On Friday morning, I boarded a train and headed to Bern en route to Interlaken. The weather was still not at its finest, as a constant rain came, shutting down most of the activities in Interlaken. When I got in, I dropped off my stuff at the Balmers hostel and walked through the town. The foggy mist sat halfway up the mountains, leaving a whole lot of unseen beauty, but an excellent view even still. After a few hours of hiking the local trails and exploring the town,I headed back to Balmers to meet some others that were traveling. The day seemed to start pretty slow, but as the afternoon continued more travelers poured in and suddenly there were people from all over the world hanging out together. I met a guy who graduated from college in December and worked out a deal with his first employer to not start until June; so he has been traveling since the first of the year from Eastern Europe and moving west. He was the first person I’ve met that explored Albania and a lot of the “no no” spots for most travelers. We were joined by a few guys who come to Interlaken every season as canyoning, skydiving, and rafting guides who invited me to go to their local spot to hang out. Any chance to hang with the locals and not feel like a tourist is an offer worth taking. Walking into this bar was a completely different experience as everyone was Swiss or living in Interlaken after 10+ years of working; I sat for nearly 4 hours hearing stories of travel with people from all around the world; it definitely sparked some enthusiasm for heading to a few new places including New Zealand and San Sebastian. When I got back to the hostel, there were people everywhere hanging around the club underneath the hostel; seemed like the place to be. I overheard someone say they were from Ohio, and shot a glance over. Moments later, an “O-H”, “I-O” was exchanged and we came to realize we were staying in the same hostel room and were scheduled for a canyoning trip as well. You have to respect how those things work out. Also connected with some guys who went to the UK and were in the know on Buckeye recruiting and the fun behind the SEC. Man, I love people.
Saturday morning came way too soon; a hot room and uncomfortable exhaustion had me up at 5:30AM walking around town looking for a good cup of coffee that wasn’t instant. At 10AM, we headed off into the canyons for our canyoning experience with Interlaken Adventure. I was pretty excited for this experience, but a few childhood and adolescent memories have always left me a bit weary about water sports and anything that feels the slightest bit like drowning. I would never not try something because it’s a water sport, but I’ve always had a hesitation about them and certainly do not excel in the water. We hiked up through the canyons and ended up making our way down with jumps, slides, rappelling down cliffs and swinging from point to point. Jumping off of a cliff into a glacier runoff was pretty incredible; as was walking down a huge cliff backwards into the waters . Our crew was made up folks from Germany, Ohio, the University of Michigan (you can guess how that went) and Amsterdam and I had a blast with all of them. I didn’t get video of our trip, but here’s a good look at what the experience is like: Canyoning in Interlaken After a few hours, we made it back to the hostel and I was ready to pass out; but when in Interlaken, it’s required to go hard. I made my own lunch of manchego cheese and salami, made a new friend from South Carolina, then headed over to my “People’s Choice” activity, in which I asked people on Social Media if I should canyon jump or go whitewater rafting. While the jump was certainly an adrenaline-decision and it seemed like everyone wanted me to do whatever was most likely to end my life, the rafting made the most sense and had more overall votes. More to come on that.