Lodging at The Balmer’s Herberge was an interesting experience. Fist time ever staying at a hostel, and we didn’t know what to expect but the cost for one night was absolutely doable for our tight budget and we only needed to stay for one night. It’s kind of like college dorm living, or better yet, like summer camp. Thankfully, the rooms had 8 bunk beds each and we had 7 people in our group, so we were given an entire room for the group. Whew! I was sweating having to share rooms with complete strangers (I know, where’s my adventurous spirit, right!?!). We did have to share bathrooms and showers with the rest of the guests, but the bathrooms were not bad. The place was charming and the front desk attendant was adorable. I cannot remember her name but for some reason I want to call her Anna. She had a beautiful Swiss accent and was so perky and friendly, I’m convince had we lived closer, we would be bff’s, for sure.
Village life in Interlaken is quite dormant. We walked around the village on our way to dinner and it seemed as if everyone had gone to bed early, there wasn’t a soul out in the dark streets. Then all of a sudden, we came upon a small strip of restaurants and shops(I mean like maybe 2 or 3 restaurants and maybe 2 shops) , and I promise that small street was lit up like a Christmas tree. We made our way a restaurant our friendly host had recommended. The waitresses and waiters wore cow print pants and I have to say I have never been in a restaurant as loud and jolly. Everybody was in a party mood. The music was great and there was a lot of interaction with the clientele through games and sing along (they even had a Michael Jackson impersonator). There were rows of cow bells in every size imaginable being rang constantly. For our Swiss meal, we ordered, what else? Swiss cheese fondue, with bread, vegetables and salads. We then finished that off with chocolate fondue and fruit, of course. Yum!
Breakfast was included with our lodging at the Balmer’s but it was very uneventful; oatmeal w/ toast, coffee or tea and a banana. With most shops and restaurants closed for the day, for our last meal, we went to a little Greek restaurant and ate pizzas with salads. The pizzas were so good and unique. The crust was thick or thin, however you asked them to make it, but the toppings, were amazing! I had a chicken-Greek pizza and enjoyed every bite of it.
As far as shopping an souvenirs is concerned, you just can’t go to Switzerland and not purchase Swiss chocolate and an authentic Swiss army knife or an authentic Swatch, so that is what we bought for our souvenirs. Now, finding the specific Swiss army knife we wanted proved to be a difficult task. There were way too many styles to chose from. Lucky for us, most of the shops were closed, so that helped us make our choice in a jiffy. We were like little children with new toys!
The biggest reason for being in Interlaken, Switzerland was to take the railroad headed up to the top of a mountain right smack in the middle of the Swiss Alps and go down victoriously on our mighty sleds, having conquered the mountain -side note: I’ve never sled in my life! (and probably never will again). Our wonderful host had taught us a word she said we would need to learn before going up the mountain; Ackton. We used it a lot! What a blast we had, though! Grant it, we were dressed inappropriately for sledding and most of us had never sled before, but we manage to make it to the end with bumps and bruises, but happy to be alive (some of us -not saying any names-did wiped out several times-yeah, there’s video). The experience was exhilarating and scary at times but the adrenaline never stopped pumping! The air was clean and pure and the view was spectacular. For our group, this was the kind of trip you take, so you can go home with bragging rights. After all, how many people can say they’ve gone sledding at the magnificent Swiss Alps?