WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS Anna Glen
I’ve always been a city person. I grew up in the city and love its aura of chaos; I can hear the traffic from my bedroom, the police siren every so often and the drunken hoon on a Friday or Saturday night. The country lacks this pandemonium and never really appealed to me because of this; there is nothing to do to keep you busy. Even natural landscapes, which I can appreciate are beautiful, never impressed me quite as much as architectural feats or an illuminated city at nightfall.
When I decided to travel around Europe the choices were typical of a first trip taster – Paris, London, Rome, Prague and so on. The destinations were also chosen largely because of the manmade majesty that exists in these antique cities; the sandstone buildings in London, the castles worthy of fairy tales in Prague, and the ancient constructions (or ruins) in Rome.
However, the fact that I was travelling with two other people, and because of a recommendation by a travel agent, meant that a short detour to Interlaken, Switzerland became part of the itinerary. Initially reluctant, I am glad it happened because what followed was an experience of pure ecogasm.
Interlaken, which translates to ‘between two lakes’, is a well-known tourist destination in Switzerland famous for its outdoor and action sports activities. Because I was there in the middle of winter the town was free of tourists and practically deserted. I arrived during the evening after a long day of travel and it seemed like an expensive but sweet little town. When the sun rose, however, my perception was transformed; it was more than sweet it was breathtaking.
What hasn’t changed is that I’ll always be a city person. However, my appreciation of nature and its power to evoke the senses has improved – something a David Attenborough film never quite achieved. I can also say that one of my initial perceptions of non-city locations was correct: there really wasn’t anything to do in Interlaken during the winter time, but in a place like this there didn’t have to be, simply being there was enough.