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Interlaken, Switzerland

By Robert M Codling

Imagine if a nature-loving semi-intellectual free thinker, who loves to meet people, mated with an extreme sports addict, who alternates her time between heli-skiing in Alaska and white-water rafting in Nepal.  If their child, exemplifying the epitome of their endeavors, stepped outside of his front door and was smacked by a bus and killed his heaven would be Interlaken, Switzerland.

Interlaken—which fittingly translates to mean “between lakes”—is a quaint town nestled at the base of the Alp’s largest mountains and between two massive lakes, the Thunz and Brienz.  Each year the sun melts the snowy peaked glaciers of the Alps and fills the Thunz and the Brienz.  Due to their pure beginnings, pollutants cease to exist and the water is so clear it radiates a crystalline blue, which calms the visitor’s spirit.  Steep cliffs, flowing waterfalls, and pine trees greener than any field that leprechauns dwell, scatter the landscape.  Bob Ross, in all of his afro-filled greatness, was never able to imagine or paint such a stunning portrait. 

Local legend states that the angel that god sent to decorate the earth had used up all of his trimming prior to reaching Interlaken.  When the angel felt pity for the barren area it searched its bags and, once found, used its last and most beautiful decorations on Interlaken’s landscapes.  While this story may be legend, one gaze at the scenery is enough to realize that Interlaken is indeed God’s country!  At the least, if one is on a quest for a picturesque view Interlaken dwarfs all other destinations.

Beyond being a pretty picture, Interlaken is a Mecca for high adventure.  Just as a member of Islam must make a pilgrimage to their holy city, every adrenaline junkie should be required to visit Interlaken.  I am sure most of us have picked up an adventure magazine and read an article about some impressive exploit.  How many people can say they flung themselves out of a plane 10,000 feet over the Alps?  How many people can say that they have followed a path cut through the mountains by sub-arctic water, or repelled down and jumped off fifty-foot ledges, or raced down natural water slides?  Interlaken can take your daydreams and turn them into reality.

Because Interlaken’s environment lends itself to adventure, groundbreaking sports have emerged from Interlaken, many of which do not exist anywhere else in the world.  Most notably, fox flying is a newly emerging sport that incorporates the high-adventure spirit and beauty of Interlaken.  Various zip lines are tied traversing down a four thousand foot gorge.  In short, if you are into feeling like Sonic the Hedgehog for a day fox flying is perfect for you. 

In addition to the striking beauty and high-flying sports, Interlaken offers an incredibly eclectic mix of people.  Hailing from all over the world, visitors of Interlaken are usually a few light sticks short of a rave.  Let’s face it:  to jump off fifty-foot cliffs you have to be a bit loopy.  At night Interlaken’s bars fill up with adventurers who, more often than not, are spinning a yarn or two of their daily exploits over a good pint of beer.  Without question, the diversity and amicableness of the people of Interlaken is a great chance to broaden one’s cultural horizons.  However, one should always be wary of Australians whose pupils dilate and then close as you are talking to them. 

If you are a free spirit seeking some serious adventure, Interlaken is the place for you.  Indeed, Interlaken offers its visitors a small piece of heaven right here on Earth!