Finally! I was in Roger Federer's home country! AH! ;) haha. That was actually not my first thought when I woke up 2 hours through the 3 hour bus ride to Switzerland. But i DID think about that! Yes, we were traveling to a mountain in the Alps of the wonderful land of Switzer-land. It was actually quite beautiful, the ride there. I woke up to very green mountains surrounding me on both sides, and we drove through a town where the houses are built on the edges of cliffs, where the clouds cover the tops of the mountains so their heights are unknown, where the lakes are so clean that they are an artificial-looking teal color, and where there are HUNDREDS of tourists. The ride TO Switzerland was actually, in my opinion at least, more beautiful than the scene 1,800m up the mountain (the mountain was about 3,000m high), due to the excessive amounts of clouds that surrounded us. We took a gondola to the Trubsee (pronounced Troob-zay), essentially a lake on top of a mountain. It was SO still, but I think the coolest part was that since it was so cloudy (not foggy... ha.) that we couldn't see how big it was. It seemed to go on forever. So we walked halfway around the lake (which was the real touristy part), and then i think our three IES tour guides got lost and didn't want to turn around, so they just took the long way down the mountain. This means that instead of our original plan to take the gondola halfway down and hike the rest of the way, we hiked ALL the way down. I mean, i guess it wasn't bad, until we got to the last third and all of our knees and toes were dying from the steep angles... gosh we are such pansies when it comes to hiking. People here LOVE hiking so much that sometimes they will go running UP a mountain when they are 60 years old. Of course, when a group of young, out of breath American tourists passes them going downhill, they probably can't help but laugh.
So once we got back down the mountain, we had about a half hour to kill, and i definitely fell asleep during a conversation with my friends at a table. I was SO tired!!! Quite the work out, though! Then I slept most of the 3 hour drive back, and then after a day of being stuck with 30 other Americans, I pretty much went back to my room and conked out until 9 the next day. ha!
But by far, the sheep made the day. When we were making our way into Engelberg, we passed a bunch of farmland. Not cornfields, rather stockfields. LOTS of huge cows with bells, goats and, naturally, sheep. All of a sudden, the bus came to a halt and the driver turned off the engine. Everyone starts getting up, moving to the front of the bus and talking, and my curiosity got the best of me. I look out the window and what do I see? A line of traffic in front of our tour bus, and down the left lane comes none other than a herd of about 200 sheep, a sheep dog in the front, and about 15 people surrounding the group. They took the sheep all the way past our bus, and it took about 10 minutes from the time we stopped until the time we started moving again. It was something none of us have EVER seen, and i actually thought it was rather interesting, that they choose a more humane way to transport their livestock rather than sticking them in huge semitrucks. Also, they don't brand them, but rather give them loose collars and paint their backs. So much nicer!
Tonight as i was cooking my dinner, the boyfriend of one of my roommates was sitting in the common room watching hockey. My ears are so accustomed to German now that I just expected to hear it, but then I start listening harder, and I hear an accent that sounds SO American. So i thought at first that one of them was actually speaking English, but i listen harder yet and realize that they really ARE speaking German, with an INCREDIBLY bad accent. ha. Then I mention it to Fritz, and he says 'well actually he's Canadian'. And then i realize... he really IS Canadian. it was probably the funniest thing i have ever heard. I just laughed because i thought, this is what Sam's family would sound like speaking German without even trying to sound German... sooooooh funny. ;)
The language institute is over on friday, and everyone except yours truly is going to Oktoberfest this weekend. Then on Tuesday it's off to Berlin, and hopefully on Thursday me and my friend Allison (oboist from Lawrence... we are planning to do some serious duet-age) will go to the Berliner Philharmoniker! SO GOOD! We get back to Freiburg on Saturday, and then classes start Monday. I really should spend this weekend reading and practicing, i guess!
Well, enjoy the photos! More after Berlin, unless something more exciting happens before then!