It all began in Switzerland… European Adventure Part 1

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am so excited!!!!

I cannot wait to tell everyone all about my European adventures from Summer 2010.  As I mentioned before in the little bit of background about me, I travelled to the Dominican Republic in 2005.  It was my first real taste of international traveling… I immediately fell in love with it.  There are hardly any words to describe the delight I have in traveling.  It is this delight and love that pushed me to raise money for four years to study abroad.

Studying abroad will always be one of the best experiences of my life.  It was without a doubt unforgettable.  There were so many choices to be made in order to  study abroad– should I go for a summer, a semester, an entire year?  Where should I go?  When should I go?  Should I try to travel while I’m there, etc etc.  My mind was constantly changing on what I should do.  I finally decided that I would study in Florence, Italy for an entire month during the Summer of 2010.  Knowing that a meager four weeks would not be nearly enough for me, I recruited a travel partner [a fabulous one at that] and we planned a European excursion for the 2 weeks before the program.  I will admit that planning this trip basically consumed my life for the months prior– but it was completely worth it in the end.  I will leave our route a surprise as I recapture the experiences of the trip.  I hope you enjoy my stories, advice, and pictures [note that I did not have that great of a camera].  And as you may notice by the title… our first destination was Zurich, Switzerland.

May 16, 2010

Our plane left around 1 pm for Zurich.  Because they are 6 hours ahead, we would be landing in Switzerland around 8:30 am.  I remember being on the plane… furious because I couldn’t sleep.  Anxious to get there.  Nervous to be away from home for 6 weeks… away from family, friends, my church, and of course, boyfriend.  I remember thinking at one point, is this the right decision?  Obviously it was too late for second guesses.  I blame most of this worry on my mother [naturally] because she she is a worrier by nature [usually for good reasons].  But more likely it was sparked because at that moment I was entering an entirely different world from my own.  And while this truth is incredibly exciting, it is also equally intimidating.  I was about to go backpacking around Europe with a girl I barely knew and I was admittedly a wee bit scared.  However, all of that changed the next day…

May 17, 2010

To me, this picture is the perfect description of Switzerland and the way it makes me feel.  Completely beautiful, natural, clean, happy, lovely… basically any positive adjective that you can think of.  

Alyssa and I safely arrived in Zurich without any problems.  We were able to take a [very expensive] taxi to our hostel and check into our room several hours early.  It was nice to be able to put our stuff down, change out of our nasty airplane/airport clothing, and freshen up a bit before hitting the streets.  Alyssa and I agreed that we would not have jet lag– we knew we couldn’t afford to waste any valuable time sleeping.  So despite only getting 2 hours of sleep on the plane we made a full day of exploring the streets of Zurich together.  We grabbed a map, a coffee, some Swedish bakery treats, and were on our way.  Deciding to ramble our way into the main city, called “Old  City,” was probably one of the best decisions we made during the entire trip.  We wondered through neighborhoods, alleyways, walked along the waterside of Lake Zurich, and saw some of the most beautiful scenery we otherwise would have never seen.  Like the picture above.

Alyssa and I made a pretty great team.  We were both interested in doing and seeing the same things.  Plus, we were really able to get to know each other throughout the whole trip.  There was hardly a silent moment between us during the two weeks that we travelled and we became great friends.  I would travel with her any time, any day, any where if she asked me!

After about a 30 minute walk from the hostel we finally reached “Old City” and I think both Alyssa and I were taken back, not only by the beauty of the city, but by the realization that we were in Europe– it was super surreal.

One activity that Alyssa and I made a habit throughout the trip was climbing to a very high point in every city.  In this case one of the church steeples– Grossmünster– which is the church with the double steeples on the right.  

Once again, doing this every where we went, was absolutely amazing, and definitely worth the hike up all those stairs.  Once we got to the top we could see everything more clearly and for miles and miles.   It was amazing how the view from the top completely changed the perspective of the beautiful churches from the street.  It was so much easier to appreciate their beauty when you could see all of the architecture.  The day was absolutely perfect.  We enjoyed every second of walking around… taking it all in.  By the end of the day… after running on 2 hours of sleep… we were exhausted.  I think we both fell asleep by 9:30 pm.  It was the most incredible day to start our adventures and it really set the stage for the rest of our trip.

Keep a look out for Day 2 of my fantastic adventures in Europe coming soon!!

Bethany

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