Sunday, November 1, 2009

Interlaken: Teh Best!

And it's good-bye Italy! You were great, I guess? All I remember is your stinky Milan. What a god awful gatekeeper for a country that was. But no – Italy, you were great. We had some good times, didn't we? Rome was a blast, and even though we cooled off for a bit after than in Florence, we made or peace again in Pisa. And what about Venice? Wasn't that a great little while, with the true love of Romeo and Juliet in Verona too. It's just that – well – Milan. You know, shouldn't we try to find people who don't just tolerate our quirks, but actually love them? I mean – you like dressing up your cats in costumes, and I like bad puns. You like Milan, and well -

Maybe it's just best that we spend some time apart for a while, alright? So don't mind me, I'll just be over in Switzerland.

No – you can't tempt me with the beauty of your northern countryside Italy! It's too late for that, besides, it's just runoff from the Swiss anyway. So, please, lets be adult about this. I'll go my way, and – well you – you just stay where you are. No no, don't get up. I know the way out.


But, with that out of the way, I was able to jump on my train to Brig without any feelings of guilt. With Italy behind me, I had only the future to look forward to. A future full of mountains, and singing, and songs about do, rei, and me. Ah Switzerland. And to be honest, I just wasn't ready for it.

When my train finally came to a stop at Brig I realized that I hadn't spent a moment reading. the whole time I'd been glued to the window, watching as the flat grounds were replaced by mountains, and watching as lakes began to take over from fields. Outside of Stresa everything changed. The world because a tad more beautiful, and I became a tad more engaged with my surroundings.

For a moment I thought that I was tired of touring by myself. No – I was simply tired of the lackluster place where I was. But now, back in the land of - - -

What do you mean only two minutes to catch my connecting train?! Oh noes! Oh noes! I ran through the station, stopping a moment at the departure board to check where my train would be, and saw platform three. I ran there, ran there, and realized that I had no idea if this was the right train or not, because the paper departure boards aren't always accurate. I was going to ask the guy who blows the whistle telling you the train was about to leave, but then he blew the whistle telling me the train was about to leave! So down the platform I ran, and ran, and ran, and jumped on just before it started to pull away.

For the next thirty minutes I sat in silence, fingers crossed, hoping for the best – but planning for the worst. Were the customs officials who checked my passport back on the train to Brig to find me without a proper ticket now, they'd not be upset, right? They'd find me both quirky and cute, yeah? And so I had no money for this country – that was all good, too yes?

Nothing could go wro-

Ohh good, Speiz Station. That's where I was headed. Grabbing my bags I hopped off only to find that my next train was leaving in two minutes! So rush rush rush (worst connections ever – I really did get screwed by that train guy in Milan. I also paid twice what I'd have had to pay for the train with just one connection! Bloody Milan – you see Italy, this is why we can't be friends, despite what your Cosmo tells you!) only to find the Interlaken train delayed.

Good. I could look around, and at Speiz station, overlooking a lake which, in turn, is overlooked by a mountain – well, it wasn't the worst place to spend an extra ten minutes. And here I was thinking I'd seen it all. The fool I was.

Within moments I was in Interlaken, jaw dropped, eyes bulging, mouth repeating of its own accord, “amazing, amazing, amazing; it's amazing.” And then I walked to my hostel, with the sun nearly gone and the sky overcast. Why yes this would normally spell doom for first impressions – but not here, my friends. No, not here in Interlaken, Switzerland.

To reach my hostel I had to pass a large field in the middle of towns, with enough cows to make you think you're watching downhill Olympic skiing. The number of peeks surrounding the city are beyond counting – and it doesn't matter. Just taking it in was almost too much for me. I kept repeating that one word like some sort of OCD ADHD kid... which, sure, I may be – but – never mind that.

And then I got to my hostel. The hostel upon which all future hostels will be judged. And most likely fail. To start, it's thirty dollars a night Canadian. Which isn't really that bad anywhere, as of late, but especially here. Next up – when I got there they handed me a pass for free bus use, and free local trains. O.K. sure, that's great and all but what's the ca- - - then I was handed a pass for free swimming pool access, and free mini golf in town. Sure but really now, what's with all th- - - and then I got 8 coins. These coins can be used for internet access (ahh! There's the rub no free wifi - - - wait, there is free wifi too?!) or sodas from the coke machine, or – yes indeed – one coin for the laundry, one coin for the dryer. Or one coin could also get you two hot coffees. You get two coins per night. So, yes, that thirty dollars a night does include free laundry! What?!

There are also free lockers, and free all you can eat breakfat, and all the other stuff you know and love. Not only that, but the woman working the counter was able to throw me a map of all the local trails, and tell me the best places to go. If you want to bike, ski, or sky dive, they'll hook you up. I'm still not sure what the catch is, but I fear things this good. And let me tell you, I did not stop repeating how, “amazing!” everything was.

And once I got dinner of freshly baked bread, pasta salad, and orange juice in me the sugar rush did nothing to quell my nonsense!

This is where I want to honeymoon! Yes, that's right – I've found my location. Locked it in! No take backs! Some people want a cruise – some want a Niagara Falls trip... chumps. I want a week in Interlaken to hike all the trails, and take the train to “the top of Europe” (a train station that costs about 200CAD round trip for the three hour journey that I was highly considering this time, despite the cost – but it looks like no clear days will present themselves, and that's when this ride really comes alive, I'm told.

So Interlaken... The most beautiful place I've seen in the world. I love it. Love it! And I haven't even seen it during the day yet.

Well – these hikes aren't going to plan themselves! I hear there's a good five hour one, just outside the door to the hostel. Well of course there is. This is, after all, the most magical place on earth!

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