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The Hills are Alive

Dan and I arrived in Interlaken, Switzerland by night train. Waking up and pulling back the curtains revealed snow capped craggy peaks lined by green, rolling hills dotted with pastures and Swiss chalet style homes. We cracked open the windows and peaked up ahead to see that the tracks climbed further up the hillside taking us deeper into the mountain pass. Within hours we would be at our home base for exploring the Alps.
Once in Interlaken it was just a short walk to our Bed and Breakfast - The Rugenpark Hotel, where we experienced the highest level of hospitality and customer service we have ever encountered. The owners, Chris, Ursula, and their dog Monty, exuded warmth and generosity. Dan and I would both be celebrating our birthdays during our stay, and the morning of each of our birthdays they burst into the breakfast room with cakes, presents, and songs. They truly were the best hosts we have ever had. Our room was charming and quaint, but the view from our window was what really stood out.
On our first day the weather was beautiful, and we missed not a beat booking our tickets to the top of Mt. Schilthorn. The ride to the top took two hours on several systems of trains, gondolas, and hiking, but once there Schilthorn provided 360 degree views at 9,600 feet above sea level that were out of this world.
We wasted no time deciding that rather than riding back down, we would simply hike our way back to the nearest train station. It was a good idea in theory, but the sore muscles which ensued for nearly a week proved I overestimated my hiking ability. The hike clearly turned out to be more difficult than anticipated (who thought hiking downhill is more grueling than hiking up?!) but nothing will ever compare to the beauty we encountered as we wandered through cow pastures, hiked along pristine glacial lakes, and finally arrived at the quaint, hillside town of Murren.
Waking up the next morning I literally could not move. I shuddered in pain just touching my legs. I was stiff, sore, and in no position to hike up or down any more mountains. We decided to take it easy with a leisurely boat ride to the nearby town of Spiez. It truly was a beautiful town complete with a castle, ancient church, a bustling harbor, and vineyards lining the hills.
On the ride back dark clouds rolled in and the water became choppy, soon it was pouring down rain and lightening and thunder crashed overhead. Once back in Interlaken we decided to have a night on the town to celebrate our birthdays with the cheapest fancy dinner we could find. We found out that cheap is not something which exists in Switzerland. We couldn't believe how over priced everything was. We couldn't find a dish in town which cost less than $15 USD. We settled on a little fondue joint where we dipped the night away and set ourselves back a good $100 USD. At least they brought us a free birthday dessert complete with firework style candles. It was definitely a birthday to remember.

The next day my muscles continued to ache but I was not about to let them deter me from engaging in any outdoor pursuit. We rented bikes for the day and rode all along the lakes on either side of Interlaken (Interlaken literally means between the lakes). It probably wasn't the smartest idea as my legs burned the entire time, but it was beautiful and secluded and an experience I will never forget.
Switzerland was incredible despite being overpriced. We both soaked up every bit of the mountain scenery we could as we would soon be heading to the sun soaked canals of Venice. I think Dan was a bit more sad about leaving Switzerland than I was. Frolicking through the Alps we was totally in his element, it was definitely a sight worth seeing.

Posted by Jennylynn 09:53 Archived in Switzerland Tagged backpacking

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