Europe

We Own the Sky

May 12, 2015

Aaron and I sleepily woke up around 10 a.m., just before the free hostel breakfast was closed. There was not much to eat so I settled on bread and Nutella.

We got our plans together and decided to paraglide. We had a really hard decision (hang glide vs paraglide vs skydive). Although we both really want to skydive, we decided that the view in Interlaken would be a bit wasted if we couldn’t hang in the air a bit longer.

Paragliding it was! We hopped in the van and were provided introductions and minimal instructions. Our little van climbed and climbed and climbed. The anticipation was killling me! We took a brief walk to the side of the hill and the pilots started laying out the shoots. One older woman went before us and they did a test run with her.  No test for Aaron and me though.  I nervously asked my pilot, Florian, what “Plan B” was and he grinningly stated “You die on a beautiful day.”  No more questions for me.  Quickly after, Aaron and his pilot, Stefan, started running and suddenly (with little gap in between), Florian and I are running down the side of the hill as well. My heart was not racing as I thought it would be. After all, you’re just running down the side of the hill and it suddenly becomes harder as you keep trying to run (the shoot becomes a drag) and then you are running when the ground is no longer under your feet!! I finally sat back in my harness and enjoyed the view.

Paragliding Over Interlaken

We effortlessly glided over a cliff and angled toward the town of Interlaken. After you are over the cliff you see how the town was named (in between lakes). The lakes are beautiful and everything was green, not to mention the gorgeous backdrop of the three towering mountains in front of you (Monch, Eiger, and Jungfrau). Pure bliss. Florian takes several pictures and I work that camera!! As we get straight over the town, Florian begins filming and then hands me the reigns! What?! Isn’t this the WORST place for me to pilot?!  It seemed easy enough, but I will not presume to say that paragliding is easy. I hand the reigns back and ask Florian to have some fun (they had mentioned tricks).  We started off slowly rocking back and forth which turned into my body completing facing down to my inevitable death. My stomach was jumping and I was squealing and I think this only gave Florian more ammunition. Then the real fun came with us spiraling down for quite some time.  What fun!! We finally settle, he turns the camera off, and we prepare for landing. It was pretty smooth and we both landed on our feet. What a blast! Aaron had already landed and greeted me below. We looked over the pictures and videos and decided to buy both.

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After getting our bearings back, we head for some lunch at a cute little sandwich shop. We sat outside in the sun, enjoyed our sandwiches and a coke. What’s next after an exhilarating afternoon?! A hike, of course. We decided to hike “Harder Klum” which translates to hardest climb of your life (for me) or just “harder climb…”

We immediately started off on the wrong track after coming to the first fork. One path (which I incorrectly chose) was clearly marked with a blue arrow. We start walking up a treacherously steep hill but it’s a gravel road wide enough for cars to drive… This didn’t seem right. We encounter some Asians who Aaron asks if this was the right way… They laugh and say no they heard the cows and wanted a picture. The cows were actually pretty cute and annoying with their bells harnessed around their neck. As you got farther away from them the bells jingling was a little more endearing.

Hiking

Using our latest technology (thank baby Jesus for google maps) we find that we can catch the actual trail after a bit more of a hike. My legs were heavy and my lung capacity was suffering since I had basically not exercised since February. But! We stopped and rested plenty, ate snacks, drank water, what had become my daily ritual – laying down on the ground to pop my back (if it works, right?!), and we finally made it to the top.

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We made it to the top in just two hours with striking views and a platform you could walk out onto. It featured a blue and flowered cow from Austin, TX. The Swiss’s love for their cows was evident as they were all over town.

Getting to the top of a hike is generally the best part because you are rewarded with the view. For Aaron and I, we were rewarded with tons of assholes who took the damn gondola up. We decided since it was already five, we should join them (If you can’t beat em…) and take the gondola down.

The best part was noticing that the Indian and Asian tourists REALLY like to pose for their pictures. Aaron decided this was a good idea and did his best “I’m a stuck up world traveler” pose viewing the mountains. I have to say, it came out nicely.

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We took the gondola down, showered and changed for dinner and headed to an Indian restaurant. It was squelching hot like hell’s fury. But alas we had already committed by sitting down in devil’s paradise, so we proceeded to order (We wouldn’t want to look stupid by moving outside where it was much cooler, would we? Sweating through dinner seemed much more “cool.”). Dinner was good but very expensive.  We joked that we should have been compensated for them not running the air conditioner.

After dinner, we went on a hunt for the famous Swiss chocolate. But of course all chocolate shops were closed. We settled on ice cream and decided to resume our hunt the next day.

One thing I quickly learned after being in Switzerland for a short period is that some speak German, some speak French, and they can freely swap between the two. Bonjour or guten tag and merci or danke?! I was never sure who spoke what.  I decided to just speak English and everyone spoke that, too. Clever Swiss.

We returned to the hostel and the heat was finally getting to us. It was about 80 degrees and there was no air conditioning in the rooms. Can you imagine the summer?! We were also at a corner room, so even with opening the window it was hard to get a breeze. The hostel was actually a great place to stay though. It was much cheaper and Aaron and I had our own room with a bathroom included. Besides the bed being a little hard and dealing with the heat a bit, we had a great stay. It was very clean, the staff was friendly, and they offered free coffee, wifi, games (ping pong), and a laundry room. We both decided we were a bit too old for the hostel experience though and this would probably be the last and only one we would stay in.

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