An avid hiker is not a phrase I would typically use to describe myself; my husband perhaps, but not me. A city girl at heart, I grew up 45 minutes outside of Manhattan, where the only hiking we knew was making the quarter mile trek down to the mailbox.
While we were dating, my husband introduced me to the wide world of the outdoors: mountain biking, hiking (nothing too strenuous, by his measures), and camping without showers. So I was not completely surprised when he suggested we hike the Swiss Alps for our honeymoon.
A little reluctant at first, I quickly started to warm up to the idea of spending our first days as newlyweds in Switzerland; not only is the country world-renowned for its beautiful landscape and breathtaking scenery, but my father’s family originated from Switzerland and I was excited to visit the birth place of my paternal grandparents.
Still, trekking all over the European country was not my idea of the ideal honeymoon. What happened to the white beaches of the Caribbean or a relaxing, all-inclusive cruise? Perhaps cliché, but in my mind, honeymoon and the tropics were synonymous. So imagine my surprise when I discovered just how perfect an atypical honeymoon spent at a hiker’s paradise rather than lying in the sun, could actually be.
We arrived in Switzerland the day after our wedding to start our Alps adventure with a guided tour, truly the only way to go. Having a guide allowed us to travel the spectacular Swiss countryside safely and without worry of going astray or wandering into unknown territory. Our guide was confident, personable, and had a deep knowledge of the area we were hiking, making our trip that much more enjoyable.
The reputation of the Swiss Alps is known the world over, but it certainly does not do this grand natural wonder justice (if you have been there yourself, you will know what I mean). Awe-inspiring is certainly an understatement when describing the Alps. I was completely blown away by the majestic mountains, beautiful waterfalls, and lush alpine meadows. I stood at the top of a glacier and in the shadow of the great Matterhorn mountain. Even the air smelled fresher and the birds sang sweeter in the Alps.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting Zermatt, an enchanting little village nestled at the foot of the vast Matterhorn. Complete with cobblestone streets and charming chalets, I found everything about the village to be alluring and intriguing. Perhaps what fascinated me most was the tranquil calmness, almost silence found in the air. There are no cars in Zermatt; electric cars and horse drawn sleighs and carriages are the only modes of transportation allowed. In fact, most people in the village, tourists and natives alike, are on foot. I am convinced this is one of the reasons the village remains in pristine condition and is so inviting to visitors.
The Swiss Alps are not for the faint of heart – at times the hiking is difficult and exhausting but the rewards are far greater than the challenges. You are able to experience some of the most magnificent and picturesque scenery in the world. Hiking the Swiss Alps was not the warm, beachside honeymoon I had so long envisioned. In fact it turned out to be better than any tropical paradise I would have chosen.