Tag Archives: Vacation

Europe Part 4 – Interlaken Switzerland

** For earlier posts, please see The Overview, Keflavik, and Frankfurt **

When we left off, Mike and I were both sad to be leaving Verena and the beautiful City of Frankfurt. That said, it was time to expose Mike to the German Rail System. Now, here is where we discovered an important lesson/I had to relearn one that I wish I’d never forgotten. The Rail System in Germany is a million times more efficient than the one in Canada. If a train pulls up on your track, and your departure time is not for another 30 min do NOT get on the train. Yes, in Canada you often have a long wait at a large station, in German, you have a couple of minutes. In other words, it’s not your train. We realized this after the train started heading off with a final destination of Berlin! Oops. Thankfully we were able to get off in about three stops and get on another train . . . best part, we didn’t even miss our connection! We did arrive in Interlaken with enough time to make it to the night before the wedding party.

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We didn’t get to  see much of Interlaken that first night, but we did meet up with an old friend of mine Ansley and her husband Mike. Mike and Mike hit it off from the beginning (and I can’t distinguish them by last initial as they have the same one! Heck the last names have similar sounds/spelling. Made for some confusion).

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The following morning we woke, and I had one, only one destination in mine. The Apotheke – my “cold” had turned into a throat so raw and sore I could not swallow – it was also coated in white, you know, kind of like strep . . . not a good time. We found one, I spoke with the lovely pharmacist and she gave me a bottle of cough syrup with codeine – I took it from here quite happily, I also didn’t care that it was about 18 Euro. After that our adventures could continue! (for the record, if you can avoid getting Strep and a serious cold/mild chest infection on vacation, I recommend it!).

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Turns out Interlaken is a beautiful town high in the Swiss Alps. We spent the morning walking around town taking in the sights – including watching para-gliders coming gently sailing to the ground. After our walk around town, we headed back to our hostel to get dressed up for the whole point of this trip – Joy and Cam’s wedding! Hair, make-up (obviously just me, not Mike!) and fancy clothes. Nothing like backpacking across Europe while toting along some dress-up things.

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The actual wedding took place high up in the mountains in a super cute town called Lauterbrunnen. To get there Joy and Cam had a double decker bus catered for us, and we all drove out in style. Mike and myself, along with Ansley and her Mike were lucky enough to get the best seats on the bus for the trip! Wow, the mountains were stunning. Once we got to the actual Church we were in for a huge surprise . . .

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Yes, that above image is a waterfall coming off the side of a mountain! The service was great, lots of laughs. The whole time you could tell just how in love Joy and Cam are 🙂 During picture time I just sort of faded into a Sunny spot in attempts to warm-up and feel a little bit better. After the pictures we all clambered back onto the bus and headed to the reception which was held at Hotel Interlaken. Let me start by saying man that food was AMAZING! Don’t get me wrong the company was also great, but the food, wow the food. I guess I really enjoyed it 🙂 We didn’t manage to make it through the whole reception because my fever got way to high and I needed to be put to bed, but the part of the night we go to attend was a great time. Joy and Cam – you can get married like that again anytime! I’d love to enjoy your day again without being so sick.

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After a much needed sleep Mike packed up both of bags (I was unable to get out of bed at first, I was just that sick and tired) and we headed off to the train station for our next adventure – Kassel!

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Europe Part 3 – Frankfurt Germany

** For earlier posts, please see The Overview and Keflavik **

After we left the “delightful” town of Keflavik, we hopped onto another plane (at 7 something in the morning!) and headed over to one of my old stomping grounds – Frankfurt. For those who don’t know, as a child I lived just outside of Frankfurt and as a “worldly” 19-year old I lived in Frankfurt for a few more week – I just couldn’t manage to land a job there! Though in all honesty, I may not have been trying too hard as I was feeling rather overwhelmed and much younger than I believed I was!IMG_4809

As we sat on the plane, I will admit, I started to panic a little. I hasn’t seen my cousin Verena in 10 years, since I’d stayed with her as that wide-eye 19-year old mentioned above, and I was suddenly terrified that neither of us would recognize each other. What a relief to walk through the doors, see Verena and instantly recognize her! Poor Mike, the German just started flowing out of my mouth . . . let’s be totally honestly here, there was a large part of me that thought I might not even remember how to speak enough to limp through a conversation – totally NOT the case 🙂IMG_6939

A little bit about Verena. Her and my Dad are first cousins – her Mother and my Opa (Paternal Grandfather) were brother and sister. I have some great memories of Tante Grit (Verena’s Mother) and sitting around with her chatting – in both English and German. Man, Tante Grit was one SMART lady. Back to Verena. She lives in Frankfurt in Tante Grit’s old house, which is also where she practices Psychology (as did Tante Grit). This old house in Frankfurt is AWESOME! I love it, I want it . . . sadly, I can’t have it 😦IMG_6926

