Sealed with a Swiss!

This week I took my very first trip to Switzerland.  I traveled through an organized program called Bus2Alps that took us to Interlaken, a town in Switzerland.  From Interlaken, we were able to sign up for various activities throughout the weekend.

We arrived at 3:00 in the morning, so we quickly got situated in the hostel that we were staying in and went to bed.  Unfortunately the hostel consisted of many students from all around the world and had a nightclub attached to it so there was constant noise throughout the hallways.  I was hardly able to sleep for three nights.  I guess you could say the thing I was looking forward to the most was coming back to my quiet apartment in Barcelona.

When we awoke mid morning on Friday, We had breakfast across the street and met up with a few friends who went skydiving in the morning.  It was so nice to see some of them because we are studying abroad in different countries.  After catching up with them, we took an hour walk to a beautiful lake in Interlaken called Brienz.  There, I had my friend take blog pictures of me for my fashion blog.  We hung out there for a while, just relaxing, capturing pictures and taking in the beautiful scenery of the amazing lake and mountains that surround it.

FullSizeRender-2We decided to rest our legs and went to a nice restaurant where I tried my first famous Switzerland dish called Rösti.  This dish consists of small pieces of potatoes that are cooked on a frying pan with cheese and a sunny side egg on top.  However, because I had three more dishes of Rösti throughout the weekend I learned that you are able to add vegetables or whatever else you want to mix in.  I was pleasantly surprised by the food in Switzerland; I went with very low expectations.  I am fan of cheese and potatoes, so to my surprise I enjoyed the meals!

Later that evening, my friends and I went to a chocolate workshop that was offered through my trip advisor.  I have never made my own chocolate before, but it was a delicious and fun treat! The class took place in a small chocolate store where there was a large table, which we all had room to stand around and listen to the guide who was teaching us how to cool down our chocolate.  I learned a little about coco and within 30 years chocolate will be just as expensive as caviar.  It was a fun activity to do with my friends and I enjoyed decorating and adding toppings to the chocolate bars I was making.

IMG_7600 IMG_7602

Day two, (Saturday) I woke up early to get a full day on the mountain.  I signed up for beginners skiing lessons with a few of my close friends who are abroad in Italy.  I have been skiing since I was a young girl, but ever since I got into a ski accident in 8th grade, I continue to have a lot of fear each time I ski.  Saturday was a beautiful day and even though it took a full hour for me to get comfortable on my skis and back in the groove, I was flying down intermediate mountains by the end of the day.  It was nice that I had two friends that were more advanced than me and three that were complete beginners, I was able to do a little skiing with both groups.  The view was absolutely breathtaking and as I was skiing I almost felt like I was going through the clouds.  I don’t think I have ever seen anything so beautiful.  Even though it was an expensive activity because I had to rent all of the gear, it was 100% worth every penny.  Come on, not everyone has the opportunity to go skiing in the Swiss Alps!

11021155_10204829949602431_8084821139423440620_n

That night, I had dinner with both of my Barcelona friends and my close friends from university in Miami and it was so nice to have everyone together.  I am really happy that they all were able to get along and enjoy each other’s company.  Our last day I had fondue with my roommates before we left for the two and a half hour bus ride to Geneva.  Sunday was mostly a relaxing day because I was still sore from skiing but it was nice to finally get back to Barcelona after a long weekend away.

I don’t know when the next time will be to have the opportunity to travel to Switzerland, but I am glad that I was able to do it now while I am young and can travel with close friends.  If I go back again within the next 15 years, I would love to try paragliding.

Advertisements

Buuuurlin

This weekend I had the chance to go to Germany for the second time.   I have visited Munich before on a family vacation with my parents and siblings, and this time my friends and I decided to go to Berlin for a weekend.   The second I stepped off the plane, I felt like I had turned into an ice cube.  There were snow flurries falling and a soft sheet of white powder covering the tops of trees and the ground.  I knew Berlin would be colder than Barcelona, but I had forgoten how cold winter is because for the past three years I have been at school in the southern part of Miami where the temperature rarely gets below 65 degrees Farenheit.

Upon our arrival, we went straight to our hostel where we would be staying for the weekend. The hostel was an interesting experience for me and this was the first time I have ever stayed in a hotel that had a bathroom located in a separate room next door.  I tried to stay positive about the experience since it is always important to be flexible, especially while traveling with a group. Our first day felt a little dark and gloomy. However, we decided to go to the Reichstag Dome as a way to stay warm.  We walked up and down the steps inside and were able to see a great view of the city.  Later that night we experienced a Pub Crawl, which was one of the highlights of my trip.  The man who was coordinating the evening took us to four different bars in the City, and it was fun to see how different the nightlife is in Berlin as compared to that of Barcelona.  I also bumped into a few friends from my college who were traveling to Berlin the same weekend.  What a small world!

The second day seemed to go a little smoother.  We started the day off by going to the Berlin Wall and visiting the gallery with large graffiti art walls.  I had a great time taking pictures and learning more about the background of the wall and how the city was divided into East and West Germany.  After taking pictures and enjoying each other’s company, we decided to do an afternoon walking tour.  This tour was another highlight to my trip.  Even though it was so cold outside and I could barely feel any circulation in my toes, I thought the tour guide was fantastic and had wonderful things to say about Berlin.

The guide was from England and had moved to Berlin five years ago when he came to visit the City as a journalist.  He fell in love with Berlin and all it had to offer.  He had a very interesting way of explaining Germans and their view on WWII.  I also liked how unbiased he was.  Before coming to Berlin, I had misconceptions about what it may have been like to grow up there.  He explained that growing up German, you learn from mistakes and never forget your past.  Even now, I can’t help but think of how depressing that must be.  I know in America, we have such pride for our country and our nation.  I suppose because of the events of World War II and the Cold War, Berlin contains a lot of depressing history that lies within its city.  Even though I did enjoy visiting, I would never live or wish to be born in a place like that.

The tour also allowed us to visit various sites around the city.  Some that will be most memorable were the Brandenburg Gate, The Holocaust Memorial, and Hitler’s Führerbunker, where he committed suicide.  To continue to warm ourselves up, I remembered one of my favorite places which I have been to before called Hofbrauhaus (a beer garden)  I took my friends there and we had a great time relaxing and drinking some German beer.

FullSizeRender-11  IMG_6360-2 FullSizeRender-9

Our last day we visited the Holocaust museum.  Even though I do appreciate each visit to the Jewish sites, since I have such a strong Jewish background, I was a little disappointed in the museum.  I felt like there was a lot of information missing and it did not contain anything other than pictures and videos.  I have visited both the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC and Yad Vashem (in Israel) and they both have many displays and other forms of artifacts.

FullSizeRender-12

This trip was extremely educational and I learned more about my Jewish roots.  Even though I am constantly connected to Jewish education, I always manage to learn more each time I visit a new city or country.  I wish I felt a deeper connection to Germany since my father was born in Munich.  It is just hard for me to be so comfortable in a place that was once a place that was so unaccepting and cruel to my loved ones.  I hope that one day I can put the past behind me and feel something different for the country.  I guess for now some German chocolates will have to do.

FullSizeRender-10