This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Interlaken, Switzerland with Bus2Alps. Bus2Alps is a fantastic company that caters to college-aged students and provides a plethora of guided tours around various European cities. Interlaken was a dream, however, getting there was not. Here’s what went down.
I am used to traveling by myself. I have travelled to various U.S. cities alone and have never encountered a problem. However, traveling within two countries where English is not the primary language? Well, that’s a different story. I had spent all night panicking, and rightfully so. I had to maneuver the #16 bus through Dublin at rush hour, successfully make it to the correct gate in a German airport, and find my unknown Bus2Alps guide in Switzerland- all by 11PM. If you know me, you would not be surprised to find out 2/3 of these things did not go as planned.
The #16 decided it did not want to do its job and stop to pick me up that day. Not only that, but my flight to Frankfurt was delayed by over two hours due to a winter storm. Consequently, I would be forced to miss my connecting flight to Geneva from Frankfurt. When the email popped up in my inbox, panic took over my entire body. I had a gut feeling this exact scenario was going to occur, and of course, I was correct. After a (very expensive) panic-induced phone call home to my mom at 5AM, I calmed down enough to approach an airline employee. According to her, I was only the second person requesting to be rebooked, and I would be on a new flight to Geneva by 7PM. To make a long story short, I somehow made it to Switzerland by 11PM without further incident.
Little Miss Swiss
I’m not going to sugarcoat it- the weekend was full of miserable weather. I was scheduled to skydive on Friday, but unfortunately, it got cancelled. No matter who you talked to, the story was the exact same. So many of us were left moping around all day Friday waiting to get the email that our excursion would run, but it never came. After spending a few minutes feeling sorry for myself, I introduced myself to another group of girls who were in the same boat. We decided to walk around downtown Interlaken and explore what it had to offer.
Hot chocolate at Funky Chocolate Club
First up, was a tiny bookshop where we all stocked up on postcards from Switzerland. We then dropped by Funky Chocolate Club, where we each spent no less than 20 Francs on chocolate products. After filling up, we walked around and took in the sights. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan like me, Interlaken is the place for you. The buildings and hotels make it seem as though you’ve transported onto the set of his latest film. I was in awe of just how beautiful it really was.
View of the Alps from snowshoeing
After “wasting” Friday waiting for my excursion to be cancelled, I decided Saturday would be my day. I had many options to choose from, but decided to go snowshoeing. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like snowshoeing to remind you just how out of shape you are. Despite my dry-heaving on the side of the mountain, I had an absolute blast. My view of the Alps was something not even skiers and snowboarders get to experience. The view definitely wasn’t the kind of view you get when you jump out of a plane, but I mean, I GUESS it’ll just have to do.
Snowshoeing in the Alps
All things considered, I think this trip was one of the most important journeys I have ever been on. Two years ago, I could have never imagined myself studying abroad alone, let alone traveling to a foreign country by myself. By traveling by myself, though, I have learned how to be resilient and how to have the courage to continue no matter what is thrown my way. Had all these events happened on a trip I took a few years ago, I would have come back and told you I had a miserable time. However, in my short time in Europe, I have learned how to make the most out of what I’ve been dealt. Through traveling by myself in one short weekend, I have made connections and friendships that span multiple countries and continents.
While I had a breathtaking weekend in Switzerland, it has become so much more to me than just that. It has turned into life lessons, and friendships, and learning more about myself than I could ever imagine. So here’s to you, Switzerland.
Victoria Hotel, straight out of a Wes Anderson film