Monday, June 13, 2005

Swiss Bliss!

Wow! Switzerland was phenomenal. There is so much to say and it would probably not to it justice either way.

Andrew, Stephen, and I all decided to go to Interlocken so we made a train schedule out. Unfortunately, we missed one of out trains, but we figured "Ah, well, this is part of the experience." And boy 'o boy, were we right. We ended up just winging the rest of the journey to interlocken and spending a good chunk of the night in a German train station. I seriously felt like a bum sleeping in one of the corners. The freaking custodians kept relocating us, until we moved into the official waiting room, where one old fart sounded like a motor boat snoring. It was pretty funny though. We actually had fun at the station though. We played a new version of "Gold Fish". Instead of saying "Gold Fish" we instead said "Go fish, you Pendejo!" Cracked me up hearing that come out of Stephen's mouth.

You have to understand who Stephen is. He's a really kind, easy going, mellow electrical engineer. And throughout this trip, he kept calling Andrew and I a couple of "pendejos" for different reasons. We actually came up with a lot of good sayings and words. More as the story progresses.

So we finally got to Interlocken, and I was in complete awe. The city is gorgeous-- out of a fairy tale. There were little spouts of water throughout the city where one could just drink to their fill. The water tasted as crisp and the mountain air we were breathing. I drank so much water, cause it tasted just so good. Luckily, the public restrooms there were free as well as very nice. The streets weren't cobble, which was a relief for my feet, but paved like in the states, but there were still the picturesque looking buildings. . .surrounded by mountains!! Everywhere you looked there were alps. Some snow covered, some not. We wanted to go up some for sure.

On day one, we took a private train, unknowingly towards a hiking spot. When the conductor found we didn't pay, he took out Eurail passes and didn't give them back until we agreed to pay for what we rode. Luckily, it was only about 3 franks or so and we decided to walk.

While walking back, we figured, why not climb an alp? No preset trails, baby! We found one with a good clearing to start out with. It was pretty steep with rock cliffs jutting out the side. Once we got into the forrest, there was a massive layer of leaves that not only would cushion you if you slipped, but could potentially send you skiing for a looong way. Poor Stephen slipped a few times and fell a few body lengths. We found that using a walking stick was the way to go. We eventually hit a rock cliff and climbed along that. We also discoverd to trust the trees more than the rocks, as some of the rocks would just slide off when you gripped them. Kinda freaky. Also along the way, Andrew was holding my small backpack and I asked him to toss it to me. He did, and it fell short and suddenly began to tumble down the mountain. We were all a little shocked and started laughing. We could hear it falling minutes after it started and never saw it again. We kept going until we found an actual trail that eventually led to a road up in the alp. We met an old Swiss man who had some sort of business up there and didn't speak a word of English. And from there, the view of in-freaking-credible. Andrew was getting emotional it was so grand. I wanted to keep going hire, but both Andrew and Stephen wanted to head back, so I figured I'd wait until tomorrow to hit a peak.

The hostel was pretty cool. It was almost all American students there, so it felt a lot like Baylor. There was a party everynight with happy hour, so I had me a nice dark pint. It went great with my huge $13 dollar burger (the most expensive thing I bought while there). We were pretty pooped and hit the hay soon afterwards.

The next day we set out early to start our climb. We got on a trail called Harder Kulm, and started our way up. It was a pretty intense climb, and soon enough the word ïntense"was added to out word list of the weekend. Along the way, Andrew and I ran into this dude named Alex, who was actually a part of the US biking team. He was competing in Europe and decided to take a break for the weekend. . .and climb an alp! Geez. I was getting pretty beat, but after about 2 hours of hiking, we found this large restaurant up on the alp. It was very very posh with Frank Sinatra music playing and sickly overpriced. 30 dollar plate for beef stogonaff anyone? Lucikly there was a small sandwhich shop right next to it. Everyone up there was just chilling and enjoyuing the view. They (employees and visitors included) were very kind to us, especially when we mentioned we were from the states. No anti-American sentiment in Switzerland it seems! We also ate this icecream bar called a "Magnum", and it was envigorating. I was so ready to get to the top now. So we set out and things got steeper, and rockier and steeper until we finally made it. And holy sweet crap, the view was Magnum. Totally Magnum. You could see. . .it all. I forgot the impending cliffs of death and jumped up on a small bench up there and gave a holler. The hibby jibbies soon kicked in and I nearly hugged the ground after that. We then made our way down from there (SLOWLY and CAREFULLY) and then down the alp.

At the bottom of the alp, a crystal clear river ran next to it in a city park and we enjoyed some nice sack sandwiches. The Swiss finches also enjoyed them as well. These little birds, that are deathly afraid of you in the states, started trusting us enough the take the bread out of our hands. It was hilarious. At one point, we were all laying out on our backs enjoying the weather, and these little finches were scurrying all around us. I'd turn my head, and see a couple of them face to face. I couldn't help but chuckle in disbelief. I also tossed a bit of bread on one of my companions, just to watch him get attacked momentarily by a swarm of finches. It was pretty funny.

We spent the rest of the evening looking in shops and exploring the city. At one point, we found this attraction that was pretty awesome. We paid 10 franks to get into a train lift that was over a century old (more extreme than skydiving if you ask me) and it took you to the top of a small alp, from there, you were stapped into a small cart that went down a rail, like a personal roller coaster. You sat in this tiny cart, with a seat belt and a lever right in front of you that controlled your speed. Naturally, I kept the speed full blast and screamed my way down the alp until all these warning signs started popping up. At one point, there was a sign that said to slow down for a corner, and I thought I slowed down enough, but right around the corner was the end, and I ended pretty roughly with my sun glasses popping of my head. This amused the Swiss people at the bottom very much.

We finally went back to the Hostel were there was another party, checked that out, ate some chocolate, watched some of "Old School" and went to our room. To our surprise, there were some pot smokers in our room but they eventually left, with our room full of weed smoke. It attracted a couple of people into our room, one girl in particular who thought we were smoking it and wanted to be our best friend. She was like, "Hey are you guys smoking? We can be friiieeends!" We let her in and had a good talk with her and this dude she knew. As they left, he yanked off her skirt and we had another spectacular view to add to our list of spectualur views this weekend. Poor girl though, but I felt more sorry for the guy who did it. She gave him a good punch and pinched his nipple really hard. Haha, guess he deserved it.

The next morning, we had breakfast, thanked the hostel and made our way back home. I seriously want a summer home here now. This beats Scotland for my list of potential summer cottages.

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