Nearly six months have passed since my summer travels. I regret not completing my blog post about the places I visited while I was actually still in Europe. I wish everything was still fresh on my mind, though I do have many photographs to jog my memory. Since being back in Texas, I have reflected most on our time spend in Switzerland.
After Dublin, Ireland (which was detailed in my last post), my friend (Emily Hannon), my fiancé (Jasper), and I flew to Geneva, Switzerland. Upon landing, we rented a car and drove to the small village of Huémoz. My oh my, the view was just breathtaking as we drove through the mountains. Huémoz was quite small and tricky to navigate, due to it resting on the mountainside and the roads being awfully narrow and winding. I cannot stress how small of a village Huémoz was. Bellow is a photograph I captured of Huémoz one early morning when hiking.
The community we stayed with during our time there, L’Abri (www.labri.org/swiss), was the heart of the village. I heard about L’Abri through an old friend of mine, Bethany, who actually lived there for about a year or so.
Never had I experienced such rest, serenity, and acceptance as I did there. L’Abri is a fellowship, which is difficult to explain or even put into words. It is a safe place for individuals in all walks of life who have questions they want answered, or maybe who are struggling and need a place to focus on healing, or perhaps just are seeking a few days of rest. Although founded on Christian beliefs, the community we interacted with there was a tapestry of stories and truths, unique to each person. It was a pleasure to meet people from around the world and learn about their experiences and what led them to L’Abri. Some, like us, visited for a few nights, while others had stayed for a few months or even a year. Everyone though, participated.
L’Abri is structured a bit like the coops’s here in the states. It is very affordable to stay there, and in return for the cost being so low, everyone pitches in with the cleaning and cooking daily. Those who pay to stay at L’Abri are referred to as “students” of the community. There are also “helpers” who stay for a term or a year and choose to assist in keeping the place operating. Half a student’s day is spent cooking or cleaning, and the other is spent studying or meditating/reflecting. The L’Abri in Switzerland is comprised of two main houses; Chalet Bellevue and Farel House. Chalet Bellevue is where students lived, and Farel House is the library where we’d go during study/down time.
One of my favorite task was cooking. Shocking for me to say that, because back here in the states I rarely cook. Although, there was something special about cooking alongside friends, and preparing a meal for the community of us all to sit and share together. When Katrina (one of the helpers) decided to teach me how to make bread I was thrilled. It was such a warming experience. I selected a braided swiss bread recipe for that meal and it turned out great.
The mornings there at L’Abri were my favorite part of the day. The sun rose so perfectly up from behind the mountains, and the air was so still and fresh. Oh what I would give to be back there, sitting on the front porch with a cup of hot tea and the morning sunrise.
We stayed at L’Abri for three nights, then, as recommend by some friends we made during our stay, we decided to head to Interlaken, Switzerland for our next adventure. For now I will end here, and hopefully soon will post about Interlaken and all of the hiking we did.