A Travellerspoint blog

Day 25: Switzerland ~ Lichtenstein ~ Austria ~ Germany

Yes you read that right. We went through four countries in one day! Granted we only stopped very briefly in Lichtenstein and Austria, but still it counts! We were supposed to leave at 9 in the morning, so McCall and I went to eat breakfast earlier than usual and got all packed up so that we would be able to get our own rows on the bus. It wasn't like we didn't want to sit by each other, but the same people (cough JJ and Zach cough) would always get their own rows and it had to stop! We planned out that I would sit in the row in front of her so we could still be by and talk to each other, but we would also have lots of space (yes we really did care enough to plan this out!). So of course the one morning we were ready five minutes early to execute our plan the bus was late. We waited and waited.... 5 minutes late, ten minutes late, twenty... it was then we were told that that morning when Martin was driving the bus around he accidentally backed it into the overhang by the front entrance! So he had to go off to get a temporary fix until we got to Munich. The bus finally came about an hour after we were supposed to leave originally and by that point almost everyone was in the lobby waiting.

Luckily when we were waiting to get on I positioned myself so that I was one of the first people on the bus, snagging a row for me and the row in front of me for McCall. I thought I was in the clear too soon, for when JJ realized I was in "his" spot (exaggerated eye roll), he had to still sit there -_-. Which makes sense since the back two rows were off limits due to the broken window, but I think even if there were tons of seats open he would have still sat there just to make a point that it was "his" seat. Well, I am a very stubborn person so I refused to move to. It was fine though because it gave me an opportunity to get to know him a little better, we bonded over mutual love of the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Kansas city barbecue. Since it was a long driving day, everyone on the bud used it to get some of their assignments done- I was still working my way through Ladies Paradise (everyone's least favorite book, except me!). JJ and Catherine had this understanding where he would play a movie through his headphones, but turn on the subtitles and position it so Catherine could watch it too.

Our first stop was Vaduz, Liechtenstein! We all voted to spend like 45 minutes in the town to say we went to the country. There wasn't a whole lot to do in 45 minutes so we just used it as a bathroom break and then looked at some souvenirs in a gift shop. They were also selling passport stamps for Liechtenstein, which I thought was kind of a waste of money because you don't need to pay like 5 euro to say you went to a country! But it's whatever, I didn't judge those who did it. We could see the castle from where we were and apparently you can pay a large sum of money to rule the country for a day or something? That's pretty whack!


Since all the food was incredibly expensive, everyone opted to wait until we stopped for gas (Martin wanted to wait too) to buy food from the gas station since everything in Austria is WAY cheaper. McCall and I split the cost of a 5 euro bag of something like 10 apples- pretty good deal!

We drove for a little longer and then we got into Germany! Our next stop was the Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavaria region in Germany! There are actually two castles right by each other because this one...


was built by Ludwig II's father when he was a boy, but then when Ludwig II came to power he had the Neuschwanstein built as a recluse for himself, but he died before finishing it. At his death, the castle was opened up to the public for viewing.

^^^ in the foreground- Cat, Kayla, Claire, and Amy. Castle in the background

You can see from this picture that I took in the same spot as the one before it, just looking another direction, that they are very close! But we didn't have time to visit both, so we just went and saw the famous Neuschwanstein castle, known as the Sleeping Beauty castle because it was used as inspiration for the castle in the Disney film! We took a bus up to where there was a bridge that had a REALLY amazing view of the castle!

^^^ yes that's my own picture!

Then we made the little walk from there to the castle. It was very different from what I was expecting on the inside.... Super over-the-top. Lugwig II was also a HUGE fan of Richard Wagner, an opera composer who wrote many operas dealing with Norse mythology. So there was a lot of murals, furniture, and rooms dedicated to his operas. There was even a room made to feel like you were in a grotto with rainbow lights and an artificial waterfall (remember- this was built after electricity was discovered) featured from one of the operas. I would have pictures but we weren't allowed to take any!

