I don’t know how, but I vow to myself here and now that I will return someday.
Before I left for Italy, Interlaken wasn’t even on my radar. That is until, once again, my mom’s slides introduced me to the gorgeous town.
When Lauren mentioned her interest in visiting, I was in.
Bad news: It was too cold for me to venture out on a “30 Years Later” scavenger hunt. Good news: I got one without knowing it until just now. I’ll post it later.
You’re supposed to change when you study abroad. This weekend held the first evidence of my evolution. I don’t know if it was a result of this weekend, or if this weekend was just the first time my changes were noticeable; but from now on, Interlaken holds a special place in my heart.
We took our trip through Bus2Alps, a travel agency for students studying abroad. It cost €208 for a round-trip bus ride and lodging, which was cheaper than I could find in my attempts to book separately.
We left Thursday at 8 p.m. — and after a long, cold and loud bus ride, we got to our hostel Backpacker’s Villa at 4:30 a.m.
We woke up around 10:30 a.m. Before we even got out of bed, our Bus2Alps guide Jill knocked on our door to see if we needed anything for the day. She answered all of our questions and gave us advice on what to do before we even sat up. That’s what I call service.
After showering and bundling up, we ventured upstairs and outside around noon. Arriving in the middle of the night didn’t give us the chance to see where we were.
We walked aimlessly around town. I finally found boots in my size and snatched them up. We bought some souvenirs and kept wandering. It was freezing, but beautiful.
Jill had mentioned a cafe on the top floor of the highest building in town with a gorgeous view. We weren’t really sure we had the right place, but we walked into the lobby of a tall hotel. We quickly captured the attention of others in the lobby — so, confused, we clamored onto an open elevator in hopes that we had the right building.
The top button said “panoramic restaurant.” Success! It was gorgeous, but the falling snow makes the pictures look so gray.
Jess and I split some sort of cream cake. It was delicious.
I got hot chocolate. It was like American hot chocolate, and it was glorious. In Italy, when you ask for hot cocoa, you essentially get hot pudding in a cup. It’s bizarre. I was so excited to have my style of hot chocolate — only better, much better.
That night, we went to a chocolate show where a chef showed us how they made true Swiss chocolate. It cost 15 francs, but we got a voucher for a good amount of chocolate at the shop on top of the loads of free samples we got. It was cool to see how they made it. I even helped decorate something.
It was a cold, but pretty night. Winter has always been my favorite season. We’ve been on the outs for the past couple of years when I had to walk through snow to class every day, but I still have a place for it in my heart. I was actually pretty sad I didn’t get to have true winter this year.
This trip was the perfect solution. I got perfect, glistening snow and a couple of brisk winter days without the crummy in-between slushy weather.
Editor’s note: Former Grand Haven Tribune intern Lydia Coutré is spending a semester in Italy. She is a junior at Kent State University, studying journalism. Her blogs during her stay in Italy will be posted here and at http://lydiaislost.blogspot.com. All photos by Lydia Coutré.
P.S.: Lydia went bungee-jumping while in Interlaken on Feb. 4, and has the photos and video to prove it. See them on her blog page.