Sometimes when we travel, we miss out on amazing opportunities to create special experiences in our life. Sometimes it’s due to conditions that are out of your control, and at other times there are financial constraints or fears.
This next trip embodies several missed opportunities. However, I didn’t let that stop me from making the most of this latest part of my trip.
If you have had the chance to read my previous blog post about Munich you’ll remember I finished up on the final day of Oktoberfest, steaming drunk. Well that afternoon Johnny and I boarded a train to our next destination of Interlaken, Switzerland. Johnny unfortunately wasn’t too well after a full day of drinking beer and left a souvenir for someone else on the step off the train (Luckily it was the side we didn’t need to use later).
Our train journey took us through Zurich, Bern and then finally into Interlaken. Just stepping off that train, breathing in the fresh air of the Swiss Alps, really helped those lingering hangovers!
The next morning we rose nice and early and enjoyed the scenery from our hostel window. You could see the fresh snow covering the tips of the mountains surrounding Interlaken, and I knew this was going to be an exciting stop on my journey. We had a chat with the staff at the reception desk about how to get to the top of Jungfrau, which sits at 4,158 meters and has a viewing platform known as the “Top of Europe”, sitting at around 3,454 meters.
Unfortunately, this is one of those occasions where I do look back on the situation and have some regrets about not taking part in something that would have been amazing to experience. With the train tickets alone costing over 200 Swiss Francs there was no way Johnny and I could justify spending that sort of money so early on in our trip, if we wanted to be able to afford to do things like paragliding the next day – or afford food for the next four months.
So we decided Jungfrau would not be conquered by us today, but instead we would head to the small town of Grindelwald (not to be mistaken for Grindelwald the antagonist in the Fantastic Beasts movie series in the Harry Potter world, although this town was pretty magical). Coincidently there was a street market being held on our arrival and you could smell all the cheese, fresh bread and cured meats. It was a foodie’s heaven, and so typically Swiss.
We wandered around for an hour or so, browsing through the stalls and seeing different parts of the small town. After accidentally venturing into someone’s backyard and getting lost (typical of us, again) we made our way to the cable car to take us up to a spot to do some hiking.
One thing about me when I was travelling in the early days – I used to always choose inappropriate footwear. In this case, I wore Chelsea boots to hike. There were times when we had to walk through cow paddocks and those shoes certainly endured and got me through some unique and rough terrain.
Every so often Johnny and I would stop to take in the scenery. Rarely would you walk past another hiker, so there were times in which it was so peaceful you could only hear the birds singing and the cows’ bells ringing as they munched away on the grass. This is why I travel. To just experience the serenity of different parts of the world and appreciate nature’s true beauty.
Johnny stopped about three quarters of the way up, but I decided to finish off the rest of the hike to the top of First Mountain to enjoy the views. My first hiking accomplishment was 2,167 meters – which I was pretty stoked about, even though this was the beginning spot for several other much higher hikes.
I re-joined Johnny and we decided to hike back down and go for lunch at a restaurant called Schreckfeld, which had stunning views of the valley where Grindelwald sits. We soaked up these views while we ate our very un-Swiss meal of chicken and chips.
The next day we got up bright and early, as we had our minds set on going paragliding to see the views of the two lakes that sit either side of Interlaken, Thunersee and Brienzersee, as well as the Swiss Alps. Again, fortune was not on our side, this time due to circumstances we couldn’t control. The bloody weather. It was too cloudy and it didn’t look like it would clear up anytime soon, which was a massive disappointment as it was one the main things we’d planned to do. However, after a couple of hours and with us not wanting to risk paying for the experience and not being able to see anything, we decided to make our way to the next part of our journey, Geneva.
I certainly don’t regret going to Interlaken, the day spent hiking in Grindelwald and even just the journey to Geneva along the lakes was spectacular. Travel doesn’t always go according to plan. You just have to make the most out of the situation you are in and enjoy the experiences you do have. One day I will go back to Interlaken and go to the top of Jungfrau and maybe even paraglide or skydive if I haven’t done so yet elsewhere.
The Swiss Alps are heaven for those who love peaceful scenic views of nature and the fresh air of the mountains. I’m sure some fondue and a nice hot chocolate, just sitting there and enjoying the views with a loved one would be an amazing romantic getaway. Certainly going to return myself for that same experience. 🙂