So with George gone, I gracefully (or not) made my way from my overnight train to Interlaken via 2 changes. Arriving to the sun shining, I made my way to the hostel, an easy 10 minute walk. Interlaken is not that large of a town, and is only a 15-20 minute walk from one train station to the next. It is literally the most place that I have ever been to or ever seen. I’m jealous of myself. Hehe.
I checked into the hostel, the Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof, but my room wasn’t ready yet, so I hung around, updated the blog and enjoyed the balcony. Then I remembered that I hadn’t eaten in 22 hours and no amount of water was gone to fix that growling hunger pain. I looked up some cheap options in town and found this amazing place called Sandwich Barand got a large roasted turkey sandwich and a piece of cake. I made my way back to my hostel, got into the room, where they had upgraded me to a 4 bed dorm, and ate every delicious bite of that sandwich. One thing I am missing is delivery. I want to be able to call some place and have them bring me food. Soon enough, but I might as well enjoy this while I can. I wound up watching a few Disney movies and spending the rest of the day in the hostel figuring out what to do during my time there.
I got up after sleeping in a bit, and started asking reception a ton of questions. I wanted to head up to Jungfrau, but found out that even with my Eurail pass that it was going to 150CHF. Uh, that’s a bit out of my price range, sir. He suggested going on a hike in Lauterbrunnen, just up the mountains bit. With my Eurail, for a return it was only 11,20CHF. Works for me! I got on the train and we started to head up, up, up. We arrived a short 20 minutes later in Lauterbrunnen. I quickly gained my bearings and started off for the waterfalls. There was one, the Staubbach Falls, where you can hike up a hill and go behind the waterfall. Which is exactly what I did. I got pretty wet, but it was totally worth it. I continued up the shared road, stopping to take pictures of course, to the Trummelbachfälle, which are these incredible 10 waterfalls located in a cave. Costs 11CHF to get in, where the elevator takes you to the top and you walk down. I knew I couldn’t miss it, so I regretfully paid and walked up and down to check all the different falls. Totally worth it.
After the 45 minute walk back into town, I knew that I wanted to go on a real hike in the Alps. I went to the visitor center and he suggested some shorter hikes and I picked the one to Wengen, a small town located above the valley. I started out and hill went straight up. I thought, ‘ok, this is hard since you aren’t used to it, but surely it can’t be like this the whole way to Wengen.’ Well, it was. I had to mentally tell myself to get to a point and then I was allowed to rest. This went on for more than an hour and 20 minutes. Then finally, I emerged in Wengen sweaty, but I had made it. I stopped and soaked it in for a few minutes, walking around the little downtown area and then started the precarious walk down. What took me an hour and 20 minutes to get up only took me 30 minutes to get down. Yeah…
I waited at the train station and hopped on the train back to Interlaken, very hungry and a little loopy (hey, I climbed over 1,000ft). I stopped at Coop, the Swiss grocery store (they are everywhere) and purchased some food for myself including lots of veggies. I had the full intent of going down to the kitchen to cook up some food, but it was a mad house down there. This hostel was filled to the brim with South Koreans and they were all cooking at the same time. The entire kitchen was filled from the time I got back at 6:30 until 9:30. So I said screw it, ate some popcorn and chocolate and called it a night.
I had been debating with myself about going to Zermatt for a day trip to see the Matterhorn. I was just not in any sort of mood to sit on a train for a total of 4 hours no matter how bad my body was aching from the hike the day before. Plus, I was in Interlaken and felt it best to actually visit at least one of the lakes. So I went by bus to Itsewald where I wanted to take the lake road back to Interlaken. It’s a 3 hour walk, but it was sunny and pleasant out and I thought, why not? Well, I’ll tell you why not. I started up the mountain road. At first it was nice, I got to see a hidden waterfall and get really close up to it and then the hike started going up, up, up into the mountains. Definitely not something that I was dressed for or my body was ready for. But I walked through, hoping that this trail would eventually lead me down to the lake. Oh man, was I wrong. I finally had to find a small farm road and follow it down, crossing underneath a freeway to get down to the lake. But I managed to walk along it for 30 minutes until my savior, the bus lady, came and took me back to Interlaken.
I wanted to get back early enough so I could actually eat, and I wound up making enough salad, pasta and bread for 2 people. And I ate it all. I was so full, but happy. I wandered out on the town for a bit, picking up another chocolate bar and settled in for the night. Or so I thought. This was the night of the snorer. A middle aged Asian man arrived into the room at midnight, looked at the bed and said, is this the only one left? There were 4 beds and 3 people were sitting on their respective ones. He left the room and came back 5 minutes later. Then left again and came back. He made his bed and then left again. I couldn’t deal with his shenanigans, so I went to sleep…until 1:30am. That’s when he came back and went to sleep and started snoring immediately. Even with earplugs I could hear him, so I sat awake from 1:30am to 6:30am until he finally got up. I passed out, and I mean, literally the second he left the room, I was asleep until 9am, when I knew I had to get up and actually get going.
My last real day in Switzerland and I wanted to explore another town despite being absolutely exhausted. I got ready and was on the 11am train to Lucerne. The train ride was probably my favorite part of the journey, going up,over the mountains, through small towns. It literally looked like a Disney movie setting. But alas, I was there by 1pm, quickly grabbed a map from the tourist office and set out to the city. Lucky for me, it was still pretty warm and sunny for mid-October. I went to the famous bridge, the Chapel Bridge first and made my way through the old town exploring the old buildings and pretty facades. I made my way up the hill to the original town walls and walked up and along those and the towers, able to see a pretty nice view of the entire city and lake. After that, I just walked around and explored nooks and crannies of the city, seeing this imposing and pretty incredible lion statue carved into the rock. After wandering around for a few hours, and with a 2 hour journey still ahead of me, I said adieu to Lucerne and headed back to Interlaken to do the real type of kitchen battle (sorry, Iron chefs). I made my dinner in relative peace and met some friendly people who I hung out with for part of the night. The other part was figuring out where I was going to move next. Wanting to go to Salzburg before it got too cold, I realized that waiting until the night before is probably not too smart since everything was booked up. I didn’t want to sit on a train for hours and hours or take an overnight train (I’m like a zombie the next day). I knew I wanted to go to Italy, so I set my sights on Lake Como. I mean, if it’s good enough for George Clooney, I’m sure it will work for me.
As a side note, I returned to the room to find that the snoring man was still there. I went downstairs and requested a room change. Even though it was a bigger room and smelled like roasted peanuts, I did get a good night sleep until 8am when everyone’s alarms went off simultaneously.
I really only had half a day, so I ate, showered and started on doing some laundry since it was free (yay!), made a quick meal and got on the train at 2pm, making 3 changes and a bus ride before arriving very late to my hostel in Menaggio on Lake Como. Oh train travel, you really take it out of me.