Ibiza moments captured.
Week at a glance. St. Michel at night, my neighborhood, dinner with Madame, the Louvre, moonlit view from my window.
*Through doing my titles in this format, I am learning country codes. I mean honestly, who would have guessed Switzerland is abbreviated as CH?
Honestly, I was contemplating even going to Zurich. I already had my flight purchased, and while researching the city, I wasn’t finding anything that got me excited about my weekend trip. I thought to myself—I can always come back to Paris, when is the next time I will be able to go to Zurich. So with a ticket already in hand, I booked my hostel and closed the case. I was going to Switzerland.
My first day was spent in the city of Zurich. It was a rainy morning and the mountains were barely visible as you looked across Lake Zurich, the grand lake that is a central point of the city.
We walked on the famous Bahnhofstrasse, the luxe shopping street, and looked in the windows of the watch stores that could be found everywhere you set your focus.
For lunch, we wanted to try the traditional plate of Switzerland, Raclette. We didn’t know what we were in for, all we knew was that it was slightly similar to fondue. Thank goodness our waiter gave us a tutorial. The waiter placed a small grill and gave us a plate full of veggies, pear, and lots of cheese. Oh, and a sack of steaming potatoes. It was a workout of a meal, you were constantly having to put a new slice of cheese on the grill, put your vegetables on, make sure you didn’t fry them and while they were grilling, you were to be cutting up the potatoes to pour the cheese that you were grilling on top of it. Repeat- there are still 10 slices of cheese left and an entire sack of steaming potatoes.
The rain was really infringing on walking around the city of Zurich, and coming from a newly-pleasant Paris, we decided to go back to the hostel and relax. We returned only to be glued to the TV to watch the Boston lockdown, manhunt. It was a strange feeling, being so far away yet so attached to this situation. As people from all over the world learned of what was happening in the USA through social media, a crowd gathered around the television and we sat in silence and stress, watching together.
The forecast called for rain again our second day in Zurich. My friend Kate and I decided to bite the bullet; put on all the layers of clothes in our suitcase, run to the closest connivence store and buy the warmest gloves we could find, and hop on a 10 hour long bus to take us to the top of the Alps, Mount Titlus.
This was a great day. We stopped in a small Swiss town, Lucerne, which was actually quite touristy, but you were still able to feel the swiss charm that it offered. We then made our way through windy roads and small towns to the base of the Alps, where we took not one, not two, but three different Gondola lifts to the top, where we reached a height of 3200 meters, that is, two miles up in the sky.
At the top, while snow was blowing all around us, we walked across the highest suspension bridge in Europe, went through glacier caves, and had ice cream from a famous Swiss creamery.
It was snowing, all day actually, and we were curious as to why the skiers we saw at the bottom of the mountain weren’t at the top with us. Apparently, there was a sever avalanche warning.
I can’t put up this post without mentioning how expensive Zurich is. The prices were astonishing. It is double the price of everything in America, and then you have to consider the money conversion. A plate of pasta from a normal restaurant $45 CHF ($53 USD) a whopper from Burger King $17 CHF ($21 USD) a bottle of water $5.50 ($7). It was insane. Thank goodness pictures are the best souvenirs.
It’s finally here, springtime in Paris. We’ve waited long enough for it and it is time to truly take advantage of what this city has to offer, starting with a trip to the outdoor sculpture garden of the Rodin Museum.
I wasn’t very excited about going, as I couldn’t appreciate sculpture as a form of art, but Rodin changed my views. Glad I didn’t close that door. The garden is absolutely lovely and if you aren’t interested in visiting the museum, you are able to pay a euro and sit in the garden (where most of the sculptures are anyways).
The same person, in three different positions
My french professor had us meet at St. Sulpice the other day and from there, she gave us a list of directions in French. It was a scavenger hunt throughout the St. Germain-des-près area that required us to go into to cafes and ask waiters, look into store windows for certain books etc. The hunt lead us to Luxembourg Gardens, which was in full bloom and alive with people.
