Interlaken, Switzerland (9.20.09 – 9.24.09)

I arrived in Interlaken late on Sunday night, walked out of the station and attempted to follow the directions to the hostel. I wandered around and got myself fairly confused, so asked a man going for a night jog where I could find Hostel Falken. He directed me on my way, and shortly thereafter, I had arrived… to find the whole place looking quite dark. I walked inside to find reception closed, and right when I was wondering what the hell I was going to do, I noticed a piece of paper with my name on it… literally. “Welcome Elizabeth Miller,” it read, followed with instructions on how to find my room and information about breakfast. It sat atop bed sheets. I made my way to my room to set up my bed, and say hello to the internet. I spoke to Kristen, a girl who also sat in the common room, for a while… as we both spoke to people back home. All in all it was a rather uneventful night, but one that concluded with a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, I woke, dressed, and went downstairs for breakfast. I had nothing in particular in mind for the day, other than to wander around town, you know… the usual plan. I walked outside and instantly, my jaw dropped. Because I had arrived at night, I didn’t realize what the scenery surrounding me looked like… and seeing it in daylight, I was staggered (just wait for the pictures).
I had only booked two nights in Interlaken, and the plan was to go to Zurich next. However, upon actually seeing Interlaken, I knew that I had not planned to spend enough time there. So, I decided that Zurich can wait for another day, and that I would book two more nights in Interlaken. I continued to walk around town, and I have to say that it looks like something out a fairy tale. The houses are beautiful, quaint, and individual, each displaying colorful flowers in window boxes. This is the sort of town that you come to believe doesn’t exist anymore in anything other than old films… Interlaken cast its spell over me. I’m in love.
By noon, I was feeling hungry, so I sat down at a restaurant and had cheese fondue accompanied by a beer for lunch. It was an excellent choice. I spent the rest of the day in a similar manner… wandering around town. I ended up back at the hostel and found myself quite tired, so took a nap. I woke up and made myself macaroni and cheese for dinner. Interlaken is known for its impressive selection of adventure sports… and the signs advertising various daredevil activities had me hooked. I decided that tomorrow (Tuesday), I would go paragliding. I mentioned this to Kristen, and she said that she would join me! We ended up making friends with other hostel folk in the building over and we enjoyed their company until fatigue took over. With a big day ahead… it was time for bed.
Morning came, and I went to eat breakfast. I informed the woman working the desk that I would like to go paragliding and the plans were set in motion. I have written a separate entry about paragliding… primarily because it’s so picture heavy, and doing it like this makes life easier for me. So, here is the link for my entry about paragliding.
I will briefly review the day’s activities here as well though. We were picked up by the van at 12:15 and we drove up the mountain from which we would launch ourselves into the air! Before long, we were soaring, and the feeling was absolutely incredible. The time passed far too quickly.. and all I know is that I need to do this again.
After landing, we walked back to the hostel, and Kristen left for Lucerne. The rest of the day was quite lazy, because what exactly can you do after an experience like paragliding over Interlaken? I don’t have a good answer to that question… so I went to the store and bought food. I had lasagna and French bread (and the same for lunch and dinner the next day), enjoyed a few beers and called it a night.
The next day, I considered going up to Jungfrau, the snowy mountain in view of Interlaken… but then I discovered that is costs in the order of 150 Swiss Francs to go up there! (Note: The US Dollar to Swiss Franc conversion is very nearly 1 to 1). This was not a cost I could justify, especially given the previous day’s adventure, so I took it easy and wandered town some more. I spent quite a while sitting at the field where the paragliders land, fondly remembering the previous day’s experience and wishing dearly that I could do it again. As I said, Wednesday’s lunch and dinner were more lasagna, each meal accompanied with more beer. Wednesday was fairly uneventful, but my allergies started bothering me and made me quite tired, so I fell asleep early.
I awoke the next morning, went down for breakfast, and checked out. I left my bags at the hostel, and headed for a brief excursion to Bern before leaving for Venice… but that’s the subject of another post!
Without further ado: pictures from Interlaken. I would live there in a heartbeat…

1.river1

The view just minutes down the road. The water is a milky blue because of all of the minerals in the water coming off of the mountains.

2.river2

And the view from the other side of the bridge

3.fairytale

Isn’t this beautiful? So many of the buildings here looked like this…

4.morefairytale

And another!

5.downthestreet

6.myview

The view from just outside my hostel

7.jealousnextday

I watched the paragliders the next day with extreme envy!

8.paragliderlanding

Someone coming into land

9.junfrau

Jungfrau

10.viewofjungfrau

And Jungfrau again. This is the view from the landing field

11.itsme

And a picture of me taken when I wasn’t ready.

PARAGLIDING UP NEXT!

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