The pastas in Italy are divine, the macarons and brie of Paris are la creme de la creme, but Switzerland itself is the crown jewel. As I looked outside the window of the train, mountains and green pastures rolled into view and I knew we were confronting an adventure and experience unique and refreshing to the heat and pollution and craze of the cities we’d just lived in. Switzerland is so so magical and breathtaking and I am currently sitting by a window in my hotel sipping my cappuccino and writing as Serena reads her book and we await our homemade breakfast.
We immediately began adventuring from the minute we stepped foot on to Swiss soil. First off, we took a dip in the refreshing water of our incredible hotel called the Matenhoff, which is definitely our favorite hotel so far. It has this adorable public pool and area and little lodge where you can get the BEST burger with coleslaw and this delicious sauce and all these secret Switzerland ingredients. We ate and then rented bikes with Carolena, Taylor, Emma, Preston, Chad , Reed and Neil and road them 3 miles to the lake. It was absolutely GORGEOUS and the ride was such a scenic route filled with green pastures and sparkling blue rivers and flowers blowing in the dandelion breezes and smiling faces in cars and the happy light of Switzerland shining down. We hopped in the cold, glacier water of the lake and laughed and spun, admiring the panoramic million dollar view that was everywhere you turned. We dried up in the sun and relaxed until we got hungry and had to make a stop at a cute cabin-like restaurant where we enjoyed chicken kabobs and sangria and played Heads Up and bonded over how amazed we all were by Interlaken’s beauty. Interlaken, if you dissect the word, is inter and lake, which means in between lakes in English. This is because the city of Interlaken is actually in between two different lakes, AND it is the world capital of extreme sports! See my blog isn’t just a therapeutic outpour of my thoughts, it is also an educational website. Serena and I took note that everyone in Switzerland is SO friendly, much more so than in other parts of Europe. A bus driver was speeding down the street and saw that me and Serena wanted to cross on the cross walk, so he slammed on his breaks to stop and let us go and blew a million kisses to us. So sweet, so sweet. AND, nobody would ever do that in America !! We all biked back after an eventful afternoon and I made sure the lollipop stick in my mouth (free lolli from the friendly Swiss gal working at the restaurant) didn’t fall to the ground because I would have felt horrible to litter in the cleanest city I’d ever been in. It’s so clean I’ve literally seen a man sweeping the parking lot of our hotel with a broom! THE PARKING LOT GROUND! WHO EVEN DOES THAT?
me and Preston
“Backyard” of our beautiful hotel ^
Serena probably pet EVERY dog she saw in Europe
The next day we got up bright and early for one of our favorite experiences on this trip: CANYONING! I have canyoneered at camp as well as in Costa Rica but I’d have to say that this was the most intense/exciting/beautiful canyoneering adventure I’ve yet to experience. We started with a fun repel down a cliff and for the rest of the time made our way through a thin valley in between the mountains of rocks with a glacier-cold river running through it. I think the most dangerous part might have been trying to safely maneuver through the slippery rocks with the water tugging at us with its current! We had to jump and slide down natural rocks, jumped from cliffs into the water, zip lined in between caves and faced our fears. It was seriously insane. Like I don’t even understand how I did half of the little jump tricks because I am so unathletic. The guy would literally tell us to jump from one rock on to another smooth, long rock and somehow jump perfectly so that our hips and legs were on that smooth rock and it would allow us to slide down it and into the water. It amazes me that I didn’t even break a nail. But seriously, WHAT an awesome adrenaline rush that activity was. We wore tight, full-body wet suits (not of which were very flattering on anybody) and each sported a helmet labeled with an inappropriate name that we were called for the duration of the 2 and a half-hour activity. My helmet said Poof. I initially chose it because I thought it was a cute kinda fairy-dust-ish name and the guys giggled when I picked it up. I later learned that Poof is a term for a gay man. But honestly I rocked it so whatev. And the various unflattering faces and snippets of double chin paired with my hairless-looking head in that helmet and unflattering wet body-suit in the pictures of me could have tricked a random viewer into thinking that it truly was a Poof wearing the helmet labeled Poof. It wasn’t my best day for looks. Afterwards we ate delicious sandwiches with incredible Swiss cheese as we sat in a pasture in the middle of the Swiss Alps. Serena and I ate our Swiss chocolate on the bus ride back as the bus full of kids sang along to Colt 45 while glaring out at the greens and blues shining through our window. When we came back to take off our gear and clean up, the guy who took my wetsuit from me said, “Thanks, good lookin'”. I thought I might add that comment in.
