Gornergrat Bahn: A Leisurely Train Ride Through The Mountains

Picture out the window of a train car of the Gornergrat Bahn, a railway in the Alps Mountains.I loved this picture as soon as I saw it.

It immediately conjured up a sense of taking a leisurely trip through the mountains. All the while sipping coffee and munching on snacks, snapping pictures out the side window from time to time but mainly just enjoying the surroundings and crisp mountain air.

I recognized the mountain peak in the background as the world famous Matterhorn of the Alps mountain range, but didn’t know anything else about what I figured must be a spectacular train ride.

Turns out this train is part of the Gornergrat Bahn, a railway that goes to a part of the Alps that overlooks a glacier called Gorner Glacier.

Some people take the Gornergrat Bahn mostly to take in the stunning views, and who could blame them?

But once they do get to the station at the top they have the option of getting some other kinds of recreation in as well. A bit of skiing, nice meals at a restaurant, some shopping in at a little mall, and even staying in Switzerland’s highest hotel –the Kulmhotel Gornergrat– which apparently has some cool observatories at the top.

Picture of the Gornergrat train station with views of the Gornergrat Glacier and the Matterhorn.For other people the train ride and station is only a prelude to their real adventure. They use Gornergrat Station as a jumping off point for a backpacking trip deeper into the mountains.

That sounds like a pretty awesome time to me :D.

The best part is that you’d have a nice leisurely train ride on the way to the station that would help you get into the mindset for backpacking. And on the way back, a nice relaxing train ride to decompress from your adventure and get a last bit of mountain scenery in before your trip is over.

May 2, 2013
Travel Philosophy

Crossing A River In Iceland: All Travel Stories Have Their Little Hiccups…

Picture of a jeep stuck in a river in Iceland with two people standing next to it.We’ve all been there before: your trip is going along great, you’re seeing the sights and finally getting to live out all those dreams you had while waiting for this trip.

You can almost hear the background music from your favorite movie travel montage serenading you along and then *BAM* it all comes to a screeching halt.

Or maybe more like a splashy drop, as in what happened to these folks who were adventuring in Iceland and needed to cross a river.

The only thing worse than having your car stuck in the mud is having your car stuck in the mud…in the middle of a cold Icelandic river.

Even if you’ve never experienced that particular thing firsthand I’m sure that at some point in your life you’ve tasted the unhappiness that comes with a trip that’s gone off course.

I think it’s fair to say that person’s reaction to this kind of situation is often a reflection of their character.

Picture of a jeep traveling through a river in Iceland with travel gear on the roof.As for me, well I’d like to say that I immediately and calmly go into mature problem solver mode when faced with a derailed trip, but I usually start off with ‘Fuuuuu this trip is ruined! and gradually work down to ‘Okay, what can we do about this right now?’

It’s all part of the adventure though, and the best part of this kind of thing is that when the trip is long over (and the frustration has worn off) it always makes for the most interesting travel stories.

‘Remember when we got stuck in that river in Iceland…’

May 2, 2013
Travel Philosophy

Whoa This Is Not How I’d Want To Sleep, How About You?

Picture of men who are rock climbing sleeping in sleeping bags while hanging off of a cliff.Welp, it’s been a hard day of climbing and pulling yourself up the mountain bit by bit has taken it’s toll.

Time to get some shuteye so you can recharge for tomorrow’s climb.

Okay so all you gotta do now is hang your sleeping bag on the side of the cliff and… go to sleep. No biggie right?

All I can say is holy crap just looking at this picture almost gives me a heart attack. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to actually sleep that high in the air with nothing next to you other than a 1,000 foot drop.

I guess if you’re already into rock climbing at that level then sleeping while dangling off a cliff is just part of the adventure. But that’s a little too much adventure for me thank you very much lol.

In case you can’t read the lettering on the picture it says:

“For me the most fun of climbing was bivouacking, getting up in a wall and sleeping in god-awful conditions, in hammocks or just hanging from your ropes all night trying to sleep.

You really get into the rhythm of the wall. It’s all about the process, not the goal.”

-Yvon Chouinard

First off, damn they just slept while hanging from their ropes sometimes, that’s hardcore.

And second off, I’m struck by the part where he talked of it being about the process and not the goal. That’s such a similar sentiment to the happiness and travel quote by Margaret Lee Runbeck that was posted here a couple days ago.

The whole ‘it’s not about the destination’ thing is definitely a universal truth (though a hard one to put into practice sometimes) and it’s really interesting to see how often it pops up in different aspects of people’s lives. One thing is for sure, I need to practice this philosophy more!

March 5, 2013