People at a young age, become very depended on their parents, and later on, find it very hard to go somewhere without their parents. During the summer of last year, my parents had given me a choice. They asked me if I wanted to go to a summer camp in Switzerland. Like all teenagers I had developed a curiosity for the outside world, and Switzerland was the perfect answer to the problem. I obviously answered positively to my parents since it crossed my mind that this was the perfect way to go somewhere without having my parent’s shadow behind my back…
Very soon, I found myself at the airport ready to depart for Switzerland, as far away from my parents as I possibly could. I felt sad and afraid that I was going out in a world I had no clue about and in a world that I had no idea how to react, but yet again just the fact that I was going to go away from my parents and that I was going to meet a new world made me happy in my misery. It was time to depart and I knew that saying goodbye to my parents wouldn’t be easy. In fact, it was the hardest thing I had done, since I knew that in Switzerland I wouldn’t have my parents’ help or their encouragement.
I quickly boarded the plane leaving the idea about not having my parents’ help behind, and looking forward to landing in the unknown. The plane journey happened like a blink of an eye, since I was so happy and anxious to get to my final destination that I did not allow my problems to get in the way and I was definitely not going to allow my problems and worries get in the way of enjoying myself. The time had come. The plane landed at the airport, I unglued my head from the window and walk casually out of the plane and into the main building. It all looked so different.
There were massive lounges in every direction and whilst trying to find a sign called ‘EXIT’ I was getting my first glimpse of my ‘New World’. Everything looked so different, so strange that I found myself standing in the centre of the lounge looking around at the shops and the crowds of people walking around noisily, looking at their watches afraid not to miss their flight. Only then did I realize that I was just looking around not for the exit but just looking around. I then lifted my head to see a sign pop up. I looked for the word ‘EXIT ‘ but it was nowhere to be found. The sign, was written in French… There is no way I am going to get out of here. ” I thought, ” I wish my parents were here, I wish I had never left my humble home. ” But, life goes on. After an hours of wandering in the airport and opening every door which I though might be the exit, I managed to get out of the lounge and in the main exit. There, I met some teachers and children from the camp that if I understood right from the expression they had on their faces they were waiting for me a long time. In no time, I found myself in the bus on the way to the camp. There was a general rattle in the bus, but I was staring at the scenery outside my window. It was fascinating.
On the one side there was a lake with boats and the Alps in the far, while on the otherside there was an old medieval village, just like in fairy tales. The sky was empty like my mind, which was filled with these beautiful images of the scenery. As the sun was shining above, it made different shadows on the lake, which made it look like it was the shadows of some giants. The simplicity and complexity of things captured me. I remember hearing people talk about such exquisite things, which sounded like they were all lies but I had now discovered all these true lies. I was so in to the landscapes and captured by them that time went by fast.
As we approached the campsite, the mountain revealed the camp buildings. There were three four-floor buildings from which could be heard the shouting and talking and screaming and laughing of children. I quickly entered the one of the buildings as I was watching everyone around me stare at us, the new ones and whisper to one another. All of us, the new children, were directed to the head teacher’s office where he welcomed us, showed us around and finally showed us our rooms where we would be sleeping. I found myself in a reasonably large room with two double beds, a wardrobe, Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin posters hanged on the room walls.
I later on, went to the dining room where everyone was gathered. I looked around to see the children util I spotted one who seemed quite weird. He was wearing 70’s style clothes and a 70’s afro style haircut. He was reasonably short and was wearing extremely small shorts with a cut on either side, socks up to the knee, and a T-shirt with hardly any sleeves. I was sure he was my roommate since he was the only one who looked like he could listen to Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin. I was so sure that he was my roommate that I approached him and introduced myself. Lucky for me, he was indeed my roommate.
Later that night, I got to meet him better and through him I managed to meet other people in the camp, but it was obvious that he was the guy I was going to stick around with. As the days passed I got to know the camp and the campers better and slowly slowly I was getting to know my roommate better. It came clear to me that he was American from Texas or somewhere around there since his accent was very obvious. I was sure that I was going to go along well with my roommate since we both were very dearing and we more or less had same ideas and same way of thought.
Time passed fast and I had not even called my parents since I was having such a good time. We woke up one morning and we were told that that day we were going to go hiking on the Alps. We had a choice between a big, medium, and small hike. My friend and I unanimously decided that we were going to go for the big hike despite all the danger it had. We later on learnt that it was a two hour drive to the mountain, a two hour walk to the refuge up on the mountain, and that the next day a ten hour walk up tot the top of the mountain, but I was sure to have a good time although I was up for a big challenge. The ride to the mountain was indeed long.
