Arriving in Interlaken, I didn’t know what to expect. All I really knew about the city was that it was in the middle of the Swiss Alps and that previous CR groups had participated in extreme sports in the area. After experiencing it, though, Interlaken was so much more than that, especially in the context of Cultural Routes. It was an opportunity to grow closer as a group. It was a chance to debrief and to process the heavy things we had seen and learned about in Germany. It was a breath of fresh air and a step into the wild. It was exactly what all of us needed and it came at the right time.
One of my favorite memories from Interlaken actually came on the first day we were there. A few of us couldn’t wait to get a taste of one of the town’s namesake lakes. We walked probably farther than we should have, but the adventure that came along with the journey was well worth it. This video recounts our chilly dip:
This is just one instance that demonstrates the benefit of the more relaxed schedule we had in Interlaken. Having more time to ourselves to do what we wanted to do at the time was great. If I wanted to go swim in a freezing cold lake, window shop for watches in the town center, or even just relax and play ping pong at the hostel, I could and there would always be someone right there with me. This was the other benefit of Interlaken: we were able to go off in small groups without the pressure of trying to get through an itinerary as in Berlin and Munich. It was in this low-pressure environment that I feel the group dynamic really developed which was very cool to experience, especially looking back.
Additionally, Interlaken was just absolutely gorgeous. We did several hikes in the mountains and through small mountainside villages and the scenery was consistently awe-inspiring. I have a huge love of the outdoors and everything that comes along with it so Interlaken was right up my alley. Getting a chance to get out of the cities and experience nature added a whole new dimension to Cultural Routes and I am especially glad to have had the opportunity to experience Interlaken and everything it had to offer.