Interlaken Fail

Trip Start Mar 03, 2011
Trip End Jun 03, 2011

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Flag of Switzerland  , Swiss Alps,
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We had a lot of hope for Interlaken after surviving the ridiculously expensive Zermatt.  Unfortunately, things just didnt go the way I wanted them to in Interlaken.  Which isnt to say it was a disaster, and I guess Im overdue for something not going my way right?  All the careful planning in the world and for some reason I just cant control the weather.  =)  I knew that coming to the Swiss Alps, though.  It could have snowed and stormed the whole time, so Im at least thankful that didnt happen.

Anyway, our first afternoon there we wandered around the city looking at shops and things.  And then that night we tried our first bit of Swiss food!  It was just too damned expensive back in Zermatt, and with careful budgeting we could at least afford it Interlaken.  We got to try Swiss version of cheese fondue!  I am happy to say that it is on par with La Fondue back home in Saratoga (Brie and Amie will be happy about that- the four of us have a fondue ritual back home).  I was worried it would be way better or way worse.  We also tried rosti, which is a glorified version of hash browns.  It was damned good!  Ours was shredded with other veggies, along with meat and an egg cracked on top.  Mmmmm.  Im sorry to say that the Swiss do not do chocolate fondue.  We looked- it doesnt exist.  For being one of the chocolate capitals of the world, Im rather to surprised that the Americans were the ones to figure out how damned good chocolate fondue is!  Oh well.

So, we had two full days in Switzerland, and just our luck it was supposed to storm, complete with thunder, both days.  The two things I absolutely wanted to do in this city were to: (1) sled down one of their 16km sled runs (i know!  THAT LONG!  The ecstacy of sledding down a hill for longer than 20sec!!) and (2) take the train up to Jungfrauich (the Top of Europe, as its called- theres an ice sculpture museum on top along with other activities, and you get awesome views of the Jungfrau region).  First of all, the snow for the sled runs finished melting three weeks prior.  So that was a no go.  Secondly, the clouds cancelled out the Jungfrau trip, because when its cloudy you cant see anything at all up there.  Its an expensive trip by train (not included in our rail passes), so its pointless to go up there to see cloud world.  FAIL.  Sigh.

Thus, I woke up utterly depressed our first morning.  I didnt know what to do.  My major plans were ruined, and I wasnt even sure hiking was a good idea given the weather warnings.  I keep tellin people here that the weather is so different back home.  You wake up, look outside, and know what kinda day you are gonna have.  In Europe, weather changes rather quickly.  In the end, we decided to chance the weather and do a hike.  Interlaken is just the main city in that area... as you head up the mountains, there are several smaller towns and villages.  So we paid to take a train, funicular and then a cable car to get up the cliffs to a small village called Murren.  The valley was so pretty!  The high peaks were all covered by clouds, but you could still see tons of snow and crazy granite cliffs like in Yosemite back home (Id hedge a bet it was formed by glaciers).  Our plan was to hike back as far as possible until the rain started, and then just pay to take a train the rest of the way back.  This was a ridiculously steep climb down the mountain cliffs.  lol, we felt it all over our bodies the next day.  I think it was steeper than the Yosemite Falls trail back home.  We did make it to the bottom to the town of Lauterbrunnen with only a little of sprinkle from the clouds, and the sun even came out for awhile!  It was a good 3000ft descent, tho!  (Little did I know at the time what a somewhat dangerous idea our hike was.  We were lucky, I guess.  We met up with a friend the next day after our hike, Nicole, whos living in Lauterbrunnen at the bottom of the cliffs.  She said not too long ago a guide was hiking in cloudy weather, and he just accidentally walked right off the cliffs.  The clouds hug the tops of the cliffs in bad weather, and you cant see what is ahead of you.  And the part that he fell off of was right next to the edge of the sheer drop.  So she was told to never hike in the evening or bad weather.  Oops.)  The next leg of the trip was to hike back from Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken, another couple hours.  We were still feelin pretty good, and that part of the hike was fairly level.  Plus the weather was still cloudy but not rainin.  So we went for it!  It was windy as hell-  Chris was bein a retard and using our empty grocery bag as a kite.  The dork makes me laugh.  Anyway, just as we were walkin up the steps to our hostel, the rain clouds opened up and dumped some crazy rain.  Talk about great timing.

Our second day, was fail after fail, lol.  Plan A was to take the train to Jungfrau if the weather was miraculously better.  Fail.  Plan B was to meet up with Nicole to hang out for the day.  She missed our message online by a matter of 2 minutes.  Fail.  Plan C was to go do an indoor ropes course in Grindelwald, a small town above Interlaken.  I had seen a poster in our hostel lobby, so we went for it.  We took the train all the way up there, found the gym, and wouldnt you know it, it was the ONE random day they were closed for some sort of employee thing.  FAIL AGAIN.  Sigh.  So we were lookin around for other things to do...  There were some glaciers on the far side of the valley in Grindelwald, but we had no way of knowing if they would also be closed since the tourist office was closed!  We didnt have anything else to do, so we hiked 40min across the valley, and of course they were closed!  lol, dammit, FAIL.  By this time it was just getting laughable.  So we walked back down the valley and back to Grindelwald to do some windowshopping.  We deciced we would try some real Swiss chocolate, just to see if it was overrated or not.  Unfortunately, the lady we bought them from was a total a-hole.  Chris and I almost walked out of her shop because she was so rude, and we were the only people in there.  Must be a good economy if she can afford to treat her only customers that way.  And Ill have you know that even though the chocolate was good, it wasnt worth 5euro for four truffles.  Oh wells.  But from there on out, things got better.  =)  Nicole finally got our message, and we met her up in Lauterbrunnen for the evening.  She was so sweet!  She gave us each a toblerone candy bar and bought us some coffee.  We walked around the town, hung out at her work drinking some beer, and then went and got food at a local pub.  Mmmmm!  It was so nice just to spend time with someone we knew... someone we had stories with (btw, Nicole is an Aussie chef we met on our Ireland tour).

Yup, that was Interlaken.  Switzerland was expensive.  Yeah.  That made us love Germany all the more.
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