By Jeanne Darling, Bergli author
Monster Book author Jeanne Darling went on a trip to look for the monsters in her book. Here is her travelogue.
My lovely husband decided to humor me and joined on my quest to find some monsters this summer. On Day 1, we visited the Caves of Vallorbe – well hidden in a huge rock cliff. The lovely gurgling stream which flows from it is actually the mighty river Orbe which created the underground caverns.
A small tunnel, carved by man, led us through the cliff wall and into another world. Indescribable – go visit. At the end of our walk through, we found the fairy guarding her treasure of jewels.
We were so dazzled, we left without checking her feet. But at least I now know that moon milk is real – and abundantly available for passing dragons.
Day 2 took us to the Devil’s Bridge. We cruised past Mt. Pilatus but it was probably too hot for any dragons to venture forth. We passed below the Rütli fields but left the hike upward to more stalwart souls.
We hopped a bus through Altdorf where William Tell lives on. The bus ride was an amusement car ride with crazy hair pin turns climbing to Göschenen. We went past the Devil’s Stone – but I was so enamored (or terrified) that I forgot to snap a picture. From Göschenen, we took a cogwheel train up to Andermatt.
And there, we finally found my bucket list destiny: the Devil’s Bridge! It took some searching, lots of scrambling up and down pebbly paths and crossing through a low tunnel, dripping wet, with the deafening roar of raging water in our ears. But we finally emerged straight onto the bridge spanning the infamous gorge.
The old lady (me) immediately scrambled across, reciting “Fiddle Dee Dee – be bold but not foolish.”
I can now die happy.
Before leaving we scoured the cliff side full of caves, but there were no devils in sight. Rats.
On Day 3 we set off for the Great St. Bernard Pass. The Hospice St. Bernard is a most welcoming place – even today – in a very unwelcoming environment. The wind really and truly moans - just like a ghost!
This is Alpine Tundra land with a great view of the glacier zone. The Hospice was filled with trekkers – the real thing – deep tans, muscular legs. I felt guilty eating a croissant for breakfast in front of them. We took a far less ambitious stroll around the lake to Italy, and then supped at the Hospice, family style – good food, good cheer.
St. Bernards are completely adorable and soft as silk – and great guard dogs. We know – we slept above their kennel. Barking and howling erupted at 3:00am when a group of inebriated teenagers passed by. But without that rude awakening, I would never have seen the full moon shining in through my window perfectly perched between two mountain peaks. Wait, was that a shadow of wings? A dragon? I blinked and it was gone. Sigh.
Next day, I insisted that we sit at the very front of the bus for the ride back down. Another roller coaster ride as I gasped in terror at every turn in the narrow mountain road. When we finally “landed” I gushed my compliments to the bus driver. He clearly thought I was a bit batty – and with reason.
After all, who else spends their summer in search of monsters?