In our series of blog interviews the next in line is our newest guide Peter “Pete” Blik – a Dutch vagabond who settled in Interlaken after falling for a Swiss girl. Recently he found his second love in kayaking. Many locals recognise Pete – not from only his loud voice and tall blond appearance – but he has worked in several companies around Interlaken and is a familiar face in customer service. Nowadays Pete is more often seen on lake Brienz, either providing great memories for our guests on tours or training hard on his newest favorite craft – Epic surf ski. Pete is also a very handy man and the best carpenter in the house. You can admire his artwork also at our office, where he has built many signs, benches and even dressing rooms from the driftwood we have collected from the lake Brienz.
How long have you been in Interlaken and what brought you here?
Gastronomie (which I was working with at that time) brought me to interlaken. I moved here for the first time 18 years ago when I started to work at the Landhaus Manor Farm in Unterseen at the lake of Thun.
What made you want to move to Switzerland? Where else have you lived?
I’ve been travelling for half my life and while travelling I have always been open to working abroad (especially for longer periods). This is how I lived in Australia for two years, in Fiji for a year and in Indonesia for three years.
Once after a five year travel I came to visit my brother in Switzerland, who worked in Kandersteg at the time and his boss asked me if I would like to work for him for a season. That one season became a couple more and from then on I kept coming back to Switzerland.
What are your insider top tips for Interlaken that the crowds don’t know about?
Have a late night barbeque in a peaceful corner at lake Thun.
Or go climbing along the Lombach river north of Unterseen.
Or walk the ridge from Harder Kulm to Brienz Rothorn.
Or have a proper beer at the Barrel Cafe; they have a huge variety.
Tell us about your relationship to paddlesports?
In January 2017 I signed into a school to be an outdoor guide. Among the disciplines to study was sea kayaking and canoeing. I wanted to prepare myself for this and got in contact with Dave. He was just about starting the Hightide Sea and Surf Club membership which was perfect for me and that’s how I got started with paddling.
Why Hightide Kayak School?
Because it’s all about the water and water is life.
How did you end up in the outdoor industry?
Outdoors is my hobby, my passion, my life. All those years that I was travelling, I was always sleeping in tents or hammocks.
Do you have any paddling tips for the Netherlands – your home country?
I’m not sure since I’ve never paddled in the Netherlands but I could imagine that the islands in the north of Holland could be pretty interesting. This is because of the current that you’ll find between the islands when the tides are changing.
Discipline: surf ski, sea kayak, canoe, SUP
Current Boats: Hobby Cat, Epic, Venture
Shaft Choices: wing paddle, wooden canoe paddle otter tale
Favourite paddling places: lake Brienz, Vierwaldstättersee, Finland
Other hobbies: all outdoor sports, climbing, biking, yoga
Favourite Food: Asian food
Favourite Drink: Beerenburg (dutch recipe for the soul)
Favourite Music: anything but national folk
Ultimate world destination to Paddle: Amazon, the Lena river going from Mongolia to the Siberian sea, west coast of Canada, Scotland and so further