Friday, October 21, 2011

Suisse. Swiss. Switzerland!

A train ride from Italy to Switzerland is so lovely, but when you actually cross that border to Switzerland, it's intense. Switzerland is so beautifully picturesque, it's like the perfect backdrop for a disney movie!

Day 1
I checked into The Happy Inn Lodge. Very cool with the Brasserie 17 bar/ restaurant downstairs and all the rooms above. That afternoon  walked around Interlaken West taking in the incredible scenery, looking in the shops (admiring cow bells, swiss army knives and cuckoo clocks)= watching paragliders with envy. Oooh I so wanted to go paragliding but it was just so overpriced!

That evening my mate Simon and I got ready and and walked around town in search of somewhere to have a good, reasonably priced meal and a few drinks. It was extremely quiet for a Saturday night, much to my surprise. As popular as Interlaken is for tourism, it is not a party town. We found a restaurant, not too much charm but we were lured in by the free salad with every meal. I had a cordon bleu schnitzel and chips but poor Simon. He ordered a pizza which took forever to arrive, and when it did it was a large, flat, cardboard slab with a minimal toppings. Worst pizza I have ever seen, ick! Lucky we had a couple of carafes of wine to wash it all down.

Day 2
Next morning, after breakfast we walked to the train station to make our way up the mountains. Interlaken West - East - Grund - Grindlewald - ooh woops here comes the ticket master and we have no tickets. Damn it! Luckily he saw we were just a pair of dumb tourists and we just bought our tickets at the next stop. Then we headed all the way over the other side to Lauterbrunnen. Here we get our first cable car! Then its a couple more trains and cable cars until we get to Murren. Murren is incredibly cute, a lovely town, up a mountain, gorgeous homes, cows and of course... goats! We walk through the town to which we get another cable car. up..up...up we go. Thinking we had arrived at the top of the mountain, I was surprised to see yet another cable car. So we are on the final leg, heading up to the top of Schilthorn Mountain (the famous Jungfrau Mountains neighbor). It's cool seeing yourself thousands and thousands of feet above ground, in a small box literally dangling from a cable that connects one mountain to the next!

We arrived to the summit at the top of Schilthorn Mountain. Snow decorates the mountain tops. Mountain peaks as far as the eye can see, land so vast. Standing on the deck, a large round platform, it's so quiet, peaceful and cold up there. Black birds flying and darting in and out, as the sun is starting to go very slowly go down, it's a remarkable moment in time. There is a panoramic revolving restaurant, named Piz Gloria, at the summit, which is where the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service was set. We had a couple of sandwiches and a drink never taking our eyes off the large windows as the mountains go by.

We took the last cable car at 6.00pm back down to Murren where we made our way back down. Stopping in Lauterbrunnen at a pub for a warm glass of Gluhwein before eventually getting back to our hostel. That evening we made the right choice in eating at Brasserie 17, sharing tapas consisting of albondigas (meatballs), pepper balls (cheese stuffed jalapeƱos), mini bruschettas and a bowl of farmer fries. Of course my friend wine is never far away and we shared a carafe of tuscan red.

Day 3
Next day we took a train over to the East, walked along the river up to where it meets the sea. I've never seen water so blue. The river was aqua, so gorgeous it doesn't look real. After a relaxing walk and a sit by the sea we went back to the West for lunch. Having a sandwich each, neither of us were satisfied and decided we needed to try the famous Swiss specialty, Cheese Fondue. We told the waiter we wanted to share one between two of us but he insisted we have a fondue for 2.... so out comes the pot of melting cheese and bread basket. Oh boy we were excited! In we go with our bread squares, lathering them in cheese, rotating them in the liquid hot goo. So good! I had a glass of white wine with mine while Simon had a bottle of water. Now the water and wine costs exactly the same! When water costs as much as wine, you order wine, always!  He's crazy I dont understand people that dont drink! Ok so by now we are halfway through the fondue realizing that it was too much buuuut we kept on going. One bread cube after the next until I started to yawn. I was getting cheese lethargic, like the way babies do after a bottle of milk. Oh I was so dozy and starting to feel really ill. TOOO MUCH CHHEEEESE! I had had it, no more cheese!

That evening, cheese drunk I walked Simon to the station.   So I had a night to myself where I went to sleep early and prepared myself to leave the next morning.

Day 4
Next day I woke up fluey, I blame the cheese of course. I left at lunchtime and caught the train to Basel where I would spend one night.

Basel is a cool town, but unfortunately I did not get to spend any time exploring. Check in at the YMCA hostel was not until 3.30pm so I waited in the lobby for reception to open. While I was waiting there was a very large and rowdy group of men, I think they were Italians. All drunk, stupid and OLD. Ick they were middle aged men all carrying on in preparation for some sporting event. When I checked in I asked if there was any female dorms to which she replied no. I said I did not want to be placed in a room with any of those men, I was under the impression this was a youth hostel! So up I went to my room . I opened the door and was hit in the face with the smell of salami. Oh My God. Only one thing smells of salami, other than salami of course, and thats a dirty old Italian. There was no one in the room, I realized that some of the men downstairs were occupying this room. Beer cans, mens shoes, deodorant and other crap littered the room. I could have cried. I was sick, tired and did not want to stay in a room with drunk, old, European men. So I went downstairs, told reception I could not stay. They had no other beds left! So I used their computer, found another hostel and left.

Just a 10 minute walk away to Basel Backpack. It was perfect. Urban culture, young and I got a female dorm no hassles! Just one other girl in my room. So I ate a microwave lasagna for dinner and hit the hay by 9.30pm. I checked out at 8.30am took the bus to the airport and boarded a flight bound for Copenhagen where I then took the train to Sweden. So here I am again, back home with my family planning the next stage of my trip. I was supposed to fly home to Australia Nov 10 but its just not an option. I have ummed and ahhhed about what to do. I would ideally love to stay, work and travel but finding jobs without a visa is very difficult. So I am extending my trip, just until the beginning of December. Giving me the freedom to see and do what I want without rushing. The journey continues....

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