There are so many things I’d like to talk about here on my blog; my change of major last year, my move to France, my time on exchange, even my obsession with the TV show Arrow… Yet, as we find ourselves deep in *that* point of the semester, where getting up before noon any day might be too much to ask, wearing anything other than sweatpants is out of the question, and the main staple of the student diet is coffee, I’ve decided to try and hearten you instead with an encouraging story of how sometimes things work out in the best possible way.
So yeah, I’m in France for exchange, and I’ll go into that later, but what I really want to talk about is my trip to Switzerland.
It was my very first time travelling alone as a tourist, and I was a little nervous, as I am a firm believer of safety in numbers, and I love how having friends along with you makes every trip an amazing adventure. I was
deeply overwhelmed by the whole planning process. Not only did I have to figure out bus schedules, hotels, trains, and the like, but there is just so much to see and do in Switzerland and I just did not know how to choose!
After a couple of weeks of agonizing over the trip I finally I decided to take the most straightforward route and visit some of the cities that the internet said were worth it, (because you always want to trust everything online right?) but I also decided to not over plan. I mean, let’s not go crazy here. I did book a hostel for the first couple nights as I did not particularly fancy sleeping on a bench in the German part of Switzerland (most likely I would get arrested and not even realize it). But as for the day schedule I simply decided to wait and see. And see I did.
It is relevant in this story to know that I am a huuuuuge Lord of the Rings fan. We’re talking reading ALL of Tolkien’s books (LotR multiple times, of course), including the obscure stories, watching all the movies every single weekend for months at a time (I’m not joking I can recite the entire thing) and at one point being somewhat able to read elvish.
The first days were absolutely wonderful. I met a Spanish girl at the first hostel and we went to the highest train station in Europe and a suspension bridge that connected two peaks. However, none of this can compare (in my mind) to my surprise and delight when after a fortnight of travel in Switzerland I found myself in Rivendell, or as it is most commonly known The Last Homely House. Kidding!
Rivendell is the most enchanting valley in the LOTR books, where elves live peacefully surrounded by waterfalls and pines. I don’t mean that I fell through an orange portal that took me to a green screen studio in New Zealand. I was in the actual valley of Rivendell, or at least its real-world inspiration, Lauterbrunnen. Now I had done so little research about the places I was going to visit that I had no idea that Tolkien had trekked through much of the same dirt paths I was now walking on. I didn’t even know that Rivendell was based in a real world valley! But life is sometimes wonderful and funny, and one crisp October morning when you least expect it, you might find yourself walking, by pure chance, into Middle Earth.