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Interlaken: The ogre, the monk and the virgin

Posted by daveb on October 2nd, 2007

Have you heard the one about the ogre, the monk and the virgin?

I got a really good vibe as we neared Interlaken, just as I had before as we approached Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). All my view buttons were pushed: Water, mountains, greenery and people all within the same personal viewfinder. As usual, the non-driver (me, on this occasion) had to jump out at tourist information and find out about local campsites, etc.

Along my walk to the information bureau, I passed stall after stall offering tandem paragliding, heli-skydiving, white-water rafting, zorbing, etc. — you get the picture. There was a park opposite the tourist office in which the paragliders were making their careful landings after running off the mountains a couple of thousand feet above. For Interlaken is a lakeside tourist town sat at the base of the three massifs (or ‘big mountains’ for the uninitiated) in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland. It plays home to the three biggies of the Alps: The Eiger (ogre), the Monch (monk) and the Jungfrau (virgin). It hosts the highest train station in Europe.

In this space, I wish I could write about our amazing adventure sports experience. I wish I could write about how we stood on the highest train platform in Europe and then snow-trekked another hour to the mountain top hostel and stayed a night in thin air, surrounded by beautiful views. Here, I wish could tell you about our wild night in the Hooters bar in Interlaken (the first one I’ve seen on our travels thus far).

Instead, I must tell you the truth.

Right after we parked up at the TCS campsite in Interlaken (which has brand new, excellent facilities by the way) the heavens opened and it rained. Oh boy, did it rain. All play stopped. The paragliders ran for shelter. The dark clouds closed-in around the mountains, rendering the train-ride pointless. Even the waitresses in the Hooters bar put on bright orange fleecey zip-ups. (And, be honest, what’s the point going to a Hooters bar if the waitresses are wearing fleeces? The buffalo wings aren’t that good…)

We stayed just one night and drove on. I have vowed to return to Interlaken; of all the sights that we’ve seen so far, it’s the second place that I could earnestly see myself staying for a while [even if only to run off a mountain cliff under canopy thrice daily].

What a shame.

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