After a day of exploring Lucerne, I was ready to conquer the mountains I'd been gazing at from my hotel window. A 20-minute train ride took us to the base of the Stanserhorn, where I boarded a small tram to the summit. The slow and curvy climb gave views of jagged rocky cliffs and melting expanses of snow dotted with freshly blooming flowers and sunshine.
Although the view up the mountain was amazing, I wasn't prepared for the spectacular scene that awaited me at the summit. Panoramic doesn't even begin to describe it. From Sanserhorn you can see not only the magnificent alpine range, but 10 Swiss lakes and more valleys than you can count. The sound of cowbells echoed through the valleys and drifted upwards to mingle with the sound of tall pine branches swaying in the breeze. It's enough to lull the most stressed-out person into a comatose state.
Shaking off the urge to find a hammock and take a nap, I headed off for a brisk 30-minute hike around the summit before lunch. I saw hang-gliders and parasailers soar past me, and even tried some alpine horn blowing--it's harder than it looks! My mountaintop adventure ended with an incredible lunch at a revolving restaurant with an ever-changing Alpine view.
As I descended the mountain, I noticed all sorts of small farms and pastures full of gently grazing cows, and remembered something interesting a friend once told me: that if you lie down in a cow pasture the cows become curious and will walk over to you.
I wasn't convinced. I had to check this fact out for myself.
I found a nearby pasture and slowly walked to its center. The cows stopped grazing just long enough to look at me wearily. I found a cow-patty-free patch of grass and lay down on my back among the sweet-smelling wildflowers. I was happy to be relaxing in the warm sun in such a beautiful place when the sound of an approaching cowbell caught my attention. I cautiously lifted my head to see a large cow sniffing my body. Not surprisingly, they appear even bigger when you're lying on the ground near their hooves!
It was at this point that I paid attention to the largest difference between these cows and the ones I'd seen in the fields back home: horns. BIG horns.
Images of running with the bulls came to mind as I contemplated my escape plan. Fortunately, the large cow quickly became bored of me and wandered off to a more interesting area of the pasture. So I retreated back to the safety of my friends and relayed my newfound discovery.