Friday, August 13, 2010

Adventure and farewell...

A part of this program allows you to visit two countries using a Eurail Pass. My last weekend overseas, I was able to visit Switzerland. I chose to go to Interlakin to experience different scenery than a city. The second I got off the 6-hour train ride, all I could see was the Swiss Alps surrounding me. I was overwhelmed by their beauty.

I stayed in a youth hostel with six other girls in a big room with a multitude of bunk beds and suitcases. The hostel had its own grill, game room, nightclub and activity-booking place. I signed up for whitewater rafting and canyoning right away. I was ready for something adventurous and active, even though I knew I was getting myself into the coldest water possible. Both activities were amazing!

Whitewater rafting was exhilarating. There were so many times where we all almost fell out— especially when we ran into another raft. I was holding on so tight! The instructor played a joke on all of us too at the end of the rapids. We got out of the raft at a point where the water was really shallow and he told us to start running to get the raft going again, so we were all running along side the raft pushing it in freezing cold water, and all the sudden there’s a huge drop. The instructor jumps in the raft just in time, as we all splash underwater. I’ve got to say that was a good little trick.

The next day I woke up at 7:30 a.m. in the morning to go canyoning. I got to jump off waterfalls, slide down rocks, climb and repel down cliffs. This was a really intense three hours, but totally worth every penny. It was really funny trying to move in my half-inch thick wetsuit and life jacket, but I could sure still feel that freezing water! The best part of these activities was to be able to stop for a second and look around and see the most amazing views from every angle. It was challenging to really take in everything where I was.

After an adventurous weekend — which ended up giving me a small cold — I arrived back to Paris to have my last week jam-packed of all the things I wanted to squeeze in before I clicked the seatbelt on my plane ride back home. Not only did I have my final portfolio due and finals, I had my own list of final things to visit. So, undoubtedly this was one of my busiest weeks. In between finals, I went about going to get my favorite meals. I had many crepes and many espressos. I started off the week by going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. This was really fun and I did the most cliché thing and got to the top, got a glass of champagne and took pictures. I felt like the last week in Paris was the perfect time to be the most of a tourist.

I also visited the The Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris, where over 6 million bones lie. This underground graveyard was terrifying and interesting at the same time. I could hardly even comprehend how many people’s bones were around me.

The rest of the week was just full of little things like going to Montmatre to pick up some last minute souvenirs and going to get a famous falafel where I saw Owen Wilson run by me with the same falafel! Apparently last year some girls from the trip saw Johnny Depp. I also went to Shakespeare and Company bookstore and bought a book and played the piano.

Saying goodbye to one thing at a time in this city was really hard. It was like ripping off a Band-Aid really slow, but painfully fast at the same time. I truly fell in love with this city while I was there…. The moment I got my luggage at the airport in America I broke into tears. This trip was life changing, educationally stimulating, amazingly fun, and visually invigorating. I would recommend someone doing study abroad anywhere in a heartbeat, especially in Paris. There is just so so so much to do and see in this city and so much culture to experience and soak in. I can’t wait to return back to the city… I still feel like there’s like a thousand things I didn’t even do while I was there. One day I will be back…. And until then, au revoir Paris! I love you!

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