As per the external ink I provided in my last post, I have landed in one of the richest countries in the World. But before you think I’ve lost the plot or that I’m a walking contradiction having recently had to use my emergency credit card to pay for the bear necessities, well, some things are important that money….
Before that, what else do I know about Switzerland other than they’re considered a very rich country, that their most successful human export is the great Rodger Federer, that they’re premier watch and Swiss army knife makers, they have lots of cows and cheese and that they produce fantastic ice-cream. Ok, ok, neutrality also of course. Hey, I had to get that in before someone else does.
Let’s start with the fact they have three official languages, Swiss-German, Swiss-French and Swiss-Italian. However there is also a fourth language named ‘Romansh’ spoken by a minority collective somewhere in the east of the country. I am staying in the predominantly Swiss-German town known as Interlaken (although the majority of people I’ve met and have overheard speak Italian). Why Interlaken? Well, there is one reason which I’ll shortly explain but first, here’a a quick few lines of into the origin of the town: In Latin, ‘Inter Lacus‘ means between the lakes and so you can guess what is on either side of the town! Long ago Lake Wendel, having originated out of the last ice-age, eventually split in two and the ‘Bodeli‘ was created (the area of land in between) the two lakes; Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
Further more, I have a single unbelievable statistic for you: Interlaken has recently experienced temperatures of mid 30 degrees. To my complete surprise, that isn’t normal for out here although being an Alpine region perhaps I should have thought otherwise. Anyhow, the temperature is so abnormal that this July, right here, right now, has been the hottest summer in well over 100 years!!!
Actually, this isn’t the first time I’ve been to Interlaken although the last time I was here the lads I arrived after 9pm and left the following morning. As such it would be accurate to say that we didn’t get to see much of Interlaken and so that’s not summit that is going to happen this time around! This is covered in a single page HERE and shows a couple of older, smaller images but they’re still some of my favourite from years ago.
For those of you that chose not to move your mouse a few inches and depress the button, the sole reason I am in Interlaken is that my brother’s Godfather, Uncle Roberto, lives here and has lived here for all of his adult life. Actually, he used to live in the family town of Clevedon, UK until he was 22. That year he would leave everything to start a fresh in Switzerland. Brave, huh.
To further back up when I say to you I really don’t know where I’m going most of the time for my next destination, I only contacted Uncle Rob one week ago to ask if he was around. Thankfully he was and so it is with him I have stayed for the last couple of nights. Despite only requiring a bed, Uncle Roberto has been super generous to me. Considering the last time I was here I was in the automotive exotica shown in that last link, I reckon this time round he’s felt sorry for me in my new guise and as a backpacker but no complaints from me, only respect and appreciation.
One gloriously sunny afternoon he took me to a spot on the lake where we could have a swim without many other tourists around. It was strange to think that this is as hot as the lake will ever get and it’s pretty darn cold now so I cannot imagine how people go swimming in here in say April or May but we all know there will be crazy and brave people that do!
During my time with Rob we drank several Espresso’s, ate some fine food (finally, thank God. Well, thank Rob!) and we had plenty of family-related chat.
Of course we also found time for a little light lads humour at Lake Thun. Was always a sucka for a dare…
That handsome man is a barely believable 52 years old so single ladies, get in touch.
What else is there to do in Interlaken?
There are plenty of adrenaline pumping activities but rather conveniently they were all too expensive for me. They cater for tourists (and locals) all year round and from season to season. Does your home town offer that? Mine doesn’t…
In the Winter naturally you are limited to activities to things like, Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledding etc… but if you’re game, you’ll have a blast. Come here in the summer for a short summer holiday and enjoy one of the many activities available to you including: Paragliding, Hang Gliding, Canyoning, Sky Diving, Bungy Jumping, Night Sledding, River Rafting, Horse-back riding, Hiking, Alpine rail cruises. The list goes on folks…
For considerably less Swiss Francs you can enjoy some scenic delights either via a funicolore (or by feet!) and reach the ‘Top of Interlaken‘.
And now a small glimpse of the two surrounding lakes; Thun and Brienz.
Even this ol’ boy is enjoying the view, hey big fella.
And now, alas my single biggest disappointment; not being able to afford ‘The Jungfraujoch‘ rail journey. Whereas the ‘Harder Kulm’ shown above describes itself as the ‘Top of Interlaken‘, The Jungfraujoch’s mantra is the ‘Top of Europe‘! At a height of nearly 3500 meters (11,000 ft !!!) lies a glacier pass that has been made accessible via rail path since the early 20th century. Get this, The Jungfraujoch railway station is the highest in Europe. They even filmed some scenes for a James Bond movie up here, one of the old-skool ones but you’ll surely never guess which….? I’ll stick the answer down at the bottom of this post…
Needless to say I’m truly gutted on missing out on this. Still, this can make it on the ‘Next Time‘ wish list which I’m shortly hoping to compose and place on the blog somewhere.
There are also bike rentals, tennis courts and an open-aired swimming pool to enjoy here in Interlaken. I made use of the latter for a few hours one afternoon:
With Uncle Rob going back to work, I’ve decided to stay in Interlaken for a couple more days and so I’ve sought refuge in a hostel in Interlaken. If it’s as impressive inside as it is outside, then I should have a decent stay here.
Oh, and as for the 007 movie; it was the one with George Lazenby – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.