Party’s Over

This title is incorrect. I want to be upset that this trip is over, but its more like I’m just taking a break. I really need a job to make some money, traveling just drains your bank account. And all I do is walk around and take coffee breaks!

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This is is where I am currently sitting and writing this post ( Café Sandwicherie Du Theater, Geneva). Bags at the ready, caffinated,  and ready to conquer this traveling day. It’s a quick flight, but it’s easyjet, and it’s never easy.

I left Interlaken around nine thirty, but my stop in Bern was fairly uneventful. It was raining quite heavily, so I stopped in at a cafe, and hen took a tour around one of the parks and through one of the main streets. Even with the bad weather, you can tell this city has so much to do and a lot of history. Obviously, since it’s the capital. I really wanted to go to the Einstein museum and a couple other things, but gave it a pass. These train tickets are just killer.

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I arrived in Lausanne and filled the directions to get to the place that I was going to be staying at for free. (Couchsurfing.org)  no one answered the door, and I had no messages saying if he was out or anything.  I was getting a bit hungry so I took my mom’s advice and went and bought a portion of rotisserie chicken, and sat and ate it on a park bench. With all my bags. I looked like a fancy homeless person. Then I Hung out at McDonald’s for a bit to use the free wifi. No messages yet. I ended up sitting on the staircase in the apartment building till ten waiting for the person to show up, and then gave up and booked another two nights in an expensive hostel.  I only had two percent of my battery life left, and I needed Google maps, and the guy said he would save the bed for ten minutes because it’s the last one and someone might show up. I walked as fast as I could down the steep cobblestone paths half paying attention to my steps and half staring at my navigation. I made it.

It’s great that these hostels are nice and we’ll decorated with all the bells and whistles, but maybe someone should at least offer a shack for super cheap that you just want t to sleep.get with the times, Switzerland. But I do love a hot shower and clean  laundry.

I eventually got a message from my couchsurfing host that said my arrival day said the 15th and he was at a party and didn’t see my message. I showed up a day early. Who needs calanders anyway!

Saturday was a bit of a let down with the weather and I did basically no sight seeing. I walked through the markets and picked up some veg to make for lunch.

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There was so much cheese. Everywhere.

Purple broccoli makes me feel special.

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I had plans to meet some guys I met when I was staying at a hostel in Paris. They are Swiss rugby players that live in Lausanne, and it was one of the guys birthday.

They wouldn’t be back until later due to a game in a different city, so I went to one of the popular bars in the city. I paid TEN FRANCS for a drink then made friends with some people and I joined them to get some pho noodles. I already ate, so I sat there and listened to them talk about world history and politics. They also spoke mandarin to the waitress and each other because they both work in shanghai.  But I did get two free beers. Yay.

I said my goodbyes to the interesting couple, and headed to meet my other group.

I had a blast.

Sunday was a recovery day. I walked along the lake for a bit after a nice hot coffee, then left to Geneva to stay the night.

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The hostel was also dead. And I went downstairs to watch a movie and could barley keep my eyes open so I went to bed. I had the best sleep of my life. I got up this morning, checked out, and here I am.

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This city has a lot of similarities to Edinburgh. The buildings are very old, with steep climbs to different t shops or fancy buildings. The parks have big avenues and the tram goes basically everywhere. And there is a very large amount of Ferraris driving around. I like it.

This trip has been so much fun. I met so many different people. The intellectuals, the rebels, the confused, the happy couples, the climbers, the midlife crisis thrill seekers, and the Koreans.(roomates in Interlaken…They gave me a gift and took about fourtyone pictures of me when they were checking out. )

I don’t consider his trip to be over though.

All I  need now is a helmet, goggles, and a haircut. Haircut might not fit into the budget though. Not bad how much you can do with only six months of RVC paychecks in your bank. Three trips to Europe, not too shabby.

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Pebbles in the Shower

I have really enjoyed my stay here in Interlaken. Yes, the city is completely dead, but I have fully enjoyed eating breakfast and heading to the trail. Everyday.

Except yesterday. The forecast was for cloud and rain all day so this was my exercise.

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What does half a day of hiking and thirty minutes on the track have in common? Absolutley nothing. Back in the day I used to glide. Now I’m like a block of Swiss cheese being pushed along a grater. Just kidding it wasn’t THAT bad. I couldn’t engage my core when sprinting.  Today, it let me know that I did something though.

After my morning sprint session, I took the bus into Thun.

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Of course I went to the castle. And of course I had coffee and cake. I have a free bus card from the hostel so I may as well use it. And the bus ride there was a winding road on the side of the lake going through massive tunnels.

Today I did my last hike 😣 I went around the back of harder kulm, and back the way I came exempt the way back I stuck to the main road because I just wanted a different route.

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I got picked up by an old man in a fancy BMW and drove me to the bottom of the mountain. ..at top speed. And I was back at the trailhead where I started.

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It was very casual, like it was his job to just pick up hikers.  And he was blasting a track that is killing me I can’t remember.  But it’s one of the classic Sunday Alton outdoor music tracks with the epic chorus. Winding down the mountain  along all the waterfalls and blue skies and trees. So great.

