Outdoor Time

Trip Start Jun 06, 2009
Trip End Aug 31, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Switzerland  , Swiss Alps,
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My original idea was to go camping in the Swiss Alps because I think it would be cool to spend a few nights in the woods and the awe-aspiring mountains all around.  I did some research on the internet but couldnīt find any place that had hostels with tents or anywhere that rented tents.  So I just used Interlaken as my base camp and would do my outdoor stuff from here. 

I arrived mid-day from Bern after less than an hour on the train which was nice.  I dropped my bag off and tried to get going quickly because I knew I had limited time here.  There is just so many options of activities here that it seemed to take me a long time to figure out what to do.  I finally set my sights on hiking and was lost on how to do it.  I finally figured out where some good trails were but I needed to take a train into the mountains.  I also had to go to the other side of town.  Well I finally made up to the moutain at 3pm and set off.  I found some paths and started my journey.  Just like Mt Olympus, I found that I was either out of practice, or the mountain was really steep.  I think a lot of both.  At first I was cursing then once I got going, I seemed to do pretty well.  I made it up about 1,000 meters up from the start and at my destination.  Then headed back down another path.  As I was going down, I came upon a cable car overhead.  Being that I seem to have bright ideas when I'm alone, I thought I would try my hand at racing a cable car down the mountain.  The posted sign said that I had an hour down to town.  I thought I could it in at least 30 minutes.  So what did I do? I put my IPOD to the Rocky anthem and picked a numbered car out.  When it was even with me I took off.  After about 50 meters, an old man and little boy appeared on the trail and I yelled ahead for them to get out of my way.  They quickly did and I proceeded my jaunt down the mountain.  I would like to say that I beat that cable car but I was even with it and after about 2 minutes I had to call it quits.  There was no way I could beat the machine. Almost 1,000 meters is hard to run down.  Cable Car-1, Adam-0.

The next day I decided to rent a Mt bike and hit some trails.  I asked the hostel staff where to go and he suggested a loop up about 1,500 meters and then back down the other side.  He said it would probably take about 4 hours to complete.  I thought that sounded good so I found the nearest bike rental shop and hit the road.  Since just about every map Iīve been given in Europe has been dubiously bad, this one was no different.  Of course immediately I got lost but quickly found my next town along the way.  The next town started to have hiker/biker trail signs that seemed to disappear at times without warning.  So I made it to my third town in about an hour and I was feeling good.  When in this town, I was supposed to hit a cable car and go up about 1,000 meters and then ride the bike down the other side.  Being my luck that I usually have, I went a different way and thought it was the correct direction.  Do you know whatīs worse than walking up an extremely steep hill?......How about pushing a bike up an extremely steep hill.  My bike ride quickly turned into a bike push.  Long story short I spent the next 2.5 hours mostly pushing my bike up an extremely steep hill.  It was all gravel road but dam it was steep!  I would try to ride as long as I could go but I just couldnīt do it for very long.  Iīm more of a runner and not a biker.  But this hill kicked my ass!!!  The way up provided some pretty good sights of the adjacent mountains and I just took it all in.  I made it up in good spirits to the town I was supposed to reach by cable car and enjoyed the little town there.  Afterward I headed back the way I came but decided to take a different path down the mountain.  As I was going down, I met some early 20īs surfer looking guys from Canada who were biking too.  I picked a hiking trail and went at it.  Again, I made the wrong choice(Big Surprise).  This thing was incredibly steep and was actually a hiking trail.  Which meant a billion boulders, log-steps, roots, bridges, and every other kind of obstruction you could think of.  As I was putting the death grip on the brakes of my bike, the 3 guys I just met came flying down past me down the trail.  I found out later that one of them was a pro downhill mt biker so he knew what he was doing.  I did what I could and probably walked about 60% of the hill which isnīt too bad I suppose.  I did flip the bike twice but landed on my feet both times because the front brakes were stronger than the back brakes.  I slowly made it down the hill and came upon the 3 guys again and the pro biker had wrecked and blew out a tire.  Luckily he had a spare that he fixed it with.  I made it down the hill in considerably less time but my forearms sure were burning from the brake clenching.  Since I had an appt at 4:30, I had to make it back to the hostel with the quickness.  In all I ended up spending almost 8 hours on that mt bike and I probably only spent half of it actually on the bike.  On my mt bike expedition, I discovered that sunblock only works when it is applied to your body and not just in your backpack.  Funny how that works!!  I had to hurry back to go paragliding and ended up being 30 minutes late.  There were so many activities to choose from like skydiving, bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, canyoning, and many others.  Iīve been skydiving twice and bungy jumping once so I decided just to go paragliding.  It was half the price too which was nice.  I can honestly say I wasnīt the least bit nervous going up or down rather.  There were a few guys that were obviously nervous but I felt fine.  I remember skydiving for the first time, when I was up in the plane about to jump out, my tandem buddy pulled out a pamphlet that said on the cover "How to successfully tandem jump with a partner."  Of course I knew they were joking with us but I was still shiting bricks anyway.  But the paragliding is pretty easy.  You just put on the harness and run off the hill and the chute picks you up.  And the person attached to your back steers for you until you land.  It was actually pretty relaxing. 

All in all I think I had a pretty good stop-over in Interlaken.  That night too I ended up meeting some locals who invited me out to a club but I was just to exhausted and had to decline.  Instead, I had a horrible nightīs sleep.  Thus far the roommates here were the worst.  They were from Korea, young, and annoying as hell.  I tried to talk a bit to them but they just werenīt responding.  So I gave up and tried to sleep.  Well at 5am, 3 out of 4 of them decided to turn on the lights and pack their bags.  After an hour of trying to go to sleep, I decided it wasnīt in the stars for me and I just packed up and hopped on the soonest train to my next destination. 

Side Note:  This town was extremely touristy which isnīt a surprise.  Being that they stick out the most against the white-folk, there were quite a lot of Korean and Middle Eastern tourists.  Koreans because my hostel was 95% Korean and I have learned how they dress and can distinguish between the the big 3 of Chinese, Japanese and Chinese by their spoken languages.  And Middle Eastern because itīs pretty easy to notice women wearing full-length black burquas from head to toe and only showing their eyes.  Though some only wear the head-piece.  But they do tend to stick out considerably.  Most of the Middle Eastern had family in tow and the Koreans were usually younger people on break from school. 
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cwald on

The paragliding videos were amazing! What a beautiful country. Despite the daily challenges, I hope you're enjoying the good moments like that even more!
Much Love,
Chandra (and Adam - he likes to look over my shoulder at your pics and videos ;-)

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