To me our short time in the Swiss Alps was categorized by fresh air, mountain peaks poking through clouds and roestis.
When Ry, Lisa and I met up with three friends from our Singapore reunion at the Interlaken train station, they quickly whisked us away from the tourist hub that is ‘the adventure capital of the world’. We wanted a bit more of an authentic vibe, so we drove half an hour to eat lunch in Lauterbrunnen. At this early stage in our trip, the guys didn’t even know that I was gluten intolerant since the last time I had seen them was in my gluten days. I hadn’t done any planning on where to eat gluten free in the Swiss Alps since I didn’t know which towns we were going to be in. But after our amazing meal in Montreux, I was optimistic that I might be able to find something. As my luck would have it (or simply because of Celiac awareness in Switzerland), the restaurant the guys randomly picked had “glutenfrei” written on the sandwich board outside. I couldn’t believe it; here I was in Switzerland with the German translation of gluten free identified all over the menu! We had a great lunch at Hotel Oberland catching up on each other’s lives. Our entire table ordered different variations of roesti. I had a delicious farmer’s roesti with bacon and cheese. This was by far the cheesiest roesti of the trip; there were giant pieces of cheese melted on top of it. It was such a relief to be able to order something off the menu and not have to walk around to find a restaurant that knew what gluten free was. What a pleasant surprise and very tasty!
From there the quality of the roestis I ate went steadily downhill as they got greasier and crunchier.
No trip to Switzerland is possible without outdoor adventure, so the group of us went hiking. Lisa and I had wanted to hike in Switzerland, we just didn’t realize how intense the hiking would be. Johannes had done the hike before and compared it to a “Sunday stroll”, which turned out to be a four hour hike up to the top of Schilthorn for what would have been breathtaking views of the surrounding Alps, if it weren’t for the clouds and fog. On Saturday we took two chair lifts to get to Murren and then hiked 30 minutes uphill to get to our cabin for the night. We ate dinner at our little cabin and good thing I could once again eat the roesti for dinner since there were no other restaurants nearby! There was nothing else around to do so we entertained ourselves all night by playing cards and an intense three hour game of Monopoly written in German and French. Thankfully we had a German and French speaker with us, otherwise we wouldn’t know if we owed money or were receiving money on any of the Chance cards!! It was fun playing Monopoly and we learned more about Switzerland too as it was a Switzerland version. Whenever we’d land on a property and contemplate buying it, Jimmy and Johannes would say something along the likes of “that place is nice by the water” or “It’s a university town but everyone tries to leave there on the weekend”.
The next morning we woke up ate breakfast and hiked the rest of the way up the mountain to the viewpoint at Schilthorn, at a height of 2970 m. Random fact, Schilthorn was the sight used for the 1969 James Bond movie Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Naturally that means everything at the top had a Bond theme, including 007 plates that my roesti lunch at 360 Restaurant Piz Gloria was served on and the Bond theme song playing on the cable car ride back to Murren.