Our Swiss Alps Adventure

While we were in Bern for a day trip, a few of us decided it would be a good idea to stay the night and go to Interlaken the following day rather than return to Geneva. By the end of much discussion, only three of us were really willing to do it, and so Devon, Drew, and myself booked ourselves into a hostel in Bern. It was a decision well-rewarded, as the next day would prove to be my favourite of all my entire trip to Switzerland, and one of the funnest days of travelling I’ve had in all my years of wandering.

The whole group came to the hostel before going back to Geneva and together we had a big, homemade delicious pasta meal with salad and bread, a group effort directed by Devon who is a trained chef. After the meal, everyone but us three boys headed back to Geneva, and we headed to bed.

In the morning us three boys literally sprinted to the train station and climbed on board our train to Interlaken as it was about to pull away.

Once we arrived at the Interlaken Ost train station, we bought another train ticket for a shorter ride to Lauterbrunnen, altitude 800m, then caught a cablecar up the side of the mountain to Grütschalp, where the walking trails begin (the red lines show two train rides and the cablecar, the green line is what we walked).

Completely unprepared and wearing the same clothes as the day before, we set out on a mission to conquer the Swiss Alps.

Devon ponders the grandeur of the Alps and the valley below from the cablecar

The snow-covered trail as we set out on our walk

Across the valley, the postcard-perfect stereotypical image of Switzerland

We stopped at a little town up on the side of the mountain called Mürren, ate our bagged lunch, and talked a lot.

There were some nifty little black birds flying around our sitting area

That’s a LOT of firewood

Swiss patriotism

When we reached the point of our walk at which we had to turn around to make it back to our train on time, we decided we’d stretch our muscles then do some cliff-jumping. There are a series of small cliffs about 3 metres high which form sort of terraces or steps down part of the mountain, and by jumping off each one we found we got to the bottom a lot faster than our climb up the mountain. We captured some of the more glorious leaps on camera:




This guy knew how to get down the mountain even faster than us!

Someone lost a shoe on the mountain, but we never found a body so hopefully he/she managed to get home safely.

This is the train for the lazy people who don’t want to walk

We made it back to Bern just in time to jump on the train back to Geneva and off we went. That evening in Geneva our whole group of 12 people had one last communal meal at a nice restaurant and we had speeches and laughter and all that good, sappy stuff. Juan and I enjoyed our supper so much that we took photos of each course. This photo shows the amazing dessert, and my sunburnt face. Yep, it was rather bright in the Alps and we had no sunscreen. The next day the burn was gone though, because of quick aloe vera application thanks to Devon who had some in our Geneva hotel room.

The next morning we headed to the airport for our flight home. Juan and I caught a separate train as we had been waiting for a straggler.

The End.

Back to Switzerland Part III

In Bern, there are statues EVERYWHERE! Juan explained each one to me, though I can’t remember what each one was anymore. Here are a few of the cool ones:

This one is Justice, because she is blindfolded and holding the balance scale.

This is Moses. Strangely, the ten commandments are just numbers in this version…

This is Stash, the baby-eating ogre.

Devon drank from a number of the city’s public fountains, and said the water tasted great. I think it was probably full of lead and mercury.

Fancy clockwork:

The famed astronomical clock in Bern, made in 1530:

Back to Switzerland Part II

Warning: The pics in this post aren’t necessarily in date order, they’re sort of randomized.

The closing ceremonies of the Model UN Conference at the Palais de Nations were a joke, really late starting and about as boring and self-adulating as an awards ceremony could be. But we made our own fun in the seats.

Lysandra shows her Japanese half.

Juan definitely had his pants open in the middle of the General Assembly Hall, but I guess security didn’t notice.

We had 2 days after the conference before heading home, so we headed east on a train to Bern, the capital, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Bern is very different from Geneva, but not much has changed since I first visited in April 2003.

Fancy clockwork

Bern gets its name from the bear, and there has been a bear pit in Bern for ages, though there are currently plans to move them to a better location.

The crest of the Canton of Bern is visible all over the place. In Switzerland, unlike Canada, the symbols and flags of the various cantons are seen all over the place.

This bunny statue thing was a bit taller than me, and is the main display in the centre of the chocolates and Easter egg section of a grocery store. I have no clue how this would entice people to buy more chocolate.

This is European architecture at its best

The view to which I awoke in the hostel in Bern

We had a visit to the International Labor Organisation in Geneva, where we watched the ending of the 298th session. This is the long, old-school hallway leading in. The building used to house the World Trade Organisation headquarters.

The Broken Chair, a commemoration of victims of landmines. From this angle, the broken leg isn’t really visible, and if you look for a bit you may notice the 3D optical illusion thus created.

Earpieces are a must for true diplomats, though many of them malfunction and the volume is always a hassle.

All week we had great sunny, warm weather and then a wee bit of rain, but when we left the closing ceremonies there was a raging blizzard outside! I’ve never seen such huge snowflakes in my life! Too bad they’re hard to photograph, but Juan proves that cold precipitation did indeed fall on us that afternoon.