Day 58: Lucerne/Interlaken

Sunday was my last full day in Lucerne and I can’t really say I did much of anything. I spent most of the day taking pictures and just walking around. I can just walk around for most of the day and be completely happy – I don’t always feel like I need to be doing something.

I did take some pictures of the bridge that I hope to edit later. Here’s another mini-photography lesson for you:
For those who don’t know, a photograph rarely displays a scene how our eyes see it in real life, especially in scenes with high contrast. For example, look at the pictures of the bridge below. Either the inside of the bridge can be properly exposed, or the background behind the bridge can be properly exposed, but not both.  The following pictures are at 0,-2,+2 exposure, respectively.

To help compensate for this, people often take bracketed shots, as seen above, and merge them together using a technique called ‘High Dynamic Range’ or HDR. Some people take this process too far and create fake-looking images, but when done correctly, the result is much better than the original picture. These is why many of the pictures on my Picasa web albums look like duplicates, but are really bracketed images of the same scene.
I then watched the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands down by the river at night.

It seemed like almost everyone in Interlaken wanted the Netherlands to win (I was one of them), and after they lost, there were definitely some disappointed faces in the street.
On Monday morning, the 12th, I checked out of my hostel around 9:00am, got some breakfast, and then hopped on my train to Interlaken which left at 9:55am. It was probably the best train ride of my trip. The train I went on was a GoldenPass panoramic scenic train and it winded down the side of this mountain passing small towns on the way.

One town in particular, Lungern, looked particularly picturesque. I might go back later in the week if I get tired of Interlaken.

Once I arrived in Interlaken, I followed the directions from the train station that I saved on my iPhone and walked about 30 minutes to my hostel, which was pretty miserable with how hot it was outside and carrying a 40 lbs pack.

The hostel was pretty nice, and shares a lobby with a hotel, complete with a restaurant and pool table.

While killing some time in the lobby before I checked in, I saw an Australian boy (10 yrs old) playing pool with his older sisters (who were clearly better than him). After the finished, I walked over and showed him how to shoot a three rail kick shot, which he practiced for about 15 minutes until he got it down.

After giving him a few more tips on his bridge and stroke, I put my backpack in the luggage room and went next door to rent a bike. I spent most of the afternoon riding around the east side of Interlaken, next to Lake Thun.

I got back to my hostel around 7:00pm, just in time for the afternoon thunderstorms. According to the receptionist, they are pretty common and happen just about every day – reminds me of Florida. I spent the remainder of the evening trying to catch up on my blog updates and figuring out what I’m going to do for my 5 days, 4 nights in Interlaken. One of the days, I’ll take the bike I rented and do a 20 mile loop around Lake Brienz. Another day, I think I’ll take a day trip to the small town of Lungern that I mentioned earlier.
I talked to some people in my hostel and it turns out that the high adventure sports are pretty expensive, so I’m not sure if I’ll do that or not. A girl went tandem skydiving for $380 plus a video and pictures for another $180. I’d love to go skydiving, but not sure if I want to go that much. I could probably go three times for that same amount back in the US. I also could take a trip to one of the highest mountains in Europe, but that would cost nearly $100 in train and gondola rides and isn’t even worth considering if the weather isn’t clear.

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