After two days of racing in southern France we packed up and headed for some sightseeing in Paris. Paris has plenty of water to paddle in with the River Seine winding by the Eiffel Tower and countless other historic landmarks. The strong current and loads of tourist boats made it easy for me to take a break from paddling to take in the sights. 3 days of walking around a city with the world’s largest art museum and plenty of amazing buildings was just as tiring as a stand up paddle race! It was time for some more wide-open spaces so we headed to Lauterbrunnen and the Swiss Alps.
Once we arrived in Interlaken we met up with Tom from Mountain Surf. It is pretty cool to see that there are several businesses Just like Water Monkey providing stand up paddle lessons and rentals in the middle of the mountains of Switzerland. I was eager to go on a paddle in one of the largest lakes in the region. The scenery was beautiful which made it easy to forget that I was training with a 3-pound adjustable paddle. I did not bring my Quikblade Paddle to the mountains, although it could have doubled as the ‘strongest, lightest walking stick on 10% of the earth.’
We spent the night by the lake and rested up for the hiking we would be doing in Lauterbrunnen the next day. The valley in Lauterbrunnen looks as if it James Cameron drew it up for a film on the enchanted land of magical mountain gnomes. 72 waterfalls line the valley from one end to the other. The cliffs on either side rise up with 5 snow-covered peaks over 13,000 ft. in the background. I was excited to explore the endless trails around the valley as soon as we arrived. About 15 minutes into our stroll I spotted someone falling from the cliff directly above our path. I forgot to mention that this area is also home to some of the best BASE-jumping and paragliding in Europe. I have never even considered jumping from anything but my board to the beach. Watching the 4 jumpers fall directly at us only to pull their parachute seconds from splatting on the ground had my heart skipping beats. I’ll stick to surfing and kiting, but BASE-jumping looks like the ultimate high.
After 3 days of exploring the valley we are on a train again. My calves are sore in only the way that walking downhill for 5 hours in a single day can make them. When we arrive in Munich I will visit the Fanatic head quarters and explore the local areas to paddle. On Wednesday I am doing a pro clinic before the Lost Mills race in Lake Brombachsee outside of Nuremburg. I am excited to race again and to see another one of Europe’s SUP communities.