Years ago, Chuck and I had an opportunity to visit our son while he was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany. The three of us took a trip down into Switzerland and hiked around a village called Gimmelwald. The village was high upon a cliff, and we got there by loading our luggage into a lift which rose 1,500 feet from the floor of the valley. Rick Steves suggested this area.
Gimmelwald then was a tiny farming village of approximately 130 residents. The year was 1999, and I was a young 45 years old. The quaint village had traditional log cabin architecture, no cars, no television, and lots of blond-haired children and livestock. The lift was also used by bungy jumpers, and we watched one jump over 500′. I remember thinking 100′ or 500′, what is the difference? You would be just as dead if it broke.
For the next several days we hiked from village to village and sometimes we caught the train to places higher so we could hike back down. We were especially awed by the scenic views, the pastures, the mountains, and valley. I felt like twirling around and breaking out in a song–something like “The hills are alive….”.
Sometimes we would hear a crack and get to watch an avalanche in the far distance on the other side of the valley. We crossed meadows and pastures. We were told that in Switzerland the pedestrian has the right of way even through private property. You’re allowed to cross any pasture or any fence, and we did.
So this past weekend while I was in Atlanta, I saw this preview of the movie “Youth”. Michael Caine, who plays a composer, sits and conducts the cattle with their bells to a melody that only he hears.
This scene reminded me of one afternoon while we were hiking near Gimmelwald. Chuck, Jeff and I followed this trail to the next village and hiked even higher when all of a sudden we heard what sounded like hundreds of tinkling chimes. There was a breeze, and we weren’t exactly sure from where the sound came.
We looked all around for the source, but all we could see down in the distance was one lonely log cabin and a barn. There appeared to be no chimes, so we hiked farther finally walking over a hill and up to a meadow where there were dozens of cattle. Each had a bell around its neck, and then we knew from where the sounds had come.
The sounds floated through the cool mountain air, and the moment was magical.
My friend Sylvia Alderman and her husband hiked in Galacia, Spain last September and heard the same sounds. She videoed the experience. It is linked below.
I think I will like the movie “Youth”.