I should’ve known how quickly a sunny afternoon can turn into a chilling evening in these old towns of Switzerland. I had just finished my stroll through the streets of Aarau to the overlooking point of Alpenzeiger when it started to rain. It wasn’t anything heavy; just a sprinkle really.
I had heard of a museum nearby and figured the rain would pass soon, so I took a short tram ride to the outskirts of Aarau. There, through the fog, stands the “hexenmuseum,” or the Museum of Witchcraft, peeking out from above the forest covered hillside. This seemed like a perfect place to get my Halloween fix this October.
The rain has stopped, so I cross the highway and walk up the road until a trail leading across the field and into the woods is visible.
The walk turns into an hour long hike up into the forest. The rain has started again, harder this time.
I nearly walk right into the large stone wall of the medieval building. I creep along the thin trail between the wall and the steep slope of the hillside, keeping cautious of the slick mud.
I round the building and find the parking lot (so I could’ve just continued to walk along the road and saved myself a lot of trouble) and find what I assume is the front door. It’s still pouring, and I come to find that the door is locked. The museum is closed, and my phone is dead. Just my luck.
I knock anyway because I just need a place to stay until the rain stops. No one is home, but I decide to walk around the grounds anyway. The building is bewitchingly beautiful. The rain and fog give it even more of an ominous effect.
I find stairs that lead up to somewhat of a terrace. It overlooks the courtyard inside the exterior walls. The place almost looks like it was abandoned hundreds of years ago based on the architecture and its eerie aura.
As I continue to explore the area, I find what looks to be a witches’ circle: three large rings made of stone, one within the other. It is at this point; I decide to leave the premises as quickly as possible. I’ve seen enough horror films to know not to step within the circles.
It takes me another half an hour to get back to the train station as I’m trekking through woods, fields of cows, backyards and alleyways.
I look like a drowned rat and I can’t wait to get back to my dorm and take a warm shower. Even shivering cold and almost two hours away from my bed (since I took the wrong train and went the opposite direction), I am still smiling from my spooky little adventure. I didn’t get into the museum, but the cool October fog made my experience wonderfully witchy.
Happy Halloween from the witches of Switzerland and me,