Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Milano per un Giorno


In earlier posts I mentioned how all the exchange students get a GA for all the trains; well because of this fabulous little card, you can go to Milan and back really cheep. So being the adventurous exchange student, I decided to take advantage of this, and went to Milan for a day with some other exchangees. Milan. For a day. How cool is that? I just can't get over how close everything is here!

In order to make the most of our day we left at 5:30. AM. Waaaay early. When we arrived in Italy we found out that there was a one day strike going on (I'm positive that I'm a bad luck charm or something when it comes to trains and public transportation in general), but the main subway and bus lines were running so the we were told we shouldn't have any major problems. More on that in a little. So off we went to the center of the old town, in the heart of Milan. There are two great things to do in Milan: shopping and seeing the cathedral. It's amazing how much cheaper everything is in Italy, hence the great shopping. However, I was good and stuck to the other great part of Milan, seeing the cathedral, o and a third  thingI forgot to mention, eating gelato. :) We had a great time walking around, and it was all around a great day. So back to the whole strike thing. Well, our train left Milan at 7:30pm so we decided to head back around 6:30, giving us plenty of time, since it had only taken 15min to get from the train station to the center of Milan. We arrive at the subway station, and it's CLOSED. Ok, "no problem" we'll just take a bus. Guess what else was shut down? Yup, only 50% of the buses were running. So at this point we're desperate and are trying to hail a cab, but of course because of the lack of public transportation there are none to be found. Finally we get a cab to the train station, but at this point we had missed our train, the last train back. Great. However, because of the strike the very last train back to Switzerland was late, and we ended up making it by one minute. But the drama wasn't over yet, because while this train would get us back into the country, it didn't go anywhere near where any of us live, and it was going to get in around 1am, so there wasn't anyway to get to where we live. Fortunately one of the other exchange students host parents was nice enough to drive to the town where we were in Switzerland and let us all sleepover. So we survived, but I'm telling you, I think trains hate me. I'm not sure how many more of these strikes I can go through haha. But o well, that's part of traveling. :)

Here are some pics from the trip:

Early, early, early


The "we have no idea how we're getting home" face


Highest Exporter of False Teeth and Other Things You May Not Have Known About Liechtenstein

On border of Switzerland and Austria, Nestled high up in the Alps lies one of the tiniest countries in the world- Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein is basically in Switzerland, so one day a group of us decided to go check out the highest exporter of false teeth. Yup, that's right, if you're wearing dentures, they probably came from this little country. Who would've thought? Liechtenstein is probably one of the few countries where, in a 15 minute bus ride, you're able to see the entire country. It's that small. There's actually an exchange student who lives there, and she took us around her town, er country. We hiked up to the castle, and I got my passport stamped. And then voilà, we had seen the country. :) Here are some pictures:

La Ville-Lumière


A lot has happened since my last posts, but I'm working on getting caught up to recent events. :)

The first weekend in February I went to Paris with my host family. It was amazing! I went with my host siblings for a long weekend, and I have to say I find it incredible that you can just hop a train to Paris for the weekend, but voilà that's Europe for you. So anyway, we left at 5:30 in the am on Friday and took the train (it takes about 4 hours from where I live) to the Gare de Lyon (Paris train station).

I had my doubts about whether or not Paris would be able to live up to all the hype, but it most definitely did and more. They're not kidding when they say it's the City of Lights. The first day, as I was leaving the subway and just just walking along taking in the sights, my host sister turned me around, and BAM the Camps-Élysées. Looking down to the Arc de Triomphe was one of the most magical experiences ever. Regardless of your opinion of the French, man do they know how to build a beautiful city! :) 

We spent the rest of the day walking around and seeing the sights. Another incredible moment- the Effile Tower. Again, Paris lived up to the hype. What wasn't so fun was walking up the five million stairs to get there, but it was worth it in the end. We went up right before sunset so we got to see Paris by day and night, très belle! 

I could easily go on forever about the incredible sights of Paris, but seeing how it's already May, and I'm just now writing about February, Im going to just give you the highlights and lots of pictures (which is way more fun to read anyway right? ;) ). 

We basically went non-stop for three days straight, and were able to accomplish pretty much every major attraction in Paris. 
Louvre, amazing. The building itself is a priceless work of art, not to mention the wonders inside. 
Sacre Coure Basilica- gorgeous, only had to climb 322 steps to get there, at least the view was great :)
Notre Dame, Musée d'Orsay, I could go on and on, but I'm just going to put the pictures up. :)
6am Suuuurrreee we're awake :)

Where are we going again?

Champs-Élysées. Favorite. 

Mona Lisa baby