Heaven is indeed a place on Earth and I can tell you this because I’ve been there. Quietly netsled between the two most picturesque lakes I have ever laid my brown eyes on, is the town of Interlaken, Switzerland. Interlaken literally means “between two lakes”. Lake Thun to the west and Lake Brienz to the east, are the two bodies of water that surround this Swiss town that has gained international recognition for its adventure sports and adrenaline inducing activities.
My first glimpse of the area surrounding Interlaken was on the tail end of an overnight bus ride. I groggily opened my eyes and still grumpy as it was only around 7:00 AM, pulled back the curtain and peeked out the window. My demeanor immediately changed as the view that I was taking in literally made my jaw drop. I’ve been to Colorado and Utah and seen some pretty amazing places but not much had prepared me for the massiveness that was the Alps. What was even more breathtaking was the blue gatorade colored alpine lakes that had formed at the base of the mountains. It’s safe to say that I was now feeling pretty awake.
This bus tour of Interlaken, however, was nothing compared to what I would experience when I traveled high above the quintessential Swiss town and into the mountains while I got the incredible opportunity to actually ski the Swiss Alps. I couldn’t have been any luckier, really. It was a stunningly beautiful day; sunny, a few scattered clouds in the sky and around 32 degrees farenheit. As I emerged from the gondola with my group of fellow skiiers, I once again had an immediate change in my mood. This time from eager and excited to completely blown away and down right humbled. I can only describe the 360 degree view as something from Whoville in Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
(Wengen – Jungfrau Region)
These picture don’t do the view justice unfortunately because I have an iphone5c and can’t afford/don’t deserve nice things (two stolen iPhones and three missplaced digital cameras taught me that fun lesson). If you ever want to feel small and really contemplate just what it is we’re doing in this crazy mixed up world, visit the Swiss Alps. Not to get too emotional on you here, but the aesthetics of this place was enough to bring tears to my eyes – and actually did – in the best possible way. The most fitting word I know to describe this feeling is euphoria. You know when people talk about “what a beautiful world we live in”? THIS IS WHAT THEY MEAN. Like I actually had one of those moments where I was like “Oh my god, what a blessed life I’m living that I’m witnessing this and just that this beauty is a thing and exists and is tangible!!” It was just total gratitude and utter happiness. New day, new happy place.
I’m almost done ranting I promise, but first I need to talk abou the food because what is a good destination without food? The Swiss are known for two things: their cheese and their chocolate. How fitting that these are my two favorite food groups. Obviously, Swiss fondue is the eptiome of a traditional Swiss meal. If you’re uber calorie conscious (first of all, we won’t get along), then I suggest you never indulge in a fondue dinner. Your meal consists of pre cut cubes of bread and a bubbling, beautiful, aromatic pot of Swiss cheeeeese!
(Fondue dinner at La Chalet in Interlaken)
The only thing I had in Interlaken that topped this was probably a traditional Swiss “Rosti”. A rosti is essentially a dish of potato hash with various mix ins, smothered in cheese *pause for reaction*. My rosti was called the Bellavista and had tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and chicken. I already used euphoric to describe the scenery so we’ll use positively blissful to describe this.
(Rosti Bellavista at Rostizzeria on top of Kleine Scheidegg, Jungrau Region)
It might not look much more than a pile of cheese but I promise it was life changing… and even if it was nothing more than a pile of cheese chances are I would still consider it life changing because cheese has healing powers and I’m certain of this.
If you’re still not convinced that Interlaken should be on your list of “top places to visit before I die”, email me personally so I can make sure that it is. I say this a lot to a lot of different cities, but for now, Interlaken – you have my heart.