I took a quick dip in our hotel pool and chatted with Buzz and then took a hike with Chad who told me about his girl problems. Then, Serena and I walked downtown to get lotion for her ridiculous sun-rash and then delicious Paella as we watched the pouring rain fall down. Our friends joined us later and THEN we got to the super awesome part: SWISS-CHOCOLATE MAKING!!!!! We wore super cute red chef hats and chose either dark or milk chocolate ( I chose milk ) and stirred our chocolate as we learned about HOW chocolate is made. Fun facts: WHITE CHOCOLATE is not actually chocolate at all because they do not use the cacao bean in it, they only call it white chocolate because it sounds appealing! Dark chocolate is chocolate without milk and milk chocolate is well clearly, chocolate with milk. The reason Switzerland is known for their chocolate is because while everybody was busy fighting wars, Switzerland was busy being neutral and had tons of extra time to make AWESOME chocolate AND build a secret fortress inside the mountain of a waterfall where they keep tons of helicopters and crazy shit in case some Russians or somebody want to surprise attack them. The Swiss are some sneaky ass peeps. We all made three chocolate bars and I did one with a floral print thingy on it, one that says “Roll Wave” because SCHOOL SPIRIT and one that says, “Fuck a Diet” because what else do you say when you’re eating a giant bar of milk chocolate? We went back to the hotel that night and I got extremely sugar high and hung with everyone in our lobby for hours just having fun, because when you are staying in the world capital of extreme sports there aren’t many things to do at night when you can no longer bunjee jump or parasail aka try to kill yourself. But we sure had more fun the next day!
various captions that could accommodate this photo. for example:
“slide into yo DM’s like:”
“when ya girl/boy says she/he home alone”
“when you remember yo mom just made a trip to Trader Joes and she loaded up the pantry”
“when yo friend says there’s a party in Chatsworth” (just kidding because nobody will drive there even for a party)
“when yo friend says there will be karaoke”
“when you got a wedgie but you still pretending you comfy”
“when the Miralax kicks in” ( #sorelatable to this trip) (this is a laxative btw)
Natalia and Serena
Carolena, Neil and I being cute in the hotel lobby
Our last full day in Switzerland we white-water rafted! I have ALSO done this one before, but like the last activity it was much more INTENSE here! Or should i say EXTREME. The guy basically told us that if we didn’t follow his paddling instructions we would fall out, and it is super shallow, so if we straightened our legs we could hit rocks and most likely break them. This OBVIOUSLY did not scared the shit out of us. So four of us unexperienced 18 year-olds struggled to paddle in rhythm and time together as the guy screamed FORWARD and HARDER and TO THE LEFT and TO THE RIGHT in which the right side had to dive and hold the legs of those sitting on the left and vice versa. The scariest part was when he yelled GET DOWN GET DOWN and we literally had to glue our butts to the bottom of the raft and hold on and pray to God that we wouldn’t die. in THIS activity i DID break a nail. Afterwards we showered (very necessary) and relaxed. I later bought a swiss army knife for my younger brother with his name, Will engraved on it. I thought it was such a smart, awesome gift until I found out that he already had one when I got home. But honestly I am still proud of myself for being such a gracious sister, so yolo you can never have enough swiss army knives. We ate DELICIOUS Thai food for dinner and I realized that I have lived a life unexposed to so many different kinds of food like Thai and Vietnamese and Indian (which I had my first full meal of in London) and Brazilian and so many others! What kind of LA girl am I? We all hung out in the lobby of the hotel and enjoyed drinks together and I even sang by the piano in our lobby with two random dudes spontaneously! Don’t you just love Europe? After Sangria and swinging ropes and SO much swiss chocolate, I am still not ready to say goodbye to this magical place, but schnitzels and sausage await me in Munich! So long to the Swiss!
~ xoxo Ali ~