“It’s a metaphor,” I said, dubious. Mom was just idling.
“It’s a metaphor,” he said.
“You choose your behaviors based on their metaphorical resonances…” I said.
“Oh, yes.” He smiled. The big, goofy, real smile. “I’m a big believer in metaphor, Hazel Grace.”
I’m going to get sappy here. Partially due to the fact that Interlaken was the best weekend trip of my semester and also because I have returned home and am reflecting on all of the fun things I have done.
A group of 13 of us, 7 guys and 6 girls, decided to take a last minute gaunt to Interlaken in Switzerland. I had never considered to visit Interlaken because I had already spent my freshman year spring break in Basel and Zermatt, Swtizerland. Sophie and some others started talking about how fun it would be with a big group and how we could rent a set of hostel rooms and have a blast so I consented. About a week prior to departure, Larissa emailed a lady who owned a mansion retreat in an adjacent town to Interlaken and didn’t have any occupants the weekend of our trip. She got her to lower the price for us and we all booked a gorgeous yoga Swiss cabin for the weekend, casually.
(Our home for the weekend, is this real life?)
Cynthia and I had visited Prague the previous weekend which we had returned from on Sunday. So needless to say we were exhausted to depart again the following Thursday, but it was so worth it. We flew into Geneva and stayed a night in a hotel right across the border of Switzerland and France so consequently we were in three countries in one day! Pretty cool I think. When we arrived at the hotel there was a group of Egyptian people sharing a large meal. I’m pretty sure they heard me complaining about how hungry I was (the usual) and walked over to us and offered to share their meal. We were so tired and hungry we gratefully accepted and then they just kept pulling out more and more food they had until we were all full. They were in France promoting the movement against the strict policies of the Egyptian government and asked us to throw up the sign for their movement which was the number four. Of course all the guys jumped on board until we were all throwing it up for a photo. After a nights sleep we woke up at the crack of dawn go catch an 8am train to Interlaken.
I would like to say I spent the trip gazing at the gorgeous Swiss landscape but I passed out hard. Like unattractive, swollen eyes, almost drooling status. Traveling takes it out of ya haha. We arrived in Ringgennberg, our adjacent town, and walked uphill a few meters until seeing our beautiful little mansion.
It was perched on a hill that was just high enough for a full view of the lake and obviously, the Alps. To say the scenery was gorgeous is the understatement of the century. It was breathtaking.
And you wanted to take breaths because the air was so pure and fresh. We wasted no time selecting rooms and changing to embark on a hike up the mountain that we were nestled in. 4 of the boys went grocery shopping for the weekend since food is so expensive in Switzerland. The rest of us scampered up the mountain. I’m naturally a fast walker so I bopped off with Harrison and Bick, then eventually waited for all the girls and Jan to catch up. We reconvened on a mountain lookout. We asked a pair of women who were hiking to take a group picture for us and after about ten minutes of them trying to figure out the camera, they said they took it and walked off. There wasn’t a single photo taken. So we utilized the self timer function on someone’s camera to get one group photo.
(Lemma take a selfie)
Afterwards, the guys started climbing this facade of rocks. I love adventuring about and followed them with the rest of the girls right behind. Honestly, the rocks were really slippery because they led to a hidden waterfall and I was worried I would wipe out. But by the grace of god we all made it up!
(Hidden waterfalls and stuff)
There was a little waterfall hidden in the mountainside that we drank out of (and didn’t get sick from woo) until going back for dinner. We got back and the boys were cooking dinner. Role reversal? No complaints. And we had stir fry with rice, veggies, chicken, and egg.
(Bomb dot com dinner made by the boys)
Honestly it was so good and much better than anything I could make. Well done chicos! We all had some wine and hung out in the yoga veranda until going go bed. The yoga veranda was an isolated little building that was soundproof so we played music loud and played lots of games.
The next morning Sophie and Lauren and I chilled on the balcony drinking in the sunlight. We had booked a paragliding adventure at 12:45 and wanted to relax before running off a mountain with a parachute. Our guides for the paragliding were really chill and made us feel comfortable. I was already comfortable because I have done it before, but it was a nice gesture. After the windy drive we were assigned each a guide that strapped us into the gear and we waited for the right wind gust. My guy found the right moment five seconds before telling me to sprint and let the parachute take us off the cliff. I was a little startled but the adrenaline was euphoric. We floated above the valley and over the two lakes while gracefully avoiding the trees. We were only up there for about 15 minutes, but it felt like a century. In a cheesy way, I forgot about all of my nagging thoughts and just soaked in the scenery. It was incredible.
He even did a spin move with the parachute to try and scare me, but I loved it! We landed on our feet in a field in the middle of town and made our way to our next Swiss adventure, a chocolate tasting. There was a renowned little chocolate shop that gave demos on how they make Swiss chocolate and then tasting afterwards. Not going to lie, I was salivating the entire time and when we got to taste a milk chocolate truffle in the shape of a Swiss alp with white powder dusting and homemade caramel inside, my taste buds danced. Some of the BEST chocolate I have ever had. Coming from a chocoholic, that’s a big deal. We left and I bought some dark chocolate bars for my mom. That night the boys cooked again (I could get used to that) and we had pizza, salad, and wine. Later that night a group of us laid under the brilliant starry sky and talked about everything. Sounds corny on a tumblr blog post, but it was perfect.
