There are not many good things about being sick abroad. Yesterday morning I felt extremely ill and went to the doctor discovering that I had multiple issues that needed to be treated. So, for the last few days I’ve been bed ridden and on meds. Sounds like a great time while abroad in Italy right? I’m sure you can almost hear the sarcasm in my voice in the previous sentence. One thing is for sure, not many people can say they went to the doctor’s office in Florence that has a window overlooking the Duomo right? On a positive note, being sick has allowed me to catch up on rest and has even given me time to blog, as you can see. Last weekend (before I became ill) I took on the Swiss Alps and traveled to Switzerland. I stayed at the Pepperdine house in Lausanne, Switzerland for three nights. I traveled to Vevey, Montreux, and hiked the Swiss Alps in Leysin. The weekend was wonderful: visiting a new country and city, and hiking the Swiss Alps, like I have always dreamed of doing since I was a child.
I left the Florence S.M.N. train station by myself on Thursday night and headed towards Milan. From Milan, I took a train straight to Lausanne. My train ride to Milan was quite uneventful but my trip to Lausanne was a little different. I had an assigned seat on my train to Switzerland and sat next to a man, maybe in his early 40s, whom I soon found out was from France. One thing I have learned while studying abroad in Europe is that the social rule in America that says not to talk about religion or politics in public definitely does not exist here in Europe. The Frenchman immediately began talking to me about Obama, politics, religion, philosophy, theology, and world problems, when he learned I was from America. He talked, and talked, and talked. His worldview was quite interesting; I thought our conversations made my trip fascinating. He informed me that he worked for the French government and he told me about his prediction about the downfall of America. It was not a very heavy conversation at all (again, sarcasm). Eventually I began to work on some homework and he then began to read. I then met a few other travelers from Canada and talked with them for a bit. It was quite interesting talking to people around my same age who lead completely different lives than me. The two boys told me about their 12 hour, 7 days per week work shifts they have back in Canada. I was shocked that they literally live to work, here in Italy I’ve adopted the mentality of working to live and enjoying life instead of vice-versa. The conversation with the two Canadian boys reminded me of how blessed I am to be living and traveling abroad for eight months.
I arrived in Lausanne around 11:00pm and my friend Lacye picked me up from the station and led me to her Pepperdine campus. The next morning, Friday morning, we set out to Montreux where we explored markets and walked along Lake Geneva to a darling castle, it was a pleasant afternoon. For lunch, I had Indian food, which was a lovely change after all of the pasta and bread here in Italy. After Montreux, we headed to Vevey where we explored the little city, ate local Swiss chocolate, and I saw the “Fork”. The “Fork” is a huge, literal fork in the middle of Lake Geneva; you can see a picture below. We watched the sunset on the lake and enjoyed the cool, crisp air. I was excited I finally got to wear my coat! We took a train back to Lausanne, where we went to a traditional Swiss restaurant and shared fondue. I do not typically eat fondue, but it was fresh, from a local farm, and was a wonderful experience that allowed me to truly experience the Swiss culture. After dinner, Lacye, a few other students and I explored the city and hung out around town. It was a great night. Friday night I was also notified that I received acceptance into a competitive internship program for this summer in Washington, DC. It has been a dream/goal of mine to intern in DC and for this entire upcoming summer I will be living and interning in the U.S. Capital, which something I am definitely looking forward to!
Saturday morning we got up quite early and headed back over to the train station where we took a train to Leysin. As we headed up the mountain in the train we headed into an adorable winter wonderland. The adorable mountain villages were glistening with snow, the crisp air felt cooling against my skin, and the refreshing mountain air smelled of newly fallen snow. When we went to a tourist station a man warned us that we were “ill prepared” for hiking through the snow-filled mountains in our simple tennis shoes, but I was not worried. Lacye and I headed up the mountain around 11:30am and the beautiful snow covered mountaintops overtook me with their beauty. The hike was fairly up hill, but was not very difficult. The entire hike was filled with picturesque views that made up for the discomfort of my wet, cold feet as I walked through the calf-high snow.
The Swiss Alps were striking. When we made it to the top of the mountain we were surprised to find a huge, glass, rotating building that we later found out was a restaurant. We went inside the restaurant, warmed up and drank hot coco, it was the perfect end to a gorgeous hike. After we headed down the mountain, we took a train back to Lausanne. We went to the gorgeous cathedral, down to the lakefront, and had falafel for dinner. On returning back to campus, I talked and caught up with various friends and had a great night talking with everyone. My friend McKenna walked me to the train station in the morning where I had a very restful train ride back to Florence. My weekend was wonderful; I know I hardly scratched the surface of such a gorgeous country. I cannot wait to return to Switzerland again someday! This weekend I have a trip to Barcelona planned which should be wonderful. The only issue being if I do not get better soon, I will be unable to go. I will continue to rest up and hopefully make my flight to Barcelona tomorrow night! Until then, to sleep I go.
Stay true, live justly, and always travel on. Peace and love.