Nothing on my vacation after Spain was quite as thrilling or "off the beaten track" I would say. Although my cousin, Kristen, from back east came out to visit me for two weeks. Here I begin the summarisation of Adventure Numbner Two.
I landed in the Milan (Bergamo) airport, waited for her flight to land two hours after mine, and wouldn't you know, she's not there. I had to buy 8 euros for wi-fi to contact my mom who contacted my aunt who contacted my cousin. Oh, it was just a mess. After nearly three hours, there goes my cousin, walking by like, Hey! What are you doing here? Turns out she was waiting in the baggage claim area where passengers aren't allowed in after they leave. What? She can't read Italian? haha--we had all the time in the world.
First stop: Milan. Ew. Really gross, yes the city and the food. The Duomo was fun but there was nothing exceptional about this place.
Second stop: Roma! Much better! The weather was beautiful (we didn't even need a jacket), everything was within walking distance, I improved my Italian. Unfortunately, the hostel in Milan still had our passports so after four spectacular days in Roma, we headed back to Milan.
Now after a semester here, I have no problem traveling on my own, by myself, sola. Maybe that's also because I'm an only child. Either way, I wanted to go to France. Kristen wanted Germany.
But doesn't Germany sound so dismal, cold, damp, and unless you eat Arabic, the food isn't terribly comforting. I can tell you from my experiences. I've been to Munich! It's a pretty country, but been there, done that, I didn't think she would have a problem going on her own and just experiencing Europe that way.
Big mistake. She did not like this. Well, I had my mind made up on France. So I went to France; she ended up coming with me and liking it more than Italy. I know this because she told me.
The first day in France was in Nice. When I got off the train, I was incredibly disoriented by all the blue florescent lights and well, French. But after one year in Mr. Lapoujade's French One class, I can conquer any basic situation.
"Ou est le Hotel....", as I fumbled to find the name of the hotel I practiced saying on the bus to avoid this stammering.
"Would you like a hostel?" was the response. Crap. Inglish. Just what I was trying to avoid. (It will satisfy you to know that by the end of France and Italy, I can now understand directions and ask for them in both french and italian, oh and spanish. But hopefully that was a given....still working on rudimentary german.)
My one day in Nice was spent going to Marc Chagall and Matisse museums, a convent, ancient Roman baths, and who knows what else. I also ate really good Lebanese food.
The next day Kristen and I went to Monaco! Yes, we went through Monte Carlo, however briefly. Most of the day was spent at Jardins Exotiques, an anthropology exhibit (where they have paintings of Prince Albert, hehehe), and subterranean cave. The cave was so deep. We were dog tired walking, or should I say hiking back up.
We also did a lot of yatcht-watching. Because that's what you do when you don't own a yatcht in Monaco. You simply get to watch them and wonder how people can afford one of those babies when the real estate signs advertise for $7,500 per square foot.
Over all, I'd say just go to Vegas. Much more fun even as an "underaged" person.
Cannes----ah. We didn't actually see much of the city. Instead, we took a ferry out to one of the islands. The lady gave us a discount because she liked us so it was only 12 euro round trip. There was a monestary on the island along with vineyards and a bunch of other medieval landmarks, like kilns, the old monestary, and other monuments. The water and rocks made this place so incredibly pictureesque. I can't even fully describe the scene. It's impossible unless you go there. I don't even want to describe it: experience only. Go to Saint Honorat. It's worth your while.
Next stop was Lyon. I wouldn't say this was worth it. We walked around and it was pretty but there weren't too many museums that interested Kristen so we didn't go in. I did really want to go into the puppet museum! If anyone makes it there let me know how it was! There were some protests, some guy said some really gross things to me, so be careful.
Geneve! Everything was pretty much closed for the two days we were there. We did get a tour of the UN building. I was sick the other day.
Neuchatel: most beautiful lake on earth. Only one day there, but we should have sat by that lake all day.
I also should have bought this kids book (A is for Appenzell, B is for Banque, C is for Chocolat...all in french, of course...it was SO Swiss. )
Last stop: Zurich. We just walked, besides there weren't too many museums. It wouldn't be very Swiss. We did eat at my favorite cafe, though. I finally ordered the Birchermuesli, phenomenal. I totally should have ordered the Kurbiskremesuppe...my one regrete in life.
I went back to school on the 19th and slept. Yes, I slept and did nothing for four days.