Jackie (Not) in Switzerland: Spring Break!

You have not done spring break until you have done spring break in Europe. A few weeks ago, all of my friends at Richmond were on Spring Break – at the beach in warm, sunny weather. Meanwhile, I was still wearing a winter coat here in Lausanne. But it was all worth it. For my Spring Break in Europe, I went to Nice, Monaco, Venice, and Milan and they were all amazing!

I am always happy to be back in France, and Nice was the perfect place to go. Heading from the cold temperatures in Lausanne and seeing people in bathing suits on the beach in Nice was a huge shock! I had another one of those “wow I am really here” moments as I took a nap on the beach on the French Riviera (!!). Other than the amazing weather, the city itself was incredible. It was definitely a touristy beach city, but it was very clear that only the wealthiest people actually vacationed there. I am proud to say that I had the time of my life, even living on a student budget.

This picture of the Cote d’Azur is iconic, I couldn’t believe how blue the water was!

This picture of the Cote d’Azur is iconic, I couldn’t believe how blue the water was!

While we were in Nice, we decided to head to Monaco for a day to see the Monte Carlo and more amazing clear blue beaches. While we thought that Nice was a city for the wealthy, it was nothing compared to Monaco. Everywhere we turned, there was a new luxury car or limousine. Every building looked like a palace, and the stores were all the best European designer brands. I’ve decided that I need to live there one day. I think my love for Monaco was quite apparent to my friends, as I repeatedly explained how I would become the future Princess of Monaco (let me dream!)

 Ayumi and I decided to recognize the fact that we were in one of the classiest cities in Europe. This was the result. Very mature.

Ayumi and I decided to recognize the fact that we were in one of the classiest cities in Europe. This was the result. Very mature.

After visiting Monaco, it was time to head to Venice. Before coming to Europe, Venice was the one city that I really wanted to visit, so I was unbelievably excited to see the city! I arrived at the airport and had to take a water taxi onto the island of Venice, which was one of the coolest things ever. What other city has water taxis and waterbuses? My friend and I stayed in an old, traditional Italian building that had been converted into a hotel, and that experience was amazing! The whole city felt so lively and filled with history, and there were hardly any modern buildings.

In Venice, it is hard to get anywhere. You need to take a boat to get to the mainland, and you can only get to some places on the island by boat. Still, it was an amazing place to visit

In Venice, it is hard to get anywhere. You need to take a boat to get to the mainland, and you can only get to some places on the island by boat. Still, it was an amazing place to visit

Of course I had to be a super tourist and take a gondola ride in the Grand Canal. Even though I knew I was WAY overpaying for the experience, it was totally worth it! We got to see a lot of the city from the water, which was a completely different experience than seeing it from walking around! Our gondola driver didn’t sing to us (which was probably for the best), but my gondola experience was amazing nonetheless.

The gondola ride was actually my favorite part! It was so cool to see the city from the water.

The gondola ride was actually my favorite part! It was so cool to see the city from the water.

After Venice, we made it to our last leg of the trip; Milan. This city was so totally different from Venice with its modern skyscrapers and sleek, new buildings. It was definitely the most cosmopolitan city that I have been to recently, and the change was nice.

We climbed all the way up to the top of the Duomo, the church in the center of town. The view was amazing and we spent about an hour just lying on the roof of the building.

We climbed all the way up to the top of the Duomo, the church in the center of town. The view was amazing and we spent about an hour just lying on the roof of the building.

As the fashion capital of the world, there were plenty of designer stores throughout the city. Prada was begun in Milan, and this is the first ever store!

As the fashion capital of the world, there were plenty of designer stores throughout the city. Prada was begun in Milan, and this is the first ever store!

And now for the bad news. I was being the most American tourist in the world, eating a snack in McDonalds. A few girls came over to our table asking for food or money and it was shortly after they left that I realized that my phone was missing! I went through the whole trip feeling like a savvy traveler, not falling for any of the tourist traps that would make me a target for pickpockets. In the end, I really was *that* tourist that doesn’t notice that their phone was stolen. I never thought that it would actually happen to me, and I thought that I would be smart enough to recognize what was happening, but it really is so easy to get caught off guard. I reported the theft to the police (who were DEFINITELY sick and tired of hearing of phone thefts from American tourists), but I know that my phone is gone.

I think that I handled my first pickpocketing experience pretty well, with minimal tears, but it still feels horrible to feel like something was taken right from you. In the end, the process of getting a new phone hasn’t been too stressful, so I really am just lucky that I didn’t lose anything more important!

In addition to the theft, our train home was almost 2 hours late and I didn’t end up getting home until 1am on Sunday night (before my 10am Monday morning class). Needless to say, I was so overwhelmingly happy to come back home to Lausanne! I really missed being ‘home’ and I’m really excited to spend some time going back to normal life with school and friends.

P.s. There was a slight delay in this post because while I had all of my pictures of my trip all planned out, they were all saved on my phone! I’m crossing my fingers and hoping against hope that all of pictures were somehow miraculously saved onto iCloud even though I have no clue what that even really is (I am clearly a tech genius). Stay tuned for the verdict on the state of my pictures, but for now, special shout out to Ayumi for letting me use her pictures of our trip!

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