Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lausanne, Switzerland Travel Guide

I just spent my weekend in the capital of the Olympics, Lausanne, Switzerland!

What a beautiful city!
Right on Lake Geneva with a beautiful view of the Alps.

My friends and I took a beautiful train ride through the countryside and mountains Friday morning directly into Lausanne, Switzerland.

After checking in, to our very nice four-star hotel, in the center of the little city, Hotel Alpha-Palmiers, we walked a mile to the lake and spent the day walking along Lake Geneva.
It was very cloudy in the morning and we couldn’t even see to the other side of the lake. But when we were at a crêperie for lunch, overlooking the lake, the sky broke and we could actually see the mountains on the other side! It was one of the prettiest things I have ever seen.
So relaxing and so peaceful.

After spending the whole day walking along the lake and seeing the little town, we walked all the way back up the mountain, snuggled in bed and went to Blackbird Diner for dinner!
Our server was actually from New Jersey! Such a small world!
I had a delicious avocado, chipotle mayo chicken burger, for a mere price of 23 Swiss Francs...
That meal was the indicator that our relaxing weekend in Switzerland would be anything but cheap...

Saturday was rainy and cold all day.
Our first activity was climbing to the top of the mountain and going to visit Lausanne’s Cathedral.
Very beautiful, because what cathedral with stained glass isn’t?
I learned that Lausanne was actually originally a fortified city when the Celtics controlled the city.

After our adventure up the mountain we trekked down the mountain and went to the Olympic Park and museum!
I was so excited to visit the Olympic museum because I LOVE the Olympics!
I have so much spirit and pride for team USA! Every time the Olympics are on, I mark in my calendar when my favorite events like swimming or gymnastics or track or skiing is on TV and I religiously watch and cheer on team USA!

I loved this museum. We were enjoying it so much that we stayed in there for 3 hours! It was a beautiful and well-designed museum and I would 100% recommend going if you ever happen to stumble upon Lausanne.

The Olympics originally started in Ancient Greece. Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin in 1894 made the Olympic Games international.
He created a sense of unity and international love in the world. Every four years for 16 days, the world puts aside their political difference and compete in sporting events while representing their countries.

During WWI, Coubertin moved the Olympic committee from Paris to Lausanne, Switzerland because of Switzerland’s neutrality.

Since his amazing revival of the games, countries have been really able to put aside their differences to compete. It is remarkable.
Germany during the 1956 games was divided but the west and east were unified under one Olympic team. 
By 2012 every country had sent a woman athlete.

It warms my heart that countries that hate each other and have so many problems can put aside their differences and have a friendly competition.

This museum has many Olympic torches and costumes from opening ceremonies and uniforms from many teams throughout the years of the Olympics. The famous runner, Usain Bolt’s sneakers are in the museum, as well as Lindsey Vonn’s helmet, Michael Phelps’ bathing suit and many other gold medalists’ uniforms.

By far one of my favorite museums. They had videos of all the filmed Olympics that you could watch, and we watched a lot, as well as a montage of all the opening ceremonies.
Coolest museum ever!

For dinner we went to Caffe Bellini, a very delicious Italian restaurant that was recommended to us by a friend of ours who is on our Dijon program and happens to live in Lausanne!
After dinner we went home to our hotel, ate our delicious Swiss chocolate that we bought and made our way in the freezing rain to Buzz Club!
There was no cover charge, but very expensive drinks but it was super fun!
It felt so good to dance and let loose!
It was a very fun way to end our weekend in Lausanne!


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Frankfurt, Germany

This past weekend I adventured to Frankfurt, Germany all by myself to visit some of my cousins!
I had only met some of these cousins one time when I was really little, and once I knew I was going to be studying abroad in Europe, I knew I had to see them again!

I took a five-hour TGV to Frankfurt from Dijon!
Trains in Europe are so nice! I got all my homework done and it was so easy and fast.
My cousins picked me up at the train station and took me out for some really amazing German food!
I had 
wiener schnitzel with the famous Frankfurt green herb sauce and the even more famous German apple wine! 
It was way better than the food I had at Oktoberfest!

Frankfurt is a gorgeous city! My cousins showed me around the small city on Friday.
I learned that it used to be the crowning city for all the kings of Germany, but now it is a huge banking town. Every major bank and consulting firm is in Frankfurt.
It is a very wealthy city with very beautiful people and expensive shopping.
Frankfurt actually has the tallest building in all of Europe and the 3rd largest airport in all of Europe.

After spending Friday with my cousins, we took the autobahn, talk about frightening- no speed limit- to visit more of my cousins on the outskirts of Frankfurt.
A very emotional visit but a very sweet one.

Saturday, we went to two castles on the outside of Frankfurt! Y’all know how much I love castles (read my Val de Loire blog post here!)
The first castle was in Hannu and is in the home town of the Grimm brothers!

The second castle was a medieval castle on top of the world!
I had a beautiful panoramic view of the countryside and the town that was down below it.

