Wednesday, April 24, 2013

wanderlust wednesday: switzerland and france

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When I was a senior in high school, I was lucky enough to be able to take a two-week class trip to Switzerland and France.  It was the first time I'd ever traveled internationally (Canada doesn't count), and it was that trip that planted the seed of wanderlust in my mind.  Unfortunately, it was so long ago that I don't really remember specifics about what we did, but here is where we went:

We flew into Zurich and then took a bus to Lucerne, where we spent two days walking through the streets, going on a boat ride, and relaxing in a field of daffodils on a hill (until we were asked to leave by the person who probably lived there... dumb American kids...).  From there we went on to Gruyeres, which I remember LOVING.  It was a quaint little cobblestoned village on a hill, where we sat in a cozy wooden lodge and had the most incredible cheese fondue for dinner.  From there we went to Geneva, visited the Palace of the Popes, and ate crepes.  We took a day trip to Monaco and Monte Carlo, where we got our first glimpse of the sensational cerulean sea, and then it was on to Nice, where we lounged on the beach, had very memorable gelato, and wandered through the streets in the warm evening.  We visited a few big, beautiful estates--Chartres, The Palace of the Ladies, Chambord, and finally, the magical Mont St. Michel.  We visited Normandy on Easter Sunday, which was very moving, even for someone who isn't generally "moved" by military history (that'd be me).  And finally, our bus pulled in to Grand Paris.

Our first night in the city, we walked up to Montmartre and spent the evening strolling through the winding streets (and being sketched by adorable elderly French ladies).  The next morning we hit the ground running, visiting Notre Dame, the Louvre, Versailles, and ending the trip with an evening cruise along the Seine, watching the sun set and seeing the lights come out.  It was magnifique. And then it was all over! We got back on a plane and flew back to the States, where I went back to high school.

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