In order to get from Fussen to Switzerland, we were on trains from 8am until 5pm. We went from Fussen to Augsburg, Augsburg to Stuttgart, Stuttgart to Zurich, Zurich to Bern, and Bern to Interlaken. It was definitely a long day of trains, but I slept a lot and the rest was probably good for my ankle. We finally got off the train at the Interlaken West station so that Jed could mail a few postcards. I’ve bought postcards in every city, but they are spread out all over my backpack and I was bad about getting people’s addresses before I left… I promise I will write to many of you once I’m settled in Caen! We caught the train from Interlaken West to Interlaken East, and along the way, a giant moth became best friends with Jed. It was really one of the strangest things ever, really. The moth latched onto the collar of Jed’s shirt and stayed there all the way from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, when he climbed to Jed’s backpack. It stayed there from the bus ride to Stechelberg, on the cable car to Gimmelwald, and until we got inside our hostel, where he finally flew away (Jed lovingly named the moth Gimmelwald after our host town). We checked in at Mountain Hostel, threw our stuff down, and ate some pizza outside while staring at the Swiss Alps. That’ll probably the only time I ever do that in my life! It was quite a view. As the sun began to set on the Alps, I motivated to shower, and then once again take advantage of the free wifi. I was able to call my Dad, Nana, Mom, and Helen via Skype so that was nice. Jed and I also chatted with some fellow travelers from all over the world: Alaska, Australia, Michigan, etc. We went to sleep around 1am and prepared to fully take advantage of our next day in Switzerland. Since we had arrived so late, we didn’t have much time to explore… but just wait until you hear what we did the next day.
We jumped off of a mountain. Well actually, first we had to get back to the bottom of the mountain to the town of Lauterbrunnen, where our paragliding coach would pick us up. We had some coffee at a nearby café while we were waiting, and then hopped in the van along with some Aussies. Our van picked up the rest of the coaches – each person paragliding had to have one – and one of the coaches gave us a rundown of what would happen in the next twenty minutes. My coach was Fabrice, a friendly guy who had been paragliding for nearly 20 years. We all made a quick hike up to the takeoff field, where each coach laid out the parachutes and got us all strapped in. Fabrice and I were the fourth to go – right after Jed! We took our quick jog down the steep hill, and before I knew it, I was flying over the Swiss Alps.
Omg. Omg. Omg. There really isn’t a better way to describe it. The weather was absolutely beautiful; the mountains were gorgeous, etc etc etc. I felt like I was on top of the world! I told Fabrice to do some tricks after we had been coasting for a while, so he started to spin and drop and go crazy and it was AWESOME. I had been pretty quiet before then, taking in the views and getting used to the feeling of flying, but once we started spinning I was definitely a woo-girl (How I Met Your Mother, anyone?). About 20 minutes later, which seemed like forever, we were preparing to land. The landing was super easy and much softer than I thought it would be; we took a few quick steps once we hit the ground and we were done. I looked through the pictures that I had taken and the ones that Fabrice had taken with his fancy camera pole, and knew that I had to buy the memory card of his pictures too. I had already spent the money on paragliding, what little bit more would matter? It was TOTALLY worth it. What an experience. I had no idea before we got to Interlaken that it was such a hub for extremists, from mountain biking (apparently the most dangerous sport) to paragliding to skydiving. I’m glad to say that I was a part of that crowd!
We sat down for a bit after the flight to recuperate before walking back to the train station and having a great plate of fried food on our way. It was 4pm, and time to start our journey to Nice. We took a train from Interlaken to Basel, Basel to Mulhouse, and then waited 3 hours before our night train from Mulhouse to Nice, which went from 10pm to 10am. Hello, France!
pictures: (1) Jed and his new friend (2) our view at dinner (3) Moutain Hostel, where we stayed for the night (4) me at dinnertime (5) beautiful (6) me at the paragliding takeoff field (7) Jed taking off! (8 -> end) pictures from the flight and the landing, somewhat out of order, but I’m sure you can tell what’s going on!