Day 1: Wave 2
Finally you are on the ground riding a train and the seating is really nice. Lot’s of space for your legs, more than you’ve had for the last 12 hours. Thank God the woman at the train platform spoke some decent English otherwise you’d still be wondering about at the station. Only really knowing your final destination and the general necessity for a train and bus to get there, you’d been a bit unhelpful to the woman at the train ticket counter. Anyways, here you are calmly gazing out of the window, not really seeing as you listen to the sounds of voices engaged in incomprehensible conversations, and as the train attendant punches your ticket she smiles gently and introduces to you the fact that this is not 2nd class. For a moment you stare, stumbling over her implication, until you realize in simultaneous movement of your pack and body, that you are in the wrong section.
Second class. More people, more seats, more noise. But you don’t mind because it’s what you are use to. You’re pack sits on the seat next to you because you need your space even though you wish so much for a conversation. But you remain silent, not knowing a lick of French nor wishing to get mixed up in the stereotype of ignorant, under-bred (obnoxious) American foreigner.
A good looking man sits to your left, across the isle, and you glance every once in a while in his direction, but he remains watching the Swiss mountains that pass constantly outside his window. Your own eyes grow tired as you slump against your pack and passionately lust after sleep. You’ve been traveling almost 16 hours now and exhaustion has annulled all functions, including hunger.
By the time you reach your bus stop the town is empty. Only two aging women sit across from you with their grocery bags and gobble to each other in french. It appears to be a very small town, they look at you and you stare back. You don’t really know if this is the right bus stop, but some old man in a flannel button down and suspenders guided you by the shoulders to this one when you muttered, “Huemoz?” in a terrible accent.
The sun is setting as the bus ascends the mountain, quaint villages disappearing beneath you. Feeling the incline and watching the distance pass by, you laugh at your naive notions that you’d have had enough fortitude to hike up this mountain after a full day of travel. Realizing that you can overestimate your adventurousness causes a momentary disquiet. You get off the bus at the wrong stop, a woman speaks to you in french because you look about dazed. Both of you interchange awkwardly, speaking to the other as if they have a clue as to what you are saying. But the same things keep getting repeated. back at each other and you are unsure if maybe you should just run away. Then you catch, through her very thick accent, the word L’Abri, realizing that you simply have been mispronouncing it with that all too articulate English of yours. You take note, must learn to speak with a congested throat sound. Pushed back onto the idling bus you take your seat and ride it with embarrassment to the next stop where an end of driveway sign blatantly posted at the road screams “L’ABRI”. Wow, couldn’t have missed it if you’d tried. Another note: Be patient and relax everything will eventually reveal itself.
To be continued…