Part 4 of Switzerland: Adventures in Interlaken
Interlaken literally means between lakes and it is indeed located between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. After our previous day hike on Mt Rigi, we were up early again for our next day’s adventure. We checked out of our hotel, and made our way to the train station to hop on the first train from Lucerne to Interlaken around 6 a.m.
We had read before that the train journey from Lucerne to Interlaken is not be missed and the lady at the SBB office had also advised us on this. The train was lightly occupied and the lady who was sitting across us suggested to sit on the right hand side of the train for best views and damn was she right! The train between Lucerne and Interlaken is in the top five train journeys of Switzerland and they have large panoramic windows ensuring unobstructed views of the scenic splendors characterizing the Alpine nation. The total journey time is just under two hours and leads past beautiful turquoise lakes, numerous waterfalls, tall mountains and lots of greenery. This train journey is fully covered under the Swiss Pass.
Just to give you an glimpse of the scenery, the train makes a brief stop in the beautiful village of Lungern after making a steep climb along a mountain.
Just before you arrive into Interlaken, it stops by the Lake Brienz station. This view below is literally the view from the train station. We were just overwhelmed by such beautiful scenery. The train journey ranks high in our top rail travel experiences so far.
Once we arrived in Interlaken, we stored our bags in the lockers at the train station. This is so convenient all over Europe and you can freely explore the city. Our original goal was to do paragliding over Interlaken. However Meera was afraid of heights and she was not keen on it. I did manage to convince her through our entire two hour journey in the morning. We had not made advance reservations for paragliding because the weather changes so quickly in this area. We literally walked over to a couple of paragliding companies and inquired about the price and availability times. Everyone offers the same price and we chose the company who had a time-slot which worked for us. We went with this paragliding company It costed 170 CHF per person.
We had enough time until our reservation in the afternoon, so we decided to head to top of interlaken, Harder Kulm. Of-course there was a train which goes straight to the top. There was a small hotel there and we grabbed nice hot chocolate and fries to chill and enjoy the views.
While at the top, we saw a bunch of para-gliders chilling in the air. While Meera was terrified I couldn’t wait to be out there.
We got back to the city and grabbed a quick bite and some nice ice-cream before our para-gliding flight. We hoped on a mini bus, signed our waivers and picked our pilots and it made its way to the top of a mountain near by. We arrived 20 minutes later and we got strapped up and the pilots briefed us with instructions. The weather was fantastic and it was great for flying. We also learned that there were a lot of thermals in the air and if we could latch onto one we could really go higher. The take off for para gliding is simple, you just run as fast as you can with the pilot and you take off. Both Meera and I were able to latch on to a thermal and we got the feeling of nature’s tricks. We just kept climbing higher and higher. Meera’s pilot found a better thermal and they were able to go much higher close to roughly 4000 ft and chill. I must say I was jealous. My pilot asked if we could perform some spiral dives and did warn me I could experience up-to 3g of force. We did it and boy that was intense, you feel you are almost passing out before everything starts to become normal again. After spending about 20 minutes in the air, I landed in a field near by. Meera was still chilling in the air and landed about 15 minutes later and those were very stressful for me :P
We collected our pictures, and grabbed a nice ice cream to beat the afternoon sun. We were staying in Wengen for the next 3 days, and decided to head towards the town. Wengen is a small carless village in the Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps. One of my very good friends suggested staying here as it is free from tourists and this was a A+ suggestion
Our train journey was from Internalken to Lauterbrunnen and then changing to Wengen on a cogwheel train. This is also covered by Swiss Pass. The views were again incredible until we arrived into Wengen.
Once we arrived into Wengen given that it is a carless village, as you can see below we had to drag our bags to our hotel and then checked in. We were exhausted from our adventure and grabbed a bite from a nearby Italian place and crashed for the day.