Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Dragging those size 10 feet with a giant backpack in her hands a young girl stepped out of the train station.
“ Is the bus station this way?” she asked the security personnel at the door. “ Yes ma’am, about a mile down the road.”
Shrugging her shoulders she said to herself “No more walking, please! ” Lifting that million kilogram backpack to her shoulder she thanked the guard and slipped her arms that looked more like leafless branches through the backpack to place it on her back. She wanted to walk but a light stroll was all her feet could do. She bribed her soul with the hope of getting a comfortable seating in the bus and that this was the last of two bus rides and a train ride she had to take to reach her hostel.
Seated on the soft polyester-wool seat she pondered on her decision. “Was I a fool to come on a solo backpacking trip?” She questioned if this was an impulsive decision. Nothing other than the scenic tranquility of Europe has been the highlight of this trip so far.
Her elbow softly placed itself on the armrest and her head slipped itself on it. Her chin pressed her palm and her temple took support of the window glass. For some time she mesmerised her soul with the beautiful lush green pastures and flourishing, grassy, picturesque views on the way to Interlaken, Switzerland. That feeling of insecturity and all those questions she had flowed into her head through the cracks of her thoughts.
All the failures of her life slowly played themselves in front of her eyes like multiple slides on a projector.
The time when she was the only one in her group who was denied a job at Baskin Robins and when she told her mother, she commented” I guess, 31 flavours doesn’t want 27 tattoos. ” And the time she had to eat lunch alone at school when all her friends went for the school trip to Yosemite national park. This was just going in the same direction except her age and the location.
She deboarded at her stop and walked to her hostel. Unaffected were her emotions this time maybe because she was already wrapped in some. After walking for half a mile her eyes, or as her father called them, two stars that found their place on earth looked at an arrow shaped sign that read “BLAMERS INTERNATIONAL HOSTEL”. It was ten in the morning but all her feet could think was the comfort of a soft bed. She rested for some time but her nomadic spirit overpowered her fatigued limbs.
With this new energy she walked on those narrow sidewalks which for a reason not quite evident were desolated. She searched for a cafe or a restaurant. After not so much wandering and a lot of distraction from the mountains, she took a seat in a cafe. It was on a hilltop and the scenery from there was something she could lay her eyes on forever. One could take a glance of the entire valley from that location. Mountains covered in greenery, flowers blooming, birds chirping. Perfect amount of peace that one desires for on a holiday.
“Is this seat taken?” Asked a young man who stood in front of her table. He was accompanied by a girl. “Uh, no, no. please.” She said, looking at them. Half awake half in the world of the valley she was looking at. “Hey.. Ron. This is my wife Emilie. ” Said the tall man placing a coaster on the table to settle his drink. “Hello” Emilie smiled as her hand approached her. “And you are?”
“Elena” she replied smiling back. “You are from New York.!!” Ron said energetically. “How could you tell? ” Elena questioned in the very instance as if he had asked an obscene question. Ron pointed towards her shirt that said I love New York capsule inside a heart.
“Oh yeh.” She smiled while she looked down at her chest to read that herself. “Where do you guys come from?” She asked as she poured her half filled glass with water. “We are on a two month Europe tour. Just flew in from Munich yesterday.” Emilie explained. “But we stay in Philly. This is like an extended honeymoon.”He laughed and then softly placed a kiss on her wife’s lips. “What brings you here” he asked Elena.
Elena explained him how she had just graduated and was bored of staying at home. Which led her to this trip and also she wanted to experience solo travelling. They talked for a long time. Shared stories, happenings, jokes. Emilie told her how they came to Italy for a two week honeymoon and it extended into a two month expedition. They stayed in a small town in eastern Italy and that they used to hike everyday. That is where Ron said that they should do some famous hikes in Europe and they extended their stay to do that.
“Well I am also going for this hike tomorrow.” She paused and said, “Would you like to join me?” Ron and Emilie looked at each other and then at her. There was silence for about twenty seconds. “Yeah why not, sure.” Ron’s southern accent broke the silence. “We don’t have anything planned for tomorrow. That should be fun.” His wife said enthusiastically.
They talked for some time with significant pauses in between to look around and embrace the purity around them. Then they parted ways promising to meet next day at the cable car which would take them to the hiking site. That night she added those two strangers to her list of friends.
Next day Elena woke up, it seemed a bit brighter than yesterday to her. She jumped out of the bed, took a shower, dressed in a tank top and a pair of shorts. She gently slipped her feet into the big, black hiking shoes which still smelled like the store she bought them from. She sang a song from her favourite album the entire time she got dressed. Picking up the bag like it was a pebble she quickly placed it on her shoulder and paced out.
She met her new friends at the place they decided and greeted them with an extraordinarily loud hello. “Lets go, heavenly tracks of Grindelwald, alive with summer are waiting.” She said as she hopped towards the cable car.
They travelled to Grindelwald, almost flying in that glass box. Elena looked at the mountains like a child fancies at an ice cream truck. She could stay here forever. They were birds for ten minutes and then they walked. Tracks so narrow for two people to walk adjacently, occupied by humans and animals. Emilie wanted to walk beside her husband but was forced to walk ahead. She looked at the goats grazing above her. It was everything someone from New York expects from a holiday. “Let’s take a break and have lunch there.” Elena turned back and pointed towards a patch of grassy land beside the track.
She paused, wanting to say more but couldn’t. No one was behind her. She hurriedly turned in all directions to look for them. Only tiny humans far from her were walking on the track.