Jane's Travel Blog

New Chapter: Explore the World


Kandersteg, Switzerland

We are housesitting in a 500 year-old farmhouse in the Swiss Alps for three months. To live in the middle of the Swiss Alps has been on Bob’s wishlist from the beginning of our travels, and now we are here, surrounded by snow-covered mountain peaks. You can see glaciers from our porch. I am overcome by awe as I look up.

The weather is good so we are hiking as much as we can. The three gondolas that whisk us high up the mountains are only open until Oct. 20th, so we’re taking advantage of them. I like hiking down better than up in these steep mountains.

During the first hike, I got winded just walking up the trails, which made me realize just how high we were. The altitude is a good ego check. We ate our picnic lunch overlooking the magnificent Swiss Alps. Seriously, the beauty takes your breath away.

The next gondola took us up another mountainside to Lake Oeschinen. As we walked to the lake, the scenery opened up to a pristine steel-blue lake surrounded by partly glacier-covered mountain peaks. I keep thinking I’m on a movie set.  

We wanted to hike the trails above the lake and that’s when the difficulty started. Again, the altitude. It was a steady climb with little relief. The challenge was certainly worth it, for the lake opened more, the mountain peaks seemed even grander and the workout was, well, honest. 

The first Saturday we were here, it was des Alpabzug. It’s the day the cows come down from the high alpine valleys. The cows are dressed up with flowers on their horns and huge clanging bells around their necks. The families proudly walk the cows through town on their way to their new lower pastures. Kandersteg is so small, in fact, that cows graze in the middle of town.

To our surprise, five cows were placed to graze just outside our chalet. And I mean just outside. I could easily touch them from the patio, however, I did not. A tiny thread-like electrified string keeps the 1300 pound cows from coming onto the patio. Sometimes the one I called Bessie, would look me in the eye then turn away, caring more about the sweet clover than me. The continual sound of cowbells reminded us of our new friends. The cows stayed for about two weeks. I guess all the clover was eaten and they were taken to another field. Hopefully, they will return. 

So, a bit of news. Our next big adventure after we leave Switzerland is Philadelphia. We have decided to set up a home base, renting an apartment in the Chestnut Hills area.  Now, before you ask, yes we are still going to travel. The difference will be that when we are in the states we’ll have a place to land and we’ll stay a bit longer. 

You may be asking yourself, why Philadelphia? It’s where four of our six grandkids live and it’s just a train ride away from Brooklyn and Albany where the rest of the family lives. It’s also an easy flight to Wisconsin to visit more family and friends. 

So, that’s the big news. We are in Kandersteg until Dec. 8th and then on to Philly to set up the apartment.