Hi everyone, and happy Thursday to you! I hope you’re having a lovely week so far, wherever you are in the world!
Today is part four–the last installment–of the tripaversary post! Read on and do enjoy the view, because it’s SUPER PIC HEAVY so you’re going to be here for a while anyway, haha! And if you’re just tuning in, click the links below to read the first two parts of the adventure!
As the days continued, I noticed that the weather pattern had it sunny and clear in the mornings, then at around 1pm the clouds moved in, with rain sometimes lasting all afternoon and evening. The sun would usually come back out at dinnertime, and one evening an astoundingly bright double rainbow appeared over the village. I didn’t have my camera with me and thought the rainbow might be gone by the time I went and got it from the room, so I just sat and enjoyed with my eyes.
Because of the rain, most of our outings were delegated to mornings. Walking up to the train station took a lot out of us because we were in poor shape. People in their seventies kept passing us, walking quickly up the hill with a friendly “Morgen” on their lips, and Jon and I looked wiltingly at each other and agreed that we really needed to exercise.
We went to the Co-Op almost every day, since our room didn’t have a mini fridge where we could keep lunch stuff and snacks. We always found interesting things, and I was often fascinated by all the European things I’d never before seen. In a nearby shop, Jon and I purchased souvenirs for our loved ones. I wound up with a couple things for myself as well, including an edelweiss necklace, a gorgeous embroidered bookmark with the Jungfrau massif on it, and a Victorinox Swiss army knife with a photo of the same mountains on it.
On the 29th, we spent the afternoon in Luzern, which is about a two-and-a-half hour train journey from Wengen. We sat on the left side of the train, which didn’t work in our favour because all the fantastic views were on the other side, and that side was where everyone was sitting! Damn!
I think my favourite part was that medieval bridge, called the Kapellbrücke, and the 17th century artwork we saw while passing through it!
We wandered around for a while, checking out shops and a giant street market that looked like a yard sale. The small city was so picturesque despite the grey day, but we left when the day grew longer and crowds started pouring in for a festival that was occurring, as neither Jon or I do well around tons of people.
On the ride back to Interlaken, I made sure to sit on the proper side of the train this time so I could see the incredible views from the windows. We even saw a big rainstorm passing over Interlaken as we approached it, although it had moved off by the time we got there.
On the 1st of July, we traveled to Interlaken. The Wengen train station has quite a dramatic vista, with the blue-hued Jungfrau massif and Lauterbrunnen Wall commanding the earth and sky. So at least while we were waiting for the cog train to come by, we had a nice view! When we got down to Interlaken, we realized how hot the day had become.
Mountains make distance a strange thing. What seems far away is actually close, and what seems close is actually far away. From Interlaken we could see the Jungfrau as well as the Lauterbrunnen Valley (right side of pic).
We had a pleasant time looking around the charming town, although it was hot and the sun was really blazing. It wasn’t incredibly busy, although it was easy to tell Interlaken was a very tourist-friendly place. The Aare river was bright turquoise and little coots swam against the current, making soft bicycle-honk sounds to each other. In the distance, paragliders dotted the skies. Jon and I ducked into interesting shops here and there and had lunch, both of us happy.
Jon and I eventually started looking for the lakes, since Interlaken sits on a tongue of land between the Thunersee and the Brienzersee, so we figured it would be easy enough to find them. But we soon found out there’s no easy footpath to either lake, and it had gotten so hot out that we gave up and headed back to the train station.
We refreshed ourselves with some drinks as we waited for the train. I discovered this glorious flavour of Fanta, which is a wonderful elderflower-citrus combination. I wish I could find an import of this in Canada or England!
One day was a Village Festival day in Wengen. For dinner, the Edelweiss served an amazing fondue. They said the cheese came from a local cow named Melanie. Husband and wife team Daniel and Susanne, who were about to become the owners of the hotel, wore traditional Swiss clothing.
Excuse the terrible picture, I didn’t bring the good camera down to dinner! This was when we were almost done with our amazing fondue, and we were pleasantly stuffed.
Later in the evening we headed up to the Wengen to enjoy the festivities. There were traditional dancers, singers, women who worked on looms to weave amazing bracelets (I purchased a pink and blue one), yodelers, and men who played alphorns. A lone man played a song on an alphorn and I grew very quiet, in awe of the beautiful, solemn song coming from the long instrument that I’d only ever seen on Ricola commercials. Later, I got a picture of him with his alphorn as he chatted to two people!
When the 3rd dawned, I turned over to look at the sun striking the Jungfrau and I admit that I shed a few tears, both at its beauty and because I was sad we had to leave this beautiful place. But we knew we’d be back one day, and besides, we were given a 30% discount for our next stay at the Edelweiss!
