We finally arrived in Interlaken after a long an arduous journey with unexpected twists and turns that really tested the resiliency of our group. But we made it nonetheless. We made it to the most beautiful, serene place I have experienced. Let me employ my inner Monet and paint the scene for you: there is a quaint but well developed neighborhood with a central plaza and a street comparable and reminiscent of the Champs-Élysées of Paris (just replace Parisian products with Swiss ones). Look in the sapphire blue sky and you will see raining men (and women), literally. People paragliding and hang gliding (for reasons I cannot comprehend) every minute to the point where the sky can have 15 to 20 people floating on the currents of the Swiss air at any particular moment. Follow the path of where these adrenaline seekers floated from and you will see green giants everywhere. Massive creations, oddities of the earth’s crust, monuments of nature surround what looks like a crater of a town. Trees blanket the facades of these rocky beasts. The town is situated in the middle of two massive lakes, each surrounded by there own range of mountains. The first thing you notice when you step onto the platform when you leave the train is the smell of the Alpine air: pure atmosphere, crisp to inhale, refreshing to the body. It is the air that has been cleansed by millions of trees, the result of an unadulterated landscape. Needless to say, we as a group needed this location on our itinerary after the mentally and emotionally taxing experience we had just encountered in Munich.
The familia was bubbling with excitement the moment we stepped in our hostel. Debates immediately ensued as to what events we all would do at the extreme sports capitol of the world. The hype of this location had preceded our group by former groups: “Make sure to go canyoning” or “You absolutely need to go skydiving! When are you gonna get that opportunity again?”. I, however, had been dreading this moment for a while. I knew that everyone would want to go skydiving or paragliding or some sort of free falling, while I would rather enjoy my feet firmly planted on the ground. To me, the beauty of this place did not prompt me to test my limits fear-wise. Instead I was more interested in embodying the spirit of the place: Solitude. The location and geographical situation of this beautiful city gave me the sense of a serene solitude. A sense of being closed off from the hardships of the world, if only for a day or three. Don’t get me wrong, I love my familia, but my thoughts haven’t been allowed to be my own for a while. Today, I needed solitude, not big activities with the group that I wouldn’t have enjoyed anyways. So instead of canyoning, I decided to kayak.
After walking 30 minutes to the lake from the hostel, we were getting discouraged. We had no idea where we were headed and if we were going the right way. We were about to turn back and give up completely when we saw it: the clearest, bluest lake imaginable. My jaw dropped. So this is why there is such a fuss about this place. I forged ahead towards the lake with an added spring in my step. We finally got to the center that rented the kayaks and were debriefed on all the essential information we needed and promptly got into the lake so as not to waste anymore time. The water was glass blue and just as clear. So clear and clean that I drank from the lake. There is no other way to describe it other than, as sweet and the most refreshing thing I have ever experienced. The experience as a whole was serene, the perfect way to assess the first half of the journey and to prepare for the second half. We are far from finished and there will be plenty more taxing experiences. It’s very easy to lose yourself in these experiences. Sometimes we all just need to take a step back, enjoy the view, and drink from a lake to ground us again.