Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Of land, sea and air

These two days in the Bernese Oberland have been nothing short of fantastic. Just yesterday I've been on air, land and sea. I'm now in Interlaken, which is in the middle of two lakes - Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, hence the name. Interlaken on its own isn't very exciting. There's not much one can do here besides adventure sports and activities. Nevertheless, people stay in Interlaken because they use it as a springboard to the Bernese Oberland.


Over the Lauterbrunnen valley

If there was one place I wish I was born and lived in, it'll probably be somewhere in the Bernese Oberland. The Swiss take pride in their work. The people I've met here are the kindest and most friendly. I took a trip to the Schilthorn this morning and it was full of people who would come here to ski. I met this Swiss couple from Bern and we chatted for a while. He asked about my nationality and told me that he would be coming to visit my country. It will be his first time there and he wanted a hotel recommendation from me. How was I to know? I've never really checked in to stay at a hotel in Singers ever! Now as I think back I should have told him to stay at the MBS. I wonder if a Swiss like him would actually enjoy the modern city living of Singapore. Afterall, Bern is quite different from Singers and I doubt we have any good B&Bs with great hospitality as the Swiss.

Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau

That aside, I continued my journey and took a hike from Murren to Gimmelwald. It was a short hike and I managed to convince two Korean girls whom I met at Schilthorn to join me to walk to Gimmelwald. During our conversation I learnt that we had many things in common- we stayed in the same backpackers hostel, were going to check out on the same day and we would be heading off to the same city next as well.

Murren to Gimmelwald

The hike from Murren to Gimmelwald was exceptional. I couldn't think of a better way to see Gimmelwald than from above. The village is small, and it's traffic free. People greet each other everywhere they go. Gimmelwald is pretty even in Spring and I can't imagine how it'll be in Summer.

One of the interesting thing I saw in Gimmelwald was "The Honesty Shop" which claims to be Europe's first unattended self service village shop. True to its word there was no one in the shop. You walk in, see what you like, buy and put your money in an envelope and pop it into a box! Trust the Swiss to do something like that. Things operate on a system of trust here. In Bern, you buy a ticket from the machine before boarding and you don't need to validate it anywhere.

After Gimmelwald, I took a cable car to Lauterbrunnen, a village in a valley. Lauterbrunnen s truly scenic. I couldn't resist its beauty and missed my train because I lingered on in a café to eat. I wished I stayed there instead of Interlaken. It's peaceful, scenic and staying there makes you feel like you're really on a holiday. It's a valley and when there are valleys there are waterfalls. When there are waterfalls there's a lake. When there's a lake there's usually a mountain. This is why I love mountains so much - it's such a bonus sight! Bernese Oberland is everything that is. Majestic mountains, beautiful Swiss chalet houses and Swiss hospitality- what more can you ask for?

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