I woke up this morning dreaming of my happy place.
It’s a picturesque Swiss town that sits idly between the sparkling turquoise waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, surrounded by the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, in the Bernese Oberland.
As I started keeping this online diary less than a year ago, I haven’t had the chance to write about many of my travels and adventures which preceded it. However, today’s sudden bout of reminiscing seemed like a good occasion to take a little trip down memory lane to Interlaken…
The blissfully calm and cosy setting is my family’s favourite holiday destination – one that we return to time and again whenever we need to unwind and recharge, lost in the unhurried pace of life here.
We most recently visited a little over a year go, staying at the grand Victoria Jungfrau hotel, a timeless institution that’s been around for over 140 years!
I can still vividly recollect the sweeping, panoramic views from my room – a breathtaking sight to wake up to every morning…
… Before sauntering down to the airy, sun-lit dining room to break the fast over freshly-baked wholegrain croissants and pastries (what is it about Swiss dough that makes their breads so deliciously moreish?!), fresh fruits and yogurts, and of course, eggs – perfectly poached.
Yep, I think that we can all agree that there’s nothing quite like a sumptuous spread to get the day started when on holiday… and Victoria Jungfrau has always delivered particularly well on this front, even indulging me with a small breakfast cake on my birthday!
Once suitably fuelled up, we’d set upon our day with a gusto.
While it may initially appear to be quite a sleepy town, Interlaken is actually well positioned as a base for numerous activities from hiking trails to paragliding and of course, skiing.
As for what we usually get up to, well, my father loves driving through the Swiss country-side and so we often end up planning day excursions to nearby towns and villages, based on which restaurants are on our list to visit. What can I say… I come from a family of foodies!
We especially enjoyed exploring Gruyères on this last trip, the medieval town famous for its eponymous cheese…
As I remember it, lunch was a decadent affair revolving around a raclette station, with which we heated a fresh slab of gruyère cheese, scraping off the melted bits on to baby potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and of course deliciously crusty bread!
Truth be told, all five days revolved around cheese… Lots of it, proving that cheese is really all you need!
And lest I forget, the other Swiss specialty of rösti! Our meal was never complete without a side order of this simple but winning combination of potatoes (fried to a crisp, golden perfection), butter and salt.
We did manage to fit in some exercise to balance out the excesses, with an awe-inspiring wander around the thunderous Trümmelbach Falls – the only glacier waterfall in the entire world that offers underground access through lift, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms!
Situated in Lauterbrunnen Valley (which is also known as the valley of 72 waterfalls), up to 20,000 litres of meltwater from the Jungfrau glaciers gush down to the valley through the Trümmelbach Falls alone, each second… And along with the water, over 20,000 tons of boulders and scree are carried through each year, resulting in the shuddering sensation and thunder claps felt in the mountain!
Wherever the day took us, we always loved returning to our home-away-from-home after a long journey, freshening up to enjoy a tipple or two in the hotel’s old-school bar before we headed out to dinner.
As with all our previous holidays, the days passed by in an idyllic daze and it was with heavy hearts that we drove back to Zürich airport to catch our flight back to London.
… A stop at my other happy place, Sprüngli café, for its rich hot chocolate and heaps of the brand’s signature Luxemburgerli (seriously the godfather of all macarons) boxed up and carried back with us, as a sweet reminder of our Swiss sojourn!
Do you have a happy place? If so, please do share in the comments below!