Apologies for the long break in posting! We just returned from a wonderful trip to Paris and Greece and had my mom visiting Switzerland last week, and my writing has fallen to the wayside! How is it nearly NOVEMBER!?!?
Returning to regularly scheduled programming… to cap off the summer, we got to enjoy a visit from my little sister who voyaged to Geneva all the way from New York City! She’s an incredibly hardworking market planner for one of the world’s biggest retail brands and we were thrilled to welcome her for a break from the hustle bustle of her big city life.
It was such a joy to share our new home with her – she is always down for a big laugh, a trip to McDonald’s, or a night of Netflix. (Guys, I don’t know about home, but the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is on Swiss Netflix. We were enthralled.)
We showed her around Old Town Geneva…
took a quick overnight in Interlaken, and a day-trip to the Cailler Chocolate Factory and the cheese capital of the world, Gruyeres! That daytrip is coming up next post.
While I draw the line at paragliding, my sister had a bold bucketlist item to go skydiving for many years. And where better than the glorious Swiss Alps?
We boarded a train to adventure capital Interlaken and kicked off our trip with a hike up the very challenging and often not very well marked 3 hour Harder Kulm trail.
It was cloudy (and thank goodness because we were already sweating buckets up more than 200 flights of stairs, per our iPhones) so the views were compromised, but still very special.
Our dear friend and fellow expat C had previously been skydiving with the company Outdoor Interlaken and my sister booked a trip with them to skydive at 8AM the next morning. Fortunately, they let me tag along to the landing strip. She kindly shares her perspective below!
“Skydiving in Switzerland has been on my bucket list since I was in high school traveling on a class trip. Our hotel had a stunning view of the Alps, and I knew somehow I had to experience them firsthand. My desire to skydive was confirmed after reading in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, “The reason why some people love to engage in dangerous activities, such as mountain climbing, car racing…is that it forces them into the Now – that intensely alive state that is free of time, free of problems, free of thinking, free of the burden of the personality.” I was eager to experience this firsthand and I would recommend Outdoor Interlaken to anyone looking for a stellar experience. They are the perfect mixture of fun and professional. Our day began with our shuttle bus driver telling us that we had already made it through the most dangerous part of our day—the bus ride! This instantly calmed my fears. The brief safety session ended with them informing us the most important thing we could do today would be to smile. At that point, I knew it would be a disservice to myself if I did not just enjoy this amazing experience. Purchasing the video is a must, at first, I was hesitant given the price but being able to relive the views over and over from the tandem guide’s Go-Pro is worth every penny. Should you want to cut expenses perhaps do not buy the pictures – you can easily pause the video and take screen grabs!
We were broken up into small groups of 4 and went up 15,000 feet. Even this 20-minute plane ride was worth it as the guides pointed out Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn – two views I never ever thought I would see. It was not until the first girl was pushed out of the plane that I thought to myself “what on earth are you doing?!” But there was no turning back. I knew all the positions and felt so confident in the guide (they must complete 20,000 jumps on their own before becoming an instructor) that this would be the most memorable 6 minutes. The 60 second free fall left me breathless, it was at this point in time I could absolutely relate to Tolle – there was not a thought running through my head. I was just observing the fantastic views of the Alps. Once the parachute was opened, I loved every moment until we landed on the ground. I still feel speechless and truly do not know how to describe it. While multiple people have called me insane or as my dad would say “you have a screw loose” I have never been more proud as that feeling of being so enthralled in nature is an experience I will never forget and would recommend for all!”
Needless to say – I was VERY, VERY happy when I heard her screaming my name and saw her make a safe landing on the ground. After her big success, we celebrated with McDonald’s fries and McFlurries and we headed back to Geneva on the train. Unfortunately I can’t give “eat” or “stay” recommendations for Interlaken, because it was pretty “meh” on both accounts. I had higher expectations for the town itself, but I miscalculated – it’s beautiful but it is definitely more of a jumping off point for some other great adventures in the region – see Lauterbrunnen and a visit to Grindelwald with my mom coming up!
Fear not – there is plenty of eating in the next post about our visit to yet another chocolate factory, and the town of Gruyeres!