It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog entry. Lethargy took over. Haha! Now I will share with you guys, the short but sweet stop I had in Switzerland. Most of you are familiar with the more popular cities in this country such as Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva and probably St. Gallen, since a recent Filipino movie just featured it.
But there’s a hidden gem in the countryside. Interlaken lies in the Bernese Oberland on an alluvial plain, between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The vacation destination, which is presided over by the three mighty mountains, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, is the starting point for numerous activities.
Unlike Amsterdam and Paris, there are no tall hotels in this part of Switzerland, but instead full of homey and unpretentious accommodations surrounded by mountains and trees. We stayed at Alpenrose Hotel and Gardens which perfectly represents the Swiss life. Laid-back and relaxing.
Expat Explore didn’t fail to warn us that it has no elevators and so we had to take our luggage via stairs. It was not a problem for me, and it didn’t became problem for our older people in the tour as well since someone was there to assist them.
After we settled in our things and freshened up ourselves, the free dinner was ready at the restaurant. We all shared our first Swiss meal. Everyone needed to eat and rest well since it will be our free day the next day.
On our way back to our rooms after dinner, this hilarious signage caught everyone’s attention. And it’s still funny to me until now. Lol
I woke up around 7:30 AM the next day, quite late since I was in charge of my day. 80% of the group actually woke up early since they opted to take the Jungfraujoch Top of the Europe tour offered by Expat Explore. It was one of the choices they gave us to spend our free day. It’s basically a train ride that will take you to Europe’s highest train station with the chance of seeing snow and all. It’s not a cheap excursion but I still think it is worth a try for first timers.
I just came from Armenia 8 months ago and was not really that excited to see snow again, thus I chose not to join the tour. Instead, I booked a FREE Interlaken Walking Tour from http://www.interlakenfreetour.com a few weeks before I left Dubai. Yes, you read it right, it was free. Our meeting point was at Balmer’s Hostel, which is 5-minute bus ride from our hotel. One of the cool things about Interlaken is that they provide free local transportation for tourists which is available at all hotels.
I was at the meeting point 15 minutes earlier and the tour guide came exactly at 10:40 AM as agreed. We were around 12 people who joined the free walking tour. Some are as young as me, one is an old couple, a few girls from US and a guy from India.
I guess it’s only proper to give commendation to our tour guide, Juliano. It was so nice of him to make an effort for the group to jive by introducing ourselves and sharing our hobbies and interests.
The tour lasted around 2 hours, but I didn’t even notice it because all the places were just too stunning. All the spots were very rich in culture and picture perfect. It’s indeed a piece of heaven on earth. Walking the fields, trekking the mountain, indulging in the lakes, right there and then, I knew I made the right choice about this tour. Before the tour ends, everyone gave Juliano the gratuity that he deserves. To everyone who will be joining this free walking tour in the near future, please give generously.
The last stop of the walking tour was at the Outdoor Interlaken Höheweg Shop which is just a few blocks away from the location of my next activity, chocolate making!!! For 69 CHF, that’s around 260 in dirhams or 3600 in pesos, I was able to book myself a 1-hr workshop inclusive of unlimited chocolate tasting. It was really an experience to remember since Swiss chocolates are very famous, not to mention very yummy!
In general, I must say that Switzerland is really an expensive country. The basic necessities are much higher compared to other European countries. Imagine peeing using a public toilet for 54 pesos. Not cool! Haha. But mind you, their toilets may be considered public but it is very elite, clean and really well-maintained.
If you want to go to Europe to relax and just take off your mind from everything else, Switzerland is the perfect place to be.
Until next time.