Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Adventures in Interlaken!

16 July
The awoke to the best, blue sky weather and started our train ride to Interlaken. The 4 train rides were scenic and as we got closer to Interlaken, the better the view. Interlaken means "between two lakes". We quickly found our hotel, the Lotschburg, a B&B near the west train station in a quiet neighborhood. Our room, #43, is located as a loft on the top floor with one side of the room steeply angled.
The weather was nice so we headed out to the main street and found a pasta & pizza restaurant where we ate lunch on the patio. We walked through town and stopped at the info center for details on how to get up to the top of Jungfrau mountain. We were told that it was already too late to go as it takes 5 hours just in travel time. We thought about going to Grindelwald but noticed that it would be on the bike tour so we skipped it and just walked to the Ost station and back. As recommended by Rick Steves, we had drinks a the 18th floor of the Metropole hotel, next to Hooter's. The view was fantastic, especially on a clear day. We watched dozens of paragliders descend down to the grassy park below. They looked like colorful balloons falling from the sky.

Afterwards, we watched the France vs. Sweden match at the TV room a our pension as no other bar was showing it on a bigger screen. I found a beer called Cardinal Eve that has lychee juice and only 3.1% alcohol at the Coop Pronto convenience store. Sweden won 2-1 as the French played poorly in the second half.

We went to the Golden Ankerer also in the guidebook for dinner and sat outdoors and were served by a novice waitress with a funky outfit. The Thai curry soup was good as was Russ chicken & beef fajitas. The bill was high but that's the norm in Switzerland. The waitress was likeably strange as she was so inexperienced but tried very hard.

17 July
It was a partly sunny morning as we awoke and hoped for fewer clouds but the skies grew darker as time passed. We walked to the bike shop and was told by Miriam, the owner and our guide that the big course would be bad due to the rain so we opted for the short course around the two lakes. It rained on and off throughout the ride on the evokes and the little battery really helped on the uphills! It made the riding so easy. After the nice morning tour, we had coffee and pastries at the Shuh Cafe and returned to our room for an afternoon nap.

Miriam provided us a place in Iseltwald for dinner that night so as it continued to rain we waited at the bus stop and took the bus to Iseltswald and walked along the shore to find Chateau Du Lac, a nice hotel and restaurant where we ate fish. The atmosphere was cozy and romantic and the food was OK so it made the experience nice. We caught the bus to catch the USA vs. Japan game that evening. I wore the Nippon hachimaki while Russ wore his Uncle Sam hat in the TV room. The US scored first and then Japan scored,tying it 1-1. It went into OT and US scored the first score and it seemed that they had won with another great header from Abby Wambach, then Japan team captain, Saki, scored another goal for a 2-2 match before penalty kicks. The first three US kickers missed and Japan won triumphantly with the PK's!!!! It was a fantastic game and one resembling a Hollywood movie with two great teams with the true underdog winning.

18 July
Today was our adventure tour - the hang gliding flight! We watched two girls ahead of us and then it was our turn. There were Korean paragliders along with us and we Jan-ken-poed to ride with either Bernie or Ed. I got Bernie, the owner, who was funny. Russ got Ed. We Jan-kenned again to see who would go first and Russ won. Within a few minutes, I saw Russ and Ed run and with their legs still moving, he was flying!!!
Shortly thereafter, it was my turn and I was running alongside Bernie and we got air and continued to soar. It was flying, like a bird!!! The air felt cool and we had great views of Lake Thun, the golf course and the surrounding mountains. It was an amazing feeling and Bernie caught some great thermal climbs and so we rose higher than when we had taken off. My ride was double that of Russ and in the end, we did some fun loop-de-loop tricks. Our landing was fast and we almost hit a tree. We ended up buying the CD's cuz it was so much fun!
We paid lot but it was worth the experience. It was like another bucket list item checked off our list. Hang gliding... Check!

We had coffees at the a nice hotel and then ate lunch at Cafe de Paris, a good place where I had my favorite salad ~ caprese with melon and prosciutto ham. We were then ready to catch our next train to our last destination in Switzerland.... Lucerne!

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