Luckily the scenery made the journey as fun as possible. Waterfalls, steep mountainsides, snow-capped mountains made me waste two films from my camera and if it continued this beautiful I was bound to soon run out of film. Luckily we reached the end of the road were we were to get off the buses and walk the rest of the way to the refuge. The temperature was low and if it wasn’t for the exquisite scenery to warm me up I was for sure going to freeze to death. We were then given rucksacks, special waterproof boots, belts, ropes and hooks so that the next day, while going up the mountain we would rope up each other.
The walk to the refuge turned out to be more fun than I could possibly imagine. Talking to the different people around me made time pass by quickly. At last, the refuge was in sight. Although it was still a very long way uphill through snow, we ran to get there as soon as possible. When we reached the refuge, which was surrounded by snow, I took off my gloves only to realize how cold it was. We had been warned that there would be other people staying there too, and that there was no electricity or fresh water. There were no toilets either which meant that we were going to have a problem…
As soon as we all got there and settled in, we were shown our rooms. There were in fact only two big rooms with lots of beds on every wall. There was no time to waist as the next day we were to wake up at five o’clock and start walking. The next day revealed all that real beauty of the mountain. As the sun was rising above the mountaintop, were getting ready to set off to manage to make the impossible, possible. We stringed each other and set off. As we walked up we eventually say our point of destination. We were very cautious since on either side o us there were gorges covered by snow and high cliffs.
We were stringed in such a way that if someone did fall in, the other two, the one in front and the one behind would be able to pull him out. I was right behind my American friend in the line so that we could talk to each other. We two tried to do everything the hard way just for fun. We were an hour away from the top and at the most dangerous point of the trek. On either side of us there were snow-capped gorges which meant that we could no see then. We all had to walk in a straight line, not to fall in the gorges. As soon as we could find an opportunity, my friend and I would play snow fight.
It was the ideal moment to play now, since we had stopped so that the teachers could explain how dangerous fooling around could be. We got out of the line and close to the gorges. Too close. My friend’s back was facing me and mine the rest of the children. At that point I warned him that we was too close to the gorge and that he should move away. He bend over to get snow when… the one moment he was standing there and the other I found myself trying to hand onto something and no be dragged in with him. I could here him scream from inside and his echo disappear in the distance.
I could hear his hopelessly trying to grab onto something but he couldn’t. The person behind him was doing just what I was doing, while the rest of the children and teachers were running towards up to help us out. I was luckily given a snow axe, which I managed to stab well in the snow. The other guy behind my friend managed to get himself up the same way and we then both tried to get my poor friend out of the black hole. I found it terribly hard to get him out since we could not reach is hands and therefore had to pull him out by the rope.
We finally after fifteen minutes of struggle managed to get him out of the hole and back on his feet. Even then he was still shouting and crying but, soon calmed down. When we both pulled ourselves together again, we noticed that everyone had formed a circle around us and were staring at us in an angry look. Luckily my friend was not hurt except for a scratch or too, but, life goes on. When we all got back into the line, we continued the uphill. The rest of the journey was not the same. I had this fear of not going too to the edge, but I still managed to admire the scenery.
Finally, after a ten-hour walk with a lot of in-between, we reached the top. The top was at four thousand metres and the view from there was magical. The sky was clear and therefore you could see all around. The feeling of being above everyone else and looking down at them was really unbelievable. We all sat there to admire the view, take a break and then we started our journey down. The journey down was neither as tiring nor as long. It was just two hours. We all tried to get down as fast as possible because it was getting darker.
We got back to the refuge very fast and we all took off our boots and went up to the rooms. There everyone was talking about the trek and they obviously could not help mention my friend and myself since we were the main topic of the day. I was glad the day was over and I was back on the bed safe in one piece. As I sat on my bed and the mountain top rose up high in front of me, I lay down to admire the sun setting on the top of the world. As the sun was setting in the west, behind the mountaintop, I saw the frosted yet soft snow change colour.
As the crimson snow fell asleep, the mystic shadow of the mountain turned and hid me underneath it, making me shiver to the bone. The sun slowly set in the Far West making the sky transform into a sapphire blanket, covering every living thing. In front of me, a sea of crimson snow surrendering to the superiority of the magical sunset; on the right the shadow of the refuge disturbing Mother Nature quietly metamorphosing into something unbelievable; and on top, the white feathers of an eagle soaring along the top of the world and into the sunset.
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