Interlaken, Switzerland and Canyoning

Interlaken Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
Downtown

This segment is a personal treat, at least I feel that way. After Lucerne, I hit the train to Interlaken (In-Ter-La-Ken). For those of you not familiar with Interlaken, you should know it is a mecca for extreme sports. It is in the central part of Switzerland, nestled in the valley's between massive mountains.

I had never heard of the place before my trip, but as soon as I found out it was the place for adventure sports, I quickly signed up. For those of you who know me, wouldn't be so surprised after hearing that. I feel to be quite a paradox though. I'm one of the most cautious persons living. But I love those dangerous activities. I don't buy into the whole horoscope thing, but I definately feel like a gemini.

On the train ride in I met some Israelis (or Israelites, I'm not sure which is more proper). It was a great experience. On all my travels, I have never met any one from Israel. But on this trip I met at least 4 (that I can remember off the top of my head).

Japanese Garden and Church
I actually met Norm and Zeph in my hostel room the night before. They were wondering how to get around the town and find some cheap vegetarian place to eat. I could help them with the town, but not with the food. I don't believe in vegetarianism and "cheap" wasn't something I associated with food in Switzerland. I gave them my map and showed them how to get downtown. And I also gave them a listing of trains to Interlaken for the next day. Little did I know, we'd be taking the same train.

We spent a couple of hours talking about our travels. I enjoyed hearing about his trips, and I can only hope he felt the same way about mine. It was a cloudy day, so there wasn't much to see out the window. I was thankful for the company.

It is always interesting to talk to foreigners. Often our point of views are so different that the conversations serve as a wake up call. I asked if he had ever been to Germany, and he said he hadn't. I proceeded to talk about how its at the top of my list (I left out the fact that I'm a WWII buff, thankfully).

Swiss Home
He told me how his parents never wanted him to go to Germany because of the holocaust. The thought never even crossed my mind. It seems so long ago, and not being a Jew, I never had to worry about that persecution. He said he would visit Germany one day. He then proceeded to ask if I had ever been to Israel. My response in my head was, I want to go, but its not one of the safest places for Americans (especially not for solo Americans). I may be exaggerating the situation, but thats just how I feel. But telling him that I didn't feel safe in his country just didn't seem right. So I told him that I really would love to go and see some of the Biblical sites, but I'm waiting for my friends to come with me. Which is true, I do want to go, but I would rather go with a group of friends.

After the train ride, we parted ways, and I headed off to find my hostel. The city was nice. Small and quiet. But nice. I only wish the clouds would have lifted so I could see the mountain tops. You can spin in circles and everywhere you look you are surrounded by mountain walls.

Schliere Canyon Flip
Quite impressive.

The buildings had some age to them, and, like Lucerne, I'd consider them "Swiss" as opposed to German or French.

As you travel through Interlaken, don't be surprised to see skydivers circling the skies and landing in neighboring farming fields. Its a common thing that happens throughout the day.

The shops were definately geared towards tourists.

Schliere Canyon Rappelling
This was nice in a way. I was able to get an idea of the gifts I wanted to purchase, but it was too early in the trip for buying those things. So I spent the day taking in the sights and chatting with follow travelers in the hostel. With my first day in Interlaken coming to an end, I hit the bed early so I would be refreshed for my canyoning trip tomorrow.

Canyoning... how can I describe this... you get a wet suit, a helmet, and a lifejacket... and then you jump, climb, and slide down a river canyon. Its quite difficult to explain, so I hope these photos will give you a better idea.

First they take you up a mountain side. At the top, you gear up and prepare for a walk through the woods to the river canyon. Once at the river canyon, we all jumped in and got our crash course in safety. Basically, do what the guides tell you too or else you'll break something, drown, or get washed down stream and over a waterfall.

Canyoning Group

We waited for over a half and hour at the top while the guides checked the water conditions. It rained over night, and the water level was reaching the safety limit. Normally the water would be crystal clear, but since it rained, the water was now a brown color. After the long wait, we got the ok to go. The water was about an inch below the limit. I was quite thankful because I had been looking forward to this, and didn't feel like hiking back out of the canyon to drive home.

During the trip down we did a variety of "stunts". This included jumps of up to 9 meters (thats about 30 feet) into small pools of water.

On some areas where the rocks were smooth, we would slide down into the pool of water. The plastic butt pads and wetsuits were just enough to protect us from any abrasion.

Schliere Canyon Exit
So it was really no different from going down a water slide. Although, some of them would twist and turn. You could feel your body contort to snake down the rock's surface. And my favorite had to be the jump and slide. We had to jump out and to our right to slide down a wall. Definately gets your blood pumping.

In places where the water wasn't deep enough, we would repel down the canyon. While this is cool, its not as fun jumping or sliding. In this photo, we were lowered half way down the waterfall, and then we let go.

In one spot, we would run down the rock surface, and then run up the side (horizontally) of the canyon wall to see how far we could make it before crashing into the pool of water below us.

Schliere Canyon Guide
In one spot, they even let us choose our jump. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my first successful flip:

As we got further down the canyon, the drops became bigger, and the water stronger. In this photo we had to jump into this cauldron. The water would swirl, so as soon as you surfaced you had to reach out and grab the guide's hand so he could pull you out or else you would get sucked back to the waterfall.

Canyoning was probably one of the coolest things I have ever done.

Schliere Canyon
At the bottom, I talked to the guide about other canyons. I was curious as to what the extreme trip was like. He had a moment of confusion, and I explained how they advertised 3 trips, and I had chosen the medium one. He then started laughing hysterically. He told me they didn't have enough people for the medium trip, so they upgraded me to the extreme one. I was both excited and disappointed to hear this. I was excited that I did the extreme trip with no problems what-so-ever, but disappointed that there wasn't something bigger and better out there...

I would recommend it to those of you who like a taste of adventure.

livelovelaugh87 says:
ah how cool was that? my good friend just did it a few months ago and had a blast, but i'm scared like crazy to do it!
Posted on: Nov 02, 2009
euroval says:
No doubt it must've been a blast! Makes me want to try it too.
Posted on: Nov 07, 2007
lovely_lori88 says:
Looks like so much fun!
Posted on: Nov 07, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Downtown
Downtown
Japanese Garden and Church
Japanese Garden and Church
Swiss Home
Swiss Home
Schliere Canyon Flip
Schliere Canyon Flip
Schliere Canyon Rappelling
Schliere Canyon Rappelling
Canyoning Group
Canyoning Group
Schliere Canyon Exit
Schliere Canyon Exit
Schliere Canyon Guide
Schliere Canyon Guide
Schliere Canyon
Schliere Canyon
Schliere Canyon (Brian)
Schliere Canyon (Brian)
Schliere Canyon - Cauldron
Schliere Canyon - Cauldron
Interlaken Mountains
Interlaken Mountains
Schliere Canyon First Jump
Schliere Canyon First Jump
Schliere Canyon
Schliere Canyon
Schliere Canyon Slide
Schliere Canyon Slide
Schliere Canyon Pool
Schliere Canyon Pool
Schliere Canyon Jump
Schliere Canyon Jump
Alpin Raft is a company that cate…
Interlaken Sights & Attractions review
Canyoning... how can I describe this... you get a wet suit, a helmet, and a lifejacket... and then you jump, climb, and slide down a river canyon. The… read entire review
Interlaken
photo by: sherryshakarob