G is for…Gimmelwald (Switzerland)
I first visited this tiny mountaintop town in 2000 as a backpacker. I had been nervous to visit Switzerland because all I heard was that it would break your budget. And I was on a budget! But I had read about this cute little hostel from Rick Steve’s Europe Through the Backdoor guidebook and it sounded right up my alley. It took a bit of work to get there. I had to take the train to Interlaken. Another train up the mountain. Then a gondola. And then I had to walk. All of this on my own and with a way too heavy backpack. But it was worth it.
Looking back now, that trip up the mountains had a lot of firsts for me. I had never been on a gondola before. I had never hiked in the mountains or to a glacier or even seen cows grazing on near vertical fields. The few days I spent in the Swiss Alps were some of the most beautiful of my inaugural Europe backpacking trip.
In 2013 I was lucky enough to be able to retrace my backpacker steps while attending a wedding nearby, but this time with a toddler and a husband in tow. It was exactly as I had remembered it. We started our excursion in Murren and hiked our way down the mountain before taking the gondola a bit further for more level hiking. It was such a beautiful day hiking in the Alps with my husband and son, sharing my backpacker memories with them, chatting with locals along the way and being pushed aside by a herd of cows with their beautiful but noisy cow bells ringing away.
It’s not often that I repeat countries in my travels, much less small off the beaten path backpacker haunts. This was a true pleasure to return to, making me wonder if I should return to some of my favorites more often.