I initially wanted to hike in Spain on the Santiago de Compostela but when I heard my friend that he is going on the Via Alpina in Switzerland, I decided to changed my plans. I had no expectations because I wanted to take everything as it comes no matter how hard or challenging it will be. From start to the end I looked at it as an adventure and I was getting excited about it.
Everything was prepared but didn’t start as I thought. When I arrived in Zurich Airport I realised that my luggage was lost. That was the moment when the real journey began. It took me three days to get my luggage back. In the first night I slept to the airport because the flight was delayed and it had a late arrival. I was alone, with no roaming or internet connection over the night, but I felt calm and I experienced a feeling of acceptance over the situation.
The second night I slept in the Grindelwald camping and the luggage has been delivered to me in the next morning. It was not easy because the delivery guy didn’t speak English and I called the Lost & Found office to make sure that I get my luggage. I was happy and I remember how much I enjoyed that moment because I knew that the adventure will continue in a more positive manner.
For the next 5 days we were hiking between Grindelwald and Gstaad. Based on my watch (Garmin VivoActive HR) we walked a total of 85.74 miles. The highest altitude was in Hohtürli, in Kandersteg, at 2778m. In the first two days it rained a lot but the weather was perfect for the rest of the days. There were some killing ascents and descents and the maximum elevation gain in a day was +7252ft and -4961ft. on a distance of 14.52 miles in 9:12 hours of walking.
For me the Swiss hiking experience was like walking through life. Every day it was unpredictible, we didn’t know much about the trail and the weather was changing fast especially in the morning, becoming more stable during the day. I remember one particular moment when it was very foggy and everything I could see around was only the stones. It was on an ascent and we could not really see what’s around us.
I was walking and thinking about life…about having the strength and the courage to step into the unknown accepting how little control you have. I have realised how important is to keep moving no matter how far ahead you can see and how bad do you feel. Because if there is hope and perseverance you can get to a point where you can see everything clear.
Initially I thought that it will be a physical challenge but at the end it turned out into a mental battle. Only after I got back home I felt like I was coming from a sort of a war. I was tired and the exhaustion made me feel calm and peaceful.
To be honest, I was looking for something that will push me so hard and help me see deeper inside me. Looking back, I appreciate the experience I had even the end was highly stressful – due to the first flight delay I lost the connection in Berlin. It was a night spent in Berlin TXL Airport waiting for like 6 hours to get my flight booked and go to Budapest.
The people I’ve met played an important role on making things harder or easier to take. Perhaps the most painful moment was when my friend turned my back and left me alone. I have realised when I was waiting to the airport how important is the person who is walking next to you. How critical it is to have the ability to look both in the same direction and see the same things.
The trail was unexpected and very diverse. It was not easy but I enjoyed walking because made me think deeply and profoundly. I concluded that it’s not enough to have reliable people around but to walk with those who have the ability to rely on themselves especially when going through difficult times in life.
I did many things to challenge myself in order to embrace my fears and don’t look for escapes when I feel emotionally stressed out. Suffering is the best teacher in life and pain is a life companion. But you need to get to a point where you need to accept them and learn from them.
There are moments in life when the realisation and acceptance about the source of the pain is happening when there is no escape, no distraction and when you have the courage to look deeply and understand what is bleeding.