Meeting point: St. SulpiceKind garçon helping on the hunt! Jardin du Luxembourg
Today, I woke up and visited a petit cafe near my home to get some work done for my classes. The vibe you get at Parisian cafes is so unique, they really give the city character.
“Je voudrais un café crème s’il vous plait!”
When my paper was finished, I started walking in the direction of the right bank with an agenda in mind: Shakespeare and Co. bookstore and Victor Hugo’s home…oh and because the weather is so fabulous an ice cream cone from Berthillion.
Shakespeare and Co. BookstoreFrequenters of the bookstore (Fitzgerald, Stein and Hemingway just to name a few)Reading my new book of French poems by the SeineWalking to Ile-de-la-Cite for my ice cream
Banan et ChocolatHome of Victor Hugo
Feeling inspired to finish “A Moveable Feast” by Hemingway, I went to the local park to do so. Parks in Paris are just so much better, more crowded, happier, and livelier. America we just don’t do it like Paris.
As you can see from the title, I was all around Paris this weekend. As my weekends in the “City of Light” are dwindling down, I had a lot of things to cross off my list, and the nice weather this weekend gave me the perfect opportunity to put a satisfying check mark next to those items on my list.
The first thing on my list was to hike the stairs to the top of the L’Arc de Triomphe to get a panoramic view of Paris. This view is said to be the best in Paris, better than from the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame. It’s true. It was great to see all different neighborhoods or “cartiers” as they say in French.
View of the Champs Elysées
After taking in the sights of Paris, I was inspired to take the fastest metro to the original Chanel and make a purchase. Don’t get too excited, I got the least expensive thing in the store, a lipstick (Bonheur). Nevertheless, I got the Chanel treatment—I even got walked out the door! They sure know how to woe me.
I forgot to tell you, I also splurged and got an Angelina hot chocolate. It is literally like you are drinking chocolate fondue.
Filling full of rich chocolate, we took the metro to the end of our line, where there is the biggest flea market in the world “Port de Clingancourt.” If you are looking for something or not, you are bound to find something because of the variety that is offered; paintings, vintage chandeliers, cell phone cases, shoes, smoking pieces etc.
Sunday forecast was 75 degrees. It was time to run to the market and collect all items necessary for a picnic in the Tuilerie Gardens.
Grabbing necessities (baguette and cheese) for picnic in Tuileries
Picnic in Tuileries
Another item to cross off my list was visiting Père Lachaise cemetery. It is absolutely vast. After getting completely lost, and taking a break in the 77 degree weather to tan, we finally came across the tombs we were looking for: James Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Chopin. It was, of course beautiful and serene to walk through the cemetery and see loved ones remembered.
Grave of ChopinOscar Wilde’s grave. Once masked by kiss lips, the grave has been restored because of decay caused by the lipstick. Explanation can be found here.
Jim Morrison’s grave
Quite frankly, I’m becoming a Francophile. Every day, there is something that I find myself more in love with in this diverse city.
This is my first weekend in Paris in a month, and the forecast is actually boasting spring weather.
1. Taking a day trip to the Normand country side to visit the home of Claude Monet. Even though the water lilies weren’t out because of the unusually cold and long winter, it was still a sight.
2. The trash system in Paris is incredible. I am absolutely fascinated by it. Trash is picked up around the city, small side streets and all, daily.
3. Reading the novel, A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway and being able to recognize almost every location and restaurant that he talks about. Also, visiting his favorite bar, Closerie des Lilas and getting a cocktail.
4. Walking around Montmartre during the day and at night. You get a completely feel at both times of day.
Fountains which you can use to fill your water bottle, found all around Paris.
Home of Vincent Van Gogh
5. The boulangerie near my school that spews out smells that make you consider getting one of everything on display and has a line of french collegiate students to match. I normally go for a the classic sandwich with ham and cheese on a toasted baguette.