Postcard from Switzerland

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

“If it’s good enough for Bill Clinton, its good enough for us”

Geneva was as delightful as the cheese fondue it is known for. We left Paris early Sunday morning and arrived in Geneva that afternoon. We stayed at a hotel called East West, close to the train station and a great location in the midst of all the things to do in the city. We nicknamed the room "the bungalow" because it was like a small apartment! It had two floors, blinds controlled by buttons, two bathroom with one big, beautiful, bathtub. We were very surprised by the quality of the room, because were not expecting it to be so big!

I would highly recommend not coming into Switzerland on a Sunday, because mostly everything is closed. This was a struggle when it came to find a place to eat to lunch! We eventually found our way to Birdie, a coffee shop and brunch spot. It was pretty full of people, even including this cute dog! 

Pointe de La Jonction
From Birdie, we headed to La Jonction where two rivers, the Rhône and Arve meet. What makes this meeting place so neat, is that the two rivers are different colors. One is more of a milky tan that is very fast moving. The other water comes from the lake and is a dark turquoise hue. You can see through this water, and everything underneath is tinted in the turquoise hue. Once we got to the point where the rivers met, we decided the view would be better from the top. We took a small hike in the trees that surround the riverbanks to get to a bridge, giving us the perfect viewpoint of the river's waters combining. The greenery from the hike was a nice scenery change from subway stations in previous cities. We were a little farther out from out next destination spot. From the area by the bridge, we ubered and went to a hot chocolate place to warm up. 

St. Pierre Cathedral
 This cathedral is in the heart of Old Town. This is the adopted home church of John Calvin. This was a neat stop, because Kendra is always talking to me about Calvinism. There is a chair inside the church, that was used by Calvin himself. There are North and South towers that can be climbed for a view of the city and lake,  but we missed the cut off for the day by a few minutes. Maybe next time around! 

Old Town 
We walked up and down the streets of Old Town and through a small park near the edge of the lake. Not many places were open, but the streets seemed to take us back in time. I loved all the flags that lined the streets. As the sky started to turn to dark blue, we headed to our dinner reservations. 

Restaurant Les Armures
We made dinner reservations for this restaurant, based on a recommendation by a lady from our hotel. We were so excited to indulge in some fondue while in Switzerland, and this place did not disappoint!  We walked past it while exploring Old Town, and Chandler noticed a picture of Bill Clinton on the wall. Since he was a former president, she made the comment “If it’s good enough for Bill Clinton, its good enough for us.” I had the cappuccino pumpkin soup and then the three of us shared the cheese fondue with herbs. The meal was a warm contrast to the next day of exploring during our day trip to Mount Blanc. Going along with the theme of cheese, we went back to the bungalow to watch the most recent episode of The Bachelor, something else that is cheesy but O, so good. 

United Nations
Tuesday morning, we woke up early to go get a spot in line for the first tour of the day. When we first arrived, the line to get in seemed long, but there was a conference going on. We discussed how surreal it would be to attend a conference at the UN. The tour was great and it was neat going from Berlin the previous weekend and seeing how the things that happened in that city created the need for something like the UN. Across from the UN, is the Broken Chair Memorial. This is a giant wooden chair, with one leg broken. It is made out of 5.5 tons of wood! 

We found our way into the Swiss Business Lounge, we felt like a little bit of imposters! 

 We then took a quick train to the Geneva airport to fly to Zurich. From Zurich, we flew into Amsterdam, and then took a flight from Amsterdam into Prague for our next adventure! 


Postcard from France

Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Paris is always a good idea" -Audrey Hepburn

In Sweden, schools have a week long break in February for the families to go skiing before the season ends, this break is called Sport Holiday. Lucky for us, this breaks gives us a chance to explore a little more outside Malmö. The Camp Malmö girls are headed to five different cities over the next 10 days! We started the trip off in Paris, a place we all love! I first went to Paris in March of 2016. It was a very short trip, and besides the tower at night, I left Paris not in awe. The three of us were actually in Paris this summer, on another education based trip. Despite the heat, Paris was magical in the sun. We filled the days with all the touristy things and ended the nights with crepes admiring the sparkle of the tower. This trip is when I fell in love with the magic of Paris. This stop marked the third visit to Paris for all three of us. I guess, you could say third times the charm! 

Can you spot the Eiffel Tower?

We had the whole row to ourselves, can't complain about that! 

We started Friday morning walking around the Musée du Louvre. We took the obligatory tourist picture, before heading to a small area called Palais-Royal. This area has black and white striped columns coming out of the ground at various heights. It's a fun place for jumping around and a fun twist to your average Paris backgrounds. Chandler and Hailey were kind enough to let me walk by the Christian Loubiton store in this area. I was all heart eyes over the shoes in the window. 

It's a bird, It's a plane, It's a KayLeigh!

