place (usually after a day of strenuous hiking already), but we never complained. It was so nice to be in an area that felt all our own, more hidden, and uninterrupted. It may have been a sweat-inducing walk to get over there (especially the first evening with our backpacks on), but it was well worth it for what we’d get to wake up to each day– the Swiss Alps spying on us through our bedroom windows.

We dropped everything we had inside as fast as we could so we could get a glimpse of the beginning sunset that evening and enjoy it from the bench in our front yard. Dominique, a man about fifty years old, who apparently owns the home we are staying in (and rents it to our hosts) was working on remodeling an old barn next door when we came outside. He is of average height, very skinny–almost boney–blonde hair and wore paint pants and a sweater. He is originally French, but due to “work” (he never made clear what he did) he has lived several years in Germany, Switzerland, and England. He knows French, Swiss, some Swiss-German, Spanish and English. He was kind and soft-hearted, happy to hear about our travels and what brought us to Wengen. He passionately showed us around his old barn, told us some of the history of it, and let us walk out onto the roof. From the roof, he pointed out into the distance at the valley you could see below the peaks telling us that was Lauterbrunnen. Crazy we could see Lauterbrunnen from our front door! He also told us our specific view is one of the only places in Europe you can see both the valley and the mountain peak in the same view. It sure is spectacular. We were about to say goodnight when he told us he was headed down to a farmer’s house if we wanted to tag along for fresh eggs, cheese and milk. Robbie was cutely and genuinely intrigued by this. He absolutely wanted to go. This is the last local farmer still running their business in Wengen. Apparently the Coop grocery in town sells all of their products, but Dominique goes straight to their house to get a better price on the goods. We told him we hadn’t got any Swiss franks out of the ATM yet but we’d still love to just come along and see the farm.

We walked two houses down from ours, which literally means two houses “DOWN” because we went two houses below us down the mountain. haha The farmer couple were both there with some other family, but we mostly spoke with the wife, or rather Dominique spoke with her since she knows no English. Dominique really took us under his wing and made super clear how much he wanted to treat us to whatever amount of eggs and cheese we wanted. After much back and forth in German to English and then back to German, we found ourselves in essentially a large pantry inside their home. There was a wall of shelves with huge cheese wheels lining them. Domonique tried to buy us half of a cheese wheel! We were insistent that was way too much cheese for a week there, and told him we were beyond happy with a much smaller amount. The lady weighed the cheese for us, wrapped it up, handed us a carton of 6 eggs, and grabbed Dominique a literal tin bucket of fresh milk and we were on our way up the mountain back to our place for the evening. He told me to grab a glass from inside to let us try the milk and then when we tasted how delicious it was, he said he’d go back and buy us some, but again, we insisted he not. We ended the most interesting first night in Switzerland officially celebrating our anniversary with champagne our hosts left for us, fresh cheese from the farmer’s and bread and butter we had purchased from Coop earlier while we sat outside with the view of the falling sun amidst the Swiss Alps. All was right in the world, and yet again we were completely touched by the kindness of a stranger. He truly expected nothing in return. You could tell how much joy it brought him to do this for us and to show us a slice of Wengen that he had come to love. We went to sleep with full, sincere hearts, eternally in love, eternally thankful to Jesus for this wild life He’s written for us.

