One Day in Switzerland

After traipsing all over Italy for Matt’s work, we were able to relax and explore during a week of vacation. One area we had not yet been to was the mountains of northwestern  Italy. After saying fond farewells to Sergio and Ceclia, we took off for lands unknown. Sergio said that we must stop at the coastal town of Lerici on our way. What a picturesque spot!Lerici, Italy by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We only had an afternoon to spare, so we strolled along the coast and ate gelato. We had been told by Sergio that we needed to go to the top of the hill and see the castle for lovely views.Lerici, Italy by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I’ll never get enough of seeing the wonderful colors of the homes in Italy.Lerici, Italy photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

It was time to head to our next agriturismo in the Aosta Valley. We had spent more time in Lerici than anticipated and now I was concerned about making it to La Vrille agriturismo in time for check in and dinner. But we got there in plenty of time to eat a meal fit for a king. They were ready for my dietary needs and even served me a special dessert. This was the first place we stayed that looked like a Swiss chalet to me.Agriturismo La Vrille photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We were in the mountains of northwestern Italy and yet it was so gloomy that we couldn’t see them. Off to bed we went with hopes of clearer days ahead of us. I wanted to see those mountains! We had plans to go on a cable car up into those mountains. Would tomorrow be the day? But alas, we awoke to no mountains. I was beginning to think there really weren’t any mountains they were so well hidden by clouds. We decided not to do the cable car since we wouldn’t be able to see anything. We were, however, very near to the border of Switzerland. Always in pursuit of geocaches in new places, we decided to drive through the mountains and see if we could get to Switzerland. Windy road in Italy photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The roads were quite windy and steep and we couldn’t see much.Road to Great Saint Bernard Pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Beautiful scenery in the alps of Italy photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We also had to go through a 3 mile long tunnel. I used to feel panicky in tunnels, but Italy cured me of that. The Great Saint Bernard Pass, the third highest road pass in Switzerland was our destination. We finally arrived and climbed out of our car. We saw someone walking around and he came over to us. “It’s too bad you weren’t here yesterday,” Anthony Schrag said, “the mountains are spectacular!” But, we only saw clouds and fog. Still, we could cross the border into Switzerland and look for a geocache. We invited our new friend to come along with us. As we drove over the border, Anthony explained that he was walking from Scotland to Venice. Wow, was I ever impressed. He had not heard of geocaching, however, and we had fun enlightening him. Just into Switzerland, we climbed up a bit from the road, and there it was.Our first Swiss geocache photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Our first Swiss geocache!! As we celebrated the find, Anthony continued to express disappointment for us in the weather. Suddenly, the clouds lifted and the beautiful Swiss Alps came into view. What a glorious sight!Great Saint Bernard's pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Then Matt continued to climb up for a better view. I tried to follow him on the wet, slippery rocks with my sore knee. He looked down and told me to scramble up one particular rock. I said, “Honey, I’m not much of a scrambler.” Suddenly a man on the other side of the rock started laughing. He said, “That’s pretty funny…Honey, I’m not much of a scrambler. I think it’s the quote of the day.” Well, I’m glad he was amused. I finally made it up there. See how little that cross is in the next photo?

Great Saint Bernard's pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The “scramble” was totally worth it. Oh, the majesty! It was not for long and the clouds came back to cover the beauty again. Here are the buildings at the pass.Great Saint Bernard's pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Then the clouds came back. Just like that, they were gone!Great Saint Bernard's pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I was determined to have a meal in Switzerland and we did, right over the border. Potatoes and cheese.Meal in Switzerland photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We learned a little bit about how Saint Bernard opened a hospice there to help people in the harsh mountains. He must have pointed people in the right direction too.Statue of Saint Bernard photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

He trained large dogs to search for missing people. They still had St Bernard dogs at the pass.St Bernards at the Great Saint Bernard pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

And some in the souvenir shop.souvenirs at Great Saint Bernard Pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

There was also a museum of religious artifacts. This ancient Bible reminded me of doing Bible Art.ancient Bible photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

What a glorious day in Switzerland, even though cloudy. We were excited to have stepped foot in another country and I’m always happy in the mountains. And next exciting day?  Well, you’ll just have to wait for another blog post!Matt and Janine in Switzerland www.joyfulwonder.com

You may enjoy previous posts about our trip to Italy.