-White water rafting
-Evening at the lake
-Stuck in the rain
-Irish pub for din
***This is Robbie posting now, so buckle up***
Well if we didn't get enough adventure yesterday, we added to it today! Man, Switzerland is awesome, adventure everywhere. Today, we got to go whitewater rafting, woot woot! What makes it even better is the rafting company's home base is at the Funny Farm (our hostel)! So we just woke up, chillaxed for a wee bit, then took 20 steps from our hostel entrance to the meeting point, textbook serendipity (we did not plan that ahead of time. Legit!).
We first met some of the other rafters and then our guides. Each one was either from the UK, Australia, or New Zealand. One of them in particular, Simon, was the burliest, dread-lockiest dude I've ever seen. Exhibit A:
But the best part was his voice. He legitimately sounded like a white Steve Erkle: high pitched and nasally. It was the weirdest thing. Anyway, our guides were cool dudes. After hanging out with the guides all day, we had the sudden urge to watch some Flight of the Concords episodes.
(These are the only pictures we got since we opted not to spend 40 euro to buy the rest, but ybu you get the drift, right?)
The rafting was intense. We started in class 3 rapids and then ended in class 4 (class rankings are 1-6; 1 being the easiest and 6 being undoable, no one is allowed to raft a 6). So yeah, I don't mean to brag, but we nailed it. We had to do tons of training and practice for different orders we had to follow, for example: paddle forward/backward, hang on, get down, jump left, jump right, rescue the man overboard, etc. The orders seem simple when I write them down, but you had to think of what you were doing with your feet, how you held the paddles, and trying not to injure the people around you (story about that next).
So going through the class 3 rapids were easy enough. Our guide would make things more interesting by crashing us into big boulders sticking out of the river, which was awesome. We'd jump into the raft into the "get down" position and the raft would bounce off of it like a beach ball. Super fun. After the class 3 rapids there was a long stretch of calm, so our guide had us practice rescuing each other if we fell into the river. Angie's side of the raft "fell" into the river first, so my side jumped over to their edge of the raft and I heroically plunged my hands into the ice cold river to grab the shoulder pads of Angie's life vest and......... I hit her in the face! Yes, that's right. I punched my wife in the face while trying to save her life. Filled with adrenaline, I didn't even realize what I had done, I grabbed hold of her vest and pulled her into the boat. She rolled onto her back and she was laughing! She told me that I punched her right next to her eye and I felt awful. What kind of guy does that? It's a little tender, but luckily no black eye. Oops.
After that calm we faced the class 4. This was much more intense and there were boulders that we were dodging left and right (thanks to our legit guide, Lars. Yes, Lars). Unfortunately it was only about one km long, so it only lasted a couple minutes. Then we were done, we survived! It was a blast.
The whole way back in the bus, they kept pumping us up with, "Free Beer when we get back! Free beer for everyone!" We were probably the only ones at the after party who asked for Fanta. But they also gave us all the bread and mountain cheese we wanted, so we felt justified taking lots of that.
After rafting we still had the evening to kill. We fought the urge to relax and read at our hostel so we went to one of the lakes surrounding Interlaken. It was beautiful! The sky was slightly overcast, the lake was a teal blue, and the combination created this crazy beautiful light. We skipped rocks, played in the sand, and explored the beach. It was a blast.
Unfortunately that overcast turned into storm clouds really quickly, which forced us to take some buses home. We needed two buses to get us back to Funny Farm. The first took us to the train station inside Interlaken, and the second took us across the town to our hostel. We found the first one fine, and when we got to the train station we checked when the next one would come: one in 15 minutes and another in 22 minutes, not bad. By this time it was pouring buckets, we are talking torrential rainfall here. 15 minutes came and went, followed by another 10--no busses. I went back to the schedule and noticed the small print: "Monday-Friday." Awesome, today is Saturday. We had our Eurail pass, our camera, and our kindles with us without a legit way to keep them dry and we were stuck under the bus stop pavilion in a downpour. After a couple minutes we decided to stuff my drawstring bag under my t-shirt with the things that couldn't get wet and we ran all the way to our hostel in the pouring rain. My shirt was soaked by the time we got back, the bag was a little wet, but the insides were bone dry. Sweet.
To finish off the day, we ate at an Irish pub across the street from our place. We have been trying to eat local food wherever we go, but we had to break the rules once today. We justified doing it because, even though it felt like an American Chili's restaurant on the inside, it was an"Irish" pub. So that's a thing, right? It was great food.
So tomorrow morning we leave for Italy! Now we have to learn a bunch of new phrases in Italian, wish us luck!