16 Days Interrailing: Zurich & Vienna

After 2 fun days in Paris, we headed to Zurich to spend 9 hours in Switzerland. It was a very short stop – we got in around lunchtime and were leaving on a night train that evening – but we managed to pack a lot into our time there. We had a great time at exploring the city, eating Swiss chocolate, and taking a boat cruise around Lake Zurich. We were lucky that we had great weather in Zurich – it was nice and sunny and didn’t snow. 

   
 Our first, and only night train of the trip was definitely an interesting experience. The sleeper cars were fully booked so we had normal train seats for the night. So, it wasn’t the best sleep we’ve ever had, but did the trick and we pulled into Vienna the next morning. 

Our hostel in Vienna was a bit outside of the city, but came with an amazing view. After dropping our bags off at the hostel, we set out to see the city. First stop: St. Stephen’s cathedral. After finding 3 euro pizza for lunch, we went to see Mozart’s house. Since all of us are band kids, we had a blast! It was amazing to learn more about his life while walking around his old apartment where he wrote the Marriage of Figaro. 

  
  
Since Vienna was a music capital of the world, it was the home to many great composers. In addition to Mozart, we visited Beethoven’s and Haydn’s homes as well. Beethoven’s house was a bit of a bust because the museum only has 2 small rooms and historians aren’t positive that he ever lived in that particular apartment… But, on our way to see the Danube River from the museum, we stumbled upon a bust of Beethoven and I got to take a selfie with him. However, I throughly enjoyed the Haydn apartment – it’s definitely worth taking the time to go see. 

  
Our second day in Vienna, we were wandering around the city and went into a small church. It was a lucky stop because inside was a hidden treasures – one of the most intricate and beautiful organs that I’ve ever seen. We also stopped by the Sigmund Freud museum and learned more about how he influenced the field of Psychology. 

  
Right by St. Stephen’s cathedral, there are a bunch of people selling tickets to classical music concerts around the city. Our last afternoon there, they got us and we bought tickets to a Mozart and Strauss concert. The concert exceeded my expectations. It took place in a beautiful concert hall in the Imperial Palace in downtown Vienna. The music was wonderful and we all had an amazing time. It was the perfect way to end our time in Vienna. 

  
Up next: Bratislava and Budapest. 

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16 Days Interrailing: Itinerary

Before heading back to the states at the end of this month, I am setting off on my last, and most ambitious, European adventure so far this weekend. It’s an Interrail trip, covering 8 countries in 16 days. I have two friends from the states who are making the journey across the Atlantic to travel with me. Our post-graduation Europe trip looks like this:

  • Days 1 & 2: Paris, France
  • Day 3: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Days 4 & 5: Vienna, Austria
  • Day 6: Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Days 7-9: Budapest, Hungary
  • Days 10 & 11: Zagreb, Croatia
  • Day 12: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Day 13 & 14: Venice, Italy
  • Day 15: Milan, Italy
  • Day 16: Travel day –> Milan, Italy back to Reims, France

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I am so excited for this trip and cannot wait for all of the adventures that happen along the way!

Summer Stories

This summer passed so quickly! Between finishing up my internship, moving, traveling around Europe and visiting the USA, time flew by. 

Let’s start by talking about the internship. This past semester, I was very fortunate to intern at GfK Retail and Technology in  Paris. It was a great experience that allowed me to grow professionally. As a parting gift, my wonderful team gave me a bunch of movies so that I can expand my embarrassingly small repertoire of French movies. I’m hoping to watch all of them by the end of the semester 🙂

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The end of my internship meant that it was time for me to pack up my bags and move back to Reims. Luckily my parents came to visit me the same week I was moving, so I was able to enlist their help. The day of the move, we went to the airport to pick up a rental car. Once we arrived, we had to wait in line for two hours to get our rental car. Of course, only our rental car company had a long line. Other people walked up to car rental desks and left with keys before we moved up another spot in line in line. It was a little ridiculous. Fortunately after we got our rental car, the move went very smoothly. My new apartment is definitely my favorite one so far and I’m definitely excited to be living there this year. 

After moving and finishing up my internship, I hit the road with my parents to see more of France, Switzerland, and Italy. Our first stop was the Loire Valley where we spent a few days exploring the lovely châteaux in the region. 

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Next we dropped off rental car and hopped on a train to the beautify city of Annecy. Canals run through the city and mountains can be seen surrounding the Lake Annecy. During our time in Annecy, we took a boat tour, explored churches, and went on a bike ride by the lake. Unexpectedly, we arrived on the first day of the city’s annual festival and were treated to an acrobatic show and great music. 

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After Annecy, it was time to say goodbye to France and cross the border into Switzerland, where we spent two days in Geneva. We had an amazing time exploring the city with the Geneva Pass. My favorite activity was taking a cable car up a mountain where we got to see a gorgeous view of the city. The food in Geneva was amazing too! One night we went to a delicious vegetarian restaurant, Qibi, that was close to hotel. After a week of eating that pizza, bread, cheese, and salad–the most common vegetarian options in French restaurants–it was really nice to eat something new. 

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Travel tip: each country in Europe has a main train company. If you are picking up your ticket in the station, make sure you buy your ticket from the train company of the country you’re leaving from, not the country you’re going to. Unfortunately, We learned this the hard way. I bought our train tickets to Italy from the Italy train company since we were traveling from Switzerland to Italy, I was informed at the train station that we couldn’t get our tickets prints and that it was impossible to pick up our tickets at Swiss train stations. Luckily, we were easily able to get our train tickets reimbursed and bought new tickets (through the Swiss train company) to get to Italy. 

We were off to Cinque Terre in Italy to continue our European travels. Cinque Terre is a series of five fishing villages on the coast of Italy that are connected by a train and hiking trails. Excited to relax by the water after a long day of traveling, we arrived in the first village, Monterosso, to find it swarming with people–not exactly what we expected. We were staying at the fifth village, Riomaggiore, which thankfully was less crowded. Relaxing by the water and eating all of the food and gelato we could in Italy was perfect ending for our European adventures. 🙂

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We traveled back to Reims for a night so that I could repack. The next morning we were off once again, this time to America.  It was so good to be back in the States again! I spent my month in the US catching up with family and friends and drinking all the sweet tea I could. I was able to see some amazing concerts, visit Elon, eat at the Root multiple times, see high school and college friends, and spend time at the beach. It was a great way to end the summer!

Before I knew it, it was time for me to head back to Reims for my last year of college. 

School started earlier this week, officially bring my summer to an end. The beginning of school also means that I am officially a senior in college…I can’t believe how fast my time at college has passed. A year from I am going to be doing something other than going to school for the first time in my life–a fact that both excites and terrifies me because I’m not sure what that something will be. But, I have a year full of adventures ahead of me and time to figure out what my next chapter will be. I have a feeling that it’s going to be an awesome senior year. 

Here’s to the wonderful year ahead 🙂