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  • Writer's pictureAdventures with Jim

Adventures in the Swiss Mountains

I can remember an adventure that Jim and I had when I was 15 years old. We were traveling in Europe with our maternal grandparents, Oma and Opa. We had spent time in Mönchengladbach, Germany with relatives. Mönchengladbach is where Oma grew up. Fortunately there were several "cousins" our age that understood English pretty well. Jim and I understood German well enough that we got along well. To this day I remember a word I learned there - schildkröte. It's funny how a single word can stand the test of time. I will always know how to say turtle in German. After spending some time with relatives we took a tour of parts of Europe hitting some of the touristy spots like Zugspitze and Innsbruck, Switzerland. One of the places we stopped for the night had a train track on the opposite side of the road from where we were staying. Jim and I crossed the curved road, the tracks following the curve of the road. We stayed there for a bit when we heard a train approaching. We were able to look straight down the tracks with the curve of the track bending to our left. So the tracks were curving to our left and the curve started just a little down the tracks from where we were giving us a straight on view of the approaching train. Evening was approaching so the sky was darkening and the headlight of the train looked to be headed straight for us. I was so tempted to bolt away from the train, but with Jim staying right where he was, I didn't move. What a rush! That train passed us just a few feet from us and was loud! What could be better than that?

Maybe a hike up the mountain behind us at the next place we stayed? You bet. Jim and I got permission to go hiking up the mountain. I remember the beautiful woods we hiked through, the green grass of the meadows and the beautiful clear creek that cascaded along part of our walk. Being thirsty, we drank from that creek and tasted some of the best water I had ever had. We finished our walk and had dinner with the grandparents and went to bed only to wake up with awful stomach cramps. Both of us proceeded to empty our stomachs to our embarrassment. Fortunately the next morning we both woke feeling fine. ~Tom Kaufeld

Jim and Tom and their relatives in Mönchengladbach

Jim and Tom (back row), and their relatives in Mönchengladbach

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