Paragliding over the Swiss Alps was a surreal experience that I will never forget. I want to share with you some photos from before and after the takeoff. The view was spectacular and quite literally took our breath away. The first photo is of the mountain we flew off of. Take a peak at the white patch of snow in the top righthand corner -- that was our takeoff spot!
Interlaken has completely stolen my heart. As we drove away I almost started crying. If only I could stay there forever. It is funny because I did not have high expectations for the trip, considering I won it through Bus2Alps and wasn't planning on going on my own. Now the thought of not experiencing Interlaken makes me sick to my stomach. But at the time I just figured if I didn't ski, I wouldn't have much to do. But was I wrong! Interlaken is filled with activities and sites to see. It is actually known for its extreme sports and people come from all over the world to go sky diving, canyon jumping, white water rafting, and so much more. And it was honestly the most beautiful place I have ever been to.
Interlaken means "between two lakes" because the city is situated between Lake Brienzersee and Lake Thunersee, which are connected by a river that runs through the city center. The small city is also surrounded by the Swiss alps, so everywhere you turn there's a mountain range. The mountains are incredible and look like a painted backdrop. Their beauty is something you have to see in person to understand. The lakes and river between them have the bluest water I have ever seen. Apparently, Switzerland has the cleanest and freshest tap water in Europe. The country is also known for having the happiest residents in Europe and I can understand why. Everyone loves the outdoors, the water is so pure, the scenery is spectacular, they have one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, the city is always clean, and the locals are so kind.
Not too mention, I met some of the most intriguing people that moved to Interlaken on a whim to become extreme sport guides and do what they love for a living. I envy nomadic people's courage to drop everything they're doing, move somewhere completely new, and then make a life out of it. Not that I am going to become a nomad, but I am seriously considering living in Interlaken for a little or at the least visiting again for a longer period of time. I have never felt this way about a place before, but I hope I feel the same about all the other places I am about to travel. Cheers to the end of weekend one out of nine straight weekends of traveling. Next weekend I head off to Venice for Carnivale!
If you want to hear more details about what I was up to in Interlaken this weekend, keep reading! You won't be disappointed.
The highlight of my weekend was definitely paragliding. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Brittany and I were bussed up to the top of Gsteigwiler, one of the mountains in the Swiss alps. The take off was really simple. We got strapped in and essentially ran down a slope and starting floating 2,000 ft above Interlaken. I was so anxious and full of adrenaline that I wasn't really scared after the take off. I honestly cannot put the experience into words because it was so surreal. My instructor, Martin, who has been paragliding for over eleven years and has flown over 10,000 times, said that when he was a child he used to have dreams that he could fly. Now he is living that dream. But he claims the best part of his job is making people happy (Fun fact from Martin: Swiss students learn to speak German, their region's dialect of Swiss-German, French, English, and a bit of Italian). How adorable! The flight lasted about ten minutes and we landed in a green space in the city center. The views were incomparable. I am so glad I got to experience Interlaken from an aerial perspective. Trouble is that paragliding is definitely a "gateway adventure". Now I am looking into skydiving -- sorry mom and dad!
The other activity I really enjoyed was night sledding. We took a bus half way up one of the nearby mountains and then road a gondola up to the peak. Our instructor, Timo, showed us a few tips and off we went. It was pitch black and the only thing keeping you on the track were banks of snow. The sledding lasted an entire hour and was so thrilling. We flew past snow capped trees, small waterfalls, and stopped to see views of Switzerland from the mountains' cliffs. At one cliff we stood and watched as clouds moved by below. One cloud even passed through us. As the clouds cleared away, Timo pointed out a small town in the mountains that you can only get to by train. Night sledding was definitely a blast and made me feel so alive. Afterwards we were bussed to a restaurant and served traditional Swiss fondue. It was delicious and satisfying after the long sledging ride.
My favorite place to hang out in Interlaken was the Metropole hotel in the city centre. If you go to the top floor there is a restaurant with ceiling to floor windows surrounding it. You can see the entire city perfectly from every angle. Brittany and I went there three times (i.e. once a day). The restaurant has the most delicious hot chocolate and it was priced fairly. Unfortunately, Switzerland's high standard of living also comes a high price for dining out. Which poses as a problem for travelers like me who aren't even willing to spend $25-$35 for a bowl of pasta in the United States.
Of course while I was in Switzerland I had to get some chocolate. We wanted to go to the chocolate show one night but the time slots were full. So instead we were taken to Laderach, which has tons of different types of brittle and all of them looked detectible. I bought small pieces of a few I was intrigued by and loved them all. My favorite was the Florentine -- which I didn't realize it was called that at the time. Florentines are actually my favorite cookie that my mom makes. Except these were made with shaved almonds instead of oats.
Besides the activities, we did a lot of walking around the city. Brittany and I took a long walk to Lake Thun and stood at its edge. The views of the alps and clouds in the distance were incredible. We could not stop smiling for the entire trip because we have never been somewhere so beautiful and perfect.
When In Rome
Two of my most cherished hobbies go hand-in-hand. Writing is my favorite way to reflect after traveling to a new country. I have kept this blog ever since I studied in Rome to share my travels with families and friends. I hope you enjoy learning about my experiences and getting a sense for my writing skills. If you have any questions, please reach out!