The few days spent in Interlaken can be described in one short phrase: full of adventure. I’ve witnessed incredibly beautiful scenery as well as taken part in the many outdoor experiences Interlaken has to offer. I’ve loved every single minute of it.
In our full first day in Interlaken, Kyle, Indigo(oi), and I woke up early and spent some time having a refreshing worship session. It was a great way to start off the morning, especially considering we had a beautiful backdrop of snowy mountains and fresh mountain air to wake us up. After we finished up, we quickly headed to breakfast since we had lost track of time and needed to get started with our day.
For my first adventure, Nishu and I headed on over to Lake Brienz (a natural lake created by runoff from the glacial ice of the Swiss Alps) so that we could spend some time kayaking. We started off great by missing out first bus and having to talk 45 minutes to the lake. Turns out, it ended up being okay as we were both able take in the beautiful scenery around us. We finally got our kayaks into the lake and began. I spent most of my time on the lake reflecting on the past couples of weeks and trying to keep up with Nishu (Nishu is admittedly much better at kayaking than I am). Three hours later, Nishu and I hurriedly dragged our kayaks onto shore because we needed to get back to the hotel. For the second time that day, we missed our bus and had to rush back to the hotel at a brisk pace. We may or may not have sprinted the last half mile. Luckily, we arrived back to the hotel on time for the real thriller of the day.
I quickly dropped my bags off in my room and grabbed what I needed for my next extreme sports experience. Audrey and I were headed to go PARASAILING. I could not be more excited to be up in the air overlooking Interlaken, its two lakes, and the mountains. Despite mine and Audrey’s excitement, we were both forced to patiently wait before we got up in the air because we had to drive up a mountain before we got up in the air. On the twenty-minute bus ride up, instructors briefly covered what everyone needed to do. When they went over takeoff, I began to get a little nervous; we had to run off the mountain and just keep running until our feet were no longer on the ground. Thoughts of whether the paraglider would work began to pop into my head at this point. However, my fear was assuaged when my partner reassured me of his experience in the air. I don’t know how many times in my life I can say I really enjoyed running off a mountain to be jerked up into the air, but my experience was smooth and simple, and we were soon flying high. The view was INCREDIBLE! I could see both of Interlaken’s lake, the mountains I was flying over, the town of Interlaken and all its seemingly tiny people, and even the hotel our group was staying at. Words cannot describe the beauty of Interlaken from above. Pictures struggle to depict the beauty as well, but here are some attempting to do so.
My instructor even let me steer for a couple of minutes. To up the extremeness of the already extreme sport, the instructor went for some 360s, which admittedly caused my stomach to drop a few times. After about twenty minutes in the air, we landed smoothly. Audrey landed shortly after due to the wind preventing her and her instructor from taking off. That little hitch didn’t seem to bother her too much and she was still brimming with excitement when she landed. We quickly headed over to buy the pictures (because who wouldn’t) and we headed back to the hotel.
At this point in the day, I figured the day was done. I had done quite a bit already and I was looking forward to relaxing a bit before dinner. However, Dr. P invited Jacob, Audrey, and me to take a short train ride up to the top of one of the nearby mountains. I thought sure why not, this could be a lot of fun getting to see another bird’s eye view of Interlaken. So, we took a scary train that escalated at above a forty-five-degree angle. I was anxiously waiting for a drop similar to the Disney World’s Tower of Terror drop. Thank God that didn’t actually happen. We safely arrived at the top and headed over to the 360 overlook. Again, what I saw cannot be easily described. I was able to enjoy a still and peaceful view of all of Interlaken and its surrounding area. Views like below are ones I could sit and look out at for hours.
On day two, we mixed it up a little and the group reconvened for a little hike. Our plan was to hike a little, see some waterfalls, and then take some gondolas up to the top of Mount Schiltorn, a near ten-thousand-foot-tall mountain. The hike started from a beautiful village and as we walked further, the more serene the atmosphere felt. Getting the chance to talk amongst each other and learn more about other members on CR was relaxing as we sauntered through the valley. On the hike up, I was quite surprised to even run into a friend (what are the odds?). I can’t stress how beautiful it is to walk through the Swiss Alps and I still have a tough time comprehending that we did. The most stunning part of the day was arriving at the peak of Mount Schiltorn and being able to see out for miles uninterrupted. Our group had to take pictures and we took our time to appreciate the beauty that surrounded us and made sure to not rush through our brief time. Snow-capped mountains, a rotating James Bond themed restaurant, small snowball fights, and friends around made for the perfect experience.
My experience in Interlaken and the city’s beauty all point to the same thing: the many blessings God has poured down on my life. I don’t know what it is about nature that draws me to think on such things, but when I’m in nature, removed from the busyness of life, I find it much easier to reflect on my blessings and to ponder in the quietness that often evades my everyday life. Maybe the towering mountains remind me of how insignificant my troubles are compared to all that God can do, will do, and has repeatedly done for my life. Or maybe the beauty of God’s creation helps me realize the amount of work God has put into creating nature, others, and myself included. Whatever it may be and as much as I tend to forget, I am extremely thankful. I am so thankful for my parents for adopting me, for giving me a loving home, and for giving me a fantastic education. I am thankful for Allen, a godly man that has poured into me for the last five years and will be a friend till the end. I am thankful for the many other people God has put in my life from my friends and family. And I am thankful for Dr. P for giving me the chance to go on CR and for investing and putting in so much effort to make sure CR is a stimulating and challenging experience for my peers and me. There are a number of things I can be thankful for and the short list I have given doesn’t even begin to cover it. All of who I am and where I am would not have been possible without God’s working hand in my life. I strive to constantly remind myself of all that God has done and continues to do in the lives of others and in me.
Interlaken, you were beautiful beyond words and you taught me so much about myself. Onwards and upwards we go.