(The girls and Harrison)
The next morning we had to leave and grudgingly made our way to the airport. That weekend was particularly amazing because of the people, the no drama dynamic, scenery, and adventure. It also didn’t hurt that I felt a little bit like a hobbit. If you can, you have to visit that city before you die. I’m blessed to be able to check it off already. Final moments in Spain post to come!!
So I fully acknowledge that I am terrible at writing these posts in a timely fashion so I appreciate anyone who is willing to read this a few weeks past the actual big events. Now that the formal apology is over… PRAGUE. I went to Prague three weekends ago with one of my friends from IU, Cynthia, and it was one of my top three favorite weekends of this semester. From the close proximity of all of the sights to the yummy cinnamon roll-esque desserts, I had such a blast. This was another one of my spontaneous trips because I booked it about two weeks prior. Cynthia brought up the idea of going to Prague and I decided, why not? It paid off. We left bright and early Friday morning (aka I woke up at 4am) to catch our 7am flight to Prague. I was so disoriented because my family was with my the previous weekend and that week and I had said goodbye to them the previous night until about 12:30 am. With transportation, I received about 2 hours of sleep. Starting it off right.
Side note: when my family came to visit me, it was such a blast taking them around to all of my favorite places (mainly restaurants of course lol) and walking the beach with them. My little brother even came out with me on the previous Saturday and he was such a big hit with all my friends here that I worried they liked him better than me. ;). I took him to La Fiera which is a club with mystical/gypsy-esque decor and lots of dancing. Some of the bartenders even coordinated a line dance thing that I have a video of him doing but he would kill me if that ever surfaced social media. I already miss them!
Back to Prague, we arrived there and it was already incredibly beautiful, even the metro. The instructions our hostel gave us were spot on and we found our hostel, Hostel Mango, within 20 mins walking! Our beds were so comfortable and fluffy that I wasn’t sure we were in a hostel and not a hotel. And, the reception desk had unlimited apples which was a definitely plus. We started right in with the day and walking across the big Charles Bridge to the main part of Prague. We walked around the main square and went to the top of the Astronomical Clock in order to get the best birds eye view of the city.
Breathtaking. I never get tired of the tallest points of every city I visit because the beauty of these foreign cities can only be truly appreciated when you take it all in together and it forms a masterpiece painted into your mind. After the clock, we bought this cinnamon sugar bread roll that is local to the Czech Republic which was BOMB dot com.
Like I’m considering opening up a stand in Bloomington if this whole degree thing doesn’t work out. We met up with another group of people in our program that were traveling around Prague also. We all walked in the direction of the Prague castle. We arrived at a church that we assumed the be the castle, but we never really checked because no one around us spoke english so for the sake of this blog post, we went to the castle woooo!!! Cynthia and I took some fun cute photos with the church near the castle which had some of the most beautiful outside decor with very ornate detailing.
We took some more artsy pics and made our way back in the direction of our hostel in order to get ready for dinner. After very necessary showers and rest time, we went to dinner at a restaurant directly next door to our hostel, called Lokal. Like the name, the food was incredibly authentic and tasty. Cynthia ordered the goulash and I tried the spicy sausages with a horseradish sauce which were both delicious.
We were really tired from all of the walking and so we drank some wine and went to bed.
The next morning we started off relatively early, from about 10am exploring the square and wandering around Prague with no agenda. We stumbled upon a Patagonia store that drew us in because they were having a 50% off sale and we flipped out. Such good deals!! I bought a light white zip up and Cynthia got a puffer jacket for her mom and a backpack. We walked out of there with such excitement for having gotten some of the best deals for such a great brand. They even gave us free stickers ;). We went to go get gelato, which was some of the best gelato I have ever had. The only gelato that has beaten it was the one I had in Rome two summers ago. Nom Nom. I got the pistachio and dark chocolate.
(Signed with love)
^^ After visiting the John Lennon Wall (which photographs SOOO well as you can imagine), we went to meet up again with the other group who had just woken up around 12-1ish and we all hiked towards the “beer gardens”. These gardens are famous for being up high on a hill overlooking Prague, beautiful parks, and many beer stands. We all have a beer and just chatted next to a gorgeous view of Prague. Well worth the steep climb. Cynthia and I had seen people renting paddle boats and wanted to take one out on the river, but it coincidentally started to rain and we weren’t able to do it. But, we did meet a nice paddle boat guy who has been working the paddle boat business for 11 years. Talk about dedication! We planned on going to the 6 story club called karlovy that night and we took that other CIEE group to Lokal for another dinner because they change the menu and there would be new authentic options to choose from. I ordered bread dumplings which were just balls of semi-fried dough that was paired with soup. The soup was mostly broth which wasn’t as tasty but still rather enjoyable. After a big dinner we walking down the river and had some wine but while the rest of the group went to the club, Cynthia and I dipped out and went to the hostel to catch our early plane the next morning.
Such an amazing weekend and although I will probably never go there again, it was the perfect little bit of Prague that I had wanted.