Adventures in Switzerland: Lausanne

Ciao!

The city of Lausanne, Switzerland is actually where I stayed throughout my trip, so I spent the most time here. Lausanne is located on Lake Geneva and is a French-speaking city in Vaud filled with beautiful architecture, hills, and gorgeous views. It was a 23 minute bus ride into the city from where we were staying, so I got to know the city quite well. Unfortunately it was foggy everyday and I couldn’t even see the mountains..

The part of Lausanne that touches Lake Geneva:

DSC01743.JPG

I’ve never seen a building with a patterned roof?

The historic part of town looked totally different from the rest of the city. The streets were uneven and the city almost felt like it was built in layers. It felt very different from Italy and anywhere I’ve been so far. The buildings looked very French to me, so it felt like visiting two countries in one. It also reminded me of Germany, so it was an like a giant combination of several countries.

DSC01775

DSC01784

French-style buildings are my favorite.

DSC01799.JPG

DSC01812.JPG

DSC01789

Inside the Lausanne Cathedral

DSC01804

Even their vines are pretty..

Lausanne is also where I tried cheese fondue for the first time! It was a bit pricey, but I suppose a normal price for a meal for the Swiss.. I didn’t expect the cheese to be soooo good, however. I have never eaten so much cheese and bread in one sitting.

Next stop: Geneva!

Ciao!

-MEO

 

Adventures in Switzerland: Gruyères

Ciao un’altra volta! Here is the next stop on my Swiss adventure:

DSC01679

Gruyères:

I spent half a day in the small medieval town of Gruyères after visiting Broc. Gruyère cheese is named after this town, and this cheese was being sold everywhere here. These people really like their cheese. Apparently its used in fondue also. Pretty important cheese.

DSC01690

I had the best views here because there was finally one day without fog!

My favorite part of the trip: walking up an 82 meter hill to see a castle, then discovering a secret mountain village on top. HOW IS THIS REAL!?

DSC01697

DSC01708

Secret mountain village filled with Christmas decorations of course!

DSC01714

I took so many photos from on top of the hill that I struggled to choose the best ones to post..never have I seen mountains so large.

DSC01724

My favorite picture from Switzerland.

DSC01733

DSC01742

Vegetable soup and fresh bread to escape the cold for a bit.

Next stop: Lausanne!

Ciao!

MEO

Adventures in Switzerland: Montreaux and Swiss Chocolate

Ciao!

I recently took a 6 day trip to Switzerland, since there was an Italian holiday and no school. This is the longest trip I’ve taken all semester, so I was pretty excited to have time to enjoy Switzerland and take my time. It’s pretty stressful to get in and out of a country in like two days, so this was a nice change. I only traveled to and around Geneva, so I stayed in the French-speaking part of Switzerland the whole time.

DSC01634

Since I had so much time there, I was able to take the train to multiple cities. Of course there was SO MANY Christmas markets, so enjoy my countless photos of lights and trees.

Montreaux:

DSC01583

View of Lake Geneva from Montreaux

The Christmas markets were huge, but also very expensive. Correction: all of Switzerland is VERY expensive. I thought that London was expensive..until I came here.

DSC01612

Chateau de Chillon

I finally got to see a castle! It felt like it was straight out of a fairy-tale with the water around it and the forest nearby. Definitely worth the walk.

DSC01609

Broc:

Broc is a little town in the mountains, and here I toured the Cailler chocolate factory. They explained how chocolate became popular in Europe and it was actually really interesting, because I have a chocolate addiction. Cailler chocolate is Switzerland’s oldest chocolate brand still in existence today. And it was good chocolate.

DSC01659

At the end of the tour, there were rows and rows of chocolate to sample! I think we were meant to choose a few to try, but my friends and I sampled every flavor of course! Free chocolate. Mmmm. Never before in my life have I thought “I cannot look at one more piece of chocolate” until after this tour.

In my next blog post I will include the other 3 cities I visited in Switzerland!

Ciao!

-MEO

Getting into the Christmas Spirit in Germany

Ciao!

As the end of my adventure comes closer, I am filled with the bittersweet knowledge I will be heading back to the States soon. However, in this past month I have done more traveling than I’ve done in my entire life! A day after coming home from Barcelona, I spent a three days in Cologne, Germany then I spent 6 days traveling around Switzerland. My favorite part about Germany and Switzerland both is…the Christmas markets! As much as I don’t like the cold (who does?), I found that it really makes the atmosphere even more Christmas-y.

