Day 5: Milan Expo/World Fair

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Day 4: Luzern, Switzerland

We stopped in Luzern, Switzerland on the way to Milan, Italy. Saw the wooden bridge and walked around. I liked Luzern specifically because it was on a lake and it had a river that was a main part of the town. I think that the colorful buildings lined up right on the waterfront with the cafes in between the water and the buildings is a beautiful scene