A co-worker often talked about Interlaken, Switzerland and what an amazing place it is and how I really should take the time to go there so when I was trying to figure out how to spend my Fourth of July, I decided to go ahead and look into it. I knew I didn’t want to spend my Fourth of July walking around a touristy city. I wanted to be outside, I wanted to ride my bike, hike and do anything else I could find being offered. Interlaken did not disappoint! I came across the Outdoor Interlaken website and booked myself a paragliding and canyoning excursion. Additionally, I strapped my bike to the roof rack since I found a lot of information about various trails in the area. The town is located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz – you can bike around either lakes or up the mountains.
The drive to Interlaken from Stuttgart is not bad…about 3-3.5 hours. It’s not that it’s far but rather once you enter Switzerland you have to slow down (no autobahn) and once you end up in the Swiss Alps…you have to really slow down for the sharp curves going up and down the mountains. And yes, the drive is as you would imagine, absolutely gorgeous.
NOTE: You must have a Swiss Motorway Sticker to drive on the highway or you’ll get a hefty fine. The sticker can be purchased as soon as you cross the border. It’s a little over 50 Euros and good for a year.
I was suffering a little from motion sickness when I got there from driving up, down and around the mountains, but I was in awe of how breathtakingly beautiful it was. My hotel room had a small balcony with a postcard view. I unloaded Little Man, my luggage, and my bike and then went for a walk down the river with LM before having to be ready for my pick-up time for my first excursion: paragliding. The river was a brilliant blue, and turquoise color…like nothing I’d ever seen before, I learned it’s because of all the various minerals that run down the Swiss Alps .
The paragliding was a blast. I don’t have a fear of height so I rode along chatting with my pilot and admiring the view. He did some tricks towards the end of the flight that brought my motion sickness back with a vengeance…so my day included a nap before going to dinner.
The following day, I awoke to rain so I got up for breakfast then was lazy in bed for a few hours. While I was out to have a weekend of adventure; I also needed some rest. I didn’t feel guilty relaxing while the rain passed. Mid-afternoon, I jumped on my bike and rode 50km around lake Thun. The sun was in and out of the clouds, it was a warm day and it was a good ride. Although, it was a lot more on the road then in the woods on trails which is what I prefer. It included some incredible views only the mixture of sun, Swiss Alps, water and plush green landscape can offer. I passed a school yard which sat atop a hill overlooking the lake, and as I looked out, I realized this was the view the kids around here grow up seeing; I felt a ping of jealousy and a lot of sadness for inner city kids who grow up not even seeing green grass. Such a disparity between the two.
I was tired after my bike ride, but being that it was the 4th of July, and I felt like dinning on steak; I walked over to the restaurant Ox. My fillet mignon was prepared perfectly and was delicious. If you’re ever in Interlaken and in the mood for red meat – that’s where I recommend you go. It’s a bit pricey though.
The following day I went on my next excursion: canyoning. To be honest, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I was once more picked-up from the hotel and after picking-up another few other folks we went to the main Outdoor Interlaken office to change and pick-up the gear we needed. The guides are obviously accustomed to the process; they moved our group along pretty quickly. It was a thrilling experience. I got to rappel, jump off various cliffs and slide down a variety of nature-made water slides. I got acquainted with a couple that was on the excursion. We went for ice cream afterwards chatting it up for a couple of hours. She was from France and he was from Switzerland. Both were fluent in French, English and German. It was great to hear their stories and I enjoyed my ice cream.
I was sad to leave the next day…so before heading out, I went up into the Swiss Alps for some “hiking”. As I made my way up the Alps, I realized I needed to make sure to come back next year. There is so much more to explore and do. I could easily spend a whole summer in Interlaken and have the time of my life.