What a beautiful country Germany is! I am so glad I got to visit a second time and that I actually got to see the country as a posed to just drinking away my time in Germany like the first time I was in Germany three weeks ago at Oktoberfest.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Back for Another Weekend in Paris

Last weekend, my friends and I took a TGV to Paris! An hour and a half train from Dijon straight to Paris, the capital of the world.
Every time I go back to Paris I fall in love with it a little more.
On the train ride there, we rode in first class. It was so luxurious.
It was even nicer that we had wine class before we got on the train, so the train ride felt even nicer.

The train went right into Gare de Lyon where I met up with EMILY!

Our weekend in Paris had commenced!

Our Airbnb was in the 15tharrondissement, 3 miles from the Eiffel Tower. It was very clean and in a very nice neighborhood.
There was a hospital right next door and had two metro stops each a 10-minute walk from our door step.
That night we went to a brassier for dinner and watched the end of the Paris soccer game. This was the first of many times that Emily was impressed with my language skills!
It was so nice to catch up and hang out after so many months apart! (The last time I had seen her was back in August in Boston.)

The next morning, we picked up our 2-day Paris Museum Passes at the town hall, in the 4tharrondissement, to start our adventure! These passes are totally worth the money! 
I raved all about them in my last Paris blog post because there are the best! For one price and for a set number of days you have unlimited access to any museum or building in Paris AND the best part is you get to CUT THE LINE!
We were only in Paris for the weekend, so we had limited time, thus we couldn’t afford waiting online for hours to get into museums. 

Our first stop after getting our passes was to visit Notre Dame cathedral. I told Emily all about the architecture and officially became her personal tour guide for the weekend.
After explaining Gothic Flamboyant architecture, our next stop was the Musée D’Orsay, only after walking alongside the Seine. 

I was really excited to go to the Musée D’Orsay because I love Impressionism paintings. We are currently taking an art class and I was so excited to see all the paintings we are currently learning about. 
Unfortunately, when we got to the museum, half of the Impressionism exhibit was closed! I was really sad, but I still got to see some of them!
And don’t worry, I didn’t have to wait on line because I had my Paris Museum Pass! There was also not a lot of tourists in Paris this weekend anyway, so it wasn’t too crowded!

Maybe a little cringe moment for any Frenchman but Emily and I had Chipotle for lunch in the 5tharrondissement…
She was dying for some American food, so we settled on Chipotle. But after lunch we made up for our lack of “Frenchness” and grabbed two bottles of wine and had a little picnic at the Eiffel Tower. 
I have decided this is my favorite thing to do in Paris! It was so fun and so relaxing.
I also could look at the Eiffel Tower for DAYS!
We got a little tipsy, bought some baguettes and cheese for a little before dinner snack at home that we devoured!!

For dinner Friday night, Emily and I met up with Kate, Victoria and some friends from Wake that are studying in Barcelona at this amazing Italian restaurant, L’issolot.
 I ate so much cheese before dinner I felt so sick and couldn’t eat any of the pasta even though I was craving some good carbs.

After dinner, Emily and I were very French and sat along the Seine and watched the boats with a glass of wine.

J Crew factory white bow shirt | Mango denim jacket | American Eagle high waisted burgundy jeggings | Tory Burch double  pearl earrings | Tory Burch gold logo bangle | RayBan classic aviators | Sperry classic boat shoes

We slept in Saturday morning and went to the Louvre, Jardin de Tuileries, the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe.
I finally got a picture with the Arc de Triomphe! It only took me three times to visit Paris to get one, but I finally did!

For dinner, Emily and I found this sushi place right around the corner from our Airbnb in the 15tharrondissement.

After dinner we grabbed some more wine, another baguette and another wheel of cheese and took it to the Place de Vendome, a beautiful overlook spot of the Eiffel Tower. 
We sat for an hour munching, drinking and listening to live music.
We even stayed to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle twice! Every hour, for five minutes it sparkles. It is one of the most beautiful things ever. 

After chilling at the Eiffel Tower, we went to le Pechoir Marais, the roof top bar that we went to three weeks ago when we first came and met up with six girls from Wake that are studying in Vienna! I was so so so happy to see them, and it was so fun.
It was so nice to see Lauren, my future roomie and fellow Kappa Delta for a night!

The line to get into the bar was long, but so worth it! We enjoyed every minute of being on the roof.
I had a glass of sauvignon blanc, my favorite wine, and sat and stared at the Eiffel tower sparkle for the last time at midnight.
After midnight all the lights on the Eiffel Tower shut off completely and it is so sad looking.

After roof top drinks, Emily and I met up with my friends from the Dijon program for bar hopping in the 4tharrondissement. 
We went dancing at this Irish pub, had some good drinks, and was surrounded by good company.

We went home at the crack of dawn, slept for a couple of hours, packed up our stuff and left our Airbnb.
The only downside to staying in an Airbnb is that you can’t leave your stuff there, so I had to lug around my overpacked Vera Bradley duffel all day until our five o’clock train ride home.
Fortunately, we did find a Starbucks and were able to do some school work before grabbing lunch and saying goodbye :( .

Another amazing weekend in Paris! Maybe I will return for a third time before heading home to the states? Who knows!

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