July 3, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 1-6

Current status: Midnight in Bern, Switzerland.

The breeze is graciously flowing through the enormous window of our third floor hostel room. Thankfully, it cools us enough so we can sleep. However, the hundreds of native Swiss who will be partying outside our window until 4am will prevent me from getting the much-needed aforementioned sleep.

So instead, I shall take a moment to share my thoughts on our trip thus far.

After three years, Andrew and I finally got our lovely butts out of New Jersey. As much as I have complained about you, New Jersey, you have been good to me. These last few years have been the best of the best and the worst of the worst. I have made some wonderful soul mate friends and have had an amazing experience with fellow classmates (What Up, CRW!!!). We have had easy access to New York, Philly, and the coast, and we took advantage of the mere two-hour drive to Lancaster (miss you, fam and friends!). Unfortunately, many of the experiences I have had with the local Jersey folk have been pretty low... which helps to feed my negativity towards the state.

Oh New Jersey, you ARE so easy to pick on... Snooki, The Situation, the crass accent, the hicks...

Which brings me to my current status: Midnight in Bern, Switzerland.

Andrew and I are moving to London this fall to complete more studies, so we decided to take the long way there and spend three months traveling through Europe. Yes, three months. The plan is to mostly stay in hostels (for the social atmosphere and general thriftiness of it), chill out A LOT, avoid most museums and cathedrals, discover delicious food, and meet new friends. Periodically, I will be blogging from our IPad. Typing on a touch screen is slow go, especially with the not-so-wonderful autocorrect. And even though wireless internet may be free and my be available, it is usually unreliable. [My dear mother and I realized that when we found ourselves on Skype, the phone, AND instant message trying to finish one meager conversation.]

Andrew and I departed hallowed US soil on Monday and arrived in Stuttgart, Germany on Tuesday, where we were welcomed with open arms into the home of some dear friends. We then took a very scenic train to Luzern, Switzerland. We spent two nights in Luzern strolling through the hillside town, sunning on the lake-side beach, and trying to find out what kind of pace to set for the next few months.

Some highlights so far:

-Floating down Bern's crystal blue river (and completely losing both my bathing suit top and bottom from the current. Hey, when in Rome... ).

-Being brashly introduced to many European's (lack of) beach wear.

-Spending today sick in bed from exhaustion... a combo of dehydration, not eating enough, not sleeping enough, severe heat, and general travel wear and tear. After a good nap, some pills, and gallons of water later, I am feeling better. Now we know to go at a much slower pace.

-The grassy, lakeside beaches. I had no idea I would be tanning in Switzerland, of all places!

-The food: Oh boy. The average sit down meal here is about $25 per person! My Starbucks grande vanilla latte is $8. A Big Mac meal is $12. Refusing to spend unnecessary dough, we've been taking advantage of the communal hostel kitchen. Our final night in Bern, however, we made our first mistake of this trip: thinking it was okay to eat Mexican food in Switzerland...

...Our waitress was Asian. She only spoke German. The menu was mixed German and Spanish. We only speak English. Somehow, we ordered...

...I couldn't wait to eat a decent Mexican meal...

...Then my $25 worth of veggie tacos arrived. I was happy to see guacamole, lots of lettuce, cheese and sour cream. I was unhappy (shocked) to see broccoli, carrots, green beens, peas and red peppers in the mix. I took a bite. The predominant flavor? Soy sauce. I would have been delighted if I had ordered, or even liked , stirfry!

I'm guessing they share a kitchen with the Chinese restaurant next store.

Let's hope Mexican food gets better from here.

>Food 0
>Location 1
>Activities 1
>Comfort 0
>Hostel 0

The FLACH? 2 Swiss-Mexican stars.

 A map and interactive schedule (utilizing our wall for the planning stages of the trip).
Andrew, Brian, and Kerry at a beer garden in Stuttgart.
The rolling hills of the German countryside.
Luzern, Switzerland.
Free Starbucks!
Random chunk of meat at the beer garden.
Luzern's famous bridge.
Caffeine fix: financially responsible version.
Thank you, hostel, for your kind words of instruction.
Luzern harbor.
Looking out our hostel window in Bern.
Bern's crystal-blue, bathing-suit-stealing river.
This was the prettiest water I have ever seen.
Pretty river.
Utilizing hostel kitchen: pesto and tomato pasta!
Bern rooftops.
I can't get enough of that darn river.
Super cool, very long set of stairs.
Another view of Bern. Another view of pretty river.
Anticipating my veggie tacos.
These bears are Bern's mascots. Why? I do not know. Andrew was enthralled by them. I was utterly disgusted that these little guys weren't in their own, natural habitat. There WAS a time when I loved zoos...
Taking things easy (post heat-exhaustion episode).
Rainbow over Bern.
My Chinese-Mexican veggie-stir-fry tacos.

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