Our first full day in Wengen was a day dedicated to sleeping in and recovering from a week in Paris walking all over and being a tourist. We cuddled with the curtains open, watching the sun rise over the mountains through our bedroom windows. (The sun finally reaches above the peaks around 9:30am). Our slow morning resulted in coffees on our front porch table and continually looking up from the hiking maps we were using to plan our week out to see our view and having to catch our breath over and over. Were we dreaming? Around 2pm we took a stroll across and down the mountain into town. We took our time getting there, soaking up all the things that make Wengen beautiful that we didn’t notice during our original walk in with our heavy backpacks on and trying to figure out where we were going. The town was empty, I mean seriously empty. The streets were profoundly quiet except for, hilariously, the sound of cow bells ringing up through the mountains. We wandered into the tourist center, the only people in there too, and got some clarification on some hiking trails from a lovely girl my age who had a ton of knowledge on the area. We noted how empty and quiet the town was and she said that we had picked the perfect time to come, as it was officially off-season, and we’d have trails and mountains nearly to ourselves. She (and our host both) told us over and over again how fortunate we had gotten with the weather this week. Apparently August and September were surprisingly cold and rainy, with the mountain peaks seeing the first snows. But this random week in the middle of October had a forecast of sunny and 70 degrees every day we would be there. You know what else we got super “lucky” with? Again because we don’t plan these things in advance and really never have any idea what we’re doing, we didn’t know that most of the gondolas running into the mountains will be closing down for the winter starting October 22nd. Our trip here is the 13th through the 21st. So unreal. We have been blessed with magnificent weather throughout two and a half months of travel–not a single day of our adventure being rained out or even freezing.. not even in the Arctic Circle! This has to be some kind of miracle. Jesus, thank you for gorgeous weather and having no excuses but to take advantage of every day you’ve blessed us with! Our host told us that Wengen is so touristy in the summer and winter that the train to get into the city will be so packed that not everyone will have a place to sit onboard, making it so hot you can barely breathe. We are blessed to be here on the off season of a warm and colorful Autumn in which maybe five other people rode the train in with us and the streets and trails are all ours.

We made the most of the afternoon grabbing some free ping pong rackets from the tourist center and going and playing for an hour in a greenspace surrounded by the Alps and the quintessential Swiss-German hotels and businesses of this little town. If you know Robbie, he is all about playing ping pong. He grew up playing tennis, and was amazing at it, but as an adult he’s mostly switched to playing his friends at ping pong. Of course he’s good at it, he’s good at every game and every sport. Surprisingly, I do a pretty decent job at not getting my butt whooped. This ended up being a spontaneous and wonderful afternoon laughing and being playfully competitive with each other. He still definitely beat me, but we had a blast and we couldn’t wait to play each other again later in the week. I swear that the weather, the brilliant fall colors, and the mountains in view have us floating when we walk. We are golden, bubbly and happy, hearts full to the brim, elated, thrilled and beaming. We hold hands everywhere, make the silliest faces and speak in the stupidest voices. Sometimes I wonder if we will come home and not know how to adjust back into real life as regular people of society. haha We often talk about just how much we will miss each other when Robbie goes back to work. Our love and excitement for time together is authentic and true– we never want to be apart. I am not saying that’s necessarily a good thing, but it is the truth. We grocery shopped (honestly one of our favorite things to do together at home and abroad) for more items than just bread, milk and cereal like we had the day before and hiked back up to our cabin for the evening. We took a long stroll in the opposite direction from town past our place as the sun set. Along our journey we found orange and red leaves dusting the path, little baaa-ing goats and chickens and a clearing that opened up to another perspective on the stunning Lauterbrunnen valley.

