Monte Generoso

Switzerland is home to the beauty of the Swiss Alps — a site that mesmerizes many and captures the attention of those in its presence.

Living in the Steger Center in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland provides an unforgettable opportunity to stare out of any window and adore a picturesque background that almost seems unreal.

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The mountains are positioned in authority, demanding the attention of everyone who can see them. This naturally evokes the curiosity of viewers who wonder what the view from the top looks like.

Fortunately, interested parties can journey up Monte Generoso, a mountain of the Lugano prealps that divides Switzerland and Italy, via train from the Capolago-Riva San Vitale station.

During my stay, I traveled with my study abroad group and had the experience of a lifetime. As travelers board the train, they will sit in a car and ascend up the mountain with the view of Riva and the surrounding areas shrinking below them. The once large buildings that towered over people at the foothills of the mountain will appear to mesh in with the villages and become indistinguishable.

Once the train stops at Fiore di Pietra, “the new landmark of Monte Generoso,” travelers can disembark and choose to take a break before hiking the rest of the mountain.

Those who choose to make the trip up Monte Generoso should take time to plan out their departure and return before their trip via the timetable. It is also best to purchase your ticket, bring a bottle of water, and a jacket. Those small steps to prepare for the experience will save you time, headache, and discomfort on your adventure.

Our journey to the top of Monte Generoso from Fiore di Pietra was at least an hour. The trail to the top is challenging and steep. My experience was different from my peers as it was my first time climbing a mountain.

Shortly after leaving Fiore di Pietra, we ran into cows who were grazing the land and enjoying their time on the side of the mountain. It almost appeared as if the cows were not paying us any mind as some of us took pictures, others touched them, and everyone stared in amazement. I’ve never seen a cow so unbothered and uninterested in someone who was invading their space.

As the peak of the mountain became clearer and closer with each step forward, I began to lose sight of the bottom. The weather was extremely cloudy that day and did not permit a clear view of Lake Como or Lake Lugano.

Fear sat into my heart less than 5 minutes from the peak when I realized that the only way to the top required me to walk a thin trail on the edge of the mountain. Every time I got up to trust myself and push past fear, I sat down. I thought to myself, “there is no way I’m going to walk on this little trail and fall to my death on this mountain while I’m thirsty and cold.”

Just in case you did not know, the air gets thinner, and the temperature falls the higher you travel. It also rained periodically as we approached an elevation of 5,581 feet. This is why a water bottle and a jacket will save you on your adventure.

I eventually overcame my fear with the help of two friends who were battling the same trepidation. We traveled the remaining distance together and conquered a feat that allowed me to view the world in a totally different way.

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Although we were not able to see the beautiful view from the top as we had hoped, we made memories, enjoyed each others’ company, and met other travelers at the top.

Johann Kempfle, a native of Germany, traveled up Monte Generoso hoping to see the beautiful views of the two countries. When we unexpectedly met at the top, we took a few moments to chat via an interview.

Kempfle described his time up the mountain as “good, it was a great ride up.” He rode his bike most of the way up the mountain during one of his many adventures that took place during his first week-long stay in Switzerland.

Monte Generoso is a challenge for anyone, especially those who choose to bring a bike along. Kempfle had to exert extra effort; “On the stony and steep parts of the mountain, I had to push the bike.” However, this wasn’t his first time climbing a mountain with a bike. He’s climbed a mountain at Lake Como and has plans to climb many more.

As an individual who enjoys increasing the challenge of climbing with his bike, “one of the goals [he] want[s] to achieve is the downhill.” Kempfle’s determination inspired me to travel to new places and always look for an unfamiliar adventure. I hope you do the same.

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