As our adventure in Switzerland continued we took the train from Zermatt to Interlaken. We got lucky and ended up being there for Swiss day, August 1st. Swiss day is Switzerland’s national holiday and is celebrated with fireworks and jubilation. We were in Interlaken in time for the parade through town and got to take part in the celebration.
Swiss day in Interlaken is celebrated with lots of traditions and customs. The highlights are the mountain bonfires lit on the surrounding mountain slopes; various folklore performances including alphorn playing, flag waving and yodelling; torchlight processions and fireworks. The parade ran through the middle of town and was a lovely display of traditional and modern Swiss traditions. The park in the center of town had a massive burn pile which was lite after the fireworks display in the evening.
Interlaken is a beautiful city in the center of two lakes in the middle of the Jungfrau region. Junfrau is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps and a mountain lovers paradise. Interlaken is a diverse city, with lots of tourists and sights. Interlaken is also a great jumping off point for lots of outdoor adventures. A recommendation I would have for booking places to stay in Switzerland would be looking into the B&B options which can be found at https://www.bnb.ch/en. Other option that I would have loved to check out would be hiking up to some of the Alpine huts and staying in the mountains. I hope to check this out for my next trip to Switzerland, some good information can be found here. Both of these options surround the Interlaken area.
After the parade we took the cable car up to Harder Klum, an overlook and restaurant with a great view of the city. There is a hiking route making a one-way option available, and the top is also a starting point for various other mountain hikes. It also offers outstanding views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains and Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The restaurant at the top of the cable car offers a large patio.
Our Swiss day celebration was capped off with a fireworks display in the center of town. People from all walks of life gathered in town for music, celebration and community. It was a great night full of Swiss pride, cheer and best of all a giant burn pile with a tree on top.
Sadly, the next day I had to start making my way home and separated from my mom who stayed longer for a workshop while I made my way to Zurich. On my way to Zurich I stopped off in Bern for the afternoon. I checked my pack at the train station left luggage and wondered around the lovely city for a few hours. Bern is an easy stop off between Interlaken and Zurich on the train and a recommended city to visit while in Switzerland.
Bern is Switzerland’s capital city and is built around a crook in the Aare River. The 12th century medieval city is best preserved in its old town. The city has great public transportation but is very accessible by foot. I spent several hour on foot wondering around enjoying the many fountains, narrow streets, historic towers and trellised urban gardens.
Bern has several outdoor markets and lots of cute shops and restaurants. The clock tower in the center of town reminded me of the Prague old town tower and brought back happy memories. The red roof tops can be viewed from the river bridge and are surrounded by green gardens. It’s no wonder why this lovely city is a UNESCO world heritage site.
After my afternoon in Bern I hopped back on the train and made my way for Zurich. I got into Zurich in the late afternoon and took in the city by foot; checking my luggage at the train station. Zurich is a metropolitan city with a very livable atmosphere for locals. It is one of those cities that is clearly not strictly filled to the brim with tourists. You immediately feel the vibe of what it is like live there. As is the case in some cities, you are not engulfed in tourists and are able an idea of the true city without having to be there for an extended period of time. I walked around old town Zurich and hit the main stops on the tourist route including, Fraumünster and St. Pete’s church.
I made my way to the airport hotel thinking I was going to fly out the next morning. Surprise! Flying stand-by in the middle of the summer to Europe isn’t always easy. I didn’t make a few of my flights and ended up spending an additional day and a half in Zurich. Silver lining was I got to check out the Kunsthaus (Fine Arts museum) which happens to be free on Wednesdays, and go for another lovely run in the outskirts of town. Zurich isn’t the worst place to be stuck for a few days trying to go standby but it also isn’t the cheapest. I ended up taking a flight home after a few tries, ending up staying an unexpected night with friends in Brooklyn before finally getting back to NC.
So that wraps up my European summer adventures. I’ve been so fortunate to travel extensively in Europe this winter and summer. The contrast between winter traveling with my husband and dog in the bitter cold and the solo and group travel in the blazing heat has been incredible. I believe both seasons have their perks for traveling. The quite snowy European streets in the winter and the bustling blazing tourist filled streets both have their charms. The beauty in the landscape and diversity of adventure is what keeps my soul always thirsty for adventure and travel.