The next 8 days were surreal, days that felt too good to be true. Every morning started slowly and intentionally around 7:30, with hot coffee and butter-and-raspberry-jam toast with the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Monch peaks waking up with us. Anywhere in the Jungfrau region, where we are staying, you can spot these three mountains. They are giant beauties that tower over everything. The second full day we got down to the train pretty early, took it to Lauterbrunnen, and caught a gondola straight up from the valley to Grutschalp. There we began about a three and a half hour hike called the Mountain View Trail. You can imagine why we chose to do this one; its name made it an obvious first choice. I’m writing this on our last evening here and we can’t decide if this was our favorite hike of the week because it really was the best or if it’s because we were just so stunned by the newness of being in this amazing place. Maybe both, but it’s good to mention, we never did a hike that didn’t leave us breathless, awed, and exhilarated. Another important thing to note– after wild hiking in the Faroes and in Lofoten, Norway, we are especially thankful for Switzerland, a country that apparently is known for having some of the best marked trails in the world. Not only were there signs at every crossing that would point you in the direction of whatever hike you were on to keep you going the right way, but there were also markers on trees and/or rocks along the path every so often too– either a red and white striped painted decal or a gold diamond–to indicate you were still on the correct trail. Trust me, this is a lot different than in Norway when you’re hiking for forever, just following some lightly treaded-on grass that other confused hikers pushed down sometime recently, having no clue whether you’re headed the right way, only. It was a lot of, “Well, I guess if we just keep going up, we’ll eventually get there, right?” haha And one more thing that makes Switzerland trails so unreal awesome is the trails have these wooden troughs scattered amongst the paths that clean mountain water flows into via some sort of fountain head! Can you believe that? The water is always flowing, and it’s pouring out freezing cold too. So each time we came across a trough throughout our hikes, we’d take that as a reminder to drink the rest of what was in our hydroflask bottle and get a fresh, cold refill too. Amazing!

The mountain view trail rocked our world with a variety of steep and strenuous areas that would empty out into more relaxing flatter areas. It was a great mix of difficulty and scenery. Some parts were forested with extremely tall evergreens and pines, and other parts opened up to clearings that gave you extraordinary views of the surrounding peaks. We loved that the peaks still had lingering snow on the tops of them from the month past, creating an even more picturesque scene. Robbie had sweetly packed us some crunchy peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches and granola bars in the backback for us, that we got to enjoy half-way through, perched in a patch of grass we chose along the trail looking out at the giant stone mountains. These are such precious moments to us. Tired bodies and racing hearts getting to sit down on the ground, rest, breathe in the mountain air, eat, and laugh at Robbie’s sillyness, praise God for His goodness, and bask in the sunlight. We stayed in this spot for awhile, just glad to be alive, before trekking on. We eventually found our way to the town of Murren, which indicated the end of the hike. Murren is like Wengen’s twin. Seemingly the same size, with the same small town feel, empty streets (at this time of year), and Swiss buildings lining the mountain side. We wandered the town from end to end before taking a gondola back down to the base of the mountain (this time we ended up in Stechelberg, an area on the other side of the valley from Lauterbrunnen).

Stechelberg has a large empty greenspace right outside of the gondola station, that’s a popular landing pad for paragliders. We stopped to watch as many as 15 paragliders land in a matter of 20 minutes. It looks so much fun, I can’t explain–floating so peacefully in the air above the cliffs and valleys. It is something Robbie and I went back and forth on all week about whether to do. After we discovered it would cost more than 200 U.S. dollars each for only twenty minutes in the air, we quickly made the reasonable decision not to, but decided maybe one day we’ll return and make it a priority. Regardless, Switzerland is the paragliding capital of the world, and it’s no joke. At any given moment you can see 3 or 6 parachutes gliding around in the air, no matter where you are in the valleys or on cliffs. It’s sort of magical seeing these people flying, so minuscule compared to their backdrop. After, we needed to walk back to Lauterbrunnen to catch a train back home. There is a leisurely walking path along the base of the cliff that we had just hiked earlier that day that we heard was stunning and totally worth not catching the bus to Lauterbrunnen and just walking. I’m so glad we did. The path ran along a beautiful stream, so we had the lovely sound of water most of our journey. We wandered in and out of birch tree forests lining the trail in certain areas, came across (very vocal) cows, and even, hilariously, came across a vending machine that sat at the end of a farmer’s driveway selling jams, cheeses, and cartons of eggs. Narrow waterfalls and the most dazzling trees in every burnt autumn color you can imagine also lined the cliffside giving us many excuses to look up. It was almost dark by the time we made it to Lauterbrunnen. It had taken us more than two hours to walk the valley. We had hiked and walked so much that day that falling into our seats on the train was the best feeling ever.

