The last night of my two-week trip to Europe was the best one. But it didn’t start out that way.
I was staying in an Airbnb in Roggwil, a 1,910-acre village in the rolling hills of Switzerland that’s about an hour west of Zurich by train. I selected this Airbnb rather than booking accommodations in the city to save some money.
I thought Roggwil was a quiet, modest village with friendly families and a stunning mountain backdrop. When I crossed paths with people, I noticed they smiled — something I’m not used to seeing too much living in New York City — and little kids waved at me at the train station.
And though there isn’t as much there to do as there is in a city, the village has some restaurants, a library, a swimming pool, and a go-kart race track, according to its website. I didn’t get time to visit these, but I still enjoyed staying in the area and found it was a good base outside of Zurich.
The area also appealed to me as a place that offered unique accommodation. Not only was my Airbnb cheaper than options in Zurich; it was also much more interesting.
For $200 a night, I slept in a wine barrel that was converted into a tiny home on a garden property steps away from the train station. From the garden, I had a sparkling view of the night sky. I doubt that I would have found a similar stay in Zurich.
On my final night, I thought I’d enjoy a view of the night sky with dinner cooked on the firepit that came with my Airbnb.
I planned to stop by the town’s grocery store on the way home from Zurich and grill some sausages, or “wurst.”
But on my way back to Roggwil, my plan fell apart. I was three stops from the village when I searched Google and found that the store I was heading to had closed.
With no alternate plan, I grabbed my partner’s hand and ran off the train to find somewhere else to buy dinner. After scanning the internet, I found only one open store — a gas station that was a 25-minute walk away.
“Whatever they have, we’ll be grateful for it,” I said to my partner as we began our journey.
The route led us through some woods, and, as the sun began to set, the path opened up to a wide-open field lined with houses and mountains behind them. I stopped in my tracks. The scene was so picturesque, and finding it by accident made me feel like I was in a fairy tale.
It was the most striking sight of my two-week adventure through four countries. I couldn’t help thinking: If I hadn’t booked that specific Airbnb, I never would have seen it.
About a mile later on our walk, I was thrilled to find that the gas station had a small grocery store inside selling sausages, hard rolls, and pickles — everything we wanted for our fireside dinner.
As we cooked, ate, and looked up at the stars that we wouldn’t have seen from the city, I reflected on my trip and decided that booking a stay in Roggwil was the best decision I’d made.