This past week was midterm break for SACI students, so my friends and I decided to go on a whirlwind tour of Europe. We planned it all ourselves, and we went to four countries in ten days: Switzerland, Holland, Ireland, and Denmark. It was A LOT, so I’m breaking it up into multiple blog posts.
We got to the Florence airport super early on Friday, flew to Rome to switch planes (my friends almost missed the plane), and flew to Zurich. My first impression of Switzerland was people handing out free Swiss chocolate samples at the train station. Pretty amazing. I’ve dreamed of Swiss chocolate since I found out it was a thing.
We first went to the Design Museum, where we saw an exhibition of Steve McCurry’s photography! His work is incredible, featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine and such. This museum had a lot of interactive exhibits and was really interesting.
Next, we took a walk around Zurich, visiting churches and enjoying the fall foliage that we missed in tree-less Florence. We also saw a man get hit by a tram right in front of us, but people helped him, and he was able to walk away.
The next day, we took a day trip to Lucerne by train. We stopped in the tourist office to get tickets and a map, rode the ferry across the lake, and rode a train up Mt. Rigi that went up a 45 degree incline. The views of the Swiss Alps were absolutely incredible! We walked around the summit and then took a nice nap in the grass. It was amazing. The pictures don’t come close to doing it justice.
Views from the train:
We took the train down to a different stop, where we walked along a trail that also had an old mini golf course along it.
We then explored Lucerne for a bit until we had to catch our train back to Zurich. We got to see the Dying Lion of Lucerne, which is a very famous sculpture that even Mark Twain wrote about. It is a monument to all the Swiss soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the French Revolution. I’d wanted to see it for a long time, and it exceeded my expectations. It was huge and beautiful, and so full of emotion. Even the rock in which it was carved contributed to the piece; it looked like arrows flying through the sky, and if you look closely you’ll see a broken one in the lion’s side. The whole scene was magnificent.
We had a flight the next morning at the crack of dawn, and there were no trains that would get us to the airport in Basel on time, so we took a train that night to the airport and planned to sleep there. We found out when we got there (around 9 pm) that the airport closes at night, so we couldn’t get through security, because no one was there. Instead of sleeping in the lobby then, my friend’s mom got us a hotel room nearby. It was possibly the nicest hotel I’d ever been in, and I wish I could have stayed there for more than five hours. We had to get up super early the next morning to fly to Amsterdam, so we relished the short amount of sleep in the nice, clean, comfy bed. I felt spoiled, knowing the rest of the week would be spent in cheap hostels. Our fall break was off to quite an eventful start!