After taking in the sights and history of Munich, we were ready to move on to our next destination. The only issue was that we didn’t know where to go next! I know, if only life was filled with making such hard decisions…
Dan and I debated for hours on whether we wanted to go to France or Switzerland. We talked about the cost of Eurorail and we talked about the quality of the hikes (which of course we didn’t have any clue about and we just went with what other people had told us). He sided with France – Chamonix Mont Blanc area. And I wasn’t sure that I wanted to miss Switzerland. After all I grew up watching Bollywood movies in an era when they first started filming song and dance routines in Switzerland.
AND so, it was decided that we go to Switzerland. Who knew, I might encounter my favorite Bollywood stars frolicking away on the rolling Swiss hills or the scenery might inspire us to break into a song and dance routine (minus the fancy white dress and the 70s technicolor shirt). Anything was possible!
Image Courtesy: Delhi Planet
We found a couple of neat hiking places in Switzerland through the TripAdvisor forums and we booked our tickets on Eurorail for early next morning. Our plan was to spend two nights in Interlaken and two nights in Lauterbrunnen, a small mountain town.
I knew I arrived in Switzerland when I saw signs for pay-to-use restrooms, “McClean Hygienecenter” at the Zurich terminal (2 swiss francs) and the stores stacked with sheets and sheets of chocolates.
Image Courtesy: SBB. Known as the McClean Hygienecenter. Maybe I should move to Switzerland!
Chocolates and Ultra Cleanliness. Hmmm.. a place designed specifically for me 🙂
We walked around Zurich during our 5hr stop over and marveled at the line of expensive stores and restaurants, well dressed people, the OCD of Swiss, and the lack of backpackers. $13 ‘value’ meals at McDs and $6 starbucks coffees…. we wondered for a moment if we were going to break our budget in the 4 days we planned to stay in Switzerland. We were hoping that the Swiss grocery stores would come to save the day.
One of the first things we did on our arrival in Switzerland was to buy a little bucket of Nutella from the grocery store. Too bad I couldn’t buy a big tub..thanks to this silly ultra-light backpacking stint we were on. If you have never tasted Nutella, let me tell you – IT TASTES LIKE CHOCOLATE CRACK!!! One lick and you are a goner. Dan spread this cocoa goodness on absolutely everything!
After our brief eye opening experience in Zurich, we were ready to get out of a big city. Due to lack of timely planning on our part (we were still debating at 10pm the night before in Munich where to go!), we ended up spending a night in a ‘tent hostel’ in Interlaken. It was probably the cleanest camping I had ever done (Note to myself: I really should move to this country!)
We hadn’t done much hiking since New Zealand so we decided to do a ‘easy’ hike up the mountain next to the town to get our legs under us. We were also hoping to shed some weight that we had gained in India and Sri Lanka. The girl at the hostel who recommended the hiking trail said it wasn’t hard and that she usually did that hike in a couple of hours. During the course of our trip we had learnt never to trust Kiwis when they say a hike is easy or its not that bad or it will just take a couple of hours but Swiss, we figured were into things like eating chocolates and cheese and fondue..really how hard can the hike be if they say it isn’t hard!
This is me on the trail, “Harder Kulm”. I know the name should have given it away….we have a lot to learn in life.
A mere 30 degree grade on our ‘easy’ hike..
It took us about 4 hours to drag ourselves up and down the mountain, including all the picture taking time.
Total Distance = 8.2km (5 miles)
Total Elevation Gain = 808.86m (2653ft)!!
Some Swiss wildlife we witnessed on the trail.. ;0
Although I was disappointed that I didn’t meet any Bollywood stars, I understood the reasons for why the producers selected this part of the world. Even a town like Interlaken that a lot of people labeled as a tourist trap in the Tripadvisor forums was gorgeous, breathtaking and possibly one of the most beautiful places we had visited thus far. I couldn’t wait to do some more a$$ kickin and quads bustin’ hikes in the next few days in Switzerland.