"Was this really a good idea?" I wonder, as an evening breeze blows into the Gondola and I stare down 140 meters at the deep frozen lake below. But there is no time to think about life and all my mistakes. “5, 4, 3, 2...1“, the guide counts down, and I jump out of the Gondola, entrusting my life to an indifferent bungee rope. And the weekend had begun so well ...
It was one of those days for which the poem ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ was written: grey sky, mud and ice on the side walk. But I was in the sunshine. Only a short train ride away from my lowland hometown. I just couldn’t stand the ‘flatland’ feeling anymore and I spontaneously escaped to Interlaken. I had not been there in years. The beauty of the two lakes and the mountains, haven’t changed. You can understand why half of Asia is coming through here.
A short walk from the train station and I reach my accommodation - the Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof. Central location, ping-pong table, coffee machine, large and clean common rooms, view of the Jungfrau, dedicated staff and everything else you would expect from a hostel. Plus much more. Not least because of its ecological commitment; the villa has already received the award for ‘Best Hostel in Switzerland’ seven times.
There is just enough time for a short walk in the last of the sunlight. I look at the town centre and I realize why Interlaken is so well known: less because of the architecture, but because of the incredible nature and the limitless sports on offer. In fact, the most comprehensive offerings in the Northern Hemisphere. I sit down in the Ristorante Isetta, a pretty place in a former auto-, now cultural, garage, and think about all the activities I am going to register for.
Was it the Negroni? The excellent Barbaresco? Something in the outstanding pasta? Was it the buttery chocolate cake gently seducing me? Youthful arrogance? Midlife Crisis? I don’t know, but for some reason I decided to combine winter kayaking and bungee jumping.
Winter-kayaking is a great thing! Because, in this cold, no one dares to go out into the lake, you’re left alone in this incredible nature. You do not need any special skills or knowledge. It does help to be supple, as you need to squeeze yourself in to a, let’s say, snug, dry suit at the beginning of your watery adventure. (I’m glad to say the weekly Yoga lessons have finally paid off...).
So it begins. To me, the kayak seems amazingly unstable, but this lets it slide quickly and smoothly like an eel through the water.
The stillness. This atmosphere! Wafts of mist giving way to blue skies, mountains, reflections of mountains in the water, forests, solitude. I would like to do nothing else but glide peacefully over Lake Brienz, and enjoy the silence.
I arrived back at the starting point via some steep rocks. The last step is to get out of the dry suit and enjoy a well-deserved lunch.
I go to the Restaurant Laterne, the kind of place that, in Switzerland, no longer exists in the cities: an original atmosphere, a menu of all the classics and a table-top menagerie of Aromat and Maggi.
After a lot of humming and hawing, I decide on the Riz Casimir, although the Rösti looked delicious. I would have finished with a Pingu ice cream, but the thought of the Bungee rope slowly starts tugging at my stomach.
Back at the hostel, the bus to the Stockhornbahn, in Erlenbach, is waiting for me. It is clear that the organizers know where we are all going, but they radiate such serenity that I briefly ask myself during the ride whether I am travelling to the Fondue-Igloo rather than Bungee jumping.
During the last preparations, weighing and tightening the safety belt, it becomes clear: You are not here for a picnic! "Have I switched off the stove before I left home? Do my nails need to be cut again? " The attempts to distract my brain, as the Gondola moves farther and farther from the ground, fail miserably.
In the Interlaken area there are around 35 adventure activities available. I could have chosen Delta sailing. Then I wouldn’t now be gliding through the air and looking down on the world.
Instead, a sudden jerk brings me back to reality - the gondola has stopped. In the middle of nowhere. My constantly chattering co-adventures are also suddenly quiet. And pale. Breathing grows heavier. If my heart were not in my trousers, I would be impressed by the view. But for such thoughts, I really have no time at the moment.
The lightweights jump first. A scream, a jerk, that's it. “To Be, or Not To Be..!“ I grasp at every motivational straw. Five screams and five jerks later I cross the security barrier. “140 meters really is quite high” But it is too late to pinch myself awake. Just don’t look down. Just like being a kid again on that three-meter jump tower. "5, 4, 3, 2…1" the guide yells in my ear. Now, nothing matters anymore...
134 meters of free fall is accomplished in three seconds. Three seconds that feel like an eternity. And will be remembered for an eternity. Once you've accepted that the rope is holding, the fear of death gives way to the joy of life. The spilled adrenaline feels like pure bliss for several days. So I don’t care that back in the city, it is dominated by fog, the snow has given way to the rain, and I have to go back to work tomorrow.
You didn't manage to get your dream flat? Don't worry, ask Ron. I'm sure these tips will help you to secure a flat of your dreams.
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Show me your favorite pictures from the world, do not forget to mark them on the map!
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Hi, We are based in Oberhasli, Zurich, and are looking for somebody to sit a few hours with our cat. We are away between Thursday 14/04 and Monday 19/04, and don't want him to get lonely. If you would like to pay our cat company while reading a book, doing your home office, or would like to stay overnight, we and Ninja would be very happy. Price negotiable, email me [email protected], and help on only some days would be sufficient, since we will have somebody come and feed him daily anyways.