Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Day of Happy Coincidences

We woke up to a lovely day in Interlaken. It was only in daylight that we realised how beautiful Interlaken really is.

The original plan was to engage in some some outdoor activities that Interlaken's beautiful landscape is famously suited for - water rafting, para gliding, hiking, cycling, swimming, and so on. However, something cropped up for Ms Rehau which took up a large part of the morning, and so we decided to spend the day leisurely instead. We walked to Coopers, a huge supermarket beside the train station where we purchased food to last the stay here - lots of bread, nutella, yummy Swiss chocolates and slices of ham.

Venturing out of the hostel, we were enthralled by the loveliness of Interlaken's natural surroundings. Don't just take my word for it, look at the pictorial evidence below!

A boat terminal just across the river of our hostel

One of the residents of the river by the hostel

This is the bicycle barricade that misled us the night before
Doesn't seem so foreboding in daylight

The most intricate and beautiful spiderweb I've ever seen

The railway track that passes the dirt path to our hostel

Breakfast-ing alfresco style

The front lawn of our hostel

After a simple but satisfying breakfast, we took a bus to the nearby Interlaken West. Interlaken West is a bustling town centre with a good number of shops to satiate our shopping urge. In the horizon, we spied the Alps, and in an open field just beside the stretch of shops, some adventurous souls were para-gliding in the skies above. I'm actually raring to try it out, but when we found out the price, well...... let's just say that at the time it seemed really expensive, but in retrospective, I am regretting not trying it out. =(

Anyway, the weather was sunny and breezy at the same time, hence it was the most opportune time to spend the day outdoors (although it was merely strolling and shopping on our part).

As we were intending to visit Jungfrau, the highest peak in Europe, we made inquiries at the tourist centre for more information. According to the weather forecast, it seems there's a chance that it would rain the following day. Boo! Not that it's going to deter us in any way! We would still take our chances, since we didn't have much time in Interlaken.

Since it would be cold up the Alps (close to zero degree celsius), we were worried that we weren't adequetely garbed to face the cold up there. And so, excuse to shop for warm clothes (and boots for me)! Finding boots was particularly important for me, as I was the only one who did not bring appropriately covered shoes to protect the feet. I packed only a pair of sandals and mary janes, never once occuring to me that I would be traipsing the alps. Fortunately, I found a cute checked pair of fabric boots from an accessory shop called Claire's. It was reasonably priced at CHF 36, how could I resist?

Bicycles are common along the streets of Interlaken

Para-gliders above the open field in the town centre

Close up of a para-glider with Ms Rehau's 10x zoom camera - how cool is that?

Yes, I'm quite mesmerized by Mr Lee Dong Gun

Resting for a short tea break, Mr Irish gave lessons in scarf tying 101

There were numerous watch shops along the streets, and we couldn't help but be drawn by them. After all, this is Switzerland, home of the watchmakers. We spent the bulk of our time at a particular watch shop, dazzled by the watches there. I very nearly dropped CHF 1.3k for an exquisite Rado watch. It was exceptionally elegant and well-crafted, who can blame me, right? So did Ms Rehau, who wanted to buy a watch for her brother. In the end, we reined ourselves in, and left the shop empty handed, but not before promising to consider carefully. It helps that the service at this shop was impeccable. Even though we did not buy anything in the end, the staff were still unfailingly polite. One is a Japanese lady, and the other is Taiwanese girl. How delightful to meet such diverse nationalities in Europe!

Mr Irish, who had no interest in watches, got himself a Swiss army knife. I kind of regretted not getting one for myself. After all, Switzerland is not only the land of watches, but also the land of Swiss army knifes, chocolates and cheese fondue (ok, I'm getting out of point here)!

Along the road outside the casion, we spotted a bus load of Asian students. It turns out that they were students from Anglo Chinese Junior College students from back home. What are the chances that after globe trotting halfway round the world, you would find your countrymen in the very same town that you are? Small, small world it is, indeed. It seems the students were in Interlaken to perform in a concert held at the casino.

With the mountains serving as the backdrop of the casino, it was nothing short of resplendent. I haven't been to many casinos in my lifetime (only Crown Casino in Melborne and Genting Highland's casinos), but this has got to be the most charming I've ever seen. It doesn't even look like a casino, it looks like a botanical garden.

Casino Interlaken's charming sun dial

The mountains were a wonderful backdrop

As you can see, the casino's grounds are extremely well-manicured

Mr Irish attempts to raise the fountain to phenomenal heights from sheer mental strength

This is my favourite shot of the para glider, taken by Ms Rehau's fantastic camera.
Of course, her skill and steady hands deserves most credit
. It's so worthy of National Geographic, right?

For the next few days, when making our way back to our hostel, we would never fail to capture pictures along the way. The picturesque scenery is that alluring.

The dirt path back to the hostel

Closer look at the railway track running across the dirt path. When the train passes by, it's quite deafening.

The sun's setting

The peak shines golden as the sun sets

The hostel facade (River Lodge)

That night, when I stepped out of the girl's shower, I saw this clueless guy walk in nochalantly and was about to step into one of the stalls, when I stopped him. Hello?? Is he trying to pull a fast one?

"Ahem..... this is the girl's shower", I told him. Taken aback and non-plussed, he retreated and left, while I am left wondering - doesn't he know how to read, and did he really think this is a unisex bathroom? Anyway, the point is, after I told him off, guess who should step into the bathroom next?

It was one half (the elder sister) of the Korean sisters that we met and shared a room with while in Rome! I must say, we have some kind of an affinity with each other. We met them again while on the streets of Florence and now here, in the same hostel in Interlaken!?! It seems that there were many other Koreans staying at this hostel. Since we were largely moving around the same circles (i.e., touring the same countries), it is apt that we should meet each other again, even though the timing was unplanned. Such a happy coincidence! We chatted for a bit before retiring for the night.

After 2 coincidences in a day, I hypothesize that the world is small. hah!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the photos look absolutely lovely!!and the lake look realy blue with the mountains looking really's like a place in heaven!



Related Posts with Thumbnails