Adventures in Switzerland

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

This weekend I took a trip to Interlaken, Switzerland. This was a completely different trip compared to Rome and I had an amazing time. I was able to live in the moment and just enjoy the experience . Not only was this country unbelievably beautiful, but I gained so much appreciation for the natural beauty of this place. I had never seen such massive mountains or crystal blue lakes before, and I was in awe.

My friends and I used a group traveling company that is mainly for students studying abroad which included transportation there and back, three night accommodation, breakfast every morning and English speaking leaders with you all weekend.  We left At 9pm on Thursday by bus and returned at midnight on Sunday. We got to Switzerland at 5:00 am after a tiring bus ride and headed to sleep. This was my first time in a Hostel and I was very nervous about staying there because of all the horror stories I had heard about poor cleanliness, stealing, bedbugs, and strange roommates. However, there was not much I could do since we were already there. I checked the bed before I slept in it, took a glance around the area and it was clean enough, used a luggage lock for my bags and luckily 5 of my friends were in this 10 person room and the others where young female students like us.

In the morning my friends and I had decided that we wanted to hike one of the mountains there and our group leaders pointed us to some good trails. Luckily for us a lot of the snow and ice had melted except for in some spots that we had to be careful on. The hike up was stunning but nothing compared to the view, which  was filled with greenery, snow capped mountains and glistening lakes. The air was clean and crisp and we sat there in silence for a while just taking it in. It felt good to connect with nature, something I feel like I haven’t done in a while since Florence is a city and it was really cold back home in Massachusetts.

View from our hike.

After our little hike we decided to explore the cute little city since we were lucky enough to have a relatively warm, sunny day in Interlaken. We took in the beauty of all the unique looking homes, passing rivers and stopping at every chocolate store along the way for a sample. I couldn’t get enough of Funky Chocolate’s chocolate covered strawberries, the best I have ever had. A few hours later we headed to our dinner reservation at a highly recommended restaurant in town. We ordered the most important thing on the menu …… cheese fondue. Lets just say I will never be able to happily eat swiss cheese again without comparing it to that mouth watering pot of melted cheese. From there, we ended our night with ice skating in a really big, unique  ice rink in the middle of town. Although this proved to be a challenge for me because I could not skate, I pushed through and had a blast. I was even able to skate on my own by the end of the night and I was really proud.

Chocolate made in heaven.

Saturday morning was a big day, this was because I decided I was going to paraglide off the mountains and over the city. I woke up oddly calm for someone who had never done this before, but maybe it was because I had always wanted to do something like this. It wasn’t until the ride up that I started to get a little nervous looking at how high we were driving. We had to walk another 10 minutes upwards after we got to the top of the mountain but taking in such incredible views left me speechless. Our hostel mates had gone the day before and had warned us that when you take off to not stop running because a girl had stopped and free fell off the cliff when they had gone. Not to mention that the viral video of the hang gliding accident was taken at the same exact spot we were supposed to be taking off.

Nonetheless, I persevered. I calmed my nerves and made my instructor check my harness at least three times before we started taking off. When the time came I knew I had to not think and just run. Luckily we took off immediately because we had good wind conditions. It was surreal,  I was freaking out as I ran then the minute we started gliding in the sky my thoughts left, I couldn’t hear a thing and the calm settled over me, I was utterly speechless 3,000 feet in the sky. Interlaken means between two lakes and my view consisted of the magnificent Swiss Alps and two of the most beautiful lakes I had ever seen. It was like a different world up there and I couldn’t stop smiling as I looked all around soaking it all in.

My Instructor and I paragliding.

The rest of the weekend was spent picnicking by the lakes, getting more Swiss chocolate and sitting through our excruciating long bus ride home. This trip was so different than the last because we didn’t really do sight seeing in the terms of museums but we were able to have the most fun so far and enjoy being present in the moment. This trip will stay with me forever because I gained so much appreciation for the beauty of that country.

My roommates and I at Lake Brienz.
Pink sunset