We were starving by this point though, so as soon as we made it back to Wengen, we ran into Coop and grabbed chicken breasts, bow tie pasta, some ricotta red sauce, and fresh mushrooms. We hiked the twenty minute walk up to our place with our groceries in tow and I cooked a real meal (more than just ravioli, frozen pizza, sandwiches, or rice) for the first time in two and a half months. Oh my goodness, how can I even express how nice this was?? A genuinely filling hot meal that was really delicious too! This became a staple of our Switzerland adventure that we will never forget. We truly made a grocery trip every single evening in search of just enough food for that night’s meal (Bratwurst and rice, Chicken tacos, chicken pasta, and traditional Swiss cheese-fondue) and I cooked for us while Robbie helped with little tasks I needed him for like cutting mushrooms or boiling water and then he cleaned the dishes for us afterward. We have said several times how our Coop trips each day gave every night something wonderful to look forward to. Any other married couples love grocery shopping together?? We absolutely love it– we loved it in Omaha too. It was always cherished when we got to have a night trip to Baker’s or something on the somewhat rare occasion I hadn’t gone during the week day hours while Robbie was at work. I don’t know, there’s just something about it that’s bonding and fun. It’s mundane, but that’s the most special thing about being married to your best friend– mundane life is no longer mundane, but rather brilliantly and humbly beautiful. We’d share these meals on our porch as the sun went behind the mountains, and it felt like this amazing reward after all that hiking.

Another “tradition” (if you can call it that when the tradition was just for 9 days) we had here in Wengen was a couple hours after dinner, each night, we’d sit at our table inside, drink hot mugs of decaf coffee and share a bar of Swiss chocolate we had purchased from the grocery. This, again, means so much to us. Having time we set apart to intentionally talk and encourage each other. It helps, too, to have Swiss chocolate and coffee while you’re doing it. 😉 Randomly we got really into the artist Post Malone while we were here. Don’t ask me how or why? But his music was on repeat the whole week and we think it’ll be fun to see how after some time has past, listening to him will likely remind us of our week in the Swiss Alps.

The next day we took a gondola up Manlichen mountain right here in Wengen, did a hike called the “Royal Hike”. I don’t know why they call it that, but since it is called that, the lookout spot at the top of the hike is actually a big crown. It’s strange yet unique. This hike is only thirty minutes but its seriously straight uphill the entire time so if it was on flat ground, you’re only going a distance that should take probably about five or eight minutes to walk. After we reached the top and had our fill of the astounding 360 degree panoramic view, we hiked two and a half hours over to the city/area(??) of Klein Scheidegg, breaking for another pb&j lunch on a bench overlooking beautiful peaks and valleys on the other side of the mountain from our home. This hike was stunning and in every way, “easy”, which was great for us since we were pretty sore from the day before. We arrived in Klein Scheidegg and enjoyed some drinks outside at a picnic table in the brisk, sunny air, before taking a small train from there right back down into Wengen. No matter what, anytime we spend hours in nature, just being outside, whether walking or picnicing or hiking hard trails, we always feel full, happy, and rewarded. Not to mention, this week my stomach got back on track and I’ve been well again for a whole week with zero upsets. It’s like the happiness of being in the mountains reset my intestines and put them in a better mood too. haha I’m starting to think my stomach is telling me this kind of nature and adventure is a must for my health.

The next day we relaxed from hiking by having a slower day, appreciating our portion of Wengen in the country, eating a breakfast of scrambled eggs (from the farmer’s), toast and coffee, reading our Bibles, and then later in the afternoon going into town and playing giant Jenga and embarrassing ourselves being the weird twenty-five and twenty-six year olds playing this silly game in the city square and making lots of noise as the pieces fell along with all our ridiculous laughter. They also have a slack line down there that you can try your hand at. I don’t know how many times we did this but it was such an enjoyable, fun-filled time attempting to balance across the whole thing. Eventually we really got the hang of it and we were both able to walk across the slack line successfully a few times each. Shockingly I was just a tiny bit better at balancing on it than Robbie so I made sure to take advantage of this rare opportunity to tease him some. 🙂 This day was slow and sweet, just as magical as the days spent hiking in the mountains.

