Traveling Yogi: Bungee Jumping in Interlaken, Switzerland
Let me start off by saying that I am afraid of a lot of things. However, heights are the # 1 thing I am scared of. So of course, I wanted to go Bungee Jumping. Makes sense, right? Knowing me, it makes perfect sense. I have a strong belief that whatever you are scared of, you must face it. It releases attachment to fears, and makes them appear smaller. It makes you a stronger person, and it helps you grow. By facing fears, we face our thoughts, and we can break them down into nothing. It changes your perspective, and it changes you as a person.
With that being said, I chose Interlaken as my last stop in Switzerland, solely for the fact that it is known for having a lot of adventure activities. So if I ended up not going bungee jumping, I could go canyoning, white water rafting, etc, all while being surrounded by the amazing mountains.
Below is a summary of my trip to Interlaken – new friends, endless amounts of chocolate, and jumping 450 feet from a cable car!
Thursday, September 17, 2015
6 am: wake up and catch 6:45 am train to Interlaken from Lausanne, Switzerland
9 am: arrive at Interlaken Ost Train station
Upon arriving at the Interlaken train station, the first thing I noticed was mountains. mountains. mountains. The train ride was basically like taking a train ride to Hogwarts – just absolutely breathtaking.
I walked about 20 minutes to my hostel – there was almost no one out, and I enjoyed my stroll around the streets. Interlaken is this little town nestled in between all these mountains, and I could not stop staring at how GREEN everything was!
**Note – everywhere I went in Switzerland, it was so CLEAN – they are amazing at keeping their cities tidy and trash free.
After getting to my hostel, I immediately put down a deposit for bungee jumping – that way I couldn’t wimp out later. Since it was too early to check in, I threw my backpack in the back room and headed out to town. The only thing I had planned to do in the city was the jump, so I had the entire day free to explore.
I walked into town, exploring the little shops, and of course, found a nice little chocolate shop to buy a lot of chocolate from. Did I mention that chocolate is super expensive in Switzerland?! As is everything else! Anyways, I ended up getting a little lost, but I wouldn’t call it lost since I didn’t have anywhere to go. I ended up strolling next to the mountains and amazing blue waters in a park – and along my walk, I could not stop staring at how beautiful everything was. Just extreme gratitude for being able to experience Switzerland, and feeling such joy. This was the moment that I realized I enjoy being alone. Which is completely paradoxal to my underlying fear/belief of ending up alone, but in that moment – it was perfect. Walking alone and just being, without having anyone else there, was perfect. I fell in love with being alone, and with every single Solo second of my time in Europe. I was free to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. If I wanted to be around people, I would just strike up a conversation with people around me, meeting other travelers on their own quest for adventure.
After walking around a bit, I was hungry and stopped at a local cafe for a pastry & hot chocolate. Since it was raining, and I was freezing, I needed as much warmth as possible!
Once I finished up my brunch, I decided to head back and check in to the hostel. I ended up meeting a few of my roommates, who told me about an amazing hot chocolate place in town. I don’t know how I missed it the first time around, so I ended up walking back into town for round 2 – you can never have too much hot chocolate, especially when it is cold and rainy!
The store we went to is called The Funky Chocolate Club – founded by 2 chocolate lovers who just had to open a shop. I’m pretty sure we are best friends, even though we’ve never met. Anyways, we ordered hot chocolate – steamed milk and chocolate disks – you can get dark, milk, or white – or a mix – and it was amazing, thick, sugary, and perfect. Melted chocolate and milk = best idea ever.
After downing our drinks, we headed to a local restaurant and shared some sort of macaroni/bacon dish with onion straws. Lets just say I was not on a diet on this trip – I honestly don’t know how people are skinny in Europe!
On our walk back, it was cold and rainy – so I got changed and tried to warm up a bit at the hostel a little bit before going to Bungee jump. Around 4, I headed to the area behind the hostel to meet the group. I grabbed a beer and met up with the other 11 crazy individuals that would jumping along with me – married couples, people traveling for work, college students. We were all terrified, and it was great to have so many people there to chat with and distract each other.
It was about a 45 minute drive to Stockhorn, where we would all jump. Once we arrived, we took a cable car up to the area where we would be prepped and suited up.
After all getting suited up, we loaded into the gondola – the one where we would all be jumping out of. The gondola stopped over the middle of the lake – at this point, there was no backing out.
Lucky for me, I was the lightest person of the group – which meant I was the last person to jump (being very sarcastic here). There were 3 separate cords that needed to be changed out for each person different weight class – so, I was able to watch all 11 people in front of me jump, counting down and cheering them on. Fortunately, the guys manning the jumps/cords were AWESOME – they had music playing, gave me a jacket to wear because I was so cold (or just shaking from nerves, who knows), and were calm the whole time. By the time it was my time to jump, they hooked me up, and I stepped over the line. I put my toes to the edge of the door, placed my hands on the outside of the gondola, and was given instructions to look at the camera man on the outside of the car after I jumped. The 2 guys counted down – 54321 (the countdown is basically 2 seconds long – they don’t give you any time to hesitate) – and I jumped, smiled at the camera…. then began the fall. I honestly don’t remember much about falling – just thinking – oh shit – and my brain kind of shut off. I mean, you kind of have to shut your brain off to jump 450 feet into empty space with nothing but cables attached to your ankles.
On the bounceback, I tweaked my knee – which wasn’t painful, it was just sore for a few weeks following the jump. No one else hurt themselves, so it might have just been the way I fell and how much I bounced back (I was pretty close to the lake).
After I stopped bouncing around so much, I just kinda hung upside down for a minute or so (or not, I was still in a daze at that point). A boat came by with a big pole, and I was able to grab onto it. I was pulled into the boat and unhooked, then brought back to land.
As a group, we all headed back, drinking a celebratory beer – we had all survived the jump – basically just overall excited to be alive. I have been skydiving, but this was different. There is no one attached to your back, and you have to jump yourself. There is no parachute – just a cord attached to your feet. And the fall happens in a matter of seconds, depending on how high your starting place is (mine was about 450 feet). There is a sense of comfort you get when you skydive – maybe its the secure feeling of having someone go down with you – that you don’t have when you jump.
If anything, Bungeeing will change your thoughts. After jumping, I find myself questioning a lot of fears. I look at thoughts differently, and my actions and choices are a lot different. I believe in myself more, and rarely ever think I can’t do something. If you are ever looking to change your perspective, Bungee Jumping might be for you 😉
After arriving back at the hostel, I quickly showered and headed back out to town with a few people to grab dinner (and more beer! because LIFE!). We went to a place called Goldener Anker – Beer, Gnocchi, and Fondue. The perfect way to end the night, followed by a roadie beer from the corner store on our walk back.
I ended up heading to bed around midnight, as I had a 7 am train to catch to Munich. I wish I could have stayed another night, but Oktoberfest was waiting for me (You can read about that adventure here and here)! If anyone ever ends up in Interlaken, make sure you stay for more than just 1 day. The city is absolutely beautiful, and there are so many fun things to do there! And if you ever decide to jump – or do any fun adventure – I highly recommend Alpin Raft – the workers were absolutely amazing, and I could not have asked for a better experience!
Next up: Oktoberfest!