Geneva, Bern, and Kleine Scheidegg
anguages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh
Money: Swiss Franc - cash is preferred, credit cards are welcome, tips are not expected but you can round up.
My inspiration to experience Switzerland was simple: I needed to breathe. I needed hiking, chocolate and open fresh air. I have visited Switzerland before and will definitely be back. There is endless natural beauty. All of the people I met were lovely.
Added bonus: Trains are on time!
Sunday. Nothing is open. Sunday is still Sunday. Many people out walking and enjoying a day of ease. We saw several events: a bubble run, biking, and park sitting. Breathe. Then, time to explore.
Bern - St. Beatus Cave
Up until 1,900 years ago, a terrifying dragon is said to have been up to mischief in a large cave at Lake Thun. Only the wandering Irish monk Beatus succeeded in driving away the dragon. Today, the marvelous grotto world can be entered without risk. So we did.
After a steep hike up the bridge and walkway we followed narrow passages with stunning stalagmite formations.
Back on the bus, we decide to get off at the next stop whatever it was and spend the night.
Just about supper time we jumped off the bus, walked around a corner to find a quaint hotel BEAUSITE UNTERSE. They offered us cake and tea in the afternoon and included abundant buffet breakfast. This was our first time with sharing a bathroom on the hotel floor. Not a fan. But the price was right, it was late and the view was incredible.
Justin and I walked into town and found an authentic restaurant just down the street in Hoheweg. As it turns out we, were in walking distance of Interlaken.
On September 5th, every year, it was my first day of school. But this September 5th was the first day I didn't have to return to work. I thought: I should be something over the top. So I went paragliding.
My pilot Alain assured me this was the perfect activity to experience the feeling of freedom. Alain grew up in Hoheweg and spends his winter time in the mountains skiing and hiking and summer paragliding.
Excitement was building as we drove to the top of a mountain, stepped into a harness, clipped onto Alain (wasn't the worst part of the trip ladies) and we ran down the side of the hill, within seconds my feet were off the ground, the kite took full sail into the wind.
The experience was peaceful. The quiet, the gliding, birds by your side, tops of trees... I felt like a feather floating in the wind.
Thoughts that ran through my head...haha Dad look at me...omg nobody tell mom what I'm doing...yeaaaaa this is awesome, this is living, this is experiencing life! Gratefulness overtakes my emotions, how lucky am I?
Kleine Scheidegg - a hiking we go
A word of advice: don't underestimate the physical requirements of walking down a mountain.
My favorite moments from this [experience] were sharing it with my son, enjoying the quiet, and coming across some very interesting items along the way!
Being somewhat physically fit, we decided to take the intermediate trail. Trail map tells us that should take us about 2 hours. About 90 minutes later, we are sticking to the trail and we can see it ahead, curving back around in front of us lower on the hill.
There is an advanced trail that appears to cut through our trail and picks back up on to the intermediate trail. Why not? We take it and excitedly run down the very steep path (maybe 50 feet) and continue back on to what appears to be the intermidiate trail straight downhill...you see where this is going...
One hour later, we finally admit we are no longer on the clearly marked trail. But we are still enjoying the scenery and the very cool items along the way, cow bells named Josephine, a tractor and finally the alphorns.
Three hours later, we are starting to lose daylight. Thighs are screaming, feet are achy, water is running low, and the village at the bottom of the hill looks very, very small.
Not another soul in sight for hours. Then, two young teenagers are riding bikes up the mountain! There is hope! How much longer can it be when you see that? And they are not even slightly out of breath.
Cow bells are ringing so beautiful...
....until up close and personal they are blocking the trail.
Still not worried because WE CAN DO THIS.
Ok, maybe I was a little worried, you know the mom thing, not to mention I would never live it down if this takes a turn for the worse. I look at my son, I wonder what is he thinking? tMy own thoughts are racing in my head: could we break into one of these sheds to spend the night? We're going to get kicked out of Switzerland for just being stupid... How great would it be if we could call an Uber?
No sooner then I put it out there to the universe, just minutes later, and a black Mercedes taxi is coming down the mountain...without hesitation or pride I wave him down and we get a ride back.
That black Mercades was the absolute most interesting welcomed sight along the way.
X marks the spot...This is where I am...This is what I've seen...This [experience] has profoundly affected me.