The second half of my Europe travels consisted of Italy, Switzerland and France. I liked Paris so much that it is getting its own blog post though.
The title says Austria, which technically I went to, but it’s hard to count. We stopped in Salzburg, Austria on our way down to Italy from Germany. It was a short stop to visit the city and unfortunately was raining. It was easy to tell that on a sunny day, the city would have been filled with life and beauty. It was situated on a gorgeous river running right along side the Alps. Since it is the home town of Mozart, there were also a lot of statues and fancy looking fountains, buildings, and museums. I got to see a lot of nice buildings, but hate to say most of my time was spent in a cafe away from the rainfall. I think I will definitely need to return to Austria again one day to see Salzburg in the sunshine as well as all the other beautiful cities Austria has to offer.
In Italy we visited Venice and Verona. I spent a couple days in Venice 2 years ago when my parents blessed us with a family vacation touring the homeland. Yes, I know I am not 100% Italian and I was not born in Italy, but I can associate it as my homeland if I want (Sorry dad’s side of the fam). I’m not sure if it’s because I love my Italian heritage or if it’s just the country itself, but there is truly something magical about Italy. I have seen a handful of cities in Italy and every single one left me in awe. Even going back to Venice after only 2 years, the novelty of it all was just as strong and the city was just as captivating to me. The city actually floats. Mind blowing I know. Every street is a canal and they are all connected by cute little bridges. 400 bridges approximately. I would actually like to challenge someone to find a canal in Venice that isn’t gorgeous, because I think it is highly unlikely. Basically I spent my time enjoying the warm sunshine, riding a romantic gondola ride with my America travel buddies, and eating gelato every time we passed a stand. One of my favorite little memories I took away from Venice was playing football (soccer, and no it’s not futbol unless you’re speaking spanish) with little kids in a plaza. There were some school kids probably about 10 years old kicking a ball around and it bounced toward me so I just joined in. They were locals, but I think they loved it as much as I did. Venice is a huge tourist city (more tourists than locals on the daily) but it is a definite must see place and I am sure I will return again, and again and again. Verona was a city in Italy that I hand’t been to before. It’s the city where Juliet’s balcony and Romeo’s house are located. While fictional characters, people come from all over the world to see where they “lived” and where Shakespeare set his love story. I have to say the balcony was rather unimpressive and not as romantic as movies make it out to be. Which is weird, I know, because movies are always accurate. Especially the love stories. In Verona there is a mini colosseum and a lot of shopping. We wandered the shopping alleys and eventually came across more Nutella crepes which was my highlight of the city. Yet again though, I can say I have seen another city in Italy that was as beautiful as all the rest.
After Verona, we set out for Interlaken, Switzerland. When I visited Italy with my family, we took a day trip up into Zurich, Switzerland to see the Matterhorn. Being in the Swiss Alps and among the unique country buildings they have is truly beautiful, but Zurich compared to Interlaken were still very different experiences. Im Zurich we were up in the mountains, but in Interlaken we were more in a valley on the lake. Interlaken may be one of the most beautiful scenic places I have seen. Being from the flat lands of Indiana, I have come to really appreciate any type of hill or mountain, so sitting on a lake at the base of the Alps themselves was breathtaking. The water in the lakes has a unique teal/blue shade due to the glaciers underneath rubbing together, and in contrast with the snowy peaked mountains, it is quite the sight to behold. I can only imagine God finishing those off and thinking something like “Damn, I’m good.” The coolest thing I did while I was there was go paragliding. I am one of those people who is afraid of heights so while signing up I was like “OH YEAH PARAGLIDING!!” but then when I reached the top of the mountains and was hooked up to the parachute I was about to pee my pants in fear. David, my pilot, told me that all we had to do was start running…off the side of the mountain and “hopefully we would take flight.” “HOPEFULLY?!?!?” Not exactly a word someone afraid of heights and about to run off the side of the Alps wants to hear. Either way we started running and all of a sudden we were flying!!! It was the coolest experience ever, I felt like a bird and I felt so free. We soared about the pine trees covering the mountains and made our way down over the lakes and the town. As we were nearing the bottom half David asked me a very random question, or so I thought, it was “Do you like roller coasters?” Of course I said yes, and all of a sudden we were doing parachute tricks in the air! We were spinning in circles and loops which was amazing. There were definitely points where I thought I was going to fall right out of my harness, but it was an incredible time. Landing was definitely the easiest part and I found myself sad that it had ended. I hope to find myself paragliding again, maybe even skydiving, in the near future.
After Switzerland we headed to our final stop before returning to the UK…PARIS!!!!