Switzerland!

Last Saturday, our train left Arezzo at 7 a.m., bound for Interlaken, Switzerland and set to arrive at 7:56 p.m. What a day right? Fortunately, everything went perfectly according to schedule (which may or may not be some sort of miracle). The Milan train station is HUGE and as I’m typing this, I’m sitting in Brig, Switzerland waiting for our train to head back there.

When we got to Switzerland we were like little children looking out the window, taking pictures of mountains and/or lakes as if we had never seen them before. I mean, we had, but these were so beautiful! And the towns were so quaint and colorful. We got to Interlaken, took a deep breath of mountain air, and …. Walked. A lot. Enough walking to where Alison’s wheel fell off her suitcase, which actually turned out to be pretty funny.  I mean, not so much for us as we struggled to piece it together on the sidewalk, but for the passing Swiss families, I’m sure it was hilarious.

We found our hostel and quickly checked in. We stayed at Balmer’s, which is a world-famous hostel and actually probably the nicest place we’ve stayed in. Everything is so clean and smells nice in Switzerland, plus we got free breakfast every morning. Plus happy hour specials in the beer garden. Plus comfy beds.

Since it was already 9:30 and we hadn’t really eaten all day, we wandered across the street to this lounge that served homemade wraps…turkey & brie, yes please. Then, since we had already previously felt the comfort of the beds, we….went to bed.

See, the thing is, we could have gone to the bar downstairs and met new friends and partied, but have you ever traveled the majority of Italy for 30 days? Let me tell you, we were tired, tired girls.

Apparently, Balmer’s overbooked the hostel for the rest of our stay so we got upgraded to an even nicer room with a private bathroom….for free! Sunday morning, we had to wander the town for 2 hours until we could get into the new room, but we found some cute shops and discovered touristy-Interlaken. When we got back to Balmer’s, the July 4th festivities were already going on, so we naturally ate a hamburger and drank a beer. Delicious. And we made new friends! Some people from UNC Law School, studying in Germany and spending the weekend in Interlaken. All in all, a fun day. We probably drank too much beer and got close to each other with Sparkler’s, but what’s July 4th for if not for that? The other cool part was, Balmer’s takes a group photo every July 4th (There were some on the ‘famous wall’ that dated to the 70’s!) and we were front & center in this year’s (of course). They mail it to us for free, but it won’t come until November – regardless, I’m on the wall of a world famous hostel forever!

(that’s Eric Balmer!)

Monday morning, we went canyoning! Canyoning is basically…..you drive towards the top of a mountain, repel down into a canyon and go through a tough little obstacle course in a wet suit to get to the bottom. When put like that, it doesn’t sound like what it is — which is AWESOME. I slightly was frightened (mostly of the climbing up on rocks prior to the jumps or slides due to my lack of upper body strength), but holy hell, I would do it again everyday. How many people can say they spent 6 hours in the water of a glacier runoff down the side of a Swiss mountain? It started with a 150 foot repel down a rock wall, then a cannonball into the canyon. There were some times where we had to just lay on our backs and slide, sometimes where we had to jump EXACTLY into our own shadow for fear of rocks, sometimes where we ziplined towards the middle of the pond, to do a backflip into the water. Sound fun yet?  Here’s some pictures:

After Canyoning, we were literally exhausted. It took a lot of strength, people! We took about a 3 hour nap and then went on a mission to find real Swiss food for dinner.  We found a very Swiss-looking place (wood cabin) with a cheap-ish menu (they love their Francs), and I got sausage and Rosti (basically hash browns). It was delicious! Then we went back to the room and watched The Weakest Link on BBC. Ha!

While we realize this agenda we’ve established in Switzerland is far less exciting than what we did in Italy, it is so welcome and also needed — our bodies are responding rapidly to the rest. As in, my eyes look like a puffin every morning and there are different areas of our bodies that are so sore. As if we’ve worked out, sore. Strange, right?

Our last day in Switzerland, we wandered around the town again and took some advice from a nice lady in a shop to head to Lauterbrunnen and see some waterfalls. The town was even smaller and quieter than Interlaken, but we hiked to the top of this hill and stood under a waterfall. The abundance of delicious smelling and tasting water in this country is unreal. We took  the rest of the evening off  (duh) and packed for our return to Italy.

I’m so glad and grateful that we chose Switzerland for our solo journey this past week. It was such a beautiful country and Canyoning is something I’m so excited I can say I have done. The people are so gracious here! And nice!

Off to Milan!

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