The Tuileries Gardens
We were blessed with the presence of the sun both days in Paris. We walked through the gardens with birds flying overhead and a white ferris real guiding us to were we needed to go next. Camp Malmö girls are all about the #views. We decided to ride the ferris wheel, and it might have been the best money we spent that day! With the sun shining on the city, the view was breathtaking. You could see the Eiffel tower, the Lourve, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and the picturesque Scare Coeur on the hill of Montmarte. The ferris wheel is right next to the Musee d'l Orangeria, home of Monet's Water Lilies. I find these paintings to be beautiful. There are housed in two, all white, oval shaped rooms. The paintings are long and fit the curve of the wall, with four in each room. The colors of the paintings just pop against the stark white background, making it one of my favorite art pieces in all of Paris. After admiring Monet's work, we headed to café for some Croque Monsieur and Coke to refuel.

Notre Dame
From lunch, we headed out to the neighborhood of La Marais. We just took a stroll through on our way to Notre Dame. There were multiple people with falafels and the lines to get one were long! If I ever make it back to Paris, I'll have to try one in this area! The three of us have already seen inside Notre Dame, so we aimed for a little bit of a different view. We climbed to the stop instead! The view was beautiful, especially seeing the gargoyles on the church up so close. The square where the church sits, seemed so small from the top. On the way up we also got to take a peak at the bell inside the church. The view was worth the climb, but I'll never look at a round stair case again without thinking of Notre Dame. 


After the climb, we decided to treat ourselves to a little cream puff from Odette. This shop is not far from Notre Dame and close to Shakespeare and Company. The outside is charming and inviting. It was the perfect, sweet treat before we headed off to do some shopping. 

Galleries Lafette
I have seen pictures of this mall decorated for Christmas and it is UNREAL, making it a must to check out while we were there. You can go to the top of the building for a view and there is even a small resterant you can visit. We went to the top during sunset and it was breathtaking. Once the sun went down we headed inside the mall to browse. There was no big decorations, but the design of the building is stunning. I love the color that comes out of the stained glass.

Eiffel Tower 
Nothing says Paris quite like the Eiffel tower! I can't imagine living in Paris and seeing that everyday. During our trip, we visited the tower on multiple occasions. It's stunning both in the day and at night, but I have to say seeing it at night is one of my favorite things! I feel like my body glows a little bit like a firefly, each time I see it sparkle! Plus, the chocolate crêpe in my hand doesn't hurt either. In Paris, we stayed at a hotel called Tourism Avenue. We had stayed there this past summer, and it was the perfect place for our visit this time as well. The location is great because it's a short walk to the tower! When we visited the tower during the day, it was packed! We headed to the Trocadéro for the view. Sadly, there was a crane in the way, so we had to get creative with the angles. No crane can rain on our parade!

Peep the crane behind my head!

Sunday morning we woke up and headed to Champ Élysées area for some window shopping! We took an obligatory stop at Laudrée for some macarons. The Arc de Triomphe is a a marvel to look out while in this area!

Sunday afternoon we headed to the area of Montmarte. This is where you can find the Sacre Coeur. We went here this past summer and it was so much busier this time around! There are steps in front of the church you can climb to get to the top, but there is also a tram on the other side of the carousel. A short walk from the church, there is a small square filled with local artist. I love walking around and seeing how each artist portrays a certain area in the city. The paintings are all of the same places, but each with their own flair. It's a perfect spot to pick up a souvenir.

L'Opéra Garnier - Paris Ballet
Chandler grew up doing ballet, and we always take a look around the opera houses where we are visiting. We decided to go in and see if they had any student ticket pricing at the one in Paris They didn't, but they do sell 10 euro tickets for seats with a limited view. After hearing the price, we didn't care how limited the view was, we decided to splurge for the tickets. Besides a pole, the seats weren't too terrible! It was really the tall people that were hard to see over. Good thing it was dark, because we sat in some interesting positions to get the right view of the stage. I would have honestly paid just to see the design of the building because it was jaw-dropping. If we would have planned ahead, it would have been a fun night to dress up! Although we showed up in our jeans and tennis shoes and nothing was said. While the ballet was amazing, my favorite part of the night was admiring the ceiling! So stunning!

Charmonix-Mount Blanc
Paris was dream, and then we headed to Switzerland. On Monday, we took a little trip back into France to visit the ski town of Chamonix. It was the perfect day trip, and i'm so glad we decided to add this to our itinerary. Besides two little excursions, we spent the day wandering around the little town.  I loved all the lights strung throughout the place! You could honestly just stare at the mountains all day, and the day would be just as perfect. We decided to take the cable car (gondola) up to the top of the mountains. From the top, the mountains looked too perfect to be real! They have a clear box that is used for a photo opportunity, they even have you put on slippers. You are pretty high up, and the ride up is just as exciting as the view. I didn't feel scared the whole time up, but I won't lie  when I stepped into the glass box, my stomach dropped a little. I have never been skiing in my life, but after seeing everyone walk around in there ski gear, I might have to add it to my bucket list. On the other hand, it might be a safer option for me to not too considering my klutzy self. We wanted some action on the snow, so we decided to do a few rides on the luge. It was fun and gave us a little thrill for the day. We ended the day drinking one more cappuccino while admiring the view.

As the sun set on our time in France, we were excited for the adventures that awaited in Switzerland!


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