ARTICLE UPDATE FROM JUNE 2013, CARDIFF TIMES
Its holiday time and June is dancing on our heads asking where we are spending this month. According to Saint Augustine, The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only a page. So combining his travel advice with June blues… we get a deep motivation to travel. But hold on, are you worried about smelly hotel rooms, long waiting queues at monuments and the-never-welcome huge credit card bills? Ne vous inquiétez!!! Or do not worry, just read on to discover an escape to paradise without luxury price tags.
As their tourism office says, “It’s not unusual for a town to be on a river, lake or an ocean. But for it to sit between two lakes may well be unique. Interlaken – between lake Thun and lake Brienz – can boast such a privileged position. And there’s more. Interlaken is also in the heart of the magnificent Jungfrau region mountain world and affords views of the world-famous icy icons, the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau.”
How to travel?
Several options are available to reach Interlaken. Main flights operate from London and Bristol to Geneva and Zurich. From there, Interlaken in easily reachable by train, bus or rent a car option if you can. Flights are less than an hour long and before you even finish that novel half, you will be there. All options are cheap and affordable without digging a hole in our pocket.
Where to stay?
How about a panoramic view of snow covered Alps from your hotel bedroom?
What about a river within literally FIVE STEPS away from your door?
And all this luxury without the luxurious prices?
Yes, you read correct, 3 star hotel but not for 3 star prices. You need to stay at INDIA VILLAGE GUESTHOUSE to enjoy all this. Situated right on the Aare River bank, India Village Guesthouse is next to the Wanniwald forest and 1 km from Lake Brienz and the centre of Interlaken city. The simply furnished rooms offer views of the river and the Bernese Alps.
Free Wi-Fi as well as free private parking is available. The Jungfrau Ski Area is 15 km from India Village. The Interlaken Ost train station is a 3-minute drive away.
You will love the personal service and assistance provided. It is not difficult to find several hotels around, since it is a tourists place but most of them will charge you so much that you wouldn’t have much to spend on shopping or excursions. The hotel is newly furbished and you will feel the freshness of it on arrival. They offer a special pick up and drop off service at no extra costs. What else do you need?
What to do?
If you had enough with the panoramic views and special pampering, you may want to go out and about. Apart from the usual Ski, Sky Diving, Parachute Diving, Helicopter excursions and Spa treatments, there are some secret places to visit, which I found out through the localities. My personal suggestions are:
ü Harder Klum or the MOUNTAIN TRAIN EXCURSION
On your way to India Village, you will probably notice the weird railway track on the mountain and possibly ask about it. It is a train network up the mountain to Harder Klum which is 1,322 meters above sea level. The train takes 8 minutes from the base to the top of the mountain on a very steep railway track. If you enjoy heights, you will never, in your entire life, forget the spectacular views of the green and white Swiss Alps while ascending on a train!!! There is also a restaurant on top where you can enjoy traditional Swiss delicacies. I indulged in Special Swiss Rosti and some meringue dessert which was mouth watering. There is a secret story behind this spot and the wooden statue hidden mysteriously among the trees. I will let you find the story out yourself and be surprised on your visit.
ü Trummelbach Waterfalls
Imagine 20,000 liters of water, melted fresh from Glaciers, pouring per second, making their way through hard rock Mountains… This Waterfall is truly the most unique natural waterfall in Europe and a wonder of nature that will leave you in awe. A tunnel lift operates during good weather conditions to take you up to the highest point. The caves are soothing and adventurous both to give you a feel like you are on set of National Treasure movie. For breath taking natural beauty and setting your soul free, don’t miss this excursion.
What to shop and eat?
All this excursion and travel will make you really hungry and here are some insights to eating around in Interlaken. The town has very few Kebab shops, very close to the train station. Mostly you will find traditional Swiss restaurants. Forget about KFC, Burger King and Mc Donald’s for a while because the locals dislike junk food. Thanks to Film Director Yash Chopra, Indian restaurants are pretty much everywhere and if you fancy an Indian curry in European style, you wouldn’t struggle. My personal advice is to enjoy the local cuisine and awesome desserts.
Interlaken itself is not a shopping haven but because it is so close to Zurich, you won’t miss out on European holiday shopping. The shops in central Interlaken are bursting with traditional Swiss watches, souvenirs, clocks, knives, chocolates and panoramic postcards.
There are a zillion other activities that you can do and places you can visit. Depending upon the number of days and your budget, you can plan your itinerary. This part of Switzerland is beauty written on the face of earth.
It is like falling in love. If you can notice, the grass is greener, the sky is bluer and the air is fresher. I don’t know if it is the magic of the Alps or an emotional gravitational pull for the soul, but what I know is, it is truly Paradise on Earth!