Day 1: Canyoning in the am & More!
I was so hyped for my canyoning trip in the morning that it was no problem to wake up at 715am to get ready, eat breakfast, read a little then head off for my 9am Saxeton canyoning trip! As 8 of us assembled in the lobby, I was glad to meet the cool kids going on my trip. Texas, California, London, Toronto…they were all diverse and a lot of fun to hang out with on the adventure. Once we were given our debriefing, it was time for the systematic suiting-up for the trip. Strip down to swimsuit, put on wetsuit, get shoes, jacket, harness & helmet. My favorite part (before the trip) was picking out my helmet. Each one has a unique name & you are called that name for the whole trip. After fishing through names like Gaga, Lips, Ming Wang, etc. I chose “Squeeze.” I have no idea why-it just stood out to me! Once we were off to the Saxeton, we all chatted and were told that we would have a ten minute hike up. Once up, we had the first notion of how cold the water was-really cold! As we walked, belied, slid, jumped and climbed all over the canyon for the next few hours, I was proud of myself for conquering more fears of heights, odd jumps, etc. IT WAS AN ABSOLUTE BLAST!!! When I go again, I plan on doing the advanced, longer trip next time-I’m hooked 🙂
After the trip, we took hot showers, stored our gear and got our complimentary drink at the Outdoor Interlaken bar, chatted, wrote them a review, got another free drink then layed out in the sunny biergarten. Then grabbed pizza with the Canadians and Londoner, grocery shopped, walked around town, hiked for a while, ran 10k by the Brienzersee then made macaroni & hung out at Balmers Biergarten and their Metro Bar. It was cool because we hung out with our trip leaders the whole night! Time for bed :p
Day 2: Hiking & More
Before I got to Interlaken, I decided on two things I definitely wanted to do: canyoning & hiking the Harder Kulm. After I left Balmers to check in at Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof, I was able to store my bags and head to my two hour advanced hike of the Harder Kulm. Recap from the hike: it was steep, scary at some points and challenging! Once I reached the top, I had a wonderful salad, curry chicken and schokolade eis for lunch at the Harder Kulm restaurant. With scenic views, it was worth it! I had to decide though if I would be hiking back down or taking the Harderbahn. After looking at the price, I decided to hike down. After a lot of sliding, scary downhill slopes, lots of rocks, passing the cows and avoiding several ankle twists, I made it. However, my hamstrings and knees were so sore. I decided to play mini golf and relax at the Badenbad swimming complex to end my day-all free with the Interlaken card! I jumped off of the highest platform I have ever seen at a pool (scary!!!), slid down a slide into the most shallow pool ever (scraping my knees and hands in the process), sunbathed and swam around the pool with some diving board and lower platform jumping ( that actually hurt a little). Another great day!
Day 3: [Mountain] Biking
I was not sure what I wanted to do for my last full day, all I knew is that I wanted to see a lot. So, I ventured to the reception desk after breakfast to ask for advice. After the suggestion of renting a bike, I was quite pleased and headed to Fun Rentel to get one. I chose the city bike because it looked like a mountain bike and I figured it would get me around Brienzersee. Little did I know what the lake had in store for me. Let’s just say it was a 40km ride full of unexpected 2km uphill rides, Swiss villages, great views, pushing of my bike up hills & ridiculous rocky paths, seeing waterfalls, meeting a nice Swissman to help me fix my bike, visit a bakery for a fruit torte & chocolate milch, pushing the bike across a melting glacier pass & more ridiculous mountain biking craziness. After 4 hours, finally back in Interlaken, I was spent. I finally had more macaroni for lunch as I made a deal with myself that I would go out for dinner. I ended up riding again out to Lake Thun before returning my bike, showering, eating fantastic Rösti with Moscato wine, watching Chocolat then hitting the hay.
Friday: Return Day
As I rose after my alarm went off, I got ready, gathered my belongings and headed to breakfast before checking out and making my walk to Interlaken OST train station. I ate my grilled cheese sandwich and sipped a cappuccino while chatting with the Swiss women backpackers I met the day before on my bike excursion. After saying goodbye to Pia & Barbara, I grabbed my stuff and headed out. Since my train was not supposed to depart for another 20 minutes or so, I ran into the Co-op to grab some Swiss chocolate & a postcard. After, I sat down for a few minutes and re-checked my gleis # & departure…oh no. I was supposed to depart from Interlaken West! I frantically ran up to the ticket window and asked if my train would depart from OST first. Luckily it did-at 8:30. By now it was 8:26 & I stood at Gleis 1 before realizing I needed to re-check the gate on the OST departure board. Whoops! Gleis 5!!! Hurry, hurry, zoom, zoom & bam I was on board my train to Bern. Then to Zurich. Then speedy fast to my Austrian train. Whew, no more connections. As the conductor came around to check tickets, I felt for the unfortunate soul diagonal from me. He had an online ticket, didn’t print it out, got charged for a completely new ticket after ferverishly conversing with the conductor about the insanity of the rules not being translated to English, etc. He wasn’t the only one that had troubles… I had to learn the hard way too. A week ago when I purchased my train tickets, I thought I would be better off returning to Salzburg then taking a different train to Vienna ( thought it would be cheaper. NOT the case.). I found out that it is the SAME price to get to Vienna as it is to Salzburg. I was furious. However, today I was calmer because I had a week to let it set in. And after witnessing the Internet ticket mishap in front of me, my case was not that big of a deal. So what if I have to buy a ticket from Salzburg to Vienna. Much more could be worse! I’m lucky I made all of my close connections so that I would not have to buy an entirely new ticket. Lesson learned: ask every question pertaining to something you buy that you are unclear of & don’t sweat it…too much 🙂 And all the way to Vienna I go! Stay tuned for the Austrian wine fest post (I’m going to it with Phil tonight after I get back!)