In continum of the Swiss-Bliss series brings me to write about the crisp and picturesque city of Interlaken, a very well-known municipality of the tourist-loved Berne Oberland. One look at the town and you know why every tourist’s heart melts here. Its so very wonderland like. The open parks, the central fields, not lonely, not empty but filled to the right degree and speaking of so many things to do.
This town is practically flooded with luxury watch shops, Victorinox outlets and all other things that the Swiss are famous for. There are hotels, boutique shops, supermarkets, restaurants and the very Swiss plazas that are besotted by the lovely Alps in the background. With the shuttle of buses and the train stations in the vicinity it feels connected and active all the time.
Housed in the midst of Lake Brienz to the east and Lake Thun to the west its the best place to connoisseur the larger-than-life lakes of Switzerland. Populated and pretty the lakes are a swell here. Considering the lakes arent too far to behest theyre hardly a matter of inconvenience.
Built between the lakes the city too regards of well-spent time. The chocolate brown houses with cream walls, red windows and white flowers are iconic and if attached to a barn and stocking logs of wood they are a vision. Most of the buildings in Interlaken are such. So pretty, so chic and so very stylish. For once the style quotient in Switzerland meets the peak of its nature quotient. And as they waltz in style one in drawn in by all might. Without fussy art and garish decos Interlaken is modern and very young with a huge dose of the Swiss traditional. Of an area of 4.4sq km it is also very petite. The Aare river flows through the town and connects its two marvellous lakes. Spectacular views of the Jungfrau mountain are got from this town. The Jungfrau peak is the highest peak of the Alps mountains.
The very first thing that struck me while walking on the streets of Interlaken were the street lights. Unlike the usual standing on the footpath ones they were suspeded mid-street up in the air, taking support from the 2nd storey of the buildings. That left the cobbled stone paths clear and free for a spill of chairs from a bistro, hand-marked signages and pretty baskets and caskets of flowers. The division of the buildings were simple, very much the mixed-use housing type that is seen in urban fringes of many cities. A business place on the ground floor was topped by residences on the upper levels. The upper levels never exceeded 2 or3 storeys at the maximum. Peeping into a unit, I saw the signboard that said Solicitors, inside was a man intently gazing into his papers. I wonder what work lawyers have in Switzerland! But apparently they are swarmed, by the looks of that gentleman!
Looking up, on the first level was a practical balcony with a garden table and chairs, some plants in pots and a clothes line. An open book and a jar of cookies made the place look so real and used. There was work in progress.The scene looked homely and professional at the same time.
Interwining the streets for a little longer, munching on fruit seemed like a good idea. Stepping into the Coop supermarket, it turned out then was not just good, but a great idea! Into the basket went plums, plumes, strawberries, raspberries, apples, confectionary, sandwiches and some juice. Used to picking fruit in general, in Switzerland one can shut the eye-lids and use one’s whims to buy fruit. Chances of finding sour fruit is equal to nil. And Coop is another was to beat the hunger blues without raging a fire in the pocket! With packets of fresh fruit and an almost complete picnic basket we hunted for a place to sit and relish our find.
Gardens and the open fields are a good idea in general and in search of one we stumbled upon a plaza that had benches and local interactive sculptures. It was so matter-of-fact and was nothing that boasted of artsy-matters. It suited the purpose intented. The fruits were delicious, succulent and felt healthy. The piano sculpture made me strike the black and white chords before settling in to listen to the commentary from the artists. It was just a part of a piano and had precisely one chord, that surmise 7 white keys and 5 black ones. The keys are at different levels and some at perfect anthropometric heights for sitting. Ofcourse little swiss kids made use of them for jumping about. In architecture school we were taught that every design decision should be backed by 2 logically sound reasons. Atleast two they said, if not more. The Swiss have employed the strategy very effectively I find. The sculpture doubles up as seating, a visual attraction, the plaza as a meeting point, a junction for the streets.
One road out of the plaza led to an open field. At the periphery of the field were Acorn trees and well-spaced garden benches. The large field was marked by a two-meter wide loose-pebble walkway which was further dotted with planters and the like steeped with july-bloom colorful flowers!
What was sighted next was just incredible. Up in the sky were several dozens of Para-gliders, who looked like pretty birds flying up so high. As they loomed across the sky the head refused to look down and straight again. All professional and none on tandem. So adorned the sky looked, as if the colors of the rainbow decided to spilt ways all for our merriment and then came back together all for our bewilderment. Can they actually do that I thought?!
With the stage set in an abundant selection of blue and green every other color in Interlaken is a welcome vibrance. Whether in flowers or clothing all the color adds to the festive look of this small, tweeny municipality.
As the time for sun-set loomed in the horizon the professionals began their descent onto the biosphere. One after the other they began to twirl and twirl before choosing a spot to land on. And the volumnous colored canvas followed suit as it came slowly down to finds its area of earth. Each man landed, spread the cloth and began wrapping it all up for the day. Each looked contended and glad, for us on land it was certainly a sight. People suspended in air and prancing about was a sight! After all that, a walk back through the streets meant dodging round two of enticement from the Tissots, the Bertoluccis, the Louis Vuittons, the Van Cleef & Arpels and the likes! Must say it was a pretty good dodge!!
With busy(relatively) roads, lively houses, alive restaurants, breezy plazas, working people, blissfully serene lakes Interlaken is certainly a place that gives you the essence of Switzerland in a well-branded and sincerely marketed package. And considering its proximity to the top-of-Europe experience it may well be the perfect place to stay-put as a tourist!