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Friday, July 14, 2006

Adventure Travel Tours: A Day on the Trail

An adventure travel vacation is a great way to explore your world. Join a group of fun people who share your interests as we go on a day hike in the Alps. Enjoy a little taste of Switzerland.

Up, Up, and Away

After consuming a hearty breakfast, we depart for the trailhead. It's close to our conveniently located inn, so we take a leisurely stroll - greeting friendly locals and shopkeepers along the way.

We board a bright red cable car that whisks us soaring above the valley to a far away peak. One of your companions excitedly nudges you, "Look, marmots!". We gaze at a trio of cuddly creatures staring back at us from the rockface - so close we feel we could reach out and touch them.

We disembark at a solid rock and timber mountain station - now peaceful, this station hosts a clattering mass of skiers during the winter season.

Clean Mountain Air and Emerald Lakes

Breathing in the fresh mountain air, we set out on our trail. Carpets of wildflowers surround us. Gentle cows graze the alpine grasses - serenading us with a cheerful tinkle of bells. Hiking here is so refreshing.


Alp Garfiun

A meandering path leads us through hillocks of glacial moraine, now cloaked in a splendid green, to the edge of a startlingly beautiful emerald lake. The nearby mountains reflect on its surface.

We make a brief stop to admire this natural jewel. Some of our group rambles around the tiny lake - others lay back and enjoy the serenity.

Hiking Amongst Towering Peaks

Our trail continues along a high mountain valley bordered by towering snow-capped peaks. Beautiful Alpenroses form a lovely rolling heath. We tramp across a small snowfield - its coolness underfoot contrasts with the glorious warmth of the alpine sun.

We spy a cairn ahead with the familiar red-and-white trail marking painted on one of its rocks. Rounding a corner we spot our lunchtime destination in the distance - a solid Berghaus growing out of the surrounding rocks.

Lunching on the Sonnenterrasse

As we settle ourselves on a rustic, sun-drenched Sonnenterrasse, a tantalizing smell of frying onions and sausages greets us. Lunch is hearty mountain fare - plates heaped with Rosti mit Spiegeleier und Speck (a wonderfully golden, crispy fried potato pancake with egg and bacon) - served by a flaxen-haired girl in a traditional, powdery-blue farmer's smock.

We wash down our delicious lunch with bottles of local beer and gaze out across a massive glacier winding its way down between two peaks and glistening in the sunlight.

Stunning Views

Well sated, we regain our trail and soon find ourselves breaking out onto a sloping hillside - affording us stunning views of the valley far below. We see a tiny hamlet across the valley, its sun-burned houses and barns surround a central church spire. A massive mountain rears up behind this peaceful scene.

Slowly dropping down a gentle path, we enter a straggle of dwarf pine. We're greeted by a pungent fragrance that reminds us of the cleanliness of this wonderful habitat. The afternoon sun is gaining strength and it's a perfect time for us to enter the cool loaminess of the lower forest. We follow the edge of a cascading glacier-fed creek - its frostiness refreshes the air around us.


Vereina Tal (Valley)

Warm Sun and the Smell of Hay

We clatter across an ancient wooden bridge - its surface well worn by generations of cows being driven to Alpine meadows. In the lower pastures, local farmers are harvesting the hay with large wooden rakes. A comforting, sun-rich smell of dried grasses greets us.

Off to the Konditorei

The relaxing smell of hay and the warmth of the sun has put us into a peaceful, lazy mood. We beeline to the nearest Konditorei to debate our biggest decision of the day - is it to be the daintily glazed apricot torte, the decadent chocolate mousse with lashings of whipped cream, or the traditional (and oh so tasty) Engadiner Nusstorte.

We relax in a cozy nook and relieve today's experiences.

Relaxing Back at the Inn

We amble back to our welcoming inn - a great time for relaxed exploration of the local shops. Back at the inn, some members catch up on reading in the inn's glorious wood-paneled library - others send postcards or nap in the warm afternoon sun.

Later, we'll watch as the sun paints the mountains with golden color. An adventure travel vacation in Switzerland is a fantastic experience.

Tomorrow, we set off on another lovely adventure.

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