I walked into the center of town a d sat on a bench and watched the paragliders land and fold up there chutes.  And ate all of my chocolate.  It was so great.

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Then I went back to the hostel and made lunch and took another how shower. And my shoes came with me. Now they are pretty again.

Did I mention the hostel has a great breakfast with view of the mountains?

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That’s not a great pic of the mountain. But it’s basically 360  views. Gotta love rooftop patios.
Anyway, after my lunch, I went back to the same spot just to be outside and relax.

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I love this place.

Returned to he hostel, made a massive dinner because I forgot I had 3/4 of a bag of frozen broccoli, a leek, a bunch of shallots, and a chicken breast to be used up. Yum. I was almost on my way out to go pay a ridiculous amount of money for coffee, but I sat and talked with some Aussies.

I think I will leave fairly early tomorrow to spend some time in Bern, then go down to Lausanne where I will stay until my flight on Monday. This will be my first time couchsurfing since I refuse to spend anymore money on pricey hostels.  It’s going to be fun!!

Grindelwald

I have new Korean  roommates. I can’t pronounce their names. They remember everything I have told them, including my name.  Names that are more than two syllables have me stumped. Fail.

However, this morning I was extremely helpful. I showed a girl how to slice bread. I did it with my left hand though, and she was totally stumped.

I also shut the sliding door when it was left open. Twice.

I decided that I wanted to go to Grindelwald, so I hopped on the train (wich I had to wait an hour for because I tried to run to the station but got tired, and made it there one minute after it left. Fail)

I also ate a whole days ration of chocolate on the train. Dammit.

The train ride there was obviously magical, and I headed straight to the trailhead. After I stopped and had a coffe and yummy thing which I should know the name of since they were a big hit at the Austrian bakery I worked at. Why did I quit that job. Ugh. But yeah, I hadn’t been to a Swiss bakery yet, and what if it was closed when I got back?!

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*dad, good luck at trying to figure out what the bill says*

So now that I was completely sugared up, I continued on my way up. And it was up. All of it. 

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I wasn’t totally prepared for hiking today. But back in the day, people used to explore the world in jeans. And my bright blue shoes are semi clean again!
I was reading about walks in my lonley planet book, and made it to the hotel restaurant about two and a half hours up.  The weather was perfect. It was cool and breezy when I was getting hot,  and the wind at the base was mild, almost warm actually.

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Then I looked over to the other side, and decided to just go back the way I came.  Bummer, but safe.

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I took a lot of pictures. A few of them are in the hdr setting, which gives he photos much more credit. 

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I got back into town, and thought about going to the UNESCO site. But I stood looking out to where the sign was pointing and didn’t see anything convincing. If it’s a waterfall, it was out of season.

Speaking of waterfalls, I thought that there were a bunch of them on the hike. Nope, just avalanches.

I rushed buying a ticket to get back and didn’t have to wait another hour to get back. I probably would have sat and ate chocolate for an hour.

I power walked from interlaken ost train station to the hostel (alplodge) because I think it dropped about thirty degrees during the train ride. I mumbled mean things at people blocking the sidewalk and  finally made it to the hostel where I went straight to the top floor to cook my dinner before anyone could take over the kitchen  to make a family dinner.  It was the best. Piping hot.  As I was finishing mine, some guy started cooking his meal. Boiling some noodles, and heating up sauce…..yum…

I can’t believe it’s only six thirty.  I didn’t go out last night, and it’s definitely not happening tonight!!

Interlaken: Part one

I finished my breakfast and put on my fitness clothes.

They are a wee bit tight. Oops.

I walked to the rock climbing place, the  read the sign saying it opened at four in the afternoon. Neat. So I decided I would just head up the trail and if the weather  goes bad, then I’ll just turn around.

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Then I got to Harder Kulm and decided it was a good stopping point.

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I snapped a few photos, had a piece of chocolate, and headed back down.  But was the first one up because I met a few runners coming up the hill on my way down. Running, really.

I got down to the trailhead and went left and cross the last bridge that looks over at the east lake. I took a long walk past Jungfrau park, wich was shut. Then I came back through town, ate lunch and lunch a long hot shower. After I killed some time browsing in shops, I went to the rock climbing place. I basically need a climbing buddy. At least I looked.

I even went to the world famous hostel down the road to see if anyone was there. Just a few people sitting around.
I am contemplating going out.

The Interlaken Express

I don’t think it would have been so easy to leave Lucerne if I wasn’t headed to Interlaken. But I feel like I sort of made the most of my short time in the city. I woke up fairly early and got my train ticket to Interlaken, then explored more of the city I didn’t see yesterday. I thought about taking the lift up to do some hiking, but the  train left at one and a rushed hike is no good.

I walked up the road where the cathedral, clock tower, and the walls to the outside of the old city were. There were bells in the background, the overcast clouds, smoking chimneys, and fall leaves just perfected the setting. It felt like Christmas morning.

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I walked down into the center where the panorama and the glacier garden was. I stumbled upon the famous lion sculpture. When the Asian tourists finally cleared out, I snapped a few good shots.

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I headed back to the hostel and made the two eggs I had left, then headed for the train. The Interlaken Express, if you will.

