For the first time in a long time I am in a place where the temperature has a ‘-’ sign preceding it. To add to that, we didn’t realize that we booked ourselves into a hostel where you sleep in a barn. Or, to be more precise, the horse stables. I kid you not. I’ve chained our bags to a feeding trough, and last night I opted for my fleece, beanie and Collingwood scarf (which I wound around my face, with only enough space to breathe) over my jammies.
It doesn’t seem humane.
Most guidebooks go overboard on the superlatives when describing Interlaken. Situated in the heart of the Swiss Bernese Oberland, sandwiched between two lakes and surrounded by the peaks of the Jungfrau region, Interlaken sounds lovely on paper. On a gorgeous day, I’m sure it is. However, here, more than any other place, when it starts to rain you realize you have absolutely nothing to do. You can’t even see the Alps through the fog. Come to think of it, you can’t see the other side of the street.
Steph’s gone bungy jumping after she tried in vain to convince me to join her. Fat chance of that happening, even if it was twenty-five and sunny. Instead I’m tucked up in the common room with the heating on and a Saint Bernard at my feet.
I’m much more of a fan of Innsbruck, probably my favorite Austrian city despite the fact that we only spent about four hours there. In Innsbruck, twice a Winter Olympic city, you could see the Alps, were able to get away in a t-shirt and you didn’t have to worry about silly things like francs. Plus it houses the Swarovski factory, one of the weirdest museums I’ve been to but one of the best shops. It was like the Bermuda Triangle – all of a sudden, when you thought you’d finally completed the circuit, new aisles of jewelry would appear as if by magic. After an hour and a half I still hadn’t seen the whole shop and I hadn’t seen Steph for most of that. I was too late to rescue her – I finally found her at the register, eyes glazed over and clutching an alarming number of ‘Christmas presents’.
I can’t say that I’m a massive fan of Salzburg. It just seemed a tad fake. To me, it was a Paris Hilton of a city – selling itself as being famous for being famous. Its two main drawcards are being the hometown of Mozart, and the setting for The Sound of Music. Mozart, who left Salzburg at an early age, has his face on everything. Chocolates, tea towels, jigsaw puzzles… you had to search pretty hard to actually find a CD. The Japanese tourists, for some reason, lapped it all up.
The city is home to a massive Augustinian brewery and beer hall, however, which introduced us to one litre mugs of beer, which we believe has given us excellent preparation to take on the granddaddy of beer halls tomorrow, Munich’s Hofbrauhaus.
And in other exciting news, I can check off another country. Yep, my train from Innsbruck to Interlaken yesterday went through Lichtenstein. If I’d had blinked I would have missed it.