We walked back down to the bus rather than take the offered bus service down the mountain and once we got on Martin's bus we were on our way to Munich!!

Our hotel in Munich, called the Arthotel, was sooooo legit!! It was full of all these cool pieces of furniture like butt chairs amongst other things! On every door was a different artsy picture- like on McCall and mine was an Andy Warhol-esque picture of Marilyn Monroe!

^^^ Part of the lobby of the hotel

^^^ from online

There was also this yellow lab that chilled in the lobby and there were a bunch of construction workers working on the bar area in the day-time, which you would think would detract from the experience of the hotel, but actually made it that much cooler!

After getting settled in, we decided to get a group together to get dinner. Everyone thought pizza sounded good so I used my "foodie" sleuthing to find somewhere good and close to us for dinner. After about five minutes of deciding, I picked this place called Pizzeria Mimmo that was only about a 15 minute walk from the hotel.


It ended up being Sean, Hugh, Hannah, Stephie, Lacey, Madeline, McCall, Megan, maybe Susan, maybe Jess, maybe Kailey (?) and I- like I've said before it's been a while and I only remember some people and that it was a fairly big group. Hugh and I decided to each order a different kind of pizza and then go halfsies between us. Stephie didn't order any pizza (a common theme for the trip haha) and instead ordered a non-alcoholic beer that she shared with everyone because it was apparently disgusting! I didn't have any because... well everyone said it was nasty and I trusted their opinions! The food took a very long time to come out (makes sense when we had like 9-11 pizzas coming for our table), which we were all getting very antsy about because the hunger was REAL. When I get hungry, I get weird! Not a good thing. There was this window to the kitchen and we were about to draw straws to see who was going to go up to the window and see if they were making our pizzas when they finally came! It was worth the wait. The pizzas were SO good! I think part of the reason was that the owners of the restaurant were from Italy, so it was real pizza.

It was a really fun dinner because with the big group of us there was lots of jokes and noise! I even got to get to know Hannah much better because before this we were always with different groups. It was great to talk to her!

After we pooled all our money together to pay (we weren't going to force the staff to break it up all on different bills!), we walked back to the hotel and get ready for bed. We all agreed that Munich seemed way nice. All the cars are ridiculously nice (I think during the entire walk back we saw like 8 cars that didn't look brand new and weren't a good make). Our first impression of munich was a good one.

Posted by cedevault 14:59 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 24: I'm on top of the world... or er... an Alp!

Hiking around Jungfrau!

We had to wake up early today. Like early, early. Like the bus LEFT at 6:30. My body was not made for this. Fortunately, the reason we were waking up early was to hike around the alps, so I wasn't upset, just incredibly tired!

^^^ Map of where we were today- see if you can follow where we went!

We took the bus to the Interlaken train station that would take us up two more stops before we reached Jungfraujoch- the top of Jungfrau. The ride was pleasant, I read The Ladies Paradise, which was one of our assigned reading books and talked to the others. The views all the way up were gorgeous. It made me feel like I was in Colorado again!


^^^ In this one you can see part of the Eiger walk we took to go into the town, Kleine Scheidegg, (from the pool of water to the cluster of buildings in the background) and the Maennlichen hike that is the path coming out of the village- this winds around until it get to the top of the Wengen cable car.

By the time we got to the top it was about an hour- an hour and a half later, and a WHOLE lot colder. When we stepped out of the train we were actually in the mountain, which meant that it was still going to get colder! We took this elevator up to the observatory area. Unfortunately it was a pretty cloudy day, so instead of being able to see the view, all we saw was clouds. There was this little store selling clothes, swiss army knives, and other things. There was this awesome sweater that was on sale that had a little swiss flag on it and said "jungfraujoch" that I was immediately drawn to. Even though it was an XL, when I put it on it was the warmest, comfiest thing ever. I asked my friends what they thought, should i get it? And of course they said yes! That was a theme throughout the entire study abroad, someone would ask "Should I buy it?" or "Should I eat it?". Yes. The answer was always yes. Haha we supported each other in whatever we did- "We're only in europe for so long", was the reasoning, basically the YOLO of study abroads. My dad is awesome and gave me swiss francs to use while in Switzerland, and since we were only staying one more night in Switzerland I figured, why not! It was something I knew I would regret forever not buying and I knew I would wear it once it got cold. So I bought it! Best purchase ever (well minus the one I got for Ross's birthday right by the Vatican city- a T-shirt that says "I <3 Papa Francesco" with the pope and an argentinean flag on it). No Ragrets. (Kudos to those who got that reference)