Back to our trip. Verena picked us up and whisked us away to her home, all the while pointing this out to Mike and asking me if I remembered where things were (for the record, if I looked up the bus number I could have STILL found my way to the house!). We got settled in, and Verena proceeded to feed us a lovely German Lunch – read poor Mike had no idea what to do with the copious amounts of food and courses Verena kept bringing out. I guess I forgot to tell him that Lunch is the big meal, and Supper the small one! Once we were all stuffed, we loaded back into Verena’s car and headed into the City Centre of Frankfurt.IMG_4813

Now, if you’ve never been to Europe, you may not realize that most City Centre’s are more pedestrian friendly then they are car friendly. So we ditched the car and headed off on foot. We walked all over, crossed the River Main (man I love that river!), explored a Mall and went into a very beautiful old Church. I’d actually forgotten just how beautiful Frankfurt is, and Mike seemed to quite enjoy it as well. I think it also seemed a little more familiar to him than the barren landscape of Keflavik.IMG_4853

We only got to spend one night with Verena, but it was one of the most peaceful and enjoyable days/nights we spent on the whole trip. Conversation flowed (and Verena speaks fantastic English so I didn’t have to translate), and everything just felt comfortable and easy. We stayed up late chatting, and in the morning came down to a lovely breakfast (including Kraueter Buetter which Verena correctly remembered me loving!). When it was time to leave we were both quite sad, and wished we could have spent a longer time with one of my favorite German relatives. Fingers crossed we get to see Verena again soon!   IMG_4857

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Europe Part 2 – Keflavik Iceland

**Yes I am aware that we got back from our vacation to Europe over 9 months ago, and I have not posted any real posts yet. I’m sorry, allow me to make it up to you by starting posting RIGHT now!**

We had decided to fly with Iceland Air for the very simple reason you can have a layover for several days in Iceland at no extra cost. This worked out to a one day layover on they way to Europe and a FIVE day layover on the way back home! Keflavik was the one day layover. That said, I would fly Iceland Air again as it was a great airline. The service was good, the atmosphere was pretty neat (they had things explaining Icelandic culture and history everywhere, including the sugar packets!), and the blankets, oh the blankets were amazing! Most airlines don’t give you blankets to use on long flights anymore, not Iceland Air. They were sitting on our seats when we boarded and they were warm. Not the old ones, you know like a really thin piece of cotton. No, these were a beautifully soft and warm ribbed fleece. Don’t mind we we try to snuggle up under them and catch some sleep! We didn’t sleep, but that’s nothing new, neither of us are the kind who sleep well on planes 😦

On to Keflavik . . .

We arrived at 630 in the morning after a long day of traveling and very little sleep. The first things we noticed – we couldn’t read Icelandic. The second thing? It was raining and chilly (about 5 C). We managed to get ourselves to the hostel and discovered there was no one there to greet us. What to do? Easy, leave our bags with a note attached and start wandering around town. Our very first mission? Locating a cup of coffee for Mike.IMG_4734

At this time of day on a Saturday, none the less, it turns out that Keflavik is pretty much a ghost town. We just started off walking and hoping for the best. After a while we were pretty sure that we were no where near the centre of town and much to our luck a cab drove by. We stopped him for a moment and after asking the ever important question of “Do you speak English?” asked how to get into town. We were on the right track. He even directed us to the only place he could think of that might be open for coffee! This is where I’ll give you the answer to the above question. When in Iceland there is no need to ask, they all speak English and look at you like you are nuts if you ask if they do! For the record, we did eventually find a cup of coffee for Mike – his first experience with European coffee! It grew on him 🙂IMG_4755

We did spend some time resting and napping, but didn’t want to waste the full day. In the afternoon we rose, bundled up and headed out. The hostel owner had told Kirsten of a Viking Museum not too far that we wanted to check out. It was about a 20 minute walk, but once we got there were quite happy with the find. There were animals to look at and play with, and we even got to stick our heads inside and see a re-built Viking ship. We decided not to pay to enter as we didn’t know how long we’d last (tiredness was setting in again!), but enjoyed ourselves none the less.IMG_4792

I’ll be the first to admit, Keflavik was not the most exciting place I’ve ever been to, but it was interesting none-the-less. I think if we hadn’t been so tired and the weather had been a little warmer we would have enjoyed ourselves more. It wasn’t a write off though 🙂IMG_4748Europe Part 2 – Keflavik Iceland

Next, we head off to Frankfurt!

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