Take a Hike

Swiss Hike

Fresh air, beautiful scenery, the tinkling of cow bells, and panic attacks. Ah, the joys of hiking!

I went on my first real hike in Switzerland a few weeks back. It was much harder, longer, and treacherous than I’d thought it would be. Honestly, it was explained to me as a “fairly easy, two-hour walk where you could even just wear good sneakers, if you didn’t have proper hiking boots.” And honestly, I wouldn’t have agreed to it had I known how hard it was really going to be. But honestly, it was a great experience and I’m proud of myself for having done (and survived) it. Also, it was October (my favorite month) which means we had the added bonus of leaves changing colors!

We were a group of 10 people, all together, and we went up the Appenzell Alps (a part of the Alps located in the gastronomically famous Appenzell region) to the Meglisalp guesthouse, where we spent the night eating local foods like spätzli (little dumplings) and cheese and drinking herb-infused Appenzeller liquor. The next morning, we worked our way back down the mountain to the breathtaking Seealpsee lake before finishing our hike and calling it a weekend.

Me thinking: "Whoa! Some people actually hike HIGHER than this!?!"

Me thinking: “Whoa! Some people actually hike HIGHER than this!?!”

I’m usually the photo guy that people can count on to snap pics of the entire adventure. However, this time I was a bit more concentrated on trying not to die and so couldn’t focus too much on the photos. I was able to take some good pictures from the top, but for photos of the climb and descent themselves, I had to refer to my boyfriend’s camera roll. Some of these photos are unreal beautiful, no?

Will I go hiking again? For sure! Will I affront such a difficult climb again? Meh…

My legs are no longer sore and the fear I felt (especially going back down … so effing steep!) has faded, leaving me with only good memories of my first hike up the Alps.

My much deserved Appenzeller beer. The background of this photo is the label on the bottle. So cool!

My much deserved Appenzeller beer. The background of this photo is the label on the bottle. So cool!


Swiss Pride

Swiss Flags

Boy oh boy, do the Swiss love being Swiss!

There’s a lot of Swiss pride going on here. They just really dig their culture, heritage, language(s), and food. The Swiss flag can be seen everywhere, people are genuinely happy when you show an interest in trying out some new Swiss aspect of life, and a product being Swiss made – whether it be cheese, an electric razor, or underwear – is a definite added value.

Made in the USAIt sort of reminds me of the USA. Not that there are that many things “made in the USA” nowadays, but we do have a strong sense of patriotism. The Americans and Swiss are proud to hail from their respective countries and will brandish their flag with fervor.

Italians, on the other hand, seem to always look down on their own country and even feel embarrassed to be Italian, which is a shame since it’s such a great place. In fact, the only time during my time living there when I really ever saw Italian patriotism was during the World Cup.

Gennaro Gattuso

The topic of Swiss patriotism came to mind because today is Swiss National Day! That means that Swiss flags are popping up all over the place in celebration. It takes me back to growing up in my hometown when my Dad would decorate our front yard with tons of little American flags whenever it was Memorial Day or the 4th of July. So cute!

1. August-WeggenThe supermarkets here in Zürich are particularly decked out. There’s all types of Swiss paraphernalia and even this special bread called 1. August-Weggen (August 1st bread) with the Swiss flag’s cross baked into the top. In typical “Garrett loves all things authentic” style,  I’ll definitely be trying some today! Most likely on the Swiss paper plates and accompanied by the Swiss paper napkins that I bought.

Here are some pics I took for you guys from my local Migros. I got chided for taking pictures, but when the security man heard my horrible (read: nonexistent) German, he said “Ok. Tourist. You can take a few photos.” so it all worked out for the best.

Happy August 1st! In an effort to unite the blog title with the topic of today’s post, I’ll be sporting these bad boys:

My Swiss Underwear

My Swiss Underwear

Yes, they’re made in Switzerland! 🙂

Instagram Addiction

Instagram ItaliaRagazzi, I have to tell you something. I’m addicted to Instagram. I first hinted at my addiction in a previous blog post, but now I think it’s full blown! I need help! I feel compelled to photograph everything I see, play around with filters and frames, and share them with the world. I think I’ve even gotten to the point where I actually consider myself a real photographer – one of the last symptoms of somebody with this type of addiction.

This addiction, unlike many others, does have a positive side to it: you guys get to see a bunch of pictures of Italy! So, revel in my dependency and enjoy the photo gallery!

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Invalids of war

So, I saw this sign on the train on the way to work the other day and felt like I just HAD to take a picture of it and put it on my blog.

Here’s the picture of that sign:

Here’s how that sign translates into English:

“Seat reserved for mutilated persons and invalids of war,  work, and service”

WTF! Invalids of war??!?!

I mean, ok, the train I was on was not the newest and sleekest of the Italian railway’s fleet, but c’mon! Maintain the illusion guys! At least replace the sign with something more recent! I know there are more up-to-date and politically correct words that we can use instead of “mutilated persons” and “invalids”.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that train had other vintage signs reading “please refrain from using your snuff box while on board” or “women prohibited from voicing their opinions while train is in motion“.