Germany:

DSC01358

Market in Cologne

DSC01357

So many handmade trinkets and ceramics!

DSC01369

DSC01420

Hot chocolate..with a bit of Bailey’s because Germany loves alcohol.

DSC01418

The market near the Cologne Cathedral

DSC01477

This was so beautiful..ice skating at one of the Christmas markets!

DSC01474

Old Town Cologne

 

Besides for the Christmas markets, I also explored the rest of the city. I think if I could’ve chosen any other country to study abroad in it would have been Germany. Not to mention the German language sounds so unique and different from the smooth Italian I’m used to, so it was a nice change. Navigating the city was difficult–I couldn’t remember the names of any of the stops on the metro, let alone street names.

However, I now know how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in German. I would say I’m almost fluent!

 

As far as the German food goes, I definitely enjoyed eating bratwursts again! Pretzels were everywhere as well. The best thing: Germany loves meat just as much as America.

DSC01458

I’m so in love with these colors..

DSC01376

Cologne Cathedral. Even more breathtaking in person.

Ciao!

MEO

 

10 Observations of Barcelona

Ciao!

I have gotten quite behind on my blogging because I’ve been traveling a lot this month. Not to mention when I come home from a big trip I have to cram all my homework and studying in from the past week…the life of a student.

DSC01214

Flying still makes me excited.

A week and a half ago I got to jet off to Barcelona for 4 days. It’s funny that when I sat down with some friends at the beginning of September to plan this trip, it was hard to believe I was actually going. It seemed ages away.

I have to say that Barcelona was not somewhere I planned on going, mostly because I didn’t know much about it. But, hey, the flight was 35 euros round trip and I’m on a college student’s budget (can I just throw in that Ryanair is unbelievably cheap? Like, question the safety of your flight, cheap. If you don’t know what Ryanair is you must be living under a rock. Just kidding– it is a super cheap budget airline that goes to most of the major cities in Europe and is notorious for their bad customer service. As long as you don’t expect much from them, you can get really affordable flights to anywhere. I’m always tempted to just skip class and hop on one of those 10 euro weekday flights I see…). Either way, I’m always down for seeing a new country.

Here is a general summary of my short time in Barcelona–with a list, of course. Because I really like making lists.

My Observations of Barcelona:

  1. It is NOT always warm in Spain. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I thought it had to be warmer than Italy. It actually felt way cooler because there was this horrible thing called wind! Italy doesn’t have wind.
  2. After spending the last few months in Italy and spending 8 hours a week in Italian class, my three years of high school Spanish was almost completely gone. Luckily, my friend is fluent in Spanish.
  3. The most important part: the food. Barcelona is known for their seafood, so I tried some seafood paella (paella is this delicious rice dish with spices and all kinds of seafood that is popular in Spain).
DSC01258

Seafood Paella

DSC01223

Tapas! Patata Bravas and some fried chicken thing that had a really long Spanish name. Tapas are a Spanish delicacy in which you try several small portions of different foods.

4. Go to Barcelona when it’s not November so you can enjoy the beach! Although I was kind of confused by the amount of men in underwear running in and out of the water..it around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

DSC01271

DSC01276

DSC01266

5. Gaudi architecture is pretty weird unique. You can tell he loved the beach.

DSC01234

Casa Batlo

DSC01240

Casa Mila

6. La Sagrada Familia (still under construction).

DSC01243DSC01249

7. Barcelona is located in the region of Catalonia. In Catalonia they speak Catalan, not Spanish! Although it is similar, its still not the same as Spanish. I found it interesting that in the airport the signs were in English, Spanish, and Catalan..complicated.

8. The market near La Rambla (the most famous street of Barcelona) was a good find. I would love to just pick the whole market up and move it home. Fruit was super cheap and fresh. I’ve never seen fruit that fresh and cheap in Ohio. There was fresh spices, chocolates, gifts, fresh juice, and…empanadas.

DSC01335

DSC01336

DSC01333

DSC01331

9. When I came to Italy, I had to adjust to the fact that Italians stay up later. They eat dinner at 9 pm and then stay out late. Spain is on a whole new level. Lots of restaurants serve dinner at midnight and the young people come home from their night out at maybe 6 am. This is a normal thing here. That is why they take a siesta, I guess..

10. And one last random fact that you probably don’t care about– Barcelona is the place for UK citizens to come on holiday. I was told this before, but I encountered more British people here than I did in London! I also did not meet one person actually from Barcelona. It was truly a mix of people from around the world.

Ciao a tutti!

MEO

DSC01263