I didn’t take any photos of the trip because it’s something you need to do yourself and still shots just won’t do it any justice.

It’s magical.

I always wanted the full fall experience since California doesn’t really have seasons. This fulfilled my needs to the fullest. Going through tunnels, on the edge of lakes full of fishermen, fields full of cows, girls cleaning out there horse stalls with their fuzzy friends biting on their shoulders, the trees ( did I mention the colors yet??) The snow capped mountains,  the happy families, the  crisp clean houses and long pointy topped cathedrals. Just everything.

The  I was in Interlaken.  I found the hostel, wich happens to be part of a hotel. It’s pretty fancy, and the breakfast I just had was good too. The bathrooms are spotless and the rooms are warm. The top floor is basically all windows,  with the patio facing the spectacular mountains.

I window shopped as I walked to the coop grocery store and picked up stuff that hopefully should last a while. 

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Maybe except this.

The walk back was during the sunset. I have been quite spoiled recently with so.e of he sunsets I have seen, but the smell of cooking mixed with old farmers herding their cattle down the street was entertaining. Walking with groceries makes me feel like I live here. Fake it till you make it.

The forecast for today is rain, but the next few days look alright.  There is an indoor climbing center just a block down the road. I might do some bouldering since I don’t have a climbing buddy. Unless they have the retractable lines. It’s 21 francs though. Oh well.

There is a couple sharing the bunk below me. They can’t just sleep in separate beds?

In other news, I have gotten my coach ticket for the 30th to leave to training from Reading. It’s not telling me where about I am actually going, or if I am coming back or starting work immediately after. I also need to decide if I want to opt out of the extra insurance policies it has me signed up for. I’m covered for medical, but for 15 pounds a month I can be covered for equipment and electronic damage, lost passports, and coverage for expenses if I need to go to a funeral. I’m thinking I should just have it.

Lucerne, Switzerland

I bought a new pair of shoes and a jacket at the athens flea market. I didn’t have a happy medium between cardigan and knee length parka. I walked around the streets and ate yogurt. Lots of nice rubble…

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Then I left.

The anticipation for Switzerland has been present since I left for this trip.

I got to the airport and checked in with no problems. Well except the man controling the luggage belt who would move it back and forth to make me struggle to snap the straps together. Haha. Silly old man.

I felt like such a high roller on the flight. All the Ryanair and easyjet flights have made me appreciate legit airlines. I was on a Swiss flight and they served a hot dinner with dessert, and coffee and chocolate to follow. It was the best!!

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I landed in Geneva and headed on the train to Lucern. I figured start high and travel back down. I also had written directions to the cheapest hostel on my hand.

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Winning.
I was on the slow train for the last change and got into Lucerne at about eleven pm.  I found the cheap hostel that failed to mention that it shuts for the slow season. So I went to lucerne backpackers and got really lucky to get help. The reception desk closes at eleven but he guy was still there finishing his chores. So he also couldn’t be bothered to deal with the system to put me in a dorm and put me in my own private room for the same price!! I haven’t slept in such silence in so long. And not to mention this was the view I woke up to.

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From my private patio. Duh.

I booked another night because I think the price diferences were very little. Back to a dorm, though. 

I hot the streets of lucern and it was the farmers market. Lucky  me. So much fresh vegetables I haven’t seen, and the strudel were everywhere. And everyone just looked genuinely happy. Such a great atmosphere.

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I looked around at some really nice shops in the old town, a d when I came back out, the stands were starting to shut. So I picked up some stuff and headed back to make  lunch.

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It’s squash with grilled aubergine, egg, and a purple sprouted salad veg. With a boat load of fresh grated ginger. It’s a dish that is similar to one I ate at a Scandinavian grocery shop and cafe in soho London just down the street from my favorite coffee shop. I was missing capers and Rye bread. Oh well, good thing I had that cinnamon bread thing for breakfast .😆
Then I went for another wander. AFTER I BOUGHT A NEW BACKPACK.  I’m considering everyday of Switzerland a Christmas gift. But this was a souvenir.  I wonder how muh chocolate I can jam into it..

I had pretty good judgement on how far I walked, so when I came back into town in could watch the sunset from a bench. The scenery is just unreal. Well played lucerne, well played.

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I just made my reservation for five nights in Interlaken a d will take the train tomorrow to get there. It’s a lot of time in one spot, and as much as I would love to explore every nook and cranny of this holy land, I need to be realistic with my budget. And interlaken is where I always talk about wanting to go. So here’s five days. Boom. And this hostel will have free breakfast.  Yeah!

Sunrise in Athens

The ferry pulled into harbor at five in the morning. We all have to stand by the big doors, and as they came down George was giving a pre battle speech in an army voice. Pretty funny at this hour. We caught the metro and found our hostel. I was reponsible for the reservation and accidently booked an all women’s room. Oops. Easy fix though.

Breakfast is served fairly soon, so George and I went to see acropolis while Jeremy and Dana slept on the couch.  It was beautiful and we were the only tourists there.

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I stood up on the rock looking out at Athens with the cool breeze hitting my face. Well worth it.