Cock and Bull Stories

The adventures of a 20 year old student traveling around Europe.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Interlaken, Switzerland

This weekend was definetly the best one I've had so far. From the moment I stepped foot in a Swiss train station I knew it was going to be fun.

After a abrupt awakening to realize it was already 10 minutes past the time my friends were meeting for the bus to the trian station, I stuffed everything I thought I might need into my backpack, caught a cab and got to our trian with only 3 minutes to spare.

After an unusually calm train ride, we arrived in Interlaken and made our way to the hostel, Balmers Herberge. This hostel is the greatest hostel I've ever even heard of. Not only was it pretty reasonable (about $25) but we got a pool table, fooseball, ping pong, hammocs, a big projector movie screen and not to mention, there was a club underneath the hostel with happy hour from 9-10pm. Aside from all the amenities, we were also able to book all sorts of extreeme sports right from the front desk. The girls decided that they HAD to go skydiving in the alps so right as we checked in, they bolted to get on the van to take them to the heli that they would soon jump out of. Dustin and I decided that this was optimal time to go for a hike up to see some waterfalls.

To get to the waterfalls we just walked to the local train station, jumped on a train for 20 minutes and we ended up in this amazing valley with 300+ ft rockwalls on each side. I even took a video so you can get a taste of how incredible the scenery is:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3310004225928695502

During our hike, we walked up this steep trail leading behind a 400ft waterfall where I proceded to fill up my bottle with some of the most refreshing water on the face of the earth. After that, we pet the sheep you see in the picture and headed down the trail some more. On the trail we passed numerous cow pastures (yes, they were all wearing bells) where both Dustin and I made some new friends, Betsy and Shakira. We got tired of petting the cows and when they left they were all mooing in sadness that we left. We headed down the trail for another hour before we turned back since it was getting dark.

On the way back, right as we were passing this one cow pasture, the farmer was letting his cows out on the road so they could go to the barn so we ended up walking right in between a few dozen cows for a good half mile as we avoided the random rivers of shit coming out of their behinds. Check out the video:

Dustin and I got back to the hostel just before dark and hit up the resturaunt in the hostel for some authentic Swiss food (sausage and rosti, a hashbrown type thing). Once that was all done, it was about time for happy hour so we both made our way downstairs for half price beers where we met some crazy girls who are studying abroad in Austria. Dustin hung out with one of the girls all night and I tried my best to avoid the girl who introduced herself to other people as a 'skank', no joke. haha! A few drinks and a couple hours later, we got back to the room and passed out with aspirations to go canyoning (explain later) at 9:30am.

That next morning, we got our breakfast, got our towels and got picked up by our canyoning guide. We headed to their headquarters to get all of our gear (4 mil wetsuit, harnest, helmet, drysuit jacket, booties and a helmet) and drove out to the canyoning site which was about an hour away. The two guides decided it was a good idea to check the water levels at the base of the river canyon before going out and noticed that the water had risen to three times the safe limit for us to go canyoning due to the rainstorm the previous night. After the initial stab to the heart, I settled down and we agreed to go on a less intense canyoning trip later in the day.

A few hours after we got back to the hostel, we got piked up again by a new guide, suited up at HQ and drove 10 minutes to the new canyoning site. After a small hike we got into the river canyon that we were going to walk, jump, slide and belay our way through. As the 14 of us lined up at the rivers edge, our guide told us that we had to jump off this 4 foot tall rock, on our backs in the water to get it all started. Just seeing everyone before me jump in, I didn't think twice about the water temp but that initial hit of glacier water will definetly wake you up. Thank God for wetsuits.

We proceded to jump from rock to rock like a gazel where we came to our first obstical, a 30-40 foot cliff that we could belay down. After that was all done, we treked over to a small jump of 10 feet, leaded our way to a natural water slide, another jump and the biggest jump of the day, a 30 foot cliff. The guide told us to jump out as far as we could and instead I just jumped up and when I hit the water, the current pushed me undeneath this rock overhang. It wasn't a big deal since the other guide at the bottom just grabbed me by my life jacket and I got out. After a few more jumps and a fun water slide, we got out of the river with grins from ear to ear all waiting for our free beer at the end.

After peeling off the wetsuits and drying off, we had our beers, looked at the pictures the camera girl took and then headed back.

For dinner I decided that I had to have some Swiss Fondue (a local dish of melted cheese and breads). After being completely unimpressed and unfulfilled, we made our way back to the hostel to wait for happy hour to start again.

After a few hours at the club, hanging out with our fellow canyoners, I called it a night and got to bed. The next day Dustin and I had the idea of renting this little car that was more of a glorified golf car. It looked kind of like a Ferrari and even had the Ferrari symbol on the front hood except the horse was a cow and was called Fun-rarri. We drove this thing up the mountian and back railing every hair pin turn, making the tires squeel. We proceded to drive on a few closed roads, get yelled at and then finally made it back to the hostel in time to get our stuff together and head back home.

In summary, if your in Europe when it is warm, you need to go to Interlaken. Aside from what we did, you can do skydiving, bungy (one of the tallest in the world but closed when we were there), white water rafting, zorbing (rolling down a hill in a giant hamster ball basically), etc, etc...

If I were going to be here during the summer I would definetly take a trip back.

Next weekend...possibly Berlin, maybe Frankfurt, maybe Nice. I should probably decide pretty soon.

Thanks for reading and until next time, au revoir!

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