Sunday, June 13, 2010
Interlaken, The Land of Awesomeness
OK, now that I have the last day in Paris and the day in Bern posted below, I'm allll caught up. Today we spent the day in Interlaken, which is a city situated right at the foot of the Swiss Alps and home to all kinds of awesome extreme sports type excursions and adventures for people to do. There is skydiving over the alps, paragliding, zorbing (look it up
if your curious, basically rolling down a mountain in a big hamster ball), river rafting, canyoning, etc etc. Also, there is a Swiss Army knife store every 3 stores. And they have some really, really crazy knives.
We rolled into town early, dropped our stuff off at the hostel, and then went to the nearby tourist information building down the street to find out what we could do today or tomorrow morning and what the prices for everything were. We found that because the weather was a bit iffy (it was drizzling and tomorrows forecast was rain) there were some difficulties. Plus it was obviously too late to book anything that needs booking for today since most of them were already started, so she circled some things we could do today and gave us prices of everything to book tomorrow. Going into this trip I had 2 goals for Interlaken - Zorbing and Sky Diving. Well, Sky Diving was around $350 for the lowest package. No thanks. Zorbing was the price we had looked up previously so we were good to go, but we signed up and they said the weather had kept many people away and nobody else had signed up yet, and it needed a minimum of 4 people for the trip to go through so they took our booking info and said to call back around 8pm to see if it was a go or not.
So we went out and decided that we were going to take the funicular up to this sort of landing that has a scenic view and a restaurant partially up one of the alps and then we would hike some of the trails that departed from that area. We got our ticket and hopped on the funicular, which was totally awesome. If you don't know a funicular is a little tram kind of thing that runs up and down the side of mountains on very steep inclines. It is kind of like the very beginning of a roller coaster, only it goes down the same speed instead of the drop. We didn't get it on the way up, but on the way down we got the front seat and it was really cool because the front is just one giant window and you are going strait down that way.
We got to the landing and it really was a beautiful view. We looked around a bit, found some trails, and some other views. You could see almost a dozen mountains behind Interlaken. Also, there is this big music festival going on today (and yesterday, and tomorrow) in Interlaken fronted by Ramstein and with a bunch of other metal bands, and you could hear it from the mountain which we thought was hilarious. We found the stage, it was even on the other side of the city but it was so loud and the area is so open we could hear it all the way up there (and even to almost the top before it finally faded away)
We then decided to make our way up the trail. We were hiking for a while, it was fun and an easy hike, and after some time we found ourselves hiking strait into a cloud. Clouds like to sit themselves about half way to 2/3rds up the alps and ours had one at the moment apparently. It was really cool. We kept hiking, and after some time Dave decided he wanted to go back and hang out in the restaurant landing, so we said we would meet him soon. We pressed on and got higher as the trail got thinner and steeper. Eventually we got to a point where we were considering turning back to get Dave and go do something else, but we moved forward a little bit more and could see the top of the mountain. So we continued to hike, but after a while realized that the trail was sort of spiraling and zig zaging around the peak, probably because the slope of the rest of the mountain was to steep to go directly up. So we stopped for a minute to decide what to do.
Jen and I decided that things were taking to long, and we would scale the rest of the mountain. (Similar to the last mountain I climbed - about the same slope as the difficult part but this mountain was much more alive with a thick tall grass that we could pull ourselves up on, so it was much easier and more fun) We climbed our way up, and along the way we encountered some small snakes which was cool. We finally pulled ourselves up onto the rocky top of the mountain and stood up to see a really spectacular view from above the mountain. We hadn't realized how much higher up the mountain we were from the restaurant until this moment, and it was very, very high. We looked over one of the other sides and saw that it was a sheer rocky drop off, and decided we better stay away from that side of the peak. We also saw a metal sign facing the opposite side from where we came up, so we walked over to it and saw that it was a really hilarious sign... more so because we came from the side that it was warning about behind it (see picture.) We spent some time up there and then decided to take the trail back down because it would be too dangerous to try and shimmy back down the way we came (and dirty, we don't have enough clothes for that!)
So we took the trail down, which did zig zag and such a lot and got pretty steep. It also had a sort of cliff-like drop off along the side of it for a while which was cool. We met back up with Sharon and then headed back down the mountain. We grabbed Dave and got back on the funicular and had another awesome ride down in it. The funicular ride, by the way, was about 8 minutes. Apparently there is one in Capri which is 15 minutes according to Jen, and I want to take that if we can it would be awesome.
We got back down, checked into the hostel, had yet another room to ourselves, and called the zorbing place as it was 8pm. Nobody else signed up. So no zorbing for us in the morning :(
We spent the rest of the night hanging out and talking to this one girl who worked in the hostel named Karen who was really cool and said it's too bad we were only in Interlaken for one night because she does couch surfing and would have had us over and made us a big meal and she lives right next to a big skiing slope, which we could have gone on. Next time were in Switzerland I guess (I'm sure that won't be too long, right?)
So tomorrow it is off to Zurich, which we will only get to spend a few hours in similar to Madrid, and then off on the long train ride to Rome!! I probably won't get to blog about tomorrow until Rome or so, but that's okay because there probably won't be much to blog about haha.