We arose at a not too early hour (about 7:00 am) to catch a train from Mainz that took us to Mannheim, and from there to Interlaken. The walk from the train station to our hostel was relatively short…although it would have been quicker if we hadn’t turned down the wrong street first. We stayed at the Backpackers Villa, which although slightly prison-like in its dorm interior, was otherwise quite comfortable. We choose to go to Interlaken for one reason: paragliding. I went on a tandem paragliding flight there three years ago when I last visited Switzerland, and I wanted Andrew to have the chance to experience it as well. So, one of the first things we did upon arriving in the town was book our flight. Tuesday was cloudy with a little bit of rain and so no one was flying when we arrived, but we were told Wednesday was expected to be perfect.
Once we set our flight time, we headed off to explore the town. It’s quite a picturesque little place, with mountains surrounding it in every direction. It also has lots of shops to look in. Perhaps not surprisingly, there were a number of places that sold watches and Swiss army knives. Watches can range from 70/80 CHF to several thousand CHF. On our first day we didn’t purchase anything, but enjoyed browsing through the available wares. That night we decided to go back to one of the fancier restaurants and enjoy traditional Swiss cheese fondue. It was quite tasty and very filling…but not so filling that we couldn’t fit in chocolate fondue afterward. We spent close to two hours at dinner, so by the time we were done, we simply headed back to our room and relaxed.
|One of the huge hotels in Interlaken, with a few mountains in the background.|
|Me, enjoying cheese fondue.|
After breakfast we headed into Interlaken, not too sure what we would do with our time before our paragliding flight, which wasn’t set until 2:00 that afternoon. We brought along one of the tourist maps provided in our room and decided to visit the Interlaken Castle, which is probably really more of a big manor house. We didn’t go into the Castle itself as it’s used for local government offices, but did visit two churches (situated right beside each other). One was a much older church, although I don’t recall when it was built, and the other much newer. No one was around when we went into either church so we just wandered about the pews and sanctuary. The both had lovely stained glass windows. Afterward we continued into a lovely Japanese garden (only a block or two away), where giant fish inhabitant the pond. Then we walked. I think we must have walked for over two hours, up the side of the mountain a little ways (not too far up as we didn’t have extra food or hiking shoes with us) then when we got back down to the town level, along the river and through the country side. It was lovely.
|The country side around Interlaken.|
|Andrew and I before heading out on our paragliding flights.|
|Me, coming in for a landing (I think...it could also be a random person we don't know.)|