I like riding trains, and find that the time slips by quickly as I traverse Europe. Today I am riding a train for the sole purpose of riding a train. I am traveling over the alps on the UNESCO world heritage site, the Bernina Pass. Built at the end of the 19th century this rail covers some 50 kilometers, 196 bridges and 55 tunnels. Besides all that amazing engineering, its stunningly scenic. From quaint towns, through fall foliage, around lakes, over snow topped peaks, tunnels, bridges, and valleys, we slowly chug along for 4 hours and I just stare out the window, between running from aisle to aisle to capture pictures on both sides.
This whole adventure reminds me of the first trips up to the cabin in Park City each year. The weather has turned colder and as you leave the valley, the seasons magically change and you get to experience a new climate without the slow natural acclimatization in between. I certainly was trying to avoid winter on my travels for I did not pack appropriate clothing, but a quick dip into some snowy mountains with the warm sun shining on you is the perfect magical experience. Ive only found this experience near the mountains. From riding snow mobiles in swim pants to hiking in spring when the snows are still melting, nowhere else can you change season so easily with a little vertical difference. I thrive in season change, always on the border and never solidly in one season. Some people live for endless summer, but I live for change. I question for a moment the whole skipping winter idea, with its warm clothes, fires, skiing, snowfall, etc and then quickly remember how long and cold winter is. Ill take cool spring and autumn and be just fine. Both sweaty hot summer and cold dark winter extremes, neither appeal to me, but I certainly find enjoyable moments in both. As I embrace the nature of impermanence, I will be an ever changing season, blossoming new shoots into existence to watch them transform in their multicolored decline.
I ponder the nature of my diet on this slow trek across the mountains and decide my body is telling me to slow down on my food rampage and eat healthier. Tonight I want only a salad and I hope my host will be gracious enough to accept my lack of wanting to really eat.
I arrive in Zurich and make a short trip to Wintertour where I will be staying with my friend Chipsly Shlipsly. Her name is really Michelle, but while visiting me in the states, we played one of those games where you combine the name of your first pet and your first street name or some other category to get your “porn star name”. My fabulous name happens to be Blacky San Angelo and dont forget the sass. It turns out her sister and family are returning from a trip to Tunisia and have invited themselves over for dinner. Guess what? All they want is salad! Since fresh lettuce and fruits are unsafe to eat there due to water contamination and washing, they are dying for a salad. We all laugh at the coincidence, but I know I helped create this experience and love watching the delicious expression of my manifesting appear quicker and quicker.
On my sightseeing day, Michelle and I visit the Rhine falls. The spectacular power of water rushes over the edge and reminds us of the forces of nature. Ever present and supremely powerful, to think that we humans have a degree of control over the earth seems laughable. We play along with the natural forces and rhythms of nature thinking everything to be in order until some hurricane, volcano, tidal wave, or rend in the earth opens up to remind us of the living and changing nature of this spaceship we are riding on.
We continue, visiting a castle to look out over a quaint town and vineyard. In the basement of this battlement I am in photography heaven with this spectacular lighting and capture this amazing new image.
I get to visit the lovely hillsides where Michelle grew up and a town center where all the buildings are painted and look immaculate because every year the whole center is transformed into a giant stage to enact a play.
I get to explore Zurich on my own today and have no idea what this town is about other than it is situated on a beautiful lake, had lots of banks and is home to the worlds 3rd most expensive street to live on. The rate for a square meter is ten thousand euro. That figure alone boggles my mind that anyone has that much money to waste, second that they do waste it and third that it’s only the 3rd most expensive street in the world. There are other crazy people and places out there. I’m certain people can figure out more creative ways to spend money.
On the train ride in I meet my new friend Marcel. We strike up a conversation when he mistakes me for someone else. Zurich isn’t the largest city and my social butterfly seems to see someone he knows on every street. He tells me his interesting coincidence that for the last 3 Mondays he has somehow fallen into showing a traveler around Zurich. Offering recommendations for food and drink and shopping and music I find a great friend and guide to speak with and show me around. We actually spend all day sitting by the lake drinking tea and having conversations about life and spirituality. It’s amazing that the types of people I want to meet keep showing up in big ways. We end up spending the next day together as well as traversing Zurich and just chatting. I didn’t really have plans for exploring this city, I was going to practice my circus arts, but as always I must allow the universe to offer me new experiences.
I arrive at the train station to meet Michelle and her best friend Manuela, who also visited me in the states, because we are going out for dinner and to catch up. Fluxly salami or magic Manu as we call her is just as lively as I remember. She is also willing to accept my request to cut my hair. While catching up over dinner and drinks we all decide to get together at Michelle’s tomorrow and do something uniquely Swiss; fondue!
A bubbling pot of liquid cheese and a few ingredients await the ends of our delicate utensils. Bread and potatoes are our dipping foods with a few spices and deep guilty pleasure for eating at the holy pot of cheese-us, all praise his cheesiness. I take the plunge to finish the whole thing and take my food coma into the bathroom to be sheared. I’ve hit that stage where my hair on the sides make any look unmanageable so we are going to shave them off. I’ve seen this look everywhere in Europe in my travels so what might be slightly on the edge in the states is run of the mill here. After a lot of mess, laughs, and a few slips of the shaver I come out a new and lighter man. Ready to finish the night with laughs and head off to Italy.
Before I make that adventure, I must comment that I didn’t have any plans after Venice. I know I’ve had enough of big cities and it is time for some nature. Thus I checked workaway again. This time I found it simple to locate a host, a retired couple from Kent England who used to run a spiritual retreat. Now they are in the south of France and need a bit of garden work. Not 10 minutes after applying I had my enthusiastic Yes. Now I will spend 10 days in the country side doing whatever is needed and spending time with probably a very spiritually enlightened couple. Chalk another one up to the universe for putting us together at the exact same moment.
The angles guide me as the next step keeps falling into place. Wandering off to Italy