Signs around Interlaken ask ‘Are you Bad Enough?’ There are children acting as adults –running errands on a bike, jumping off to stop in a store, pick up the latest toy train. Lots of nine-year olds are walking around in grownup hats. Others are buying fruit in the grocery store, or wandering outside of it with no knowledgeable purpose or adult in sight.
After a day out in Interlaken you begin to see the same faces after a few hours. Balmers Hostel shower was so nice last night before dinner. The hot pounding water after walking till we literally dropped. However, you had to keep on top of the shower button, Phil warned, for the fact that pushing it once only allows moments of lather before you must push it again. We were in the attic room with window shutters that opened out onto the main street.
We took our breakfast ticket to the counter down stairs and exchanged a piece of fruit and dried oats for it. We were sill a little dazed. The coffee was instant. We walked North into town, the 5 story buildings looking more commercial and business like. Not as much uniqueness as in the other past rural towns, but more real. I think Interlaken would have been a good hub to climb more of the Jungfrau region. Just days before, the town had hosted the Jungfrau marathon, an incredibly difficult run up to the face of the mountain itself. Extreme. But, other than that, it was an easy town.
As we crossed an open field and sat below a tree line taking in the sun and writing about yesterday, parachuters were landing in the meadow. Large Indian families were in full dress and riding bikes –the children off and ahead into their own world. The Swiss jobs in this region are very precise, centered around keeping up what they own and do for a living.
Houses have exquisite painting on the facades, stucco faces have ornate trim boards with edges that drip like lace from the soffits.
We were hungry again and found an outdoor patio nearby with shade trees.
I wrote: Heels clicking as our restaurant waitress strolls by, over the concrete tiles beneath low trees in the alpine plains.
We ate an expensive lunch of mushroom ravioli and delicious white soup and ordered coffee and a beer. The sun is high. Most people in this restaurant are reading a newspaper, looking over the nearby meadow, just south of us, into the sun. It seems to be brunch time well into the afternoon, and it is just lovely.
Phil and I begin to rate our hiking, determine a level system, based on our physical ability and age. We think of all our hikes and give them a number of difficulty. 10 being Mt. St. Helens Hard and 1 being something a toddler could do.
10 Mt. Saint Helens Summit 8 mi (1 day)
9 Grindlewald -Fulhorn- Schinge Platte – 14 mi (1 day)
8 Gresalp to Murren via Sefinefrugge -10 mi (1 day)
8 Katahdin Summit (AT) 9 mi (1 day)
8 Beaver Brook (AT) NH (to Beaver Brook Shelter) 1.5mi
7 Laurel highland Hiking trail (Ohiopyle to Rt. 653) 19 mi (2 days)
6 Warrior Trail (Greensboro to Covered Bridge) 12 mi (1 day)
5 Dolly Sods (Little stone coal -Big stone- breathed mt. Lionshead) seven mi (1 day)
5 Monterosso to Riomagiore (IT) Cinque Terra – 5mi (1 day)
Then, Phil loves to climb high points…
Highest Vertical Climb
1. (4922 Vert) 8,297 Fulhorn, Switzerland- from 3,375
2. (4620 Vert) 8,365 Mt. Saint Helens- from 3,745
3. (4183 Vert) 5,268 Katahdin – from 1,085 (HP)
4. (3810 vert) 8,550 Sefinefrugge, Switzerland – from 4740
5. (3195 Vert) 5,695 Mt. Grona, IT – from 2,500
6. (2300 vert.) 6,800 Grand Canyon (Bright Angel) from 4500
7. (2000 vert) 4,000+/- Beaver Brook Trail, NH (AT) from 2,000+/-
8. (2000 vert) 2,075 Multnomah Falls (back way) from 75
9. (1700 vert) 1,750 Monterosso to Venazza (Road beyond church of Madonna) -from 50
10. (1415 vert) 3,075 Falcon Cliffs, WV (north fork) – from 1660
11. (1400 vert) 2,700 Pt. Along LHHT, Pa – from 1,300
12. (1330 vert) 4,700 Chimney Tops, TN – from 3370
13. (1049 vert) 5,729 Mt. Rogers – from 4680 (HP)
14. (950 vert) 950 Punta Mesco, IT (cinque Terra) -from 0
15. (860 vert)2,400 Seneca Rocks – from 1540
16. (830 vert) 850 Beacon Rock, WA -from 20
Being an off day when you have the curious couple, meant another 2-4 miles walking. We walked to the West train station (east) where we’d travel to Italy tomorrow from. (Ost meant west?) We followed the train tracks and a trail to the aqua sea. The path that turned into a cattle line through a field lead us to a small beach there where children were throwing rocks and sticks into the water for their lab to fetch.
We found a bridge to cross that would lead us to a ruine castle, up a stone path, that lead to a tower among a cemetery. We couldn’t climb up but marveled at the pristine plots again and then walked down the uncut rambling path that lead back to a road that went into town. I needed to sit so we found an outside wine bar on a patio with comfortable chairs. I read Walden and drank a glass of white wine while Phil moseyed over to the Ost Side of Town, further along the river walk we’d found when crossing over the bridge earlier in the day.
Hotels along Hoheweg were beautiful, very luxurious with dining in the lawns.
The grand Hotel Et Beau Rijage
He took beautiful pictures in the low sun, bright water day… the sun that comes just before the looks of a storm. Then, he joined me for another drink. We refreshed ourselves at Balmers not knowing what else to do and being so tired we set out for 1 last Swiss dinner. On our way ot the Hostel we located Mad Cow bead shop, recommended as a must stop and I bought a beautiful bead ring from the Australian woman shop owner. (Trip Adviser recommends..)
She recommended Tai food over any swiss patty here. I’d call the ring the Allison Ring because upon coming home Allison, our friend, would buy all the materials and begin to make them herself! Oh, but we didn’t, unfortunately, take The Mad Cow woman’s dinner advise and began to try to locate something close. We made concentric circles around the residential parts of the city and we found Hotel Regina here too. We saw more 80$ meat driven dinners and settled on a small cottage hotel looking restaurant with fine linens, glass mirrored walls with wood battens, and an Italian family with children in the corner and fake flower spreads in the foyer. There were murals on the walls in the back when we took the liberty to walk around and find out if we could take a seat. It looked like a forgotten movie set of some sort and the waitress treated us like she really didn’t care to. We had our last rosti and a beer and salad each and the total came to 70$ which made us feel as mad as a cow and then we left feeling ripped off and full of potatoes.. then we went to sleep in our last night of the Alps.