During one of our group talks the other night, I was asked what the happiest moment of my life was. I wasn’t quite sure what to say, as I’m blessed to have a lot of happy moments in my life. However, it made me reflect on our first 24 hours in Interlaken and realize that it’s now on my list of happiest moments.
Admittedly, I didn’t give Interlaken a whole lot of thought before going on CR. My knowledge of the town could be summed up to skydiving and pretty nature scenery, so I basically regarded it as a stop between Germany and Italy with a few thrilling activities thrown in. However, as soon as we arrived I knew that it was so much more. Stepping off the train we walked through streets filled with vintage Swiss hotels and chocolate shops. We passed through fields of wildflowers and watched paragliders land outside of our hostel. And on top of it all, we were surrounded by jaw-dropping mountains, with endless rows of green trees and clouds snaking around the peaks. The beautiful scenery combined with my joy at being in Switzerland was enough to make me tear up on the walk to the hostel.
After settling in, some of us decided to walk down to the lake and jump in, despite it being freezing cold. I think we all were a little nervous, but as soon as we came out from the water we jumped right back in to do it again. It felt so entirely refreshing, spontaneous, and fun that I knew it was the perfect introduction to Switzerland. For dinner that night we headed to a local fondue place, where we were lucky enough to catch a yodeling choir practicing at the table next to us. The moment felt magical. Even when sitting in an authentic Swiss fondue restaurant listening to a real Swiss yodeling choir, it was hard to believe that it was all real life.
The next morning, Gabby, Sarah, Kynnedi, and I woke up early to go HANG GLIDING. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it ended up being absolutely incredible. With my instructor, we ran off the side of a hill and caught air, flying over the mountain ranges and even our hostel before landing in the grass ten minutes later. For being 1500 feet up, I felt so at peace. It just felt like we were flying as birds over Interlaken, with a few loops and tricks added in. As soon as we landed, I jumped up and wanted to go do it again and again.
Next, the group got together to go canyoning in the Interlaken canyons. Again, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, but canyoning is essentially walking, jumping, and sliding through river rapids…without a raft. I was definitely terrified the whole time, but the instructors and the group of friendly Belgian guys we went with helped me make it through. Once we reached the end, I felt accomplished and proud of trying something so different. I mean, when else are you going to get to Superman jump into waterfalls in Switzerland?
Those 24 hours were jam-packed, exhausting, exhilarating, scary, fun, and entirely fulfilling. All I could keep thinking over and over again was just how lucky and thankful I was to be in this country, on this experience, with these people, who were equally floored by our circumstances. The amount of positivity and excitement I was surrounded in was inspiring, and the beauty around me really reignited an appreciation for nature that I haven’t always had. As much as I learned and grew in Germany, CR clicked for me in Interlaken. I was practically moved to tears by thinking of how amazing this opportunity is that I’ve been given to visit amazing places that I might never have considered before. Plus, the joy experienced by all of CR during our time here has led us to develop stronger bonds and authentic friendships. Now, Interlaken is my new happy place, and even without having left yet I’m desperate to come back.
If I move to Switzerland after graduation and become a hang gliding instructor, you’ll know why.
an incredibly happy girl