for immediate release
American Thanksgiving in the Swiss Alps.
This past weekend hundreds of American students celebrated Thanksgiving Dinner away from home in Interlaken, Switzerland. Students abroad across Europe descended on this small Swiss town to celebrate their most cherished day of feasting and family, Thanksgiving.
INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND — November 29, 2010. This past weekend Interlaken, Balmer’s Herberge and Bus2Alps hosted their annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the Alps. Once again American students from all over Europe descended on this small Swiss town to celebrate their most cherished day of feasting and family, Thanksgiving.
Interlaken, Switzerland, Europe’s Adventure Sports Capital, is home to hundreds of expatriates from around the world many of whom are expatriates from the United States. Being thousands of miles from their families during this joyous holiday season, the Americans decided to use their loving tradition to captivate a community estranged from their families abroad, and bring them together for a weekend of communal enjoyment.
Since the Thanksgiving tradition was started by Erich Balmer in 1975, residents of Interlaken from around the world have embraced this yearly tradition as a way to spend quality time with their new families in Switzerland. “This time of year can be lonely for anyone used to spending it with family and friends. It is warming to know that I can still enjoy my favorite holiday with my Interlaken family,” says Hollie Baker, an American expatriate in Interlaken since 2006.
Each year Balmer’s Herberge, Bus2Alps and the town of Interlaken invite American students who are studying abroad in Europe to join the Interlaken Thanksgiving celebration. This is made easier by travel agencies like Bus2alps, who specialize brings hundreds of students on group trips to Interlaken. Based in Interlaken, Bus2alps provides international students throughout Europe with weekend, weeklong, and day trips to some of Europe’s top destinations. This year Bus2alps brought over a 100 students studying in Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Prague, Paris, and London for Interlakens’ Thanksgiving celebration.
“It is a great experience to join in on making Interlaken’s Thanksgiving tradition the same family feel that it is to so many Americans,” states Bus2alps founder, Simon O’Keefe. Simon is an Australian living in Interlaken who loves the American tradition.
Of course the focal point of Thanksgiving in Interlaken ins a large feast at Balmers’ Herberge, Switzerland’s oldest youth hostel, and Interlaken’s most popular. The feast consists of mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, lots of turkey, and an apple crumble dessert. Dinner is followed by a huge party held at the Metro Bar, the nightlife spot in Interlaken. This year in addition to the traditional Thanksgiving feast, early snowfall helped the visiting students enjoy great some great skiing & snowboarding, and some snowshoeing in the Swiss Alps. To wrap up a great weekend, over 100 students chose to add a bit of Swiss tradition to their holiday with a starlight sledding trip followed by a traditional cheese fondue on Saturday night.
The 2011 Interlaken Thanksgiving Dinner was a huge success, and all those involved are looking forward to celebrating it again in 2011.