After making my purchase we walked out onto the "deck". Basically a metal deck that you could see the views (if there weren't clouds) and experience the mountain weather! We then walked back in, but Lauren, Catherine, JJ, and that whole group went outside again, but this time out in the snow! I threw a couple snowballs :). After sufficiently freezing ourselves we went back inside and sat on the floor by the floor-to-ceiling windows in the observatory. Martin even came and joined us and gave us these beef jerky sticks to try!

When it was time to go we piled back onto the train, but instead of going all the way back down on the train, we got off at the first stop for the Eiger walk- basically we walked from the station we got off on, to the one further down that had shops and places to eat. The walk was fun just because it had beautiful views and let us get a chance to stretch out our legs.



^^^ McCall and I posing... we really don't have any shame

^^^ I picked a mini-bouquet of wildflowers!



^^^ Some of the views on the way down

Once we got to the bigger station that had food, we ate lunch. It was a group lunch which meant that we didn't have to pay! An extra treat because everything in Switzerland is SO expensive. I got a veal sausage with hashbrown-like potatoes, but we also got to try sauerkraut! Oh my my it was delectable. Plus free ;) After lunch we went did the Maennlichen hike! We thought the views from the walk were beautiful? We had no idea! While it started drizzling a little during lunch,the clouds from the morning blew over and it was sunny- which made everything look even prettier! We ended up splitting into two groups, a faster and a slower group. In the faster group (the one I was in), there were many snowballs thrown- JJ to Zach, Zach to JJ, Zach to Tashia, Taffin to Zach and JJ, and this random man who was also doing the hike threw one at all the boys. Such fun. When we neared the end there was this alpine meadow basin that ended with a cliff down to the valley. Imagine a giant bowl shaped field that on the other side was a very VERY large drop. We stopped to wait for Dr. D and the rest of the group because we weren't sure where to go. I really wanted to see what the edge looked like, so I recruited Jessica and we set off running down the hill down the bottom of the basin. When we climbed back up the other side and saw the view... well we couldn't be selfish and keep it to ourselves! We yelled and motioned for everyone else to come down.

^^^ WHAT A VIEW!!!! Seems fake doesn't it?

We hung out down there for a while, enjoying the warm breeze coming over the ridge and admiring the view. There was this extra part coming off the edge that you can see me sitting on in the picture. Me being super adventurous, of course I had to climb out there! After I got down everyone wanted a turn on there for pictures! They did indeed make for stunning ones! I also had to give a back-rub (which not gonna lie- I'm pretty great at) because I lost a bet back in Paris. But all was well, I still had a beautiful view to enjoy! After the slower group caught up to the people that stayed behind on the trail instead of coming to join us, some of them came down to see the view as we were climbing back out of the basin. We even saw a fox running around! When we got to the top at the trail we were told to take a cable car down to the little town, Wengen. So we walked over to the cable car place (took more pictures because the view was just ASTOUNDING!

^^^ Zach, Me and Cat (different from Catherine) looking out over the valley. PC goes to McCall!

