This post is an ode to the beautiful country of Switzerland.
I’m sure you’ve all heard about how beautiful and amazing this country is. It’s all justified, all true, and no matter the season, weather, or time of day, I guarantee you will be struck dumb by the awesome sight of these mountains soaring high into the sky above.
Our itinerary took us across two of the three major linguistic regions of Switzerland, which if you may not have known actually has four official languages.
It seems like Geneva is a popular destination for Danes to fly to, as we found $50 round-trip flights from Copenhagen and booked them as soon as we saw them. Geneva is part of the eastern, French-speaking region of Switzerland, and I felt almost as though I was in France (to be fair, Geneva is pretty much on the border with France, anyways). Of course, I had to partake in a pain au chocolate, and slept early as we had an early train to the main destination of our trip: Interlaken.
Friday morning, we took our train to Interlaken and arrived mid-day. The train there was one of the most scenic routes I’ve ever taken – I highly recommend sitting on the top level, as you can get a clear view of the surroundings, and they are worth seeing. Sloping farms, cattle grazing calmly in green pastures, with huge monoliths standing in the far, far distance, their vision obscured by the clouds of low-lying fog and the snow cloaking their summits. My pictures don’t do them justice, and I recommend you take the time to put your phone down and just observe.
Interlaken itself was an absolute dream. The stony clouds did nothing to diminish this small town’s charm, and the vibrant flowers and clear blue water made it so easy to want to stay in the town and explore. But Interlaken is known for its mountains, and we decided to hike the Harder Kulm – the large mountain directly overseeing the town.
Note to self: don’t hike when the forecast is rain, wind, and possible hail.
You’d think that would be a no-brainer, but alas, we were overcome by the desire to maximize as much as we could in the short two days we had there.
Long story short – it was one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done in my life. I think in the four hours it took us to ascend (it’s supposed to take two lmao) we experienced all four seasons in some form. But it was also one of the most rewarding experiences as we climbed the summit and were greeted by a gorgeous view – only the pictures can explain. The city “Interlaken” means “between two lakes,” and it’s definitely aptly named.
We climbed back down from the mountain in pitch darkness, and hungrily wandered the small town for any form of sustenance. We finally hunted down a local Migrolinos store that had its lights still on, and emptied out its shelves as quickly as we could fit things into our baskets. I have never slept so well as I did that night.
The second day in Interlaken, we decided to explore the local town of Lauterbrunnen, which is famous for its beautiful waterfalls, visible as you walk along the massive gorge where the town sits. We spent a large portion of the day inside the gorge, exploring the falls from below and walking along the creek that wound through the valley.
But the highlight of the day came when we decided to take a cable car up to the top of the gorge, to Winteregg station, where we hiked along the side of the mountain and through the alpine forest. Seeing the town from so far above and being much closer to the peaks so far above us was a truly surreal experience. I remember sitting there on a bench and taking in the sheer size of the mountains in front of us, wreathed in cloud cover. As the clouds rolled in and the wind picked the snow up from the faraway mountaintops, I started to get a sense of how grand these mountains were as I watched the clouds at the peaks dissipate as they made their long, long descent down to the valley so far below.
We saw the St. Beatus Caves and the waterfalls surrounding them, and the stories of how the caverns were excavated and what they were used for added a historical aspect to our previously only-nature-focused trip
I didn’t want to leave the mountaintop – but our trains were booked, and we left the town back to Interlaken. Our evening was consumed with exploring the city again, and we tried some amazing fondue, Swiss chocolate, and the most authentic of all, Mr. Grill – a budget food truck in the train station, with some of the best-smelling burgers ever.
The third day, we left early on our way back to Geneva, Heading back from a German-speaking area to French-speaking lands wasn’t jarring at all, but it was very cool to see how the signs and store names smoothly transitioned from being in German to being in French. It was interesting to see how cohesive it all was – it felt like there was no dissonance between the different regions. I was surprised to see a national identity that was separated from language – it was definitely a different experience from any other country I’ve been to before.
Leave a Reply