Interlaken is awesome but Hang Gliding is better!

When I thought of Switzerland before I came here, I thought chocolate, watches and knives.  Now I think: extreme sports, mountains, fondue, chocolate, watches and knives. Well, and a few other things as well, but those are the big ones!

My first night in Interlaken I met five Canadians, four of whom were engineers.  They invited me out to have fondue with them. Well, I had already eaten spaghetti and caesar salad at that point but I figured you can’t come to Switzerland and not have fondue. Plus I was positive that having it with a group of people would be way more fun.  The fondue turned out to be delicious and the guys were a lot of fun to hang out with.

However, partying with them led to me not getting much sleep.  Which turned out to be badnews the next day when I had to get up super early to go Canyoning.  I had wanted to book an 8 hour trip but apparently they only offer 3 hours this time of year.  Good thing! By the time we were done I was definitely ready for a hot shower!  For those of you who don’t know what Canyoning is (and I am assuming that is most of you as I had no idea what it was until I came to Europe), basically you drive to the top of the river and then make your way down by jumping, rappeling, sliding, and floating.  It was really fun! But the water was super cold (luckily they provided a wet suit so just my hands froze), and having little sleep took a bit away from the experience.  But it was still a load of fun and I recommend it to anyone who gets a chance.

Apparently Interlaken is the place for Engineers because my roommate also turned out to be an engineer.  She did her bachelors in a Biological type discipline and was pursuing her masters in Chemical Engineering and is doing an internship at a pharmacuetical company her in Switzerland.  It was really neat to talk to her.

Today I went Hang Gliding! It was awesome! Words cannot describe the awesomeness that was hang gliding in the Alps.  Mountains all around and a lake underneath: wow! I thought I would be a little shaky during takeoff because we were basically jumping of the side of the mountain.  However the instructor really stressed the importance of holding on and continuing to run no matter what.  So I was more focused on that then the fact that there was no longer ground beneath my feet.  He never mentioned landing until about 2 minutes before we hit the ground.  He was like “just don’t do anything” in his nice Aussie accent.  What he didn’t tell me was how close the ground was going to be to my face!

Finally, I hiked around the top of a mountain this afternoon.  I was at an elevation of more than 1300 metres and the views were incredible.  There are two huge lakes with the glacier green water near Interlaken and the town is surrounded by mountains.  It is so incredibly beautiful.

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May 12, 2008. Switzerland.

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