We woke up with a simple question: how do you celebrate July 4th while not surrounded by parades, fireworks and American-flag clad patriots? This July 4th would be like no other, as we celebrated America while gallivanting around Switzerland.

We started the day in Lauterbrunnen, a small town they call the Shangri-La of Switzerland for its sheer beauty and abundance of waterfalls. However, since our arrival, cloudy skies had covered the towering peaks of the Eiger (the North Face mountain) and the Jungfrau. Yet, ever a sign of the power of America, the weather came around and gave us clear skies for our day of celebration.

Morning view of Lauterbrunnen

So what did we decide to do with our day? We brought America to the top of Europe. That is, we took the famous Jungfraujoch train up to (what they claim) is the highest point in Europe. It is the base for many snow hikes around the Eiger and provides a glimpse into a glacier paradise. In the picture below, if you see that tiny-seeming building between the peaks–that is the Jungfraujoch station.

Far-off Jungfraujoch station

We happened upon an American flag near the train station and decided it was the perfect accessory for the day — it also proved to make us very popular at the top of the mountain, as every American wanted their picture taken with the flag. It was a communal effort, acting like we were proudly hoisting the flag after conquering the mountain. In reality, we had all boarded the luxury express to a tourist parkway…but that’s neither here nor there (and not how I will choose to remember it).

Us, the flag and the Eiger

We cheered and toasted America with hot chocolate before heading back down the mountain, then headed off to Zermatt to cap our five-day, five-city express tour of Switzerland.

We head to Spain next to conquer the bulls, and then it’s back home to the United States. And, boy, can we say: as much as we’ve loved Europe, we are proud to be American.