The modern scrapbook: Follow the adventures of an American girl, living in Switzerland for almost three years, and her wild Swiss friends in her quest for the quintessential Swiss experience (and a few American ones).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ski legs and religious experiences

Each winter, my group takes off for a long ski weekend in a town called Taufers (Tubre in Italian), directly across the Swiss border in South Tyrol, Italy. Per strictly-followed protocol (i.e. tradition), we left Thursday afternoon to drive to Taufers. The drive took us past the Churfürsten Mountains and the Walensee, under the Flüelapass with the Vereina Tunnel (a rail-only tunnel with half-hourly trains to shuttle cars through the tunnel), and onwards to the windy roads over the Ofenpass. We got to Taufers just in time for dinner, followed by Williams (pear brandy).

Since I have not been skiing since birth, like most of my colleagues, I had to talk D into skiing with me the first run, until I felt comfortable. Yet instead she was nice enough to ski with me the whole two days. The weather was gorgeous, the snow great, and I had a great time.

Despite the amazing skiing, the highlight of the trip had to be the early morning (6:30 am) mass at the nearby Benedictine Monastery Marienberg, a UNESCO world heritage site. Being neither religiously inclined nor a morning person this was quite the personal challenge, but proved to be entirely worth it. After a relatively short mass (with the altar server strangely dressed in a black monk's cloak), the abbot of the monastery met us to give us a quick tour of the monastery. He brought us to his meeting room, where he told us about the lives of the 12 monks in the monastery, whose primary job is the upkeep of the historical monastery. His explanation was complete with large diagrams of how the monks spent their daily lives, and he loved telling us all the details about the beliefs of the Benedictines. He seemed especially impressed that a Chinese guy was at his monastery--you go the impression he hadn't left his monastery too much in the 55 years he had been there. We then got to take a quick look at the famous preserved frescos in the crypt, and you wouldn't believe how bright the colors were after 900 years. Then, after a quick breakfast, we were off to Züri again.


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