When the cable car came back up Catherine, Lauren, JJ, Tashia, Madison, Zach, Kylie, McCall, and I took it back down, and for whatever reason the rest of the group waited for the next one that was coming in 30 minutes. When we got to the bottom we found this little park that had a water fountain with a pool of water near the train station to chill out in the warm sun. Madison got cherries from the Coop right by the park and shared with everyone- so of course we had cherry stem tying contests! Soon the ground was littered with the pits because after the first bag was gone, Tashia went to get everyone a second one. Madison talked about how much she missed goldfish (she like really loved goldfish!) which got us talking about the one food that we missed eating the most. Zach and JJ started this game to see who could throw a piece of gravel from the benches we were sitting in into the water pool first, which got everyone involved! We had to buy our dinner from the Coop to eat on the bus to the hotel, so I just got some bread, some veggies and strawberries to share with the others. When the second group made their way to the park, we took the train back down to the Interlaken train station to get back on the bus. We drove to this nondescript hotel that was basically just a stop to where we were headed to the next day. We were all pretty exhausted from waking up early and hiking so we didn't stay awake too long after checking in.

Posted by cedevault 22:47 Archived in Switzerland Comments (1)

Day 23: Cheese and Chocolate- Bern

I woke up feeling completely myself, so when I went down to breakfast and had a light, simple breakfast to make sure I could keep food down before eating at the food stops we were going to! All was well. I heard of the bad night people had in Lausanne and was grateful that I didn't really miss anything.

We drove into the mountains to visit this Fromagerie d'Alpage, a cheese making place in the Gruyere region. To set up the scene, the "parking lot", pretty much just a gravelled flat area, was midway up a hill in the Alps, which had cows and sheep and goats all around it. So we hiked up to the cabin that was where they made the cheese. We saw Jean through a window making cheese- which looked like hard work, it took a lot of work and apparently he does it almost every day of his life! McCall and I both thought that the cabin-ish structure that they make the cheese in smelled like our families' cabins. It gave a very warm feeling.




After watching him work, they showed us a short film on the cow herding/ milking/ cheese making process. It had very... um... interesting music and bright costumes in it. It was pretty cool to see the long process that goes behind one wheel of cheese made. Apparently the Gruyere region gets its famous quality from the bacteria that is found in the air and the minerals in the water. And in order to label yourself as a "Gruyere" cheese maker the business needs to go through this huge long process to make it legit, otherwise the cheese maker has to label it as a different kind of cheese.

Then was the tasting! This was what everyone was most excited for, lets be honest. There were like 5 varieties of cheese and bread and water (since we don't drink!) to go with it. It was some of the best cheese I've had. The flavors were intense and smokey, yet fresh and sweet. I don't think there was a bad cheese on the platter!



We all stuffed ourselves with cheese- because you know, cheese. Until it was all gone. Then we had about 15-30 minutes to explore the farm and check out the cute little gift shop. When we loaded back onto the bus Martin put swiss alp/ yodeling music on to keep us in the Alp mood! Next stop was the Cailler CHOCOLATE FACTORY!!!! We were all psyched.

So the set up was we went through this really cool presentation/ tour that showed the history of chocolate and the history of the Cailler factory itself through cool scenes that you walked through. Overall it was a very good presentation. They also showed a mini assembly line of chocolates that you could take one at the end.



Then (the best part!) there was a room of chocolates that were there for tasting! I don't think you are exactly allowed to take them out of the room, I think they wanted you to eat them only in the room- but it never explicitly said that and it wasn't like we were taking more than our share, we only took one of each. We just didn't want to eat all of them right then! So we slipped the ones we didn't eat right away into the bags of our already purchased chocolates.

^^^ Line of chocolates to eat! Madison is choosing what she wants

^^^ In the shop area there was literally a wall of chocolate bars. Literally a dream come true. I finally knew how Charlie felt in the Wonka factory... on a much smaller scale and without all of the kids there being slowly weeded out with dangerous candy... other than that- call me Charlie!

Some interesting shenanigans happened but I won't get into them here. I was able to get so much chocolate though! I think i bought 12 bars (for friends and family) and a bag of these mini chocolates- which I still haven't even come close to finishing.

Our next stop was Bern where we first got to visit the LDS temple there! It was the first temple in Europe since Switzerland was more or less in the center. Since then many other temples have been built/ are in the process of being built. Beautiful building.


