Lost and Found: A Different Kind of “Swiss Quality”

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Run the Alps note: Last summer, the Run the Alps crew spent much of the summer busily researching trail running ideas and writing up descriptions. Along the way… things happen. Here’s one story from Jim Maddock, that we enjoyed and wanted to share. 

All travelers have, at some point, experienced the “oh #%^*!” moment associated with leaving something behind, somewhere.  Whether it be as unimportant as a toothbrush abandoned in a hotel bathroom, as devastating as a laptop forgotten in an airport security bin, or as frustrating as a jacket left on a long-distance bus, we’ve all done it.  Sometimes abandoned items come back to us – I somehow recovered both the jacket and the laptop – and sometimes they don’t.  But regardless, the trip goes on.

This time it was my only pair of Solomon trail running shoes.  I’m not particularly emotionally attached to them – I’ve owned four identical pairs in the past couple of years – but given that I was in Switzerland for the sole purpose of trail running, their absence was problematic to say the least.  As I lay in bed that night I thought about my options.  Hopefully I could recover them from wherever I had forgotten them; if not I’d have to spend a small fortune to buy replacements.

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Jim and Doug, catching up on work at the popular Airtime Cafe in Lauterbrunnen.

After breakfast at the Alpenhof Stechelberg I took the Postbus back down the valley to Lauterbrunnen.  I had spent the day before writing route descriptions in the town’s small cafe, so I was almost positive I’d left them under the table where I’d been working.

But, of course, they weren’t there.  The barrista hadn’t seen them when he’d closed the night before.  I then wandered to Die Post, hoping the local post office had a lost and found, but it was Sunday, and they were closed.  Out of ideas, I walked back toward the Postbus that would take me back to the Alpenhof, thinking I could at least ask the driver.

Jim Maddock… not, thankfully, running barefoot.

Jim Maddock… not, thankfully, running barefoot.

There’s nothing quite like finding a lost item when you’ve already given it up.  Sitting next to the bus stop were my little red trail runners, neatly arranged and waiting, as one could only hope for in Switzerland.  Had I been in South America they would have been re-purposed for someone else’s enjoyment; in the United States thrown away or shuffled into some corner.  But clearly someone had expected I’d be back.  They’d known, after I’d forgotten them on the bus in the little Berner Oberland Alp village of Lauterbrunnen, that hours later I’d be retracing my steps, looking for those lost shoes.

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