Feb 26, 2012

Switzerland


23 (Thu) - 26 (Sun) Feb 2012
Lodging:
1st night: Rebecca's house
2nd night: Hotel Restaurant Falken
3rd night: Happy Inn Lodge


Switzerland, the place that I've not been to since 22 years ago, when I was one year old, was once again visited by me.


Day 1


Copenhagen Airport CPH Go Terminal
As told, when we're flying, most probably, we'll fly from Copenhagen. This trip included 9 of us, but 6 of us left on Thursday first and meeting the rest on Friday night.

It's my first time taking easyJet, a budget flight in Europe, and they are particular about the hand baggage size. Besides, you can only carry one hand baggage, no extra handbag, bag, hanging camera and so are allowed. Budget mah...

Because of my huge hand luggage, I couldn't hide it from the receptionist and was asked to fit my hand luggage into their baggage gauge. My hand luggage, phew... luckily fitted into it. But it's like stuck when I tried to grab it out of the gauge because of the wheels, which embarrassed me.

We flew from Copenhagen Airport to EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (1700-1850), which is super close to the meeting point of France, Germany and Switzerland, and the exact location of the airport is in France, cool. So it's Sweden - Denmark - France - Switzerland, four countries in a trip, hehe...

I have relatives who live in Basel, Switzerland, so Min Khai and I stayed at their place for the first night while the other 4 at Hotel Restaurant Falken in Interlaken.

My aunt (whom I address as 二大姨) picked us up at the aiport and we took Bus 11 to their district, then walked to their house.
When we reached their house, my cousin (表妹), Rebecca was already at home, and that's the first time I met her in Switzerland, the rest of the time we met when she travelled to Malaysia or Singapore. And as I entered their house, I noticed that it's so Asian - a lot of posters with Chinese bible scriptures, I like it!

They told me that here (most of the residential areas in Switzerland, I guess), there's a rule where we're not allowed to bathe after 10pm or play piano after 8pm so that we won't disturb the neighbours. Why doesn't this apply to my hostel in Lund?! It would be wonderful and I can have a good night sleep every night.

Oh ya, and there're photos beneath the piece of transparent glass on the table in the living room, and half side of the table are photos of my family's annual Chinese New Year photoshooting. Wow, amazing, I found "my family" in Switzerland and who would thought of that. They're taken when I was very young until I entered high school, it's really a good time to 懷舊... awww...

Their house


My 表妹, Rebecca Loh


Dinner



Blood oranges - which are only available seasonally, according to 二大姨.


Oh, they even have my infant photo!! Haha...

Day 2


"Bao" for breakfast
They're quite disappointed that I wasn't visiting them again after coming back from Interlaken because I'll fly back to Sweden soon when I got back to Basel, and also because I won't be able to see my other relatives who're also in Basel. Too bad...

The next day we woke up at 4am to catch an early bus to catch the train from Basel to Interlaken. Thanks Rebecca for getting us all the transport timings. 二大姨 steamed some "Bao"s and made chocolate drink for us. She also gave us one energy drink each.
I deeply appreciated for their hospitality.


Basel SBB railway station
We took tram 14 to Basel SBB railway station and took a super expensive train ride (CHF56/adult) to Interlaken West railway station, that took 2 hours.

Living in Switzerland is no joke, you need MUNNAY $$$!!!


The energy drink was actually like strawberry milk. Very yummy... ^^

Hotel Restaurant Falken

We reached Interlaken at about 7.15am The first thing to do once we reached Interlaken was to meet the rest at Hotel Restaurant Falken. We're supposed to visit Jungfrau (top of Europe), but travelling there cost another CHF200, and we thought might as well do something else in Interlaken.

At last, Weiling went Jungfrau alone and the rest of us (Min Khai, Aletheia, Victor, Gareth) called skywings Adventures Interlaken to do tandem paragliding, and they will pick us up at 10am.

In the meantime, we took a morning stroll around the district along the river for scenery (some district called Untere Goldey).
Interlaken, for me is like Penang, surrounded by mountains, but some of them here are alps, covered with snow.

And you just have to get ready to be impressed and amazed by the great creation of God - Interlaken. Trust me, the scenery behind us in the photos is just like wallpaper or backdrop - looks fake, ironically.

It's really really simply breathtaking!!!



Please agree with me that the background looks unreal. ^^


Paragliding
The paragliding agency has come to pick us up at 10am in front of Hotel Restaurant Falken to one of the alps.

It got warmer and warmer up there because of the reflection of the sunlight by the snow.

On the set off platform, there's a steep cliff and that really scared me, as I have a bit phobia of gravity pull.

After putting on all the necessary harnesses, we're ready to set off and my pilot asked me to run without stopping. Wow, scary ok? Luckily there's huge resistance on the parachute that resisted our dashing, and after crossing the cliff, whoohoa... we're flying!!!





