Wednesday, November 5, 2014

advice from Santa

I was feeling the aftermath of my shots with the band from the previous night, but it was time to pack up my box-sized room that had suffered a slight clothes explosion during my 3 day stay in Zermatt. I might have strewn articles of clothing all over the room in a speedy attempt to find a particular sweater the day before. But first, breakfast.

It was my last included breakfast at the Hotel Alfa and I was determined to pack it in again since I had the journey to Interlaken via several trains to endure shortly. For the third morning in a row, I took a seat at a table next to the old lady’s table. She was there every morning, like clockwork, alone like me, and at the same time that I was. I took comfort in sitting nearby.  Just two ladies eating separately and alone, nothing to see here.

View from breakfast
As I watched her sip her coffee I wondered about her backstory. I didn’t know what it was, but I was sad for her because she was alone. Were people also sad for me because I was there alone? Or was it because she was old? I feared that that would be me when I got older. Old and alone. She must’ve known I was thinking about her because she turned and looked at me on her way out..and in return I gave her the biggest salami and cheese filled mouth smile I could muster up.

It was time to check out of my hotel and leave Zermatt. Although the common shower and bathroom situation wasn’t my favorite, I had come to love Hotel Alfa, my giant borrowed sweatshirt, the old lady at breakfast, the cheery Santa like reception guy, and Zermatt in general. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye..but I was excited to see what adventuring I could get myself into in of the extreme sport mecca’s of the world. I had challenged myself to participate in one of these adventures, I just had to pick one.

I approached the reception desk and returned the giant borrowed sweatshirt that had been a blessing to the cheery dude who was a cross between a gnome and Santa himself. He had rosy cherub cheeks, stark white hair, and a jolly grin. As I checked out, he took the liberty to play 20 questions about my life.

“You have a husband?” he asked cheerily.
“No…” was my reply.
“Don’t worry, you are a great sportive lady. You will have no problem. Just don’t choose the first one that comes along.” Was reception Santa’s solid advice.

"I won't." I agreed.
Well, I did have to say, I had never been called “sportive” before. With those parting words sinking in, and a twinkle in his eye, I parted ways from Santa, and Zermatt.
Hotel Alfa
Scenes from Zermatt

Scenes from Zermatt
I boarded the train with trusty Bertha in tow. Trusty in that she was still grossly overweight. The train ride out was just as impressive as the way in.

A few trains and hours later, I arrived in Interlaken. I had no clue (again) where my last minute booked hostel was, nor which direction to walk in to find it. Luckily there was a map of Interlaken Hotels right at the station. Unluckily, mine was not on said map. 

A fellow solo traveler in plaid was looking just as lost. I pointed to the map, and guessing that he spoke English, told him it was a map of area hotels. He thanked me (in English!) and easily found his hostel. Walking away he asked if I'd be okay finding mine. 
"Oh, yeah, no problem I think it's probably just down this way.." as I picked a street to head down. As I wandered hopefully towards my hotel in the brisk late afternoon, paragliders rained down from the sky. 

Hmmm, should paragliding be my extreme sport adventure of choice here in Interlaken? Maybe it was a sign...

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