Remote. Friendly. Authentic. Value. Beautiful.
These words describe my two-day experience in Interlaken, Switzerland. If they don’t inspire you to want to move there too, just wait.
During my vacation, a main goal was to identify different personal enjoyments and passions. Since starting in my first career out of college, I have struggled to find balance between work passions and personal passions. The two days spent in Switzerland brought forth a great realization: I love enjoying the outdoors through hiking and taking paths less traveled.
The group arrived in Switzerland by train late one evening and we had two full days after to adventure and see the sites. I woke up early (6:30 am) to head towards my first adventure: hiking Harder Kulm in the Swiss Alps. Interlaken is nestled in a valley of the Alps. This “mountain” served as a challenge. I was advised it would take slightly more than 2 hours to reach the peak. Sounded like a great start to the day!
Off I went to the base of the trail. It was 15 minutes from my hostel to the entrance. There was also a “wildlife park” near the entrance, where I saw some mountain goats. I backtracked a bit to find the actual trail and met a couple who were parking their bikes and prepping to trek to the top. I asked them if they were hiking to the top. The gentleman said “yes” and his wife started speaking in German. Luckily, the man spoke good English and told me to join them on the trail. So, I did. This was the beginning of learning from Yulie and Frannie.
We hiked together and I started asking about Switzerland, their adventures and things I might like to see from a native’s point of view. Yulie is a music teacher and had traveled some of the States. He shared how he and Frannie often hike the mountain in the mornings, then head off to work. Cool routine, right? Naturally, I wanted to find an authentic dairy farm to purchase cheese and dairy products. Yulie recommended a trail further along the Alps that could be reached by train, gondola and hiking. Perfect. That gave me a great plan for the afternoon.
Our trio reached the top in about three hours. As you will see in imagery below, it was breathtaking. The clear skies, green scenery and crisp summer breeze left me in a pensive state.
This set the stage for the rest of the trip. I wanted to explore the outdoors and see what the locals see. Yulie and Frannie had to depart but wished me well on my travels. I headed down the mountain by gondola and perused some shops in town before returning to shower and pack more snacks for the afternoon.
|Eating yogurt and cheese within the Swiss Alps.|
On this trip, I defined myself as travel independent. I did not need (or necessarily want) to be with a group of people the whole time. I could go where I wanted, do what I wanted and not worry about a timeline. This freedom granted me more opportunities to talk with natives and fully embrace the experience. That afternoon on day 1, I purchased a train ticket and went to Lauterbrunnen. From there, I gondola’d and hiked to Winteregg and found what I wanted: a farm-owned Swiss cheese shop.
I tasted different aged cheeses and purchased a small brick and a cup of fresh apricot yogurt. Delicious! The view while enjoying these treats was not too shabby either.
It was nice meeting individuals and families along these trails and eventually, I was on my own again. Hiking in Switzerland reminded me a lot of the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Even though she traveled on her own on the Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S., the similarity of her experience and mine was found in deeper connection to my senses and perception in the environment.
This may seem odd. However, many young women are seeking solo travel opportunities. Here is a link to a nice infographic I’ve found to somewhat explain reasons and statistics behind it. Now that I’ve dipped my toes into a trip that allowed more freedom, I want to do another that is truly ‘solo’.
A few more adventures were had the rest of the day and on day two, including a Swiss Barbecue Cruise on Lake Brienz, free jazz concert in the park, cows in town and more. This Swiss experience was a sweet one and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Want to adventure with me?