Finally we were able to check into our hotel. The hotel was pretty cool because it had a very old feel. The keys they gave us were actually keys and were quite large! After getting settled in to the rooms a group of us went to find a grocery store since all we wanted was something light since we had eaten a lot of chocolate and cheese! So we made our way to the downtown part of Bern. There was this cool clock tower that we stumbled on!


We found a store and went to get our food. McCall and I both bought premade salads and other healthy "snack" foods to take with us. We walked back with Kylie, but we stopped in H & M to buy warm sweaters for our Alp hike the next day. Of course the Durstelers were in there shopping! (We're pretty sure that they took their daughter on shopping sprees in every single place we went!). There was this one sweatshirt that was actually reasonably priced and warm that McCall and I both liked... so we both bought it! We were completely fine with matching the next day! Then we walked back to the hotel and decided to relax by watching some netflix. We turned on this movie You Again and funny story- so the dad in it is describing his new dieting strategy where he puts an eye mask on as he eats because "your brain doesn't know when it's full if it's seeing a plate of food, so you put an eye mask on to go by when your stomach is full and not by how much is on your plate. Otherwise you end up eating every last bite." The dad said this right as I was picking up the last forkful of my meal and put it in my mouth. McCall and I both looked down at the fork and started busting up laughing.

After we decided that movie wasn't very good, we switched to 10 Things I Hate About You, which McCall had never seen before! Love that movie. We went to bed somewhat early because we were waking up early in the morning for the hike!

Posted by cedevault 09:55 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Day 22: Lausanne, Switzerland

Ok so let me preface this by saying there won't be any pictures and this entry will be short because I woke up sick again in the early morning. Special shoutout to Madeline, Lacey, and McCall who helped finish packing the part of my bag that I was planning on packing in the morning and for taking care of me when I felt like absolute crap. We left shortly after breakfast to get on the road to our next stop- Lausanne Switzerland. I sat in the front of the bus and basically passed out until they stopped at a truck stop for lunch. Since I couldn't be on the bus while the bus driver, Martin, wasn't on there and he needed to get his own lunch, I had to leave. So I just sat on a bench until everyone came back and then slept until we reached one of the stops before Lausanne, the Fontenay Abbey. Martin wanted to see it, which meant that I couldn't stay on the bus. Luckily, there was a plot of grass right outside the entrance that the sun was shining down on, so I laid out, used my purse as a pillow and fell asleep until everyone came back.

Then was another drive to the town, which (you guessed it!) I slept through. When we got to the hotel I was with Zoe (?) -I can't quite remember- and Madison S. I got the single bed in the room and after they made sure I was okay, they left to find dinner. I just rested in bed and watched 21 Jump Street on Netflix (Swiss netflix is awesome!). I found out the next day that I didn't miss anything- Lausanne was very expensive for not great quality and not a lot of options. Apparently McCall had her worst meal here and left her jacket in the restaurant. So I guess my body knows when it could get sick because then I didn't have to miss the chocolate and cheese the next day!

Posted by cedevault 07:15 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Day 21: Churches on churches on churches~ Eiffel Tower

So since it was Sunday, we got to go to the Paris ward for church! It was fast sunday so it was testimony meeting for sacrament service (for those who are unfamiliar with the LDS -Mormon- faith, one sunday a month members willingly go without food for two meals and give the money they would have spent on those meals as a sort of tithe (on top of usual tithes paid)- that is the fasting part, testimony meetings are after the sacrament (the eucharist/ communion) portion where members are encouraged to share their faith before the ward (the congregation)). Anyway, so we go to church there and it was nice that they had an english translation room and even though I wish I could have heard it in French, I was able to overhear some of the french.

We left the ward after sacrament meeting (usually church has two more hours after it) and walked over to Sainte-Chappelle (pronounced San shah- pell). What was interesting about this church was it was a gothic church, like the Notre Dame, but it still had all of it's stained glass windows intact. And what glass! each section in the glass told a biblical story and each large window was a different book in the Bible.



