Jackie in (Italian) Switzerland

Study abroad keeps getting better and better.

This past week, I got the chance to go to Ticino, which is the Italian region of Switzerland and it was absolutely amazing! Well, actually the entire trip went wrong from the very beginning, but it ended up being a trip to remember.

I got to see 8 hours of this view, so I can’t complain!

I got to see 8 hours of this view, so I can’t complain!

First, we got to drive through the countryside and see all of the beautiful scenery of mountains and lakes. However, it turns out that since our travel day was a national holiday, a lot of highways were closed and we had to go through Italy in order to get to our destination back in Switzerland. Weird, I know. The result was a 4-hour-turned-8-hours bus ride with 65 people.

Jackie over the city

The view was 100% worth it.

The view was 100% worth it.

Luckily, the views were really amazing and I got to spend time with other awesome students. When we finally arrived in Ticino, we went on a “little hike” (please note the sarcastic quotation marks). Turns out that the hike was about an hour long straight up a mountain and when we got to the top, we were all exhausted, but once again Switzerland shocked us with its beauty and it was all worth it.

This was the posh restaurant were we acted like complete savages and got some appalled looks from the Swiss.

This was the posh restaurant were we acted like complete savages and got some appalled looks from the Swiss.

That night, the exchange network in Ticino organized an apéro with drinks and dinner in order to celebrate our arrival. We all arrived in our comfy workout clothes, starving and absolutely gross after an 8 hour bus ride and a big hike in the heat. We discovered that the restaurant was actually a very posh and fancy place, just along the lake. Our group of 65 showed up and I have never felt more out of place in my life. All of the Swiss were just staring at us and sipping their overly priced drinks as we took over the place.

We got to see the beautiful city of Lugano at night as we scrounged for food.

We got to see the beautiful city of Lugano at night as we scrounged for food.

We were also famished and were all so looking forward to dinner, but the restaurant was not prepared to handle ravenous students and chaos ensued. We now refer to this night as the Hunger Games because each time that the waiter brought out more food, people literally RAN up to the tables and took all the food that they could get. It was every man for himself. I have never seen people move so fast. And I do not think we will be invited back to the restaurant.

While the scenery wasn’t o great in the rain, I was still struck by some of the beautiful little things, like this gate. It’s so cool how the different regions of Switzerland (French, German, and Italian) all have their own personal style.

While the scenery wasn’t so great in the rain, I was still struck by some of the beautiful little things, like this gate. It’s so cool how the different regions of Switzerland (French, German, and Italian) all have their own personal style.

The next day, the rain was incredible. Someone had told me that this part of Switzerland was “the sunniest part of the whole country”, but on this particular day, it was pouring and windy like crazy. We still got to enjoy the day because we visited a really cool old castle and we got to go out and celebrate with the Swiss students from Ticino. This night, we got lots of delicious food and did not feel like absolute savages.

On our final day, we packed up and headed toward home, but not before enjoying the brilliant sun and warm weather. We stopped at a mountain spring and got a chance to swim in the water that came directly from the very top of the Swiss Alps. Of course it was freezing in the water, but the rocks surrounding it were so warm and the views were like nothing I’ve seen before.

Although it looks amazing, the water itself was so cold because it came directly from the peaks of the Alps. That being said, the water was so fresh and clean, we still went swimming!

Although it looks amazing, the water itself was so cold because it came directly from the peaks of the Alps. That being said, the water was so fresh and clean, we still went swimming!

It was all fun and games until someone decided to jump from the giant bridge above the water. Why someone thought that it was a good idea to jump from a bridge into a freezing water, the world may never know, but at least I got a video from my nice warm spot on the rocks.

This is the bridge that a few other students jumped off of (it was MUCH higher than it seems in this picture).

This is the bridge that a few other students jumped off of (it was MUCH higher than it seems in this picture).

After another 4-hour-tuned-8-hour bus ride home, we finally got back to Lausanne. It was hard to go from this amazing vacation immediately into study mode, but now it is the final push and I can see the end in sight. I have 3 papers due this week and then I am officially done with all of my work for the semester. For now, I am living in denial and trying to pretend that I am not leaving in a week. Thankfully, the exchange network is throwing a 1920’s style party this week as a sort of goodbye send-off. I can’t wait and will be sure to post updates soon!

One of the coolest things about the mountains is that you can go from enjoying the warm sun in one moment and drive into the arctic tundra the next! This photo was taken on the same day as the previous one, in the middle of May!

One of the coolest things about the mountains is that you can go from enjoying the warm sun in one moment and drive into the arctic tundra the next! This photo was taken on the same day as the previous one, in the middle of May!

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