The Souvenir Files: My Edelweiss Legend

Maybe you have heard it called “the tear of the Snow Queen”. Perhaps, “the wool flower”. Possibly to you it is nothing but a song from The Sound of Music, or maybe you know it in a more formal sense as Leontopodium Alpinum. Most people know it as edelweiss, a flower that grows high in the alps with a deep folklore and mystic attitude. Legend has it that the Snow Queen rejected every suitor who was drawn to her palace save for one, and when that one was killed it turned her heart from ice and she cried a single tear. That tear landed on the most treacherous, unreachable part of the Alps and became edelweiss.

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Is this area treacherous enough to grow the elusive edelweiss?

Years later, Swiss maidens favored the flower and suitors used it as a way proving their sincerity. Men would risk their lives hiking to the highest peaks and wandering around steep cliff edges just to pick the perfect edelweiss to gift their perfect girl- if they survived the journey, as the flower only grew in the most dangerous of areas. This made the flower become a legend of romance, bravery, and devotion. Little did I know a pair of lost earrings would lead to my own little edelweiss.

Rather than hiking to our highest points in Switzerland, we took the cable car!

Rather than hiking to our highest points in Switzerland, we took the cable car- perhaps that’s why we didn’t find any edelweiss?

About a week before landing in Switzerland, I left a pair of earrings behind at a London hotel- the only pair of earrings I had brought with me on the trip. They were cheap and unimportant, as most of my earrings are. When we headed out of the rain and into a touristy sundry shop in a tiny mountainside Swiss town, Chris insisted on replacing my lost earrings. I didn’t understand why this was so important now, as we had visited tons of other shops in three different countries since I lost them and I hadn’t had any desire to replace them.  But then I saw the new pair he was holding out to me- two small flowers, pointy and white.

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My little edelweiss earrings.

Luckily Chris hadn’t had to scale any dangerous cliffs but I appreciated the sentiment just the same. During all of our hikes in the valley, we were on the lookout for it. We found many daises and other lovely flowers, but no edelweiss. So even though I didn’t find any real edelweiss to call my own, I can be reminded of that romantic edelweiss legend and all of those beautiful hikes when I put on my jewelry every morning.

Check out some of the flowers we saw below!

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6 thoughts on “The Souvenir Files: My Edelweiss Legend

  1. Beautiful story! Someone told me it’s endangered, so perhaps that’s why you didn’t see any. Apparently now you get a huge fine for picking it! But it would be lovely to see some.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Our Engagement: One Year Later | the files of a traveling daydreamer

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