The day we ended in Klein Scheidegg we noticed they were selling traditional bratwursts that were being grilled up fresh right outside the train station where the picnic tables were we had sat at. Determined to earn one, we decided to hike from Wengen to Klein Scheidegg one day. We knew this hike was essentially uphill with unforgiving steepness and zero breaks for your legs, but it said it was 2 hours and 40 minutes and we knew we could do it. I don’t know if we just suck or what but it took us more than 5 hours to accomplish. hahaha I will say we did get off track once (I know, I know, I said they had such well-marked trails, but we missed a sign or something) for some while and we had to take a few breaks to let our legs have mini recoveries before continuing on. This hike was so magnificent though. It was strictly forest for three-quarters of the way up, completely surrounded by and shaded by the tallest skinny trees. It was incredibly reminiscent of our hikes in the redwoods during our honeymoon. Even though I don’t think there are many, if any, wild bears in the Swiss Alps, we felt like if there was going to be one, it was going to be in the middle of this quiet forest hike where we were the only people or civilization for while. After Robbie purposefully got that into my head to scare me, I was pretty on edge, peering deep into the dark trees on either side of the trail just anticipating a bear at any moment. We had stopped for a snack when all of a sudden a man hiked past us. He had been so quiet, we hadn’t heard him at all leading up to the moment he was directly in front of us. Because I had already been on edge about bears, this man’s footsteps startled me and I gasped loudly and jumped. It was so ridiculous it even made the man giggle a bit, knowing he’d scared me. I could not stop laughing at myself after this, and we continued to reference this silly moment all day. By mid afternoon we made it to Klein Scheidegg, shared an amazing bratwurst and mustard, hopped onto the little train back to Wengen and were oh so thankful we didn’t have to return the way we came, walking three or five hours back down! We shared some sour Haribo gummy bears (I haven’t found these in the states, but need to!) on the train ride, me resting my head on Robbie’s shoulder, so grateful for legs that work, and lungs that breathe!

October 19th we were reading our devotionals we got from one of our pastors and his wife. I’ve honestly been feeling a little weary of not having clarity from the Lord yet about what our next steps are. We have been beyond grateful for every moment of this experience and wouldn’t trade a second of it– knowing things have worked out the way they have because of the Lord’s divine hand on us and our begging for the spirit to move and guide. We’ve been crying out, “God, give us dreams and visions, words, pictures, etc. Put people in our path that would clarify for us what you’d have for us. Use us, God, for your good! We want your will and nothing less. We want to be used. We desperately want to know your call on our lives.” Yet neither of us have felt like God is giving us anything. And you know, sometimes that’s just the way this thing works. God isn’t hiding, He’s just saying, “Be patient and trust me. I see the whole picture. It will all make sense soon, but for now, you have to trust me. I’m not leaving you, I love you.” So in the midst of the weariness, we read our morning devotional that day and this was most of what it said: “Are you mourning, believer, because you are so weak in the divine life: because your faith is so little, your love so feeble? Cheer up for you have cause for gratitude. Remember that in some things you are equal to the greatest and most full grown Christian. You are as much bought with blood as he is. You are as much an adopted child of God as any other believer. An infant is as truly a child of its parents as is the full grown man. You are as completely justified, for your justification is not a thing of degrees: your little faith has made you clean every trace. You have as much right to the precious things of the covenant as the most advanced believers, for your right to covenant mercies lies not in your growth, but in the covenant itself; and your faith in Jesus is not the measure but the token of your inheritance in Him. In the family register of glory the small and the great are written with the same pen. You are as dear to your father’s heart as the greatest in the family.” This truth struck me head on, like Charles Spurgeon wrote it with our exact hearts and situation in mind. I was crying reading it aloud to us before I got through the second sentence. I thought, “This is me! I am this baby believer who feels my faith wavering to nothing at times, who doesn’t deserve God’s plan because I’m so far from perfect.” But here we stand, justified, loved, and purchased with His blood. We will stay faithful, hopeful, of what’s to come, knowing God may choose to reveal it to us tomorrow or not for another year. That is His choice, not ours, and we will trust. Pray for us! Our greatest desire is to be obedient.

Our last day was today (as I’m writing this). What an amazing and beautiful day it was. (And you won’t believe this, because we can’t either, but you know how all week it was 70 degrees, sunny with blue skies and no clouds and genuinely not a hint of wind– the freak October weather? Well we leave tomorrow, Saturday the 21st, and guess what Sunday’s weather forecast is? 40 degrees and a chance of snow. And then Monday is 80% chance of snow, so yeah, we really couldn’t have been more blessed.) We woke up to the cotton candy sunrise, lavender, teal and rose light blasting between the peaks. We had our usual toast with butter and jam and Robbie had his coffee. We cuddled on the couch and then got ourselves ready for our last hike in the Alps. We did the North Face trail, got lost (yep, of course we did. We think we misread a sign because the post had come out of the ground and it was leaning against a tree so we interpreted it the best we could and think we must have done it incorrectly) so we only ended up doing half the trail because the route we ended up on essentially took us back the way we started, just at a higher elevation. It was a little disappointing, but it really didn’t matter. What mattered was that we were outside, together, being goofy, out of breath from hiking uphill, eating lunch from a perch on a ski lift hill that gave us a solitary space away from a trail to view the mountains, and enjoying Switzerland in the Autumn for how it should be enjoyed. We still spent three hours along the trail and loved every second of it.

Our last evening in Wengen meant making one last special Coop trip for dinner and lunch tomorrow (our flight doesn’t leave Zurich until 8pm, so our hosts are letting us stay as late as we want to tomorrow, so we’ll be staying through lunch) and having a showdown ping pong game against each other one last time. We spent hours there, eating a leftover pb&j from our hike earlier, pringles from the store, and playing some of the most fun rounds of ping pong. It got pretty intense at times, and occasionally we had a small audience of people who were wandering the town after getting off the train. This was a blast and a great memory. We had a friend back home ask us what our favorite experiences have been from the whole trip so far and it’s easy to say, “Surfing” or “riding donkeys” or “Seeing the Eiffel Tower” or something and it’d be true, they’re incredible experiences we are so happy to share. But the things we absolutely love the most are the little moments like losing track of time playing each other at ping pong, at the base of the Swiss Alps, laughing and teasing each other, grocery shopping at a million different little markets in different countries, Robbie trying new drinks in every place (for instance, we found out he loves Aloe Vera drink here– which essentially tastes like cold peppermint tea and only feels so-so about Rivella, Switzerland’s most popular soda), riding trains with panoramic windows, hiking mountains in lots of different countries with your best travel buddy, swimming in clear oceans, working on our relationship with the Lord together, and growing in our understanding of His character and goodness. It’s not really something you can wrap up in a few sentences, the way I know we will likely be asked to over and over when we return. But I hope these blogs are a fragment of the true experience we are having. Our last evening was spent, as usual, eating delicious, juicy clementine oranges while dinner is still preparing, eating dinner bundled up outside (as the nights are very chilly here) to the magenta glow of the diminishing light behind the Alps, and then coming in and having our coffee and Swiss chocolate one last time.

These days are special and full. We are abundantly happy and feel like we are better buddies than we’ve ever been. We are praying boldly for our faiths, that we would walk in confidence of the Lord’s promises to us, and enjoy each moment as this trip continues. We will never forget our nine days in the Alps in my favorite month. ❤ ❤