Last time I wrote, back in the end of March, I was just starting my Easter Holidays. My situation was kind of unique at Lancaster because all of my lectures and seminars finished in the Lent term, and then we had Easter break, and then we had Summer term. I know some other people (e.g. the maths department) still had lectures for another 4 week after I (business major) was done. When we were back, each of my classes had a revision session, where the lecturer did an overview of the whole course and bulletpoints for study for the exam (side note: either all or 75% of my lecturers had PhD’s, but they were SO cool, I never worried about feeling stupid when I talked to them)
Before I made it to Europe, I did a little more sightseeing around England with my boyfriend and his family.
Forbury Park in Reading:
Steeple Ashton, the village where my oldest ancestor was born in 1608:
Avebury, site of the Great Henge:
Stonehenge, which we didn’t pay to see because the gate didn’t prevent us from seeing it, so why bother?:
Then I did the typical study-abroad thing and traveled around Europe (the English don’t understand how we Americans have that much time/money). I met up with Meg, my best friend from middle/high school, like I had planned to, and we had 10 days on the continent, travelling from France to Switzerland and then Austria. We spent a week in France, and a day and a half each in the others. We discovered a lot of things about traveling by ourselves as young female adults, and we enjoyed spending loads of time together. I wish I had packed my rucksack lighter
Eiffel Tower through the train window. We did take a special trip out to see this, even though we had been discouraged from it, and OH BOY it was so worth it! It’s so big! Also, I ran into someone else from GW while I was there!!!!!!!!:
Other notes about Paris:
Also, Mona Lisa was worth it as well- I kept hearing people say that it wasn’t very big and it wasn’t all that great, but it’s a normal sized painting and it IS pretty great. So go see that if you happen to be in the Louvre. The queue might be intimidating but it goes quickly.
Eat lots of Nutella crepes. They’re a great comfort food.
We stopped by the Luxembourg gardens because we were exhausted and it was a very welcome reprieve (and shockingly big).
Sacre Couer was right at the top of our hostel and I highly recommend the hostel as well as climbing up to the top (ignoring the peddlars who try to trap you into buying what they want you to). Try to do it on a clear day though.
Arc de Triomph was not worth it. There’s not a lot to see and the shops are super expensive around there too- so don’t expect to buy anything if you’re on a $500 budget for 2 weeks.
Overall we really liked Paris. It was a struggle to communicate in other parts of France, and thus we really enjoyed the touristy stuff.
St. Malo is not a town we were supposed to stay the day in, but we accidentally missed the bus out to Mont St. Michel and so we were stuck there with nothing planned. The old city was quaint, and we enjoyed the safety in large numbers principle because the other streets that were deserted creeped us out:
Chateau D’If was pretty and calming and safe after us being a little shaken by some near-misses. And we enjoyed the ocean:
In Nice, we didn’t have anything planned and so we just randomly walked around. We happened upon “The Chateau” with its beautiful panorama and miniature city:
On one of our marathon train rides, which is all we saw of Geneva (no time to layover):
The Bern LDS Temple, where my parents were married 25 years ago, was once the only LDS temple in all of Europe:
Bern was very easy to fall in love with. We spent most of the day on top of Mount Gurten, “Bern’s very own mountain!”. It was cute, and we enjoyed the family atmosphere.
We took the Official Sound of Music tour in Salzburg (yes, it was expensive, but OH MAN it was worth it). This is the Von Trapp Villa from the Sound of Music movie (well, the back of it anyway! They used a different building for the front, and also a different pond for when the kids and Maria all fall into the water off the boat, when the Baroness and the Captain return from their trip):
After 10 days travelling around, I was exhausted. I had it pretty comfortable compared to some of my friends who were couch surfing, but I was totally spent by the time I got back to my boyfriend’s house! Overall, totally totally worth it.