My pilot
The pilots have an extended camera each to take proper photos and videos of paragliding, in other words more professional camwhoring.

At the point when we're closer to landing, he asked me whether I like roller coaster, and I replied yes. I thought he's gonna make a sudden drop and I just shouted. But he did some forceful turning or drift or whatever before landing.

The landing was good, at least my legs didn't break.

The paragliding costs CHF160 and if you want the photos and videos from them, that'll be an extra CHF40. I didn't want to have them but Gareth, Victor and Aletheia wanted, unexpectedly. Oh then, because of peer pressure I bought them. As they said, once in a life time...

Lunch at Chili, Rosenstrasse

There's a Chocolate Show at 6pm and since we still had time, we walked along Untere Goldey, Eyenweg and Aareweg to Lake Brienz.


Eyenweg


Aareweg


Lake Brienz

Chocolate Show

Chocolate Show
The Chocolate Show was held in Grand Café Restaurant Schuh, Höheweg 56 and Weiling came back to join us for that. CHF14.80 for the show, but we're entitled a CHF8 voucher that we can use in the restaurant.

The chocolatier gave brief explanation of how chocolate is made and we had a taste of the bitter cacao. Also, there're sample of white, milk and dark chocolates that we can try. Well, we didn't "try", we cheaply grabbed and ate.

We also had chance to squeeze the coating of chocolate to a cow mold, and the chocolate was done after freezing.


It's time to squeeze some brain juice and get a good combination of max(y = ∑x) ≤ CHF8, where x is the price of each pastry.

I was the one scratching my head because I have a nice combination of pastry but the prices sum up to be a little bit more than CHF8, but I think I'm handsome and the female Asian supervisor/manager let me overshoot CHF8 by a bit. Yeah!

Day 3

Skiing
We've made reservation with Outdoor Interlaken for a beginner skiing session. It costs CHF160 per person excluding the goggles which we paid for nothing since it wasn't very sunny or snowy.

On our skiing boots we carried our own skis and walked to the nearest bus station for their catered bus.

The bus went up the hill, in the area of Grindelwald and we alighted at Almisgässli. We're guessing whether the two standing couples were our skiing instructors and yup, we met them and took bus 42 to Bodmi, our final destination for skiing.
Bodmi Arena Official Snowpark was the place, with slopes of different steepness.

It's 10am We're first taught how to put on our skis by slotting the toes and stepping with heel. Once that's done, the brake of the skis will be released and you start seeing people losing balance and falling down.

Generally if you fall down you need to detach one of the skis from your boot and stand up and put on again.

Our training routine was, walk like a crab up the minor slope and ski down the slope, but eventually the instructors will teach us how to brake and make turns, and the number of turns will be increased as well.

I think I skied pretty well, probably owing to my experience of roller skating, but my feet hurts everytime I wear this kind of tightening boots.

After 2 hours of training, it's a perfect time for lunch break. However we didn't really eat but we drank Coke for the syokness at that particular time, and it's the most expensive Coke that I've drunk in my entire life (CHF5.50 for 500ml).

After the snacks, it's time for some real stuffs. There's an escalator that sent us up to a higher ground so that we can really experience the real skiing. The escalator's belt has a strong grip and inertia always pushed us forward as soon as we stepped onto it.

Our first time exiting the escalator was a disaster - everyone somehow lost control and our lesson of brake didn't seem to work. Holding and hugging each other while yelling embarrassingly were the only things we did.

Luckily we had our instructors assisting us and there, we skied down the hill - it was AWESOME!

The process just kept repeating - enter the escalator, exit and ski down, enter the escalator, exit and......

From the start, we had already stopped using the ski poles, because we're just skiing downwards and the ski poles just seemed to be obstructive.




It's about time to leave and our instructors asked us to do the last skiing, but it's so fun that I still managed to ski more than a couple of times after that.

A group photo with our instructors

The wonderful skiing experience and our painful feet concluded our fruitful day.


Day 4

Min Khai and I had to leave earlier than the others because "we're engineers" and we did really have studies and assignments to work on. Therefore unfortunately we couldn't join others to Lucerne. And so from Interlaken West railway station, they headed towards Lucerne and we headed towards Basel for our flight back.

After another 3 hours of expensive train ride we're back in Basel and we still had time before departing to the airport, so we walked around the district where we're at.

Asian Minimarket at Viaduktstrasse


We took bus 50 to EuroAirport and had Fasnacht that we bought from coop, which was sold because of the fasnacht festival, that took place the day after we left, what a pity. Anyway, it tastes super yummy and sweet. I'll have my cousin bought me some when she's gonna fly to Malaysia again.

For more photos, please check out my photo album Switzerland on Facebook.

Javin Tham, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB Musician | Engineer | YouTube Coverist

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