Brent and Connor already had their time to geek out at the Reichstag in Berlin, so now it’s my turn.
Good day readers, it’s Sunday, May 26th, National Paper Airplane Day, welcome to the blog. Tomorrow we leave the serenity of picturesque Interlaken and “fly” to Riomaggiore, and I am honestly sad to go.
Why? Because I just feel like Interlaken does it right.
Now what does “it” mean?
I believe that “it” can extend to many facets of life.
Growing up in California I am fortunate to have been surrounded by some amazing natural landscapes and environments. From endless beach strand bike rides, to skiing in the Sierra Nevada’s, to camping in beautiful Yosemite, I have witnessed the beauty that out mother nature has to offer.
None of my past experiences compare to what the Swiss have to offer.
My awe began looking out the window of our train as we bolted through various tunnels meandering through the Swiss Alps. Our scenery transitioned from vast plains in Germany to vast snowcapped mountains enclosing Interlaken. I find peace and happiness through these creations because it humbles me and makes me grateful for the beautiful planet in which we live.
When we arrived, we checked into our hostel and then had free time to explore the quaint city. A few of us decided that our visit wouldn’t be complete without jumping into the icy Brienzersee lake, one of the lakes that sits beside the town of Interlaken.
On Saturday we were given a free day to explore Interlaken and do whatever our hearts desired. Because of all the natural beauty in the area, a lot of Interlaken’s economy is dependent on tourism and especially their extreme natural sport activities. These range from rafting, to kayaking, to canyoning, to hang-gliding, to para-gliding, to sky-diving. I chose to do two of these activities. I will now leave a cliff hanger and talk about energy, meanwhile you can decide what two activities I chose to partake in.
Energy & Sustainability
While the scenic views on the train ride in were hard to miss, one thing that was easy to miss was the way that Interlaken uses their abundant natural resources to be energy efficient and sustainable. As an aspiring sustainability minor 😩the first thing I noticed on our train ride in was something called a Smartflower Solar Pannel. This new solar device is amazing. It retracts and opens up its petals to resemble the shape of a sunflower, where its internal computers sync up to weather reports so it knows when it is most efficient to open, and sensors so it can continuously track the sun.
Second, Interlaken tourism is one with the name of sustainability by reclaiming 100% of its water through hydropower. This amazing feat is brought to us by the numerous amounts of snowcapped mountains surrounding the area. For example, today we walked down the Valley of 72 Waterfalls. We took a break and went to experience the extraordinary power of water through TrümmelbachWaterfalls. Trümmelbach falls is a series of 10 chutes, exemplifying the force water has to carve and erode mother nature. The falls are accessible through a series of lifts, paths, and underground caverns. The falls alone carry the meltwater of the glaciers from the Jungfrau down to the valley up to a staggering 20,000 liters of water per second. If you can’t imagine what 20,000 liters of water per second is like, imagine this. An average volume of a swimming pool is about 400,000 liters. That means you could fill that pool in around 20 seconds, which is just crazy.
Naturalism (Part 2)
I felt like the best way to take in the naturalism that Interlaken had to offer was to get a full encompassing view from above. Skydiving was a surreal experience that is simply unexplainable. Although indescribable, one thing that was amazing about the experience was being able to view this magnificent area from a birds-eye view from 13000 feet. During the dive we fell 8000 feet in 45 seconds meaning we were traveling around 125mph until our chutes were deployed at 5000 feet. It was one of those experiences where you just had to just put a stamp on it and send it.
We also were able to fully submerge ourselves (literally) in the power of snowmelt and glacial water through canyoning. Canyoning is an extreme water sport where one gets dressed in 7mm wet suits, goes out with extreme Australian guides, and watch and follow as they repel, dive, and float through thousands of liters of water. One of my (least) favorite jumps was called the “washing machine” because the water coming off the fall created a whirlpool-like thingamajig at the bottom. We were instructed to cannon ball and then after we were underwater we would star fish so the guide could grab us. Peter went first and struggled a bit to get up because of the turbulence, so I decided to go after. Long story short, sometimes you may need to double check the shipping address before sending it…
Interlaken, you have my heart and I am grateful for you beyond words.
Here’s a person who is doing things right as well: Lauren Klingemann
Lauren tries to radiate joy wherever she goes. Impacting everyone she surrounds with a bright smile and positive attitude, Lauren will lighten your day. She isn’t afraid to probe you with questions and really get to know you because it’s all from her heart, all because she cares. Lauren’s selfless mindset is unique. Stemming from her aspirations to be a doctor, she always has others interests first, which is something we can all learn from… which is why I can also say that she doesn’t just try to radiate joy, she simply does radiate joy wherever she walks.
That’s all for now.