Monday, September 9, 2019 | Written by Karsten
This weekend a group of us went to Interlaken, Switzerland. When I say a group, I mean essentially all of GTL—there were forty-nine of us in the GroupMe, and although everyone didn’t come, there are only just under ninety undergraduate students here. Interlaken literally translates from German to “between lakes,” and as you might imagine, it’s between to lakes—Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. It is a wildly popular tourist location as it is absolutely stunning, and there are many different, generally extreme, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be had, including hang-gliding and paragliding, running a mountainous marathon, and ridged hikes.
Adam Bradshaw, the lone University of Colorado-Boulder student this semester, and I took the train after class to St. Louis (not the one in Missouri) and met up with four other study abroad students in Basel, Switzerland. To get from St. Louis, France to Basel, Switzerland, we just walked across the border, so that was a pretty cool experience in and of itself. We ended up at a Swiss bar to watch the Switzerland-Ireland soccer game, and there were a couple Irishmen there who talked to us for the entirety of the game.
The six of us left from Basel and went on to meet up with the rest of the group in Interlaken. From the train, we could all see just how insanely blue the water of the lakes was. It was the color of the Glacier Freeze Gatorades. Once we got off of the train, we went on to the hostel that most people were staying at. I think every traveler there was either from GTL or running the marathon that was this weekend. Once we dropped off all of our stuff, a group went kayaking while the rest of us decided to go for a swim in the lake. The water was absolutely frigid, as it was a very cloudy, fifty-five-degree day. Regardless, it was a good time and made for some funny pictures.
The main goal of going to Interlaken was to be able to hike up Augstmatthorn, an insane ridge ending in a peak overlooking the lakes. If you’ve seen pictures from a high altitude in Interlaken, they were likely taken here. We weren’t sure if we were going to make it, as it’s deemed an “expert” hike and the weather was very uncertain. We made it up Harderkulm without much of a struggle, but then the rain started and made going rather treacherous. We got to the point where we could turn and head down the mountain or continue all the way. As I hiked in some slip-on Vans (not my brightest idea but funny nonetheless) and the weather seemed like it was getting worse, I was in the group that went down there. All in all, I fell about five times and slipped many, many more, but it was a good time anyway, particularly when I slipped and fell from the path on the way down and somersaulted (but quickly caught myself) and scared the group badly. Once back and changed, we went out for dinner at a fondue place. I was particularly excited for this, as my dad has made fondue at home, and I love it. Needless to say, it exceeded my expectations.
On Sunday, we headed back to Metz. It was a pretty uneventful trip, but we played Spicy Uno for the entirety of one train ride, so that was a very good time. Once we were back, I edited my pictures from the weekend and reflected, and man, Interlaken is stunning. I highly recommend it to anyone reading this who hasn’t been before, but also be prepared with outdoor gear, because you’ll want be outside the entire time.