Yesterday we left Salzburg early in the morning and left for Interlaken. It was a long day of driving with not much to report that pictures on Facebook wouldn’t have conveyed. We did go into five different countries yesterday (Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland). The men finished two individual liter bottles of Coke while I steadily sipped away at my 500 ml bottle and finished toward the end of our seven hours of driving. I would also like to say definitively that there are no men in the world that can belch louder and with more enthusiastic glee than the men in my family. It is truly a gift.
Our time in Interlaken is something I’ve been looking forward to most on this trip. Most of the places we are going I have been before and recently, so seeing some new places here is exciting. Switzerland hasn’t disappointed at all. It may smell like sheep/cow/goat poo everywhere you go, but after two months of hiking through the English countryside that smell is a somewhat nostalgic one for me, so what it really puts me in the mood to do is go hike a mountain, which is exactly what we did today.
The weather during our time here is likely going to be pretty wet the rest of the time here, so today we had to pack in as much as we could. We got an early start and headed toward Oeschinen Lake. There are so many mountains that we could see, but Switzerland is freakishly expensive, and I’m traveling with one college student and two cheapskates, so the Oeschinensee was the best option - we could travel up the mountain by gondola and hike back down again (after the requisite ride on the alpine slide, of course.) We had looked at the map and assumed that the “hike” from the lake would be more of a walk, but it turned out we couldn’t park our car nearly as close was we wanted, which meant a much longer hike than planned.
Truthfully, I didn’t mind at all. I wished I’d come better prepared (I had a snack and some water, but my shoes weren’t ideal), but I really do love wandering around the mountains (and, as previously mentioned, when you can do so downhill, it’s an added bonus). The lake was stunning. We ran into some friendly goats and heard cowbells nearly the entire time and got some of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen on a hike. I’ve added to my bucket list the desire to come back here someday with my hiking boots, better gear, and a week or two to spend just wandering Interlaken on foot. There are so many trails here and I would love to come explore them.
After our longer than expected (at least four miles) hike down the mountain, we got back in the car, headed for a bakery (because that’s the reward for physical labor), then drove off to Trummelbach Falls. These are some truly crazy falls - ten in all - that come thundering from the glaciers of three separate peaks in the Interlaken valley. What’s so great about Trummelbach is that each of the ten falls are viewable thanks to a series of tunnels that, in some cases, are illuminated from inside so you can see better. The force of the water is incredible and slightly terrifying. In the truest sense of the word ‘awful’ I was struck with both fear and awe at how mighty they were, especially toward the top. The falls carry up to 20,000 liters of water into the valley every second, which is difficult for me to fathom.
Today is one of those travel days, similar to our day in Hallstatt, where even my vocabulary can’t quite work around an appropriate description for all that we saw today. It was beautiful. It was stunning. It was unforgettable. This little taste of hiking in the alps wasn’t good enough for me. I want more, and I want to do it prepared next time. And there will be a next time. When I was younger I was afraid that when I grew up (and especially when I married), I would have to give up all of my favorite things. I’ve learned since then by watching those who have married and by living my own life that when you love something, you make it happen. Traveling the world is something I make happen. I am not content to sit back and settle down in one part of the world - I want to see everything that I can. *
*With special emphasis on places that aren’t crazy hot/humid, because I’m a bit of a weather wimp. It’s probably my greatest travel flaw.