Switzerland is a country like no other. In fact I think I’m going to say it’s my new happy place. It’s the general consensus from everyone we met that Switzerland isn’t a real place. It can’t be. It’s too perfect!
I like to refer to it as a fantasy land. It’s magical, like you’re in a dream. Everywhere you turn is bright green. Fields of green rise into mountain after mountain after mountain until you’re completely surrounded by them. The tallest of these are capped with fresh white peaks. A strange concept when you’re standing below in the heat of the sun. Then there’s the waterfalls! Long, thin streams of water falling into the valleys. But my favourite of all are the bright blue lakes that Interlaken is famous for. The minerals from the the glacial waterfalls settle on the bottom of the lake, where the sun reflects to cause the most tremendous colour. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.
Interlaken is home to an incredible amount of adventure sports. White water rafting, kayaking, canyoning, paragliding, mountain biking and of course – sky diving! In fact the main reason we planned to visit Switzerland was to go sky diving. But more on that later…
As every activity comes with safety instructions I decided to write this blog similarly. So strap in and listen up. Here’s your safety guide to holidaying in Interlaken:
1. Take every opportunity that you get!
Arriving at lunch time on a beautiful day, we decided that we needed to make the most of the beautiful weather. We made our way to the lake where we hired a 2 seater kayak for 3 hours and paddled across the crystal blue waters in awe. Fiona and I docked near a church on the other side of the lake and were welcomed with the echoing bells of the Chapel. We embraced our inner child and jumped off the pier attempting to create the coolest jumps. Fiona was certainly getting her money’s worth with the Go Pro today!
2. Always remember: “Everything happens for a reason.”
I often live by this saying as I find it so true! We’re often faced with challenges or disappointments but it’s the way in which you respond that’s so very important. When mine and Fi’s helicopter skydive got cancelled due to weather, we were rescheduled to a plane dive on the Sunday afternoon. Initially disappointed that we couldn’t jump from the helicopter (and had to count down an extra 2 sleeps), we began to be grateful that we could at least reschedule to another time. In the end we had perfect conditions for the jump and we were so glad we pushed it back two days. But like I said more on that later…
3. Don’t be scared to get wet!
Friday came and we quickly understood why our dive had been cancelled. Rain, rain, rain. And plenty of it! With a short time only in Switzerland we weren’t going to let a bit of rain stop us. We bought some ponchos and took the train to Lauterbrunnen; a beautiful town located in a valley. Due to wet weather, locals strongly discouraged us from walking the hike we planned to complete. So instead we decided to explore the waterfalls.
It was almost like watching a game of tennis. Our heads turned left and right as we pointed out waterfall after waterfall right throughout the valley. It was stunning! We even got to ascend a hill to position us right next to one of the main falls. There was that fantasy feeling again!
But our favourite was exploring the Trummelbachfalle; a series of 10 glacial waterfalls inside a mountain. Never have I seen water thrown at such a powerful force around and down corners. You could feel the ground vibrate, the rumble in the air and the cold splash of the water in my face. Wow were they impressive!
4. Trust the instructors – they’ve done this before!
As an early birthday present, Fi introduced me to the amazing experience that is canyoning. We were picked up by the team at Outdoor Interlaken and taken to Grimsel to begin the course. I used to get scared about these type of activities, but I’m noticing a new found confidence. The way I saw it is these guys are professionals and they do this everyday! So as long as you trust them and do exactly what they say then you’ll be fine.
The experience began with a 50m abseil down a cliff face; my favourite part of the tour. That is until they decided it would be funny to make Fiona and I race down. So there we were, in a beautiful canyon in Switzerland, running down a cliff face. Now that’s something you don’t do everyday!
We spent the rest of the 2 hours jumping into water from rocks, rappelling through waterfalls, ziplining through narrow rock spaces and slipping down nature’s own waterslides. An incredible amount of fun!!
5. Always trust your instincts!
We hadn’t had much luck with our hiking directions in Switzerland. And this particular occasion was no better. In an attempt to find the town lookout we spent quite a bit of time making wrong turns when signs weren’t available. We learnt that sometimes it’s best to follow instinct over logic because these were always right!
We finally arrived at Heimwehfluh to be welcomed with panoramic views of Interlaken, including its beautiful lakes. We enjoyed taking in the view while we ate our packed lunch and played on the swings. It was all an attempt to distract us from what was going to be happening that afternoon.
6. Ensure that you read the next blog.
Sorry folks but I feel the sky dive needs a post of its own.
So if you’ve enjoyed your time with me today and are interested to read on then please follow the exit signs to reach the next blog: “The Dive.”
Thanks for listening.