My Italian Adventure
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CHAPTER 72 LOCATION: Gimmelwald SUBJECT: Midnight, Mountain Hostel

Rösti at Midnight
Frying up the Swiss national dish, the first cooking I'd done in almost two weeks, but hey, look at me--I'm a natural! And check out the size of that spatula

The Mountain Hostel
I had no idea when I arrived in the misty darkness what a spectacular place I had come to. With a well-deserved reputation as the "World's Friendliest Hostel," you must beware: guests routinely stay much longer than they planned. For more information about this great hostel, check out their web site.

It was already dark as we changed trains at Interlocken. I found an ATM at the train station, and made a withdrawal in order to get some Swiss francs.

As we waited for our connection, I grew more apprehensive. "Maybe we'd better find a place to stay here," I suggested. "After all, we don't even know if we can make it all the way to Gimmelwald tonight, and if we do, the hostel may not be open. The last thing I want to do tonight is sleep outside on a chilly Alp."

"You can stay here if you want to," Kim replied, "but I'm going to Gimmelwald." Kim, I was discovering, had a will like a force of nature.

"All right, then. I can't in good conscience let you freeze to death by yourself." So we caught the last train out of Interlocken to Lauterbrunnen.

At Lauterbrunnen we transferred to the very last bus headed for Stechelberg and a short time later we were deposited at the Gondola station for a trip high up into the misty blackness.

It was slightly after midnight as we stepped out of the Gondola. We were the only two people outside, the foggy night silent except for the gentle electric hum of the Gondola as it left us to our fate.

I worried about finding the hostel, but I needn't have. Like moths, we moved toward the only light still shining in the small village. We mounted the porch and tried the door. My relief extreme, the handle turned and we entered a cheery room of wood and stone.

A Warm and Hospitable Hostel
Kim models her "Zen Slug" shirt, probably the main reason I'm here in Switzerland at all.

A sole figure, a man in his twenties, sat at one of the broad wooden tables, strumming a guitar and looking not at all surprised to see us.

"Did you bring any food with you?" he asked. "Because the only grocery store is a half hour hike up the hill, and it closed at six."

When we told him we hadn't, he said, "Well, no problem. If you're hungry, I've got some Rösti in a box that you can fry up."

Before long, I was standing at the huge commercial gas stove, wielding a giant spatula through a sizzling cast iron skillet of potato gratings -- I had made myself at home in Switzerland.

Next: Mountain Hostel Morning

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