The other weekend we drove two hours from home down to the Swiss border and then another hour(ish) to reach Interlaken, our destination. I've lived in southern Germany for almost three years and hadn’t yet been to Switzerland.
Why? To be honest cost was really the biggest hindrance for me. I like a good deal, and the Switzerland is not in the business of providing deals to tourists. Switzerland also uses the Swiss Franc, and while generally the exchange rate is 1 to 1, the actual numbers to purchase things are much higher (as in a Starbuck's coffee will cost you 8-10 Swiss Francs, depending on what you order).
I guess luckily for me, I had just gotten back from a trip to Scotland where everything is really expensive for the American and their measly dollar. $22 for a meal...for one person, no problem! So in comparison, Switzerland didn't sound so expensive anymore. I may have cried a little over how much was spent in less than two weeks of travel, but let's not dwell on that.
For me and my husband who like to not worry about budgeting too much on vacation, Scotland was tricky. Many mainstream pubs had drinks for about 4.50 pounds. The exchange rate is currently roughly 1 pound = $1.85, which is over $8 for a pint. Three pints later and you're already $25 deep, ouch! Anyway, we found that Interlaken was a bit cheaper than Scotland. Just a bit.
Once we were in Switzerland I discovered something that's not readily available in guidebooks: Switzerland is a country of tunnels. I don't think we saw too much of the countryside because every other minute we were traveling through a longer tunnel than the last one. Only when we approached Interlaken did we drive around the lake, finally being able to take in the views.
We only had a few days, and had rented out a room at place called B&B Finel, a lovely bed and breakfast overlooking one of the lakes.
There are two lakes and in between is the town of Interlaken. We stayed in a town called Leissigen which was about a 10 minute drive away from Interlaken. Around the lake are many towns, and also nearby is the famous Lauterbrunnen which can be found on many Pinterest pages. Our B&B was high up on a hill and we had to drive through many switchbacks just to arrive at our destination. But once we reached the place there were views overlooking the lake and mountains all around. I loved the quiet and the cool mountain air coming through the windows at night, and they had a restaurant and a large patio as well. If you like peace and tranquility, this is a place to look into staying at when you visit.
Switzerland's sheer beauty did not disappoint. The mountains were stunning and the lakes were so incredibly green and clear as well. I honestly don't think I've ever seen lakes so green before.
Below are photos of Lauterbrunnen. We saw a few guys base jumping where they landed a few feet from us. There are TONS of waterfalls, and the snowcapped Jungfrau Mountain sits high above all the other mountains in the area. It's really beautiful and highly recommended if you're going to Switzerland. From Interlaken you just drive about 10 minutes to arrive in this valley.
Below you can see where paragliders (that's me too!) ended up. The main street has a Hooter's, which I thought was really random, and in case you haven't picked up on the theme it was just about the most expensive Hooters ever (we did not eat there, just checked the menu!).
And, as the title suggests, I was able to cross off a 'bucket' list item of paragliding in Switzerland!
I hope this gave you some inspiration to visit the area. I would suggest checking out the smaller towns near Interlaken to avoid the massive groups of tourists if you can. The prices will also most likely be a bit cheaper too. There is a nice little Irish pub when you are entering the town and the food is pretty good and prices are decent (for Switzerland).
Coming up on the blog is our trip to Scotland. Here's a photo from our trip, with more to come soon!.....