After a full day of travel, we finally arrived at the Basel airport. We had to go through French passport control since the airport straddles three countries, and I got this really neat picture of security vehicles parked on the Swiss side and the French side of the border.
Our flight was delayed by two hours, so we sat there for absolute ages. As our flight began to take off, Jon was very much attuned to my plane anxiety, so he kept me focused and engaged in conversation with him, and I was fine!
We arrived back at Heathrow at around 10:30pm. I experienced a bit of difficulty getting through customs because I had a very suspicious guard who interrogated me to hell and back and demanded to know why I was trying to enter the UK with a man who I wasn’t married to. She let me through after I showed her my return ticket to Toronto in three days’ time, and I was a little shaken as Jon and I went to baggage claim.
We got on the Underground and got as far as Acton Town before the tube shut down for the night. Aggravated at the timing, Jon was able to get hold of a black taxi to take us the rest of the way to our hotel on Westminster. It was my first time being in a car in England, with the driver’s side on the right-hand side and driving on the left side of the road. I suddenly realized how very narrow and curvy the roads were, and our taxi driver was a bit of a speed maniac so when we made it to the hotel, I felt (and probably looked) a little green. London was quite dark, as it was 1:30am at that point, and all I could see of the Elizabeth Tower was the glowing clock face of Big Ben.
The lobby area of Park Plaza Westminster was very grand and posh-looking. As we were checking in, a small group of men in business attire emerged from an elevator and one keeled over, smashing face-first into the shiny floor. The other men picked him, and it became pretty obvious that they’d been drinking quite a lot. The fallen bloke’s face was bloody and he looked very surprised to have wound up that way. His mates dragged him away, hotel staff cleaned up the blood on the floor, and Jon and I headed upstairs to our room.
Our room looked a little strange, as though most of it had come out of the seventies. Some things didn’t work, which annoyed us given how much the place cost, but we were just glad to HAVE a room after all that travel!
The next morning, we went out in the July heat and explored the immediate area, finishing up by strolling along the Thames and then buying some souvenirs.
Jon and I agreed that no water could compare after being spoiled to seeing Switzerland’s turquoise lakes, but we also agreed that the Thames just looks disgusting. 😉
Later, we headed out to the London Zoo. We had tickets for Zoo Lates, which were 18+ evenings where you could have alcoholic drinks and wear animal masks or headbands whilst walking around the zoo. Because the zoo is so big, we didn’t get to see a lot before it started closing down for the night. We were a little irritated at this because it was closing down earlier than our tickets had said it would, so we didn’t get to see any of the large mammal exhibits and I barely got any photos. But we still had fun and got to wear silly animal headbands (I had a leopard one and Jon had a cow one).
Hopefully next time we go, I’ll have more decent pics that don’t entirely consist of birds and butterflies! 😉
On our walk back to the hotel, we turned a corner and found ourselves in front of The World’s End, the pub from the Nick Frost/Simon Pegg film of the same name.
And as we got closer to the hotel, the Eye sparkled in the night.
On the 5th, the day was grey-skied and a little muggy. Sometimes there were a few drops of drizzle. Jon and I walked up to Tower Bridge and had a very pleasant late afternoon there before going for dinner at Pizza Express. Mm, but their Pollo Ad Astra pizza is amazing!
We sat down for a little while, and I could smell rain on the air as we basked in each other’s company. Looking at the sights of London around me and the grey sky, I dearly wished that this day didn’t mean the end of the adventure.
We got up and walked past the Tower of London, rather wishing we’d gotten tickets to tour it earlier in the day.
When we saw the Traitors’ Gate, Jon and I joked that that was where they put people who wasted tea.
After dinner, we continued our leisurely stroll, slowly making our way back to our hotel. A little ways down the street, we discovered London Bridge and even Jon was surprised that it was just a normal bridge. I admitted to him that when I was a child, I thought Tower Bridge WAS London Bridge. As the silver sky darkened to blue-violet, we tried to extend time as much as possible. The night was cooling down and I was starting to get a little chilly, and so Jon took off his hoodie and draped it over my shoulders.
I gazed at the night sky and sighed, never wanting this trip to end.
But, unfortunately, it did have to end.
I flew back to Toronto the next afternoon, and Jon took the train back to Leicester. It was a very painful parting, and the whole trip seemed like it had just been an amazing dream. To not have a panic attack during takeoff, I closed my eyes and imagined a conversation happening between Jon and I, just like on the plane back from Switzerland, and all was well.
And so that is the end of this fabulous tale, although of course it was only the beginning of Jon’s and my adventures!
I hope you enjoyed reliving this trip with me! Have a great weekend, friends and goddesses!
Love and light,