Switzerland! The most beautiful place you never knew you wanted to go. Seriously, the mountains surrounding Interlaken are phenomenal to look at--and, I learned, most of them are covered in snow year-round.
We left Roma at 8pm on Thursday for our 12 hour drive to the Alps. I was lucky enough to get a window seat and leaned against it to fall asleep only to wake up in Interlaken at 6:30 am. We watched the sun rise over the tiny tourist trap and moved our luggage into Balmer's Hostel, the oldest in Switzerland and one of the best in the world. We got free breakfast (two slices of bread with a side of a roll. we were all a bit confused--carb overload for the slopes??) and headed to town. My first order of the day was hot chocolate. What's more Swiss than Swiss Miss?? But what I got was a bit better. A beautifully presented foamy, milky hot chocolate with a truffle on the side. I now knew why the swiss are such happy people--chocolate!! We walked around the town for a bit longer, browsed the souvenir shops and cuckoo-clock stores and returned to Balmer's to get ready for night sledding.
Night sledding is just like it sounds--you're on a sled, by yourself, going down a mountain without any lights, led by the beacon on the back of the person in front of you. Let me repeat: NO LIGHTS!! We were hurtling down the mountain and all that was guiding me was the red light blinking on the back of the person in front of me. My eyes eventually adjusted and I could make out trees and the edge of the run, but very little separated me from the snow and going over the cliff. The sled run lasted about an hour to get down the mountain, and it was so hard to steer that we were all sore the next day!!
But the next day we made it up bright and early for another carbo-load breakfast and a day on the mountain. I rented my boots and skis and after a bus and 2 trains, we were on a train to the top of Jungfrau peak. The train ride is about 25 minutes from the base to the top of the peak, and this functions not only as a train, but also a chairlift between the longer runs. The first thing you notice at the top of the mountain is the beauty of the mountain range. We had bright blue, clear skies, and the sun was reflecting off the snow. I started on the "Beginner Run" that looked like a sheer cliff. The skiing was amazing. The run I took most of the day was leisurely enough to enjoy the scenery but tough enough to keep me interested. It went through a couple of Alpine towns and past houses of people that must just ski to work. The sights were incredible and I only fell once! The last run of the day, I pulled out all the stops and skied as fast as I could the entire time. I just bombed down the mountain and loved every minute of it!!!
Here are some pics I took while on the mountain and around town. Tomorrow, the Chocolate Show!!!