take off from los angeles, land in paris. several train rides later, fast forward to interlaken, switzerland. it’s one of the more beautiful places i have ever seen, and definitely the most idyllic. i, of course, don’t realize any of this yet because when all passengers are asked to exit the train at the interlaken ost train station, it’s nighttime. and raining.
there’s a unique kind of isolation you feel when you’re by yourself in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and don’t know where anything is (including your travel partner). i wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but i will say, at least for me, it was a good thing to experience for twenty minutes.
the hostel we stayed in is called funny farm backpacker’s hostel and it was Incredible. we had a private room, but there are also dorm-style options. the room featured a beautiful view of the alps, and the shower had a window into the room and facing the window outside.
prettiest. showerview. ever.
when we finally arrived it was pretty late, but there seemed to be quite a bit going on right in the lobby of the hostel. people drinking and chatting, and, my favourite part, a huge and friendly st. bernard. if i hadn’t been traveling for 26 hours we might have stuck around for a drink, but we headed up to the room pretty much immediately. the room itself was pretty comfortable, nothing too extravagant but it was clean and had a huge window and balcony. i didn’t have an opportunity to really spend a lot of time there, but the people behind the front desk were pleasant and cheerful and willing to help, they allowed us to store our bags while we explored.
we walked to the train station and got tickets to grindelwald, a tiny village also in the burmese alps. the train drops you off in a pretty touristy part of the town, so we attempted to stray as far as we could from there before getting our bearings. we stopped in a travel information building and inquired about what would be the best hike to do given the amount of time we had. an unpleasant and unhelpful man behind the counter suggested we go up to first and handed us the same travel pamphlets that were available to us when we walked in. we kept walking.
eventually we came to the base of the gondola and decided to ask there. even though we were not purchasing a gondola ticket, the woman there guided us toward a (very steep, she said,) hiking trail and circled it on a map.
the trail Was very steep. and it was pretty hot. but it was Gorgeous and i can honestly say i don’t think i will ever see anything like it again.
at the top of the hill, we rented trottibikes, which are essentially downhill stand-up scooters. they go pretty fast, and even though you wear a helmet when you ride, the road goes from a rural neighborhood dirt road to a bike lane in the busiest part of the village pretty quickly. it was still a ton of fun, we took some great photos, and it was only $19 (as compared to something like 50 for the gondola) but at the end of the road, NO drivers are looking for tourists on trottibikes, so just be mindful of that.
after going back to the hostel to get our bags, we went back to the train station to head to bolzano. or bozen? i’m still confused as to why some european cities have an english name and a real name.
let me take a quick second to tell you how wonderful trains are. they’re smooth and comfortable and quiet, and many have cafe cars where you can order a drink or snacks. they whisk you past some really beautiful scenery while you have time to read or journal or nap or drink your beer. perhaps you just want to take train videos. **protip: put your camera lens directly against the window for optimum visual quality.