View from the Aare promenade to the old town and church of Unterseen credit: swiss-image.ch/Jost von Allmen
Like Bilbo Baggins leaving behind his comfortable hobbit hole and boldly heading for exciting adventures, we approached the famed region of Interlaken with fear and trepidation. This is the land of adventure and bravery; a land where only the courageous flourish, and we knew we would return to our shires changed men, if we were lucky enough to return at all. The Jungfrau mountain towered above us, as fierce as Mordor in all its splendour, while at its feet the lakes of Thun and Brienz simmered with quiet hostility.
In all honesty, I confess our trip wasn’t quiet as intimidating as a Lord of the Rings adventure. Instead of meeting gruesome goblins and dreadful dragons we started our journey from the safety of the lovely Alpenrose Hotel in Wilderswil. The hotel provided swiss hospitality at its best: luxurious bedrooms with beautiful views out onto the mountains, nourishing breakfasts for the adventures that lay ahead and a jacuzzi in the garden as the perfect place to recover at the end of the day. And it’s just as well we had the perfect base camp, as life in the shire of Switzerland is busy indeed.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.”
Keeping our feet and making sure we weren’t swept away fittingly became one of the main aims of our first adventure; night sledding. We were whisked away high into the swiss alps, where the air was still with a sense of adventure. The lights from Murren twinkled down in the valley below, while around us was nothing but the silence of the forest at night. And with a whoop and a yell we were off, chaotically careening our way down the mountain like tipsy hobbits on an evening escapade. The sleds offered little in the way of control or brakes, but we courageously managed to steer our way along the trail as it wound through forests and meadows, and even past an eerily majestic frozen waterfall. Time seemed to stand still, and if ever I felt like I was truly in a magical fairy tale world, this was surely it. Sadly all adventures must come to an end, and just as the cold was starting to gnaw at my insides we arrived at the cosy swiss restaurant at the bottom to be greeted with friendly welcomes, hearty ales and a warm cheese fondue.