Saturday, April 11, 2009

Unphotographable - Beautiful, unknown lake

It's unfortunate, but this post would be devoid of pictures.

Imagine this: You are in a beautiful place, the surroundings so picturesque, only pictures can articulate its loveliness. Now, imagine that you do not have your camera with you then, because you have stupidly let your "chicken little" friend convince not to bring it because there's a 0.000001% chance you may be robbed of it. @#$%^&*!!! Sorry, excuse my language. Although I will occasionally curse my stupidity and my friend's overt caution, I have put this behind me now.

Anyway, back to this moment. Unphotographable would be a word to describe such moments. Via the lovely girls at Fashion Nation, I got acquainted to Unphotographable, a website documenting such regrets not captured by the camera, starting with "This picture I did not take..." I shall use this phrase a couple times here.

It was our last day in Interlaken. Being such an idyllic day, we decided to take it slow and easy. We stopped by the hostel reception for advice on how to spend our day. The friendly and approachable owner suggested we rent a bicycle and cycle to a lake near Interlaken West for a relaxing swim. Hmmm..sounds good. Ms Rehau did not know how to cycle, and had some major sunburnt issues, so she skipped joining us. It was also an opportunity for her to settle some outstanding work issues.

We were told the lake did not have lockers or any place where we could safeguard our valuables and so, the ever predictable and cautious Mr Irish suggested that we do not bring our valuables, but to bring some loose change, and stuff like towel and water bottle in our backpacks (by the way, the cool hostel actually loaned us backpacks as we do not have any). And so, I stupidly listened to him, and did NOT bring my camera or even my handphone (with its 3.2 megapixel camera). Yes, just kill me.

Cycling to the lake was largely uneventful, although there were some points where we got a little lost (remind me to take the lead next time) or had some difficulties with the bike (especially since I'm petite and can't quite reach the ground with my feet while on the bike. One observation I made was that the drivers in Interlaken are the friendliest and most patient people I've encountered so far in Europe and in all my travels. Being such a shortie and a non-expert cyclist, I have had difficulties navigating my bike on the road up and off curbs and tram tracks. There were a few instances where some drivers had to wait for me to either hoist myself on the bike on the road side or cycle across the road. Amazingly, they would wait patiently, without even making rude gestures, or even so much as sound the horn at me. You can almost certainly expect this if you are in Singapore. This is just one of the so-many reasons why I love Switzerland and her people.

This picture I did not take was of the scenery along the way to the lake. It reminds of those typical Kodak commercials - bright golden meadows and elegant mountains set against clear blue skies. Add quaint little houses dotting haphazardly across the landscape like confetti, and a little girl running without a care in the world across the meadow (ok, I made this one up) and you get the picture.

We finally reached the lake. This picture I did not take was of the beautiful lake, looking every bit as inviting and pretty as I imagined it to be. The lake was huge, blue and crystalline clear. Trees surround a portion of the perimeter of the lake. There was a tugboat in the lake. Some boys were playing by the lake, running barefoot and leaping into the lake with huge splashes.

I was so taken by the clear, inviting water, I stripped down to my swim wear and jumped right in. Brrrrrr! It must have been a freezing 15 degrees Celsius (or at least it felt like it was)! Completely hoodwinked by the boys! I treaded water quickly in an attempt to warm up and swam a few strokes. And then I was out of the water in 40 seconds. In this time, Mr Irish had not even jumped in.

I guess that's the one benefit of being cautious. You get to see the less cautious make mistakes first. Hah. Anyway, I was in and out of the water 3 or 4 times more before I could persuade Mr Irish to take the plunge. When he did get in the second time, he slipped into the water so quickly and clumsily that he cut his feet on the barnacles encrusting the side of the lake. I could see the trail of blood in the water. He can thank his lucky stars that there's no piranhas or sharks in the waters. Anyway, owing to the cut, he was out of the water in a jiffy. We christened the rock in which his blood was shed upon St (Irish's name)'s rock. lol. Obviously, no amount of cajoling can convince Mr Irish to go into the waters again. I hope Mr Irish and his beloved don't get too offended by whatever I've written here. Just telling it as it is.

The ride back was a lot more eventful, at least for me. I took the lead this time, and had to cycle on the pavement due to a truck being parked on the 2 lane, 2 way street. Before I noticed or had time to react, my bicycle's front wheel was upon a huge industrial hose coming from the truck across the pavement to someone's yard. Before you know it, I was airborne. You can be sure my landing wasn't painless. I earned small cuts on my hands and arms and bruises the size of oranges on my knees that would have put Mr Irish's small cut to shame. The fortunate Mr Irish who was behind me, and was lucky to have me take the fall first, was able to stop his bike in time to avoid another incident (for him). In case you were wondering, although it was a painful fall, I am still able to get back on my bike and cycle the rest of the way back.

The ride to the lake was definitely an accident-filled adventure, which makes for a very memorable last day in Interlaken. I will follow up with Ms Rehau's adventures in a next post.

Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. You can blame Mr Irish for this. =P

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