It is bittersweet to find ourselves moving on from Interlaken, a place of seemingly unlimited beauty in which 6 nights was still not enough.
Having arrived on the 28th of October to a gorgeous canopy of orange, red, yellow and green trees set amongst rolling mountains with blue placid water, we knew we had made a great choice immediately. There was a feeling of comfort and calm on the 3 hour train ride from Geneva, probably owing to the similarities to the Western portion of Canada. Regardless, Interlaken and the Bernese Oberland have a feeling all their own not replicated anywhere else we have yet to see in the world.
Our diggs this time were an apartment to be shared with our new friends from Vancouver, brothers Gerald and Isaac. Having met a lifetime ago on our flight from Athens to Rome, we’d kept contact in the 4 weeks in between, and found ourselves both in France and agreed Switzerland was a suitable location to meet up again. It turned out to be a great idea, although the strike in France delayed their travels a full day. The apartment was plenty big for 4 people and came with a full kitchen, TV, Wi Fi, a laundry machine and a large fridge. Once we took a look at the restaurant prices we wasted no time loading the fridge to the brim with the freshest vegetables, meats, breads, cheeses, fruits and anything else we could find from the local CO OP, a refreshing chain selling the best in local products.
Having a full day to explore before the brothers arrived, we set out to see the town and everything it had to offer. Interlaken, you see, is the ‘Extreme Sports Capital of Switzerland’ and offers Canyoning, Paragliding, River Rafting, Canyon Jumping, Hang Gliding, Sky Diving and believe it or not, much much more. Located between Lake Thunersee and lake Brienzersee in a ‘basin’, it is surrounded by peaks from just over 1300m to 4277m. This includes Jungfrau, the ‘Top of Europe’ which boasts the highest train station in Europe (Jungfraujoch, 3454m) and displays a full panoramic of the Bernese Alps. We never did get up to the top of Jungfrau on account of weather, but we certainly took advantage of every other possible endeavor, starting with paragliding!
That’s right, we took advantage of the early-week sun and headed up the mountain to 1300m before running down the slope and plunging over the town. Perhaps the coolest thing was that we launched 30 seconds apart and could see each other most of the way down (Jess had about 2 minutes longer in the air on account of her being lighter). We later learned that many of the sports were done for the season, so we took our hiking boots out once again and went to see the mountains and streams for ourselves, covering the East, West, South and North with a pair of gorgeous 4 hour hikes and a 5 hour bike ride over the following 3 days. We even made it to the Neuhaus hotel about 20 minutes away which was home to the most amazing view we’ve had to date, and we’ve had some pretty good ones. I’ve never seen a large lake as calm as Thunersee was that day, and the photos we captured are stunning.
While we are glad to have 6 days remaining in Switzerland, we are betting Interlaken is going to shine for the remainder of the trip, and we HIGHLY recommend it for adventure seekers and quiet souls alike. As for us, we’re going to continue seeking the best chocolate in the land and avoiding the tourist areas in what has been by far the most expensive country to date, but worth every cent.