Switzerland is a place of absolutely, indescribable beauty. It has to be the most beautiful places we went on our entire European tour. Absolutely breathtaking, out of this world. It’s beauty dazzles your eyes and seeps into your soul. How did this milky-aqua, luscious water get here in the middle of grand mountain peaks? It’s hard to capture in photos but here is a taste.
I will be honest that, as amazing as traveling is, it’s not always perfect. It’s much easier to show the pretty parts. In our two days in Interlaken, we lost a few hours taking the wrong bus, once we got on the right bus and arrived where we wanted to be, we realized I had left my Raybans in the bathroom where we started out a few hours back. We took the bus back to get them only to realize they had been stolen, not surprisingly. I felt dumb and tried to shake a bad mood, not very successfully. We spent 20 minutes canvasing the area asking the train station and shops if they had been turned in, of course they had not. It rained an afternoon and an evening messing up our itinerary (it was actually a beautiful storm and we went to bed early, which was nice). We caught colds. We asked our Inn for hot water (no teabags), and I picked a few sprigs of rosemary and steeped those for tea. All that to say, some things we wrong but what I really remember was how we really really soaked up all the beautiful nature and the things we did tother in it, which were as follows.
First of all, let me just say that Switzerland, and especially Interlaken, were expensive! I once knew a swiss girl who stayed with a friend in high school, and went all out shopping in the US, several trips to the mall and Sephora, because the Swiss franc is worth so much more than the American dollar. Anyways, we were ballin on a budget so didn’t succumb to some of the more touristy things that Interlaken had to offer. We focused on the activities that let us enjoy the stunning natural beauty.
Harder Kulm Hike: This is sort of THE hike to do in Interlaken. It’s a very reasonable length and has the most rewarding ending. It’s the best place to see the two blue lakes of Interlaken connected by the the rivers running through the town. I stood looking at the view for 30 minutes – I know I keep saying the world beautiful but I just don’t know how else to describe it! We met a few friends on the hike and had fondue and ice cold ale at the top, because, well, thats the tradition of Harder Kulm!
Paddleboarding: A really fun way to enjoy the lower lake. Take a bus over and the main swimming area is easy to find! The afternoon that the big storm rolled in was also the afternoon we rented paddle boards – a good test of a balance! Normally it is extremely calm!
Swimming: The lower lake is a bit warmer, so we spent a lot of time swimming there. The upper lake is colder but has a lot of nice private swimming areas. We found a secret little dock and spent the afternoon swimming there just the two of us.
Paragliding!: By far our highlight! We’ve always wanted to go, and we thought where else in the world would be a better spot? All the best skydiving instructors from all over the world gather here because it is one of the most beautiful places with the best conditions in the world. It’s not scary, like skydiving. You go up in a van way high in the mountains to a steep hill with the whole crew, get strapped up to your instructor and they will explain what to do. Then you run, run, run, and suddenly you are soaring through the air like a bird! It is the most thrilling feeling I have ever felt! I wanted to do it again and again. There is such a quiet peace, high in the sky, mixed with that exhilarating feeling of flying…..
The only thing I would’ve changed is asking my instructor not to ask me to pose for so many photos. They will sell them to you after, and I really just wanted to be quiet and take it in.
One other tip for Interlaken is to really just focus on the beauty of nature rather than cultural experiences. Interlaken is full of nature lovers and adrenaline junkies, and not a lot of Swiss people, Swiss food, or Swiss traditions. It’s not a good place to go out to eat because it’s expensive, and the highest rated restaurant on yelp is Chinese if that tells you anything. Don’t go shopping unless you want an expensive Swiss watch or a high-end handbag. Instead, we got some rotisserie chicken, a bag of apples, and veggies from the store and had picnics by the lake. We didn’t even eat a lot in Interlaken because we didn’t want to waste time we could be spending at the lakes, and because we were saving rooms in our belly for our next stop, Italy, where we were planning not go easy on Pizza!