Last week, I went to Switzerland.
As part of that pageantry, Lindt ambassador and pride of all Switzerland Roger Federer (he’s from Basel) played tennis against Olympic ski racer (and pride of all Vail, Colorado) Lindsey Vonn. On a glacier, at 11,333 feet.
- I like being a travel writer
- Interlaken, Switzerland in July is absolutely stunningly beautiful — So far, I’ve found good fortune as a global wanderer, and with it experiences I can recall in nearly 50 countries and many more corners of the world. With whatever perspective that allows me, I do not hesitate for a second in calling Interlaken one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. In summer, you must go. A very different aesthetic blankets this place in winter, and I’m sure it’s very beautiful as well. But freed by the sun, the Earth and its geologic form shine as brilliantly here as in anywhere else your travels will ever take you. Just look at the photo above. This is what it looks like. Views are best enjoyed from the heights of the Alps—for example, atop “home mountain” Harder Kulm (where there is a nice restaurant) and most of all Jungfraujoch—but even below on the sunny July streets, Interlaken is coursing with grandeur.
- Jungfraujoch is the highest train station in Europe — This is why it’s called the “Top of Europe.” Thanks to Swiss rail infrastructure (which was somehow operating over these same mountains more than 100 years ago), it’s the highest point in Europe you can reach without having to climb. Trains can get you all the way there.
- Swiss trains are unfailingly on time — Right, the Swiss are punctual, ha ha ha. Well, they are. Don’t be late. If your train from Zurich (to Bern, where you can transfer to Interlaken) is scheduled to leave at 15:24, it will leave at 15:24. If it doesn’t, clearly something terrible has happened, so hedge your bets and be there early. On the way up to and back from Jungfraujoch, we found this to be less true, but it felt anomalous.
- Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven is now the highest chocolate shop in the world — It’s actually more than a chocolate shop, with interactive experiences that, for example, respond to touch with the ingredients or cacao content in select Lindt chocolates. It’s not overly spacious, and could not possibly be worth a trip to Switzerland itself, but it’s a really nice supplementary touch if you’re already here. No question, Lindt chocolate is really good—and on this occasion it was even better at the “Top of Europe.”
- Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn earned their rock trophies — Roger Federer was no more than three weeks removed from an epically draining loss in the Wimbledon final, and Lindsey Vonn was somewhere on the road back from a terrible sequence of leg events (she moved smoothly, albeit with a leg brace), but both took to the glacier court with unmistakeable grace. The court itself, as Roger noted mid-game, was somewhat warped, but still they engaged the crowd of some official 5,000 (it felt like less) with everything they had. They also looked really good doing it (Roger Federer’s hair is incredible). The tennis itself lasted no more than 15 minutes, after which some creative officiating gave Lindsey the victory and each was awarded some sort of rock-based trophy for their efforts—which had been good enough on this great, unusual, unforgettable day.
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