Thursday, Nov. 11
Interlaken is a wonderful little municipality, wedged between two rivers and two mountains, on opposite sides. It’s located in the Canton of Bern in the Interlaken-Oberhasli district.
It is also a part of the Jungfrau region – a UNESCO World Heritage site. The region is home to Jungfraujoch. At 11,333 feet, it’s also known as the top of Europe.
The village of Interlaken is basically an oversized Whistler with very Swiss buildings. The houses are predominately wooden and massive, sporting moose carvings, funky balconies and colourful shutters.
The town is very empty at the moment. As I mentioned in our last post, we’re visiting Switzerland in the in-between season.
We will definitely make a point of returning here in the winter and again in the summer.
Matt and I are bound and determined to try all of their various seasonal sports and activities.
From canyoning, descending down a mountainside with flowing water; to glacier climbing, done with a rope and a pick; to the popular hour-long, uphill glacier hike to the Monchsjoch hut, offering a spectacular view of the Alps.
Currently, we’re staying in Balmer’s Herberge – another place we will return. It has a reputation as one of the best hostels in Europe.
It’s huge – there’s a pool and foosball room, a laundry area, a convenience store, two tourist information huts, a kitchen, a restaurant and an outdoor beer garden (equipped with a huge chess board).
There’s also TV room, a nightclub and a separate hotel. Down the street is their tent village.
Our room is very quant – like a little wooden cabin. It has two tiny beds covered in red, plaid blankets. The ceiling is sloped like an attic, with a skylight in the middle.
It’s great falling asleep to the stars and waking up to the sun peaking through the clouds and mountaintops.
In town, the shops are full of expensive sporting goods.
We ventured around the centre today in search of some true Swiss culture.
After buying Christmas decorations at the grocery store, we visited McDonald’s for some French fries. A coffee and fries cost nearly $7. I’m not sure if I’m just really cheap, but that seemed over the top. A single meal is $12.
(We’ve discovered that eating out and taking the mountain trains are the most expensive parts of Switzerland. If you eat in and take the bus, you’ll be OK. Their money (the Swiss Franc) is basically at par with the Canadian dollar.)
Following our McDonald’s run, we thought we would class up our day by stopping at the local Hooters.
Matt was dying for some chicken wings (so he says).
Fifty wings were $56. We opted for a cheap beer and wine instead.
Surprisingly, all of the older men in Interlaken were thirsty at the same time, so the patio was quite busy. Probably because of the amazing mountain views.
The Alps are visible from every angle.
We spent some time watching paragliders land in the field across the street before venturing back to our hostel to eat some (gluten free) garlic bread and rice pilaf (a.k.a., white rice).
Overall, I think our search for Swiss culture was a success.