SWITZERLAND!

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The next day, we had our 6 hour train ride (yes, we’re pretty used to this whole train thing now) to Geneva, Switzerland.  I’ve now officially been to more countries (US, Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, England, Belgium, Vatican City, Monaco, and Switzerland) than states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Arizona, Florida, and Michigan for a day). I’m not including being in airports though (I’ve been to Germany’s airport, and also in DC, Texas, New York, Ohio, and other airports in the US and I’m about to land in Boston right now…which I could stay). I really think the US should have more passenger trains because it’s so easy to get around here. Life would be so much easier just taking a train to Milwaukee to go to Summerfest or to see Kelso. I slept the entire way there while B looked out at scenery and listened to music…for six hours straight. She still doesn’t know how she did that.  When we arrived, we had to switch our euros to swiss francs (okay Switzerland okay, too good for the Euro?) Basically, everything there was so expensive.

Geneva may  be the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Our hostel was really close to Lake Geneva or Lac Leman in French.  The lake was the bluest blue, and was perfect with mountains surrounding it. It’s the definition of breathtaking. Don’t worry, Tony, Lake Shishebogama will forever be my favorite and the most beautiful lake in my mind (aka my lake where my cabin is).

That night, we really didn’t know what to do so we got food and found a beach volleyball tournament right next to the lake. I’ve never actually seen beach volleyball like that in person, so it was really cool. The next day we vowed to return to see the men play. After, we got back to our hostel and we shared our room with some older women. Three of which came back after we were in bed and made quite the noise. I didn’t care, but the other sole lady seemed to care. There m  was a music festival going on nearby so we heard maybe the weirdest French music ever. This included French rap and French heavy metal. I couldn’t stop laughing at it, really.

The next day, we were to have a tour of Geneva. Of course, we went to the wrong meeting place and missed the bus. We found the tour guide office though and got them to let us go the next day. This was totally a Nikki Bianca move, oops. Oh well, we had extra time to go to the Chillon Castle in Montreux. When we were walking, a police officer stopped to tell me that I needed to put on sunscreen because I was really burnt. Thank you, kind sir. After, we hopped on a train (that happened to be free, yay us!) that was an hour long on the shores of the lake.  Montreux had their Jazz Festival going on at the same time; so many tents were set up along the lake. Who needs Summerfest when you have this? Wycelf Jean was even playing that night, damn too bad we didn’t go. Green Day was playing the next day….tempting to go see them twice in Europe. I then ate my last crepe of my voyage (crying inside) and we headed on a boat ride to the castle.

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It is a must to someday take a boat on Lake Geneva guys. It’s beautiful. The castle is RIGHT on the lake. Like literally built on a rock on the lake. And then, there are mountains behind it and in front of it. Literally picture perfect. We first walked to a little beach next to castle and sat on rocks and took classic scenery pictures. After, we went inside the castle, and found wifi so I actually got to snapchat from a cool place in Europe. I can’t believe how American Teenager that sounds… The castle started out being just a fortress, but was added on over the years. This time, we didn’t splurge on an audio guide, but we found free videos to watch around the castle to learn more about its history. After our visit, we took the boat back to the train station where we headed back to Geneva. Back in Geneva, we decided to head to the English Gardens. Geneva is known as being a very green city, with twice as many trees as people. There, we bought some souvenirs, and also found the flower clock.

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Then, we watched some more beach volleyball. This time, it was men’s, to our luck. I’m officially men’s beach volleyball’s newest fan. I’m pretty sure B & I acted like fifth graders gawking over them…our bad. Oh, and I got my first cowboy hat. In Switzerland. Makes sense. Just reppin’ Amurica everywhere we go. It was free guys, don’t worry.

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Back at the hostel, we found new roommates. Who were old. Like old women. I don’t think they got the memo it was a YOUTH hostel. It was only 10 pm and they were passed out. One lady even groaned when I opened the door to get ready for bed. Sorry lady, it wasn’t even quiet hours yet. Anyways, when we got to bed, the crazy French bands were playing again. And one old lady just wasn’t having it. She got all mad and decided to shut the window, even though it was SUPER HOT in the room. So three minutes later, a different younger lady opened the window and the older lady had a HISSY FIT. It was hilarious hearing her get so upset in French though. She was like, “I HAVE TO WORK IN THE MORNING!” Okay, honey, you really shouldn’t stay in a youth hostel then. They may or may not be loud. Still, it was hilarious.

The next day, we made it to our tour on time! Yay us! We went on a bus tour of the city, and we got to see many international buildings, like the UN and the Red Cross (la Croix Rouge). Of course, since I learned about all these organizations in my international relations class, I kind of sorta flipped out. Sorry nerdy Nikki alert. The Red Cross was created in Geneva, so it was really awesome to actually see the headquarters building. After, we got on a train to see the old part of town, which included churches and pretty architecture. It wasn’t anything too spectacular, but still super pretty. It reminded me a lot of Brussels.

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After, Bianca and I got some food and watched…I’ll let you guess…even more beach volleyball! We headed to the beach on Lake Geneva, and we layed out for a while…until I had the strong urge to go jump off the swim raft. It really  made me miss my cabin. They then opened the jump towers. The tallest one was SUPER SUPER TALL. Like, a lot taller than you’d think. But, of course we had to do it. After a few minutes of debating, I jumped off of it. And yes, the fall was as long as it seemed. But, it was AWESOME. May have been one of the most fun things I’ve done here. I’m pretty sure it was the highest thing I’ve jumped off of. But don’t worry mom, a lifeguard was watching us. We made friends with a British girl who was too scared to jump off of the jump platforms, so we helped her jump in. There were these little British boys (who now live in France, so they would speak both languages) who were hilarious. They thought we were Austrailian and tried to scare us when we attempted to jump off. The best part was when they would jump, they would say, “HOOT HOOT BANANA!” super loud. No idea what that means, but I couldn’t stop laughing. After Bianca got hit on by a creepy older dude (he told her she was beautiful and classy, I think it was the cowboy hat), we left to go lay out some more. Which by the way I regret doing that because I got burnt. My legs hurt SO bad that night. Don’t you worry though, I’m fine now.  PS: We’ve gotten so many compliments on our cowboy hats that it’s hilarious. True American spirit I guess.

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When we went back to the hostel to pick up our bags, we accidentally got my converter stuck in the wall and had to leave it there…oopsie poopsie. We then got on the three hour train ride back to Paris. We didn’t have our keys anymore to our host mom’s apartment, so we couldn’t get in. We also didn’t know the code. So we tried calling “Caroline” over and over again. Then we called and texted her. No response yet…So Bianca decides to go into the parking area where someone had just opened the gate to see if there was a way in the back. Unfortunately, she got stuck in the gate…oopsie poopsie again. Of course that would only happen to us. Luckily, Caroline finally popped her head out of the window and led Bianca out and gave us the code to get in. I was in so much pain from my burns that I just crashed and decided to pack in the morning while Bianca packed as I slept our last night in Paris.

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Posted on July 9, 2013, in Study abroad, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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