1693. Swiss Countryside

Sufers Travel Blog

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Dusk is setting in as the Traveler heads east through the idyllic Swiss countryside. Of course, as all throughout this country, there's a hiking/biking trail away from the road. The Traveler will never have to walk along a busy road here in this country.

As he walks past sloping green field and forest, suddenly he sees a lone beautiful girl, maybe in her teens, running towards him. She smiles and greets him "Gruezi!" He nods and greets her back. Then she is gone.

This fleeting encounter on a path in Switzerland will always stick in the Traveler's memory. The sight of a beautiful young woman jogging alone at dusk in the middle of the forest, who shows no fear or discomfort at encountering a strange lone man is something he's not used to seeing.

In much of the world women are taught from a young age that they are in danger if they are alone. And if they encounter a strange man while they are alone, they should be on high alert.

But that doesn't seem to be the case here in these isolate Swiss Alpine valleys. People don't seem to worry about "bad people" that might do them harm. The thought that some horrible person might kill, rob or rape you is just not something they think about as they live their lives and enjoy the beauty of their country. Even when a guy is an obvious outsider, it doesn't trigger any alerts.

What is it about this culture and environment that allows people to live without fear? The Traveler is determined to find out.

The forest ends, and there's a field, a lake and a little village, Sufers waiting to be discovered.

A perfect finish to an amazing day.

Like Splugen, Sufers has large, expandable houses, beautifully painted and often with flowers hanging from the balconies. This is not something done for tourists, it's just the way people live here. He also notices that houses in the center of the village often have a big barn next to it—a reminder that probably most people here, even in the village were farmers—and perhaps still are.

The Traveler continues on into the darkness. Soon he will need to find a place to camp out. Luckily it seems that the weather is not going to be as cold at night as it was on the Italian side. Perhaps having a mountain range to the north and the south (rather than on the east and west) helps block the flow of cold air...

But as he trudges through the woods, looking for a good camp spot, suddenly he sees something that seems straight out of science fiction.

In an opening among the trees, is a cliff. And in the side of the cliff is a square. It's too perfect to be natural, but it still seems to be part of the cliff. He goes for a closer look.

Is it? Yes... it is! It's a secret entrance into the mountain! Large enough for a military vehicle to fit through, its a camouflaged gate into the mountain. The gate actually has 4 concrete frames, each withing the other, and chains hanging above it. But, unlike the Gate of Moria to Middle Earth, you don't use a magic word to open this door, there is a pulley and chain that is turned to open this gate and enter the underworld.

Suddenly the Traveler is reminded of another side to Switzerland. It's not just a very peaceful country where girls care go jogging at night without fear... it's also country ready to defend itself if necessary from military forces far greater than its own.

And it used its rugged terrain to it's advantage.

The gateway looks like it might have been built in early or mid 20th century. Back then, when the most ambitious armies of Europe set out to take over the entire continent, Switzerland managed to avoid being invaded by playing its cards very cleverly. But had these tactics failed, it seems the Swiss were ready to face far greater foes militarily—and probably still are.

Deep inside these mountains, there's a very different side of Switzerland, invisible to the outside world.

Nearby, the Traveler finds a open grassy area to set up camp for the night... wondering what other mysteries there were hidden around him.

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Sufers
photo by: nathanphil