After looking around in the chapel we headed over the Notre Dame to stand in the long, but quick moving line to get in. We learned that the goal of gothic-style cathedrals was to sort of shock and awe the peasants that would visit to see the relics that were housed there. They used the beautiful stained glass windows and the enormously tall ceilings to draw their eyes up toward heaven. Part of the awe- kind of like someone who has never been in a big city before, seeing the skyscrapers for the first time- they can't help but look up! I know even for me, who is used to skyscrapers, I was constantly tipping my head back to take it all in!

^^^ Kylie and Lauren's heads snuck in there!


There was free time for lunch, so Madeline, McCall, and I (I think it was just us? Don't really remember quite well!) walked around near Notre Dame and found the Mexican place I had to refind during the last post! It was called Mexi & Co which we loved because it was so clever! The food was actually really good for french mexican food!



Then we visited the famous Shakespeare and Co bookstore that I kept seeing on Pinterest! We spent quite a while in there- long enough to run into another group of our study abroaders! We all ended up buying a few books from there, which as book lovers was amazing!


Then it was time to go back to the church building we met in earlier in the morning to get a lecture on Mormonism in France and Europe from the stake president and bishop. It was cool to learn about how mormon history fit in with the history that we are taught in our classes. Then the stake president led us to this mosque and we got another lecture from one of the men that is high up there. Last year in my world history class I learned about the islam religion, so seeing the mosque and it being used was neat. The people there were good people, you could just tell. We had a question and answer with the man, so I asked about how people's fears with Islamic extremists has affected his daily life, and he gave a pretty profound responses. He basically said that it hasn't. He knows what he is doing makes him a good person and if he continues living his faith then people will see that and respect him for it.

We went back to the hotel after the lecture on Muslims in France to chill a bit before going to the Eiffel Tower. We almost were late to this meeting point because the way we took to get there took much longer than we thought it would bc we had to get off the metro and hop onto an actual train. Nevertheless we were still on time! A bit early even, we hung out with Catherine, Tashia, Madison, and Lauren and all them under the Eiffel tower.


They started a massage train and these two random guys joined too! We got on the lift to take us up to the 2/3 point when we realized McCall wasn't with us! Apparently her ticket fell out when her bad went through the security checkpoint so she had to wait for the next lift. The ride up was stunning because the sun was setting right as we were on our way up!



On the 2/3 point Catherine realized that she too had lost her ticket and we were all freaking out a bit bc she couldn't go to the top without her ticket! Luckily, Dr. D needed to still get the tickets to go all the way up since he had only given us tickets to get to the 2/3 point, so problem solved! The top was actually really cool. We could see for miles and miles!


^^^ me just being silly :)


when we were at the top I even started a dance party for Catherine, Lauren, Tashia, Kylie, Madison, Zach, and JJ! But then the cold and wind started getting to us and it was getting dark, which meant that they were going to do the sparkling of the Eiffel tower soon! I don't know what got into me but I was super hyper on the way down, challenging JJ to touch his nose to random strangers backs, laughing loudly, amongst other obnoxious things. But what did I care? It was my last night in Paris! We got back down in time to see the tower sparkle, which was all I cared about!


^^^ the addition to my what was supposed to be an eiffel tower selfie. Don't I look so pleased?

^^^ Catherine, me, and Lauren

Then we made our way back to the hotel (with me skipping and jumping everywhere, showing funny gifs, and again being super hyper). But we didn't go to bed just yet! We had to get crepes on our last night! I took a bite of mine exactly at midnight in Paris (move over Owen Wilson- I want to time travel next... with a crepe in hand!).

^^^ Crepes with banana and nutella make me VERY happy. JJ in the background about to order.

^^^Catherine, Lauren, and I (before I got my crepe)- I think crepes actually bring the world together. No joke.

After finishing up my crepe, I went back to the hotel room and about 15 minutes later McCall came back, and you guessed it- she also had gotten a crepe, her first one I believe! Crepes + Eiffel Tower views = happy Corinne! :)

Posted by cedevault 22:08 Archived in France Comments (0)

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