**Although I just got back from Paris last night, I had typed up the last day in Switzerland when I didn’t have internet access, so here it is now!**
On Monday, our unlimited train passes had expired, so we bought roundtrip tickets to Grindelwald because there were several other things we wanted to do up there. Adam and I were really tempted to try paragliding from First, and even Krissi was feeling a little extra adventurous that day but when we got up to the gondolas, it was closed after Bort (no way to get to First). So, instead, we took a gondola up to Bort and rented scooters again.
Since we’d already taken plenty of photos the time we did it before, we didn’t have to stop as much for pictures (except for the cows of course), so we were able to go faster which (for some people) makes it more fun. I’m not a big fan of going really fast (in cars or on scooters or anything for that matter) because I’m not a fan of the potential for crashing and how much more crashing can hurt if you’re going fast.
Well, Adam and Krissi were going pretty fast down the hill, and I told them I didn’t want to go fast but they didn’t have to wait for me, I’d be fine going at my own pace alone and meeting them at the bottom. I’m not sure if they didn’t hear me, or if they just felt bad and didn’t want to leave me behind, but they kept stopping and waiting for me, and I started feeling a little bad and also thinking “ok, Michelle, it’s not so bad to go fast.” And shortly after I thought that and started going faster, Adam crashed. Luckily, he was able to jump off the scooter and it crashed by itself, so although the scooter was a little broken he was unscathed. You’d think I would take that as a hint to not go fast anymore, but I let myself continue to faster than I normally would feel comfortable with, and I came around a bend in the road and heard a small waterfall so I turned to look, and when I looked back at the road I crashed into a gutter.
In my case, I wasn’t able to jump off and walk away, but I did manage to save the scooter from any damage. And I also managed to turn my body just enough (and thankfully was wearing long sleeves and long jeans) so I only got a few minor scrapes, and then some major bruising and soreness in my left hip and left shoulder. I was really lucky I didn’t get hurt worse! Also, I’m not trying to blame Adam and Krissi here for my crashing, because it really wasn’t due to me going fast, it was due to my compulsive need to turn my head and see where sounds are coming from. The fact that I was going fast just made the crash a little crazier 🙂
So, after that, we probably went pretty obsessively slow down the remainder of the mountain now that 2 out of 3 of us had crashed. Adam and Krissi felt bad that I crashed and hoped it didn’t ruin my experience or my day, but honestly it kind of made the day better because it seems so hardcore to crash going down a mountain. Interestingly, all the Swiss flags around (a white cross on a red background) led me to the incorrect presumption that the Swiss are all about first aid. Well, when we got back down to the station I asked about “first aid” or “hydrogen peroxide” but the Swiss woman didn’t have a clue what I was talking about and I had no idea how to say it in german or French. So then I just pointed at my bloody hand (with rocks in it) and my scraped up elbow, and she just handed me a large bandaid for the elbow. So then we tried to go to the town pharmacy (a green cross), but it was closed for two hours for lunch! Seriously, Switzerland? So then I just decided to put the bandaid on my elbow, pick the rocks out of my hand and let it dry in the air and hope it didn’t get infected or anything.
From there we walked down to a spot where you can take a different kind of aerial cable car up to Pfingstegg where they had an alpine slide thing called Sommer-Rodelbahn or something like that. Basically, it was kind of like bobsledding without the snow. It feels like if you flew off the slide you’d fly off the edge of the mountain. Pretty awesome 😉 We all did it twice and then when it turned out the car back down wasn’t leaving for another 10 minutes, Adam and Krissi did it a third time.
From there, we headed back down and then walked back to the glacier gorges. There is this random hotel down a long, downhill somewhat windy road, and behind the hotel is a path into a rocky gorge that is beautiful! For the first part you’re walking on a wood path, but then it gets to a point where you have to walk through caves and there are little water falls throughout it. It was beautiful.
After that we were feeling pretty wiped out (from our day of riding trains, gondolas, walking, scootering, crashing, sliding, hiking) and had to begin the long uphill walk back to Grindelwald. From Grindelwald we headed straight back to Interlaken because it was our last chance to make the chocolate show at Shuh. Shuh is a chocolate shop that has been in Interlaken since 1818 and it was right across the street from our hotel. The chocolate show was really cool—we got to eat pretty much as much chocolate as we wanted, we got to make truffles and a hollow chocolate cow, and learn about how they make chocolate from Gino, their head chocolatier. Then, we also got a 10 CHF gift card for the shop so we all bought some truffles to take home.
After the chocolate show, we headed out to find dinner and managed to find a pizza place that had a smoke free room! Smoking is allowed everywhere in Switzerland which is obnoxious, and this was the first time there was a smoke free area. It was funny too because the smoke free room was isolated in the back, like you’d expect a smoking room to be in the States. I really don’t understand why Europeans smoke so much. Their cigarette packs over here have HUGE bold faced warnings on them and still… everywhere you go people are smoking like crazy. In my head the thought always crosses my mind, “Did Europe miss the memo re: how disgusting and deadly smoking is?” Apparently they got the memo and they just don’t care.
The dinner was DELICIOUS. We shared two pizzas and they were both amazing. After dinner, I wobbled my injured self back to the hotel and Adam and Krissi went out to look around a few stores. Before long I was in bed hoping I was still able to walk in the morning with all the soreness from the hiking and the falling.
The next day, Tuesday, we basically just slept in and then began the long journey of travel back to London. We left our hotel just before 11am and I made it back to my flat around 10:30pm. The most notable part of the day though is that we met this great guy at a coffee shop in the Zurich airport. When he found out we were American he was like “I love America! I love Americans!” and then he gave us free espressos and chocolate after we finished our lunch, and sat down and chatted with us for awhile. It was really refreshing to meet someone that actually liked Americans! He was Hungarian, married to a German woman, but had been working in Switzerland for 28 years and had 3 daughters. Every year he takes his family to Florida for a month, and his daughters always cry when he brings them back to Switzerland and they want to go back to America. He loved that things were so much cheaper and cleaner and nicer in America and that it was easier to start your own business. His family is currently on the waiting list to try to move to the states in the near future. By the time we had to go we were kind of bummed to have to leave him. It was such a great lunch! (Plus, just a shot of espresso in a cup is like $4 in Switzerland, so getting that free was awesome!).
And that’s the end of our Switzerland trip!
For many more pictures of this last day, click here.