A couple weekends ago we had our first major field trip to the Swiss Alps! How amazing is that?
I'll provide a quick overview of the trip to give you a glimpse just incase you choose to participate in the Environmental program!
Day 1: We woke up super early to meet the bus (7:30 departure time, but worth it for an epic trip!) and set off for Switzerland. It was about a five hour drive and had absolutely incredible views the entire time. Once we started driving into the mountains, I couldn't look away from the windows; I was in awe of how vast everything seemed. We stopped once along the way for a snack and then arrived in the town of Brigels around 12:30. Once again I was amazed by my surroundings. This town was everything I pictured a Swiss town to be. Almost every house had a garden with vegetables and flowers and some even kept goats and chickens. The houses themselves were so quaint with wooden accents and colorful window boxes. And outside most of the houses were huge stacks of chopped wood... which made me curious about exactly how cold and how much snow they have in the winter months!
We met our guide for the day in town and then set off on our day hike. We started off on a steep gravel road that meandered uphill beside the bluest mountain stream I had ever seen before. We hiked for about 30-40 mintues and stopped for lunch and enjoyed the stream and the views of the mountains surrounding us. We spent the next couple hours exploring the steep slopes of the only virgin forest in Switzerland. (Make sure you have sturdy hiking boots for these trips!!)
Once we completed our hike, we drove a little ways to our hotel in the town of Disentis. Our hotel was yellow, also complete with window boxes, and basically the cutest thing you have ever seen. We had an hour or two to shower and relax and then reuntied for a cozy dinner. They provided us with two options to choose from for the appetizer, main course, and dessert. I highly recommened trying any local specialties they offer; it's a once in a lifetime experience and the local dishes I tried were so delicious.
Day 2: We woke up early and had an amazing breakfast. The traditional breakfast I've enjoyed in Germany and Switzerland inlcudes fresh bread, cold cuts, cheese, yogurt, granola, fruit, and coffee, so everyone is sure to find something they enjoy. After chowing down, we hopped on the bus and took a short ride to an aerial cable car that we rode to the top of a mountain where we began our hike for the day. This day was also full of hiking steep trails, breathtaking views, and eating blueberries! Our trip was in mid-October and the blueberry shrubs were still producing, so you better believe we were munching on these little snacks every time we saw some.
After a full day of learning in the forest, we headed back to the hotel for another amazing dinner. Then we had the opportunity to tour a monastery, which was just steps away from the hotel. Even though my legs were tired from hiking, the monastery was beautiful to tour.
Day 3: Despite the early wake up call and breakfast at 6:30, day 3 was my favorite day! We hopped on the bus and drove to a point where we had to wait on a ferry. This part was so interesting: the road around the mountains takes a long time, so it is common for cars and buses to drive onto a "ferry" thats really just a train that goes through the mountain for faster travel time. Driving through a pitch-black tunnel while on a bus that was on a train is difficult to explain but was so cool. Once we arrived in Mörel, we got to take another cable car all the way to Riederalp. This ride was much longer and once we arrived at the top, we truly felt like we were in the Alps. We hiked through an incredible forest and stopped several times for learning experience (because this is class after all!) and continued until we could see the Aletsch glacier. It was quite a sight to behold. We had lunch at a grassy area where we enjoyed 360 degree views of mountains. We could even see the Matterhorn in the distance.
After hiking and taking the cable cars down once again, we set off for Freiburg! It was a solid three days of good eats, hiking, and exploring the extensive forests of Switzerland!
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<p>Hi! My name is Emma, and I'm currently studying sustainability at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. I LOVE being outside doing anything from running, climbing, traveling, gardening, reading, taking pictures of my family's flower farm, cooking, or eating. If I am inside, I have to be near a window or natural light, a speak a little bit of Spanish and German (and love learning languages), and I really enjoy learning about cultures through language, food, and exploring!</p>