Monday, January 17, 2011

Beautiful Interlaken

What an amazing weekend!

We hopped on a train after class on Friday and headed for Interlaken. It was about a four and a half hour train ride with two connecting stops. For a group of college girls who have never navigated a European train system before, we managed a very smooth trip! The ride itself was extremely beautiful. We traveled through mountains, past lakes, and lots of very cute towns. I still can't believe I'm actually HERE! The Alps are so majestic, I don't know if I'll ever get used to looking out my train window at such a spectacular sight. Switzerland is such a beautiful country.

We arrived at Balmer's and moved into our first European hostel room. It was a cute room with five sets of bunk beds. It was all of our Virginia Tech group staying in our hostel room except for a girl named Stephanie who was from Australia and has been traveling on her own throughout Europe since November. Brave girl! She was really cool and we hung out with her all weekend. Since it was late we grabbed a quick dinner at a restaurant next door to Balmer's and made it just on time to happy hour! We danced the night away Euro-style and met people from all over the world!

Saturday was an adventurous day. We started out by running into our two new friends from Australia and exploring the little town of Interlaken with them. The architecture in Interlaken is very different than here in Lugano. Interlaken is in the German part of Switzerland, and the buildings there reminded Michelle and me of gingerbread houses and Hansel and Gretel. The buildings looked like fancy log cabins. The town was beautiful with the warm sun out and the Alps peeking out in the background.

Later we went PARAGLIDING which was incredible! We drove wayy up a mountain, my stomach filled with butterflies the entire ride. When we got to the top the view was stunning, I literally felt like I was on top of the world. Then we got set up in our paragliding gear and ran off the side of a mountain with a "pilot", or one of the instructors. I felt like I was flying! We were right next to an incredible, crystal clear lake and on the other side was Interlaken. It was an amazing way to take it all in. It was such an adrenaline rush when we landed Michelle and I just pranced around in the landing field, loving life.

That night we went night sledding in the Alps with all the 30 of us who went to Interlaken. We took a bus up to another quaint little mountain town and then a train even farther up into the Alps. In the night the Alps looked like they touched the stars. Once we got to the top, we jumped on our sleds and headed back down. It was a faster ride than I think any of us were expecting! It was a narrow path and we were weaving around corners, hoping we wouldn't miss a turn and tumble off the side of the mountain. Luckily, we survived the way down. We ended up at a restaurant and had a genuine Swiss fondue dinner.

I can't believe how much we've done in the short week and half we've been here. I feel like I'm already becoming a more understanding and open-minded person. I have fallen in love with traveling and know that I want to continue seeing and learning for the rest of my life. Thank you Mom and Dad for giving me the opportunity to do this trip. Let's come back here together one day!

On Wednesday we're going to Milan! Definitely beats your average field trip. Another city of high fashioned, beautiful people.

Ciao for now!!

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