I remember I was sitting at home on my computer browsing facebook when I saw this video of a person sliding down a mountain. It looked absolutely incredible. With the tall mountains taking over the horizon, it looked like something out of a fairy tale.
I just sat there in my room in the U.S just wishing I could be there. I was excited about the thought of it, screaming my head off as I sped down this mountain. But I was still in my bed in the U.S. I was so far away from this place, wherever it was. Yet, it was calling me. I had to go. So I used google, the map to anywhere. Through some investigation I was able to find it. It was located in a place called Kandersteg in the country of Switzerland.
A year later, I finally got my chance. With two friends, we took a 2 hour train from Lausanne to Kandersteg, Switzerland. The train ride there was like those videos I saw on the internet, with a train going in and out of tunnels, gliding on the tracks along a mountain, and the waters of a lake glistening in the sun. Every moment was a picture. We used a Eurail that day and didn’t have to pay for any extra train like you do to some other destinations in Switzerland, which was a plus.
We then stepped out of the train and found ourselves in a valley surrounded by mountains. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The town, Kandersteg, was nestled in the middle. It was a cute small town, where life seemed very simple. Waterfalls flowed from different sides of the valley. It was like I was in Rivendell from the Lord of the Rings. I remember I wanted to come here because I saw that slide on the internet, but I wasn’t ready for how much more this place had.
After a short hike through the town to the Gondolas, we paid a ticket to take one up. If this hasn’t gotten redundant, the views continued to be jaw dropping as the gondola reached higher and higher.
The Alpine Slide
The Alpine Slide was everything you would dream of. It was like an amusement park ride. We paid for a ticket for the ride. Then, we scanned it in and hopped right onto a little cart. The cart had a lever if you wanted to go faster you pushed it forward, if you were going to fast you pull the lever back to slow down. Once you were set, the conveyor would start and take you up higher on the mountain. When you turn around and look out to the vast mountain ranges, you feel this sense of excitement rush through your body. Then it begins.
If you are like me, you want to go as fast as possible. So as soon as the conveyor belt ended I pushed that lever straight down. I looked forward and felt the wind blowing right at me. I was going so fast! The mountains came closer and I was screaming down this mountain. I was living that moment I dreamed of in my bed in the U.S.
After the alpine slide, we saw a map of the valley. At the end was a lake called Oeschinensee, we decided we still had 4 hours left of daylight to hike to it. As you walked along the paved trail, you are immersed into the valley. Trees are reaching for the sky, as the mountains slowly begin to look bigger and bigger. The occasional cowbell can be heard as cows walk around you. As we reached the end of the trail we were enveloped by the mountains but also greeted with the waters of the lake. Waterfalls could be seen at different ends of the valley I thought I was dreaming.
It was a paradise. We sat at the waters edge with our jaws to the floor as we couldn’t believe our eyes. This was so different than anything I have ever lived. I took a dive into the water, skipped some rocks along the lake, and walked right under a waterfall.
I took some photos, which you can view in this blog post. But it is something that must be seen in person.
Kandersteg, Switzerland is a place out of a storybook fairytale. From its vast mountains to its perfect blue waters, it feels like another world where elves used to live. It is one of my favorite places in the world and it was so much more than anything I could have ever dreamed of.
You like to see more? Have a look on my Instagram @theshortexplorer
Thanks for reading, Peter Jacob.