On a crisp morning in March, Matt and I caught the 7:24 am train to Lauterbrunnen, a small, forgotten Swiss town situated between gigantic rock faces and mountain peaks. Large glass windows lined the sides of the train, creating a kind of panoramic effect as we inched down the mountain. I could hear the rhythmic chink of metal on metal keeping time during our descent much like a pick-axe on ice.
We journeyed into dense forest before reaching the countryside. Distant hills rose and fell with a kind of grace, well-tilled and and lined with wiry grape vines, yet the mountains were never very far. We passed train stations, some large, some small, which disclosed the names of this village and that. Trying to pronounce them sounded more like trying to gargle with a mouth full of rocks.
But when the train finally neared Lauterbrunnen that afternoon, the green copper spire of a church tower peeking out above the roofs and restaurants, something in me rose with it. We had left the snow pant-clad crowd of bustling Zermatt and would spend the next two full days discovering life in this out-of-the-way corner of the country.
It couldn’t have been more perfect.