Nestled in the Swiss Alps lies Interlaken, which literally translates to ‘between lakes’. Between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken is also towered over by three enormous mountains, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
One great thing about Interlaken, is that no matter when you visit, you will have an amazing time. Known as the adventure capital of Europe, there are so many different activities you can participate in. In winter, you can go skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, paragliding, skydiving and so on. In summer, you can go hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, bungee jumping, paragliding and skydiving as well, and so much more. Outdoor-Interlaken is your go-to-place for booking all of your activities.
P.S. There are also chocolate making classes offered in town, Yum.
Adventure is always out there, you just have to be brave enough to go find it. Cheesy yes, but true? Absofreakinlutely. One of my goals of 2016 was to be more adventurous. Instead of sitting on my couch watching Netflix or refreshing my Facebook newsfeed, I wanted to not only travel, but seek out adventure. To experience things that give me a thrill, even make me a little scared. Life is suppose to be fun, we are only here for so long and I choose to not live a stagnant and boring life and this is my way of doing it. Paragliding was the first step.
I must admit, I was nervous when we were driving up steep paths to reach the top where we would be taking off from. When we got to the launch point, we were so high up you could see everything. The peacefulness felt up on top of that mountain was wonderful and it took any fear I had away. With practically no noise, you could hear the wind blowing and smoke crackling from chimneys from the few houses surrounding us. Looking out at the alps and lakes made me feel so small. Moments like those are ones I cherish the most. When you can take everything in and enjoy it fully and you just feel so lucky to be alive on this spectacular and beautiful planet of ours.
Now for the actual paragliding: While the initial run off the side of the mountain, with your trusted tandem instructor hanging on to you of course, is quite frightening, it is also exhilarating. After that point, it is all smooth sailing, quite literally. It is almost too calming, but breathtaking. My tandem instructor glided us towards the side of the mountains, above snow-covered trees, and pointed out different things along the way. I got to see the two lakes from above with the reflection of the mountains lingering on top of some of the cleanest and clearest water I have ever seen. Views of mountains peaking out between more mountains. Although I could not feel my fingers by the time we landed, it was by far the most sensational experience I had experienced in a while.
On to the next adventure…
After recovering and going through withdrawals of not being able to paraglide again (well on that trip), I signed up to do a ropes course. I wasn’t expecting much, but what I got was a ropes course on steroids. There were several different levels, with each having interesting names such as squirrel or woodpecker. They ranged in difficulty. We started off on the baby/training level. I was surprised by the guy who ran the course because as soon as we all learned how to utilize our harnesses, he let us go off on our own. The first few courses I took were pieces of cake. On the harder levels, stepping on slivers of wood that wobbled back and forth, with the addition of the slippery and wet conditions, was challenging to say the least. I got to zip line high above the ground, mentally challenge myself, experience the quietness of being so high up with only the sounds of birds chirping to keep me company.
You come to Interlaken for the adventure and you leave feeling like a changed person. Not only did I get to ring in my 20th year in one of the most gorgeous places I’ve seen, I got to go paragliding, take on a challenging rope course, experience breathtaking scenery, have swiss chocolate (especially the hot chocolate, yum), relax in a hot tub (cough cough, with the Swiss Alps as my view) and so much more. Those are memories I will always adore. My inner adventure seeker was ignited and I thank Switzerland for being the back drop for all of it. I left a part of me in Switzerland and hope one day to return.