Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Brief Encounters

Atop Schilthorn

Our recent trip to Switzerland brought us many new contacts that, though brief, enhanced our travel experience, taught us new things, and reminded us that we are citizens of the world.

Soon after we arrived in the Alpine resort of Murren, two other women from the U.S. showed up at Chalet Fontana, where we were booked for three nights. Teri from Minnesota and Trudy from Iowa were old college friends who were spending a week in Switzerland. We struck up a conversation that led to a snowy hike down to Gimmelwald and lunch together. Eager to learn what we’d seen and done in the area, we visited over drinks and dinner on the second evening. 

Dinner at a nearby hotel with Teri and Trudy

Getting tips and recommendations is a fascinating benefit when there’s an opportunity for chatting with fellow travelers. An Aussie couple from Sidney had also booked at Chalet Fontana. He had graduated from University of Sidney, and she had her student teaching to complete. They gave us information about, and we would use it later in our trip when we booked lodging in Montreux.

Alex, a young man on the train from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen, introduced us to Trammelbach Falle. He asked if we knew of it and how long it would take to walk to it from the train station. We didn’t, but later that day our guest house owner told us about it and gave us a discount coupon for this marvelous natural attraction.

Denise, the English woman who owns Chalet Fontana came to Murren to work at a ski resort. She hadn’t planned on staying, but that was 30 years ago. For a number of years, she’s run her own guest house, providing an ideal setting for comfort and connection. She had a wealth of information about the area and hiking trails, and it was fun to get to know her at breakfast time.

Coming down from Schilthorn on the cable car, Judy struck up a conversation with a woman who was on a family trip. We learned that she and her husband had been farmers who moved to Toronto when they could not afford to expand their land holdings in Switzerland. They come back regularly to visit family. We could really appreciate her first-hand account of their farming days since we’d hiked among the valley pastures and cows the day before on our way to Trammelbach Falle.

Lauterbrunnen Valley from the mountain at Trammelbach

We met Rosemarie at our guesthouse/hostel in Vevey. For a couple of nights she fascinated us as we observed her in the common room, laughing and interacting with television programs. On the third night, we sat together at a large table and began to visit, sharing our experiences in the region. She, too, loved to hike and was fascinated by the surrounding vineyards and castles. 

Rosemarie from Germany
Rosemarie was vacationing alone, having traveled by train from her home in Germany. A retired nurse, she found that she could spend much less for lodging by staying in hostels and could then afford to travel to interesting places for longer periods of time. Another thing we had in common with her. The morning we were all ready to check out, we visited over breakfast before she headed for home (a nine-hour train trip) and we just moved to the next town on Lake Geneva.

Though brief, these encounters gave us a glimpse into people’s lives and cultures, created connections, and enhanced our travels. And for that, we are grateful.

~ xoA ~


  1. You had a great trip! Having the opportunity to interact with folks along the way does enrich the experience.

    1. As you know so well! You were probably chatting up the people at the very same time on your great trip. xoA

  2. I so love your travelogues, Annis! Aren't brief encounters just the best? But you have to be open to allowing them and you and Judy are champs at that!

    1. Thanks, Bobbi. We really enjoy meeting new folks, discovering our similarities and differences with them, and learning. As you know, it's quite an education. xoA