Destination: Aare Gorge, Meiringen, Switzerland
When visiting Switzerland, the Alps are definitely one of the must-see-destinations. But what do you know… they are high. And they are steep. And the roads are mostly narrow serpentines. And what if you suffer acrophobia, or the fear of heights with common language? And what if there’s more..? What if you are also slightly claustrophobic, on top of the other? Well, fears are fears. There’s no underestimating the power of a fear. It is a feeling that cannot be reasoned away, no matter how hard one might try.
Some time ago, I had some very special guests from my original home country. Two awesome ladies, with whom we go way back together. I was so excited to get to spend some time with these two in my new home country. Only there was this problem of acrophobia AND claustrophobia. Because of these SLIGHT limitations I spent some looong hours trying to figure out where I could go with them, knowing that the other one was SUFFERING severe case of both phobias. Honestly, I thought I could RELATE, since I come from a real flatlands myself, and I remember the first time driving a serpentine… I was absolutely sure we’ll fall down and die. Yeah, sure, laugh at me if you must. But I come from flatlands. I promise you, you cannot even IMAGINE how flat the earth can actually be at times. Anyway, after driving some more serpentines I actually got USED to it. I am afraid my friend will not. Ever. So there I was, just about to find out I could actually NOT relate at all.
Anyway, given the circumstances, all the gondolas and mountaintops were out of question. After pondering long and hard, I ended up taking them to Aare gorge (Aareslucht), knowing it is a stunning place with stunning views. It honestly feels like walking through another world! And since it is one of my favorite places to visit, I wanted to show it to my special people… also, I was thinking it is not too high, because you kind of walk almost on the bottom of the gorge. AND I was thinking it is not THAT narrow so claustrophobia won’t count. Only I didn’t realize to think that there’s water under you and that might be a problem. AND there are some narrow caves you have to walk through. AND you only see a little glimpse of sky if you look directly up. AND from time to time you are walking on some shaky steps that were bolted directly to the rock. AND… AND… you get the picture.
So off we went, and it was only right there after we’d entered the gorge, when I realized it might be too much after all. Because her eyes looked a BIT wild. And she was SHAKING. But this courageous friend of mine proved to be TOUGHER than her fears. With legs that probably felt like seriously overcooked pasta she walked through the whole 1, 4 kilometer gorge. And I know she didn’t just walk the whole way with her eyes closed. No, she stopped to really LOOK around. She took SEVERAL pictures and videos. I know she was horrified at times, I could see that very clearly. And me? I was sure she’ll faint and we’ll have to carry her out of there. While walking beside her I was pondering what to do if she’d really freak out, and found no answers. But… no one freaked out. No one fell down. No one fainted. And no one died… Instead, she made it! (We all did.) And what did she say… thanks to the friends walking side by side, and thanks to the breathtaking beauty of nature! I was so proud of her.
But looking the other side of it, I realized I know nothing about real phobias. Ok, well, maybe a glimpse. Since I come from flatlands… eh? :) However, I just might let her choose the destinations next time… Don’t want any heart attacks around here.
Some more ideas what to do in Meiringen Area
(most of them are especially fit for you if you like hiking…):