Friday, May 28, 2010

Interlaken / Sailing

This past weekend I went to Interlaken with Link. Link is a great organization that helps to bring au pairs together to meet and do fun things! If you don't know what or where Interlaken is it's a beautiful area between two mountains of the alps. There are also two lakes that are connected by canals that go through Interlaken (hence the name). There are a lot of outdoors activities that you can do there such as hiking, canyoning, skydiving, paragliding, ect. It's a truly beautiful place that I'm so glad I saw! Here are some pictures!
This is the hostel all 47 of us stayed in! It was pretty nice as far as hostels go! This is my 2nd hostel so far! :-)

These two are pictures of the hike I did on Sunday! It was a 16K (About 10 miles) hike down the mountains and through the Lauterbrunnen valley!
It was so beautiful there! When the bus first started driving near the mountains it was so breathtaking. I have never seen mountains that inspire so much awe. Now I have to make a trip out to the Rockies to see how they compare!

The following day, Monday, we had planned a trip to go sailing and have a BBQ picnic! Another thing I have never done has been sailing! It was great! I got to help hoist the sail (sorta, more like guide the sail) and I got to steer the boat too! It was such a beautiful day! Clear skies and a view of Mont Blanc from Lake Geneva.

See that big white mountain back there? That's Mont Blanc (I think) :-)
After sailing we had a wonderful picnic where we kicked around a football and played Monopoly deal (in German). It was a truly wonderful weekend and I was able to meet many great people and see so many beautiful things!

Next up is a trip to Lugano (the Italian part of Switzerland, should be interesting since I know NO Italian) next weekend and a trip to Zurich the following weekend! I've also started making plans to go to Ireland / London July 17th - ? I'll probably be booking flights for that next week! So much to experience, I love Europe!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


This past weekend I travelled with my friend Maika to Lucerne. We decided perhaps 3 or 4 days before the weekend to go and booked a hostel. It's really amazing how easy it is to travel here. If I were in the states taking a trip about three hours away by train and only spending approximately $36 on both travel and the hotel (train was free because we went after 7pm there and back) it would be impossible. Anyway, off we went on my first official Swiss adventure.

Maika and I arrived in Lucerne around 10pm and decided to find our hostel. It turned out to be a really nice hostel because it was clean and secure. We shared a room with two girls from Taiwan. Just in my first week here I've met people from literally all around the globe from Australia to Iceland. We decided it would be good to go out and find a place to grab a drink and perhaps experience a bit of the nightlife in Lucerne. After asking a local for directions to a local drinking establishment off we went to find the place that he said we "Had to go to".

We came to a very small and smoky bar filled with locals. Everyone in Lucerne speaks Swiss-German (which is in fact very different from normal German). I found it strange that only 2 hours away from Geneva the language switches from French to German. We ordered a couple drinks and "people watched" for a while. There was one girl who seemed to be a combination of far past drunk or really high. She kept bobbing around talking to everyone and then singing or dancing to herself in the middle of the room. She continued to give us a bit of a laugh the whole night.

Eventually we ended up talking to a couple of guys. One was about 38 and claimed to have been an ex-football player who had to stop when he hurt his knee. He was in pretty good shape so I'd probably believe him. The other was also a football player but 27 years old. They were pretty fun to talk to even if most of it was in German. They told me that they think most Americans have no idea about European geography (probably true) and think Hilter is still alive and that WW2 only happened 10 years ago. Not really sure how that stereotype came about but it was funny to hear about. We ended up going to another bar right next door but decided to leave soon after because there were a lot of creepers.

The next day we decided to take pictures of where we had gone.

This is Maika in front of the second bar we went to
This is the first one.

Here are some more pictures from the rest of our trip!
We also went to the Picasso museum and got to see quite a few paintings by Picasso and other artists. Then we walked around and looked in some shops. We also hung out in Starbucks many times during the day to use the Wi-Fi and take naps. Yes, I took a nap in a Starbucks in Lucerne. Although after only 5 hours of sleep can you blame me? There really wasn't much else to do. We were going to go look at the KKL which is a museum of sorts but by the time we got up from our cozy chairs at Starbucks it was closed. Then we went to the train station to hang out until we could ride for free after 7pm. We saw a set up for Miss Switzerland and the opening act warming up. We weren't sure if he was famous but he was pretty cute and a good singer so we took a picture just in case. We also had a lovely chat with some older guy who smelled like beer and cigarettes.

All in all a good trip! Definitely wouldn't advise going for more than a day but it was a nice town. Next up Interlaken!

- B

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

First post in Switzerland!!

Hello friends!

This is my first post from Switzerland! I've been here now 4 full days. It's been rather busy which is apparently unusual (not for me though). My first few days were full of getting to know the (un)usual routine. Jules was sick monday and tuesday so he was with Heather and I all day. I think having him home all that time really helped him to get used to me. We even had a very tender moment where he told me he loved me :-) It made my day. He's very hard not to love.

I went to bible study monday night in Nyon. I was able to meet so many of Heather's friends and they all seem really nice! I'm excited to go to Link tonight and meet more Au pairs. After bible study we went to a pub in Nyon and I got to meet the very friendly bartender Renier, he even gave me a free drink :-). Heather said that it's very common for people to want to go out for a drink, even right after bible study haha. She said it's almost uncommon for people not to drink. I love Europe. Everyone seems a little less uptight then in the states.

Heather and I went into Geneva yesterday and walked around. It is so beautiful! I can't wait for there to be nicer weather so we won't have to wear rain coats and bring umbrellas. We went to the train station and then walked around for quite a while. She showed me where some good shopping is and we got free churros from the "Churro man". He seems very sweet and I will definitely be back to see him!

Heather leaves for Amsterdam tonight so I'll be on my own this weekend. I'm pretty excited to go and explore Geneva and see who all I can meet! My french is still very American but I'm starting to pick up little words here and there. I am a little sick of not being able to understand much other people say but I think it gives me reason to learn more! I'll be starting my French classes on Monday. I won't be able to go to bible study now but at least I start classes soon!

All in all I'm very excited about this year still! It's really beautiful here and full of new things to do. I'll continue posting about what I experience! Au Revoir!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let the packing begin!

Since I have known that I will be leaving for Europe for a year I have been researching everything pertaining to packing / knowing what to bring / how to pack / what not to pack / ect. This has enabled me to hopefully have travel wisdom beyond my 22 years. I found that there were a lot of sites that would let me know how many pairs of pants or long sleeve shirts to bring but didn't go into any more detail. I found this site really helped me to collect a capsule wardrobe that will allow me to bring a minimal amount of clothing and be able to match a lot together. I'll show you what I'm planning on bringing with me in this post!

Jackets / Coats
I tried to bring relatively lightweight coats that will allow me to layer for winter and wear alone in the spring. I also brought different colors with me so that I have different neutrals for different occasions. I am bringing my north face shell for rain and snow weather, my north face fleece that can layer beneath the shell or be worn alone, my coach navy trench coat which I will be wearing on the plane because it's quite heavy and would take up a bit of space, my tan trench coat because it's nice in the spring and does well in the rain, and my knit navy J. Crew blazer because it can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. It's also very comfortable but has a structured look!

I tried to stick with comfortable pants that will allow me to move to keep up with kids but also look put together enough for the city. I am bringing my dark AE boot cut jeans, Dark AE skinnies, (I decided against the light jeans) my brown cords, my new black skinny jeans from Urban Outfitters, khaki shorts and black leggings.

I decided on four skirts that are each very different. The black short skirt is a little longer than a mini skirt and is a nice silk flouncy material that is fun for going out at night! The cream BCBG skirt is a favorite of mine because it is so versatile in that it can be worn both during the day and at night. The pink skirt will probably not be worn that often but I love it so much that I had to bring it. It's a J Crew Pencil skirt I got off of Ebay for about $10! The last one is a J. Crew dress / skirt that I am in LOVE with! It can be worn 3 different ways, as a skirt, a long dress or a short dress just by folding the top! It's a lovely gray color that can also go well during the day or night :-) I love these skirts!

I brought so many tops! Many of these are just T-shirts or camis so I can layer them. Among them is a Cream Corsage shirt, Green sheer tank, pink sequin tank, pink button up, floral button up, and a green / navy floral T.


I only decided on three dresses. I am bringing my thrifted Vienna dress that I got in a flee market in Austria. I had to barter for the price but even so I still feel like I got pretty ripped off cause it's 100% polyester but it still feels like silk and moves well. It has so many colors though I can wear any cardigan over it with a belt and look pretty pulled together. I also have my Target LBD which I can wear so many different ways I love it! The last dress is also from Target. It's a nice pattern that will look nice in the winter or early spring.

Sweaters / Cardigans
So I have a sweater fetish. I am bringing probably close to 15 sweaters with me. Extreme? Yes. BUT I can wear a sweater with pretty much everything I own and they help to keep me warm and put together! I am bring a cardigan in red, navy, black, cream, purple, blue, magenta, gray, gray and gray. (I also love gray). They'll help to layer in the winter too :-p Also I'm bringing my gray zip up hoodie (even if it's a little stained and dirty) because it's super cozy and I wear it a lot!

Running Clothes / PJ's
I plan on running a half marathon in Europe so I had to bring these along with me! I'm bringing 3 pairs of shorts, Under armor pants and top, 3 T-shirts, 1 fitness tank, and yoga pants. I also have my lone PJ pants :-)

So I am bringing a whole slew of scarves that will help me accessorize my many neutral clothes. Also, Europeans love scarves (or so I hear) so my goal is to at least try to fit in! Fortunately I also love scarves so this shouldn't be a daunting task. Also belts are wonderful for creating a waist among what will be the many t-shirt and cardigan ensembles I'll create!

Recently I've decided I love shoes! I am bringing 12 pairs because I love them so much! I'm bringing two pairs of boots because during the winter I'm really not sure what else I'll wear! Also, my navy birkenstocks, Clarks gladiator sandals, black wedges, black flats, running shoes, white flip flops, pink moccasins, yellow flats, cream flats, and my black sandals.

Well then, hopefully this post will help others who may be traveling for a year. I'll post more on how I packed later!

- B