Swiss Summer: Interlaken and Basel

21st – 24th August

Arriving:
The journey from  Trubschachen to Interlaken was a 40min train to Bern, then a 45min train from there to Interlaken. Swiss trains are comfortable and the scenery is lovely. We were staying in Wilderswil, so we had to catch the bus to get there from Interlaken.

Leaving Interlaken to get to Basel was just one around 2hr train. Also comfortable and scenic. We had great views of the alps on this train.

Staying:
We stayed in an Airbnb in Wilderswil, which was a small “backpacker room” which was described as “with shower”. We didn’t realise this meant the shower was IN the room. We had no cooking facilities, but we did have a (thankfully) separate toilet. It was £56.50 per night for both of us.

In Basel I stayed in YMCA Hostel Basel, it was around £25.80 for one night. I was in a bed room, with five sets of bunks. The toilets were down the corridor from the room. I was given a free travel card for Basel and there was a kitchen and seating area downstairs. The location was good, not far from the station.

Day 1:
We left Balmeggberg around midday and visited the Kambly factory again before getting our train to Interlaken. Once in Wilderswil, it didn’t take too long to find the Airbnb and we moved our stuff in before heading out for dinner at a local Pizzeria called Luna Piccante, it was very tasty but not too cheap, but this is to be expected in Switzerland!

Day 2:
We got up early to put on some washing, then I headed out to buy some breakfast from a bakery called Kindler, which I ordered in German! I headed back and we ate breakfast before I had to go out to Wilderswil station to be picked up to go Paragliding!

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Wilderswil Station

I was picked up by a friendly englishman and we drove to Interlaken, where we picked up some more people. We then went to the Paragliding Interlaken office to change shoes and check in. After that, we picked up the pilots and drove up the mountain above Interlaken, the views getting more and more exciting as we saw the Jungfrau rise up behind Interlaken and the lakes Thunersee and Brienzersee either side of it.

At the top, we were introduced to our pilots who strapped us into our harnesses and got us ready to launch. I flew with a guy called Dominik, who lent me an extra jacket – paragliding is not the warmest of experiences. Once we were ready to go, we ran down the hill and the wing lifted us into the air. We spiraled upwards and I looked down over the trees – the view was truly awesome!

The airtime was supposed to be 20mins but it felt a lot longer as we soared and swirled above the landscape. Near the end of the flight I was allowed to steer, which was incredible. It was such an amazing experience and one I intend to repeat at the earliest possible opportunity. The views were stunning, the feeling of flying was such an intense thrill, without any feeling of falling at any point. It was like floating on the sky!

Once we landed, I received a cute windsock with a USB attached to it containing my photos of the experience – taken using a selfie stick – best use for them! I then retrieved my own shoes and hopped on the bus back to Wilderswil, where I rejoined Q. We walked to Unspunnen Castle, near our Airbnb and looked around. It was quite small, but had information about all the times it had been extended over the years.

Afterwards we headed out to Unterseen by Thunersee to go kayaking. We took the bus to Interlaken, and rather than waiting 20mins for the next bus, we began to walk to Unterseen, only to walk for 30mins before we caught the bus the last two stops!

We hired a double kayak and headed out across the lake. The weather was beautiful and the scenery was breathtaking so we sculled around, taking photos and catching the wakes of bigger boats. We had a few hours, so we stayed out admiring the landscape, then returned and dried out before catching the bus back to Interlaken to find dinner.

We ate at a place called Cafe de Paris where we sat outside and had drinks – I had a beer, Q had a cocktail. We had some rostis, which are grated potato dishes with various toppings. They were very tasty. We paid the bill and dashed back to the bus stop, making a brief detour so I could rapidly buy some postcards.

Day 3:
We got up early and packed. I quickly ran to the post office to send my postcards and then we headed into Interlaken once more. We had a look for some souvenirs and I bought a lovely little wooden cow – very Swiss! We then took our train to Basel.

Once in Basel, I checked into the hostel, then we had a look around. Basel is surprisingly nice! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it has a lot of nice architecture and cute side streets. We saw the Town Hall, a weird but kinda cool fountain, called Tinguely Fountain and some very cool graffiti. The river Rhein flows through Basel and people were swimming down it, with their stuff in large, fish-shaped dry-bags – if I ever come back I want to try it!

We were meant to be meeting up with Q’s friend Leon, so we headed to a park to meet him. He was with a group of spinners practicing staff and poi. We were offered some tasty soup and watermelon and sat and chatted to them until it got dark, then they did a little fire show.

Tips for Interlaken and Basel:
– Switzerland is very expensive, so only go if you’re prepared to pay!
– Interlaken and Wilderswil were so Swiss – beautiful and alpine!
– Go Paragliding! It is amazing!
– Go kayaking too, the lakes are so beautiful it would be a missed opportunity not to.
– Basel has some lovely sqaures and buildings, spend some time wondering through them.
– If you have time, swim down the Rhien in Basel.

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