We had heard and read several times that Iceland’s weather is highly unpredictable but we live in Colorado where you can start a hike in sunny 80 degree weather and be met with snow and ice or torrential rain 2hrs later, but soon enough the sun will be back in full force to pick you back up. We joke that in Colorado one can ski, hike and golf in the same day! Let me just say, Iceland is a different beast. Unpredictable Icelandic weather brings heavy winds, sudden fog, rain, and sleet in the middle of summer and this weather can hang around for days not hours. We ran into this first hand in Þórsmörk. We were a little over halfway through the 75km trail from Landmannalaugar to Skogar, and had already traversed mountains and battled wind and ice through majestic lava fields. However with a 24km climb over steep mountains and volcanos left to go, heavy rail and high winds moved in to derail our journey. We’d already bunkered down in a tent for a …
I know, I am going to get hate mail and death threats for this post. I mean, everyone loves and raves about Florence and if I complain about it, it will send people’s mind spinning out of control and cause some sort of cosmic imbalance that I prefer not to be responsible for. So, before you label me as crazy..hear me out, people!
No surprises. We were lost yet again. This time on a trail in Italy. It all started as it usually starts. We both mutually decide to climb to the highest point in the town in the hopes of getting the best views while burning calories from the food intake from the night before. If only we could stop stuffing our faces or be less guilty about stuffing our faces, we could actually spend our time enjoying the town and not being lost in the wilderness.
[Image Credit: http://melbournelawyer.co] We met two interesting characters on the high speed train from Spiez, Switzerland to Milan, Italy. They were crammed into the same four person table that Shru and I were. Both were initially talking to each other in Italian, so we figured they didn’t know English. A few minutes went by before Shru asked the older guy, probably in his 50s, if he was stopping in Milan. He replied in near-perfect English that he had been in Zurich and was going on with his mother to their hometown in southern Italy near Sicily. The younger guy we’d find out later was 18 and was travelling from Basel, Switzerland to a small town on the Eastern coast of Italy. Both of their journeys would take over 10 hours by train.
Traveling can bring out the best and worst in you. It can break you and lift you in ways you never imagined. There are some days when you feel antsy and the materialistic side of you overpowers your brain …you realize you miss your tempurapedic mattress bed, clean, crisp sheets and even your uncomfortable couch at home. But, there are days when you feel alive and free when you hike for hours surrounded by towering cliffs and incomprehensible natural beauty.
If someone could just pay me to be a full-time hiker and wander around in the mountains, the deep valleys and the lush forests all day, I would be in heaven, literally. I wonder if I would ever get bored or tired of a job like that. Will I wake up in the morning and say, “Oh damn, I have to go to work again and climb these annoying mountains and look at this beautiful scenery yet again” and “My life is so hard. I wish I had a desk job.”
I knew a lot of Indian people visited Switzerland, thanks to Bollywood. What I didn’t realize was the scale of it all. When we first arrived in Zurich, we didn’t see a lot of my people. But, as soon as we stepped outside the Interlaken train station, we saw a sign for Indian Dinner Cruise on Lake Brienz. It was the only sign for a cruise on that lake. It amazed me ‘cos I didn’t realize how many Indian people have started travelling abroad specifically to places such as Switzerland which are really expensive even by American standards! The Switzerland government gets it and totally capitalizes on the situation. Hell yeah, I would too! So, when I found out that there is an Indian restaurant called Bollywood at the top of the Jungfrau peak (also called Top of Europe. BTW, it is not the highest mountain in Europe), I wasn’t surprised.
The first hike in Lauterbrunnen had not only left an indelible mark on us (in a good way) but had also left our bodies severly sore. We woke up late the next morning and decided to take a break and just walk around the town. By 2pm, we were itching. We visited the grocery store multiple times, tried to kill time gazing at swiss cheeses at the local cheese shop, and wondered what people do all day in this town if they are not hiking or skiing. Although our bodies revolted, we decided to torture them further by doing another hike.. It was going to be a mere 3600+ ft elevation gain with 5 hours of sunlight….nothing that our already destroyed quads couldn’t handle! Entertaining myself at the coffee shop by taking glamorous shots of Dan
Countless waterfalls, snow topped mountain peaks, a cute village surrounded by towering cliffs. No, we didn’t photoshop Shru in a photo from the Lord of the Rings.
Troupin’ in the Alps