Swiss Squad: Geneva and home to the ATL

Our last full day in Switzerland was the sweetest day possible. We started the day with a guided city tour, which took us to see some of the highlights of both the new and old parts of Geneva. We had some free time to walk around more and grab some lunch before we met with Rosalina, our new guide who led us on a chocolate tour of the city. From Romania, she spoke five languages fluently and knew more about chocolate than humanly possible (#lifegoals). For three hours we walked all over the city and sampled some of the best chocolate ever, while learning about its place in history, and how it evolved through the years. Hopefully some of that chocolate made it back to the states, so the awesome parents who sent their kiddos on this adventure could also sample the sweetness.

That evening we went to our final group dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant called Fabbrica Pasta. Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Tresize met the owner, Enzo, and he was gracious enough to open up his rearuarant only to us, on a day he normally doesn’t work.  Once the food started coming out, it never stopped! We were treated to everything from buratta and grilled octopus to homemade (literally right in front of us) fig and goat cheese ravioli  and a variety of other pasta with seasonal black truffles. The squad was adventurous and tried many new foods that night. To say the meal was delicious and bonding is the understatement of the century.

The next day, we were sad to say goodbye to Mrs. Tresize as she left by train to go back to Zurich. We all caught the next train to the airport in Geneva, flew to Paris, and after a quick hustle, made our flight to ATL.

Swiss Squad: Interlaken and Geneva

Glacial lake kayaking

 

 

Glacial lake kayaking

Glacial lake kayaking

Today, our Swiss Squad said goodbye to Interlaken, but not before we spent the morning kayaking on a lake that was made of glacial melt water and was about 250 meters deep  in the center. We had a blast racing each other, playing games, and enjoying the amazingly serene surroundings.

After our morning kayak, we went by bus, train, and tram to Geneva, which is apparently quite French. We dropped our stuff at the hostel and made our way over to the Red Cross Museum, which was a truly humbling experience. We were able to see what exactly and specifically the Red Cross does all over the world, and what kind of impact we are all able to make if we step outside of ourselves and help one another.

“We are all responsible to everyone and for everyone.” Dostoyevsky

Students play a game to simulate natural disaster response.

Red Cross efforts to reunite family members after a disaster

Red Cross effort to reunite children with their families after the Rwandan genocide

Swiss Squad: UNESCO Biosphere and Interlaken

Canyoning group

Mineral deposits inside the cave that inspired props in the movie Alien.

View from the summit of Schilthorn.

Interlaken seen from above

We did a lot of cool things in the UNESCO Bio Sphere, like go into an underground cave and walk off trail in the moors. The cave was so cool! The ladder down was a tad scary, but it was so worth it. We saw stalagmites and stalactites that had formed over thousands of years. The moors were so cool too! Our guide Anita took us off the trails, where we hiked on the moor, which is a protected part of the Swiss environment. It was an incredible experience!

After a full day of hiking we took a steam train down to Interlaken. Here, we have been canyoning, hiking, and exploring. Today we started our day with a late wake up, and we were picked up and transported to canyoning. We spent about an hour and a half in the canyon, relying on teamwork and our classmates to safely take us down the river. This was a welcome break from hard days of hiking and learning, but we were right back at it in the afternoon. We took cable cars up to the peak of Schilthorn, where a famous James Bond movie was filmed. Although the view was limited, the experience of being at ten thousand feet was amazing. After descending, we had two hours to eat dinner in Interlaken, and roamed the city. Overall, today was a very fun day and we had a great time in Interlaken.

Swiss Squad: Lucerne

 

With rumors of the Thai King’s visit swirling around, the group spent a most excellent day at Mt. Titlis. The breathtaking views were only surpassed by all of the SNOW on the mountain in June. We enjoyed snow tubing, sledding, people watching, the ice flyer, and some of us were even brave enough to cross the suspension bridge. As one would expect, walking through the glacier tunnel was in fact, quite cold.We had a very Swiss lunch and went for a long hike. Afterwards we took mountain scooters and rode the entire way back down the mountain. Later that evening we enjoyed some free time in Lucerne and were able to see some sights, such as the Dying Lion.

 

Swiss Squad Adventures: Lugano and Lucerne

Monte Tamaro hipster statue

 

Pre-flight

Paragliding gear

In our second day in Lugano, we rode a train to Monte Tamaro. While there, we participated in activities such as hiking, paragliding, and roller-coaster riding. Thomas described paragliding as the highlight of Lugano. After visiting Monte Tamaro, we descended from the mountain to a water park, where we spent a few hours. That night, the group ate dinner at various Italian-Swiss restaurants and prepared to leave for Lucerne the next day.

Chiesa di Monte Tamaro

Taking off

Rotobähn

Today, we woke up bright and early to travel to Iseo, well off the tourist trail. There, we met Hanspeter, our guide, who took us for a hike through the mountain forests with his herd of llamas. We literally walked llamas and one alpaca, on leashes, through the woods. It was quite the experience, and many students made some close friends of the llama variety. After our hike, we grabbed a quick lunch in Lugano. Some of us learned that Big Macs cost chf 11.20…more if you want fries with that! We then took a train to Lucerne, nestled in the Alps. After finding our hostel, we had some free time to explore the city, followed by a dinner cruise on the lake. Everyone is grateful to have an easier evening, in anticipation of another exciting day in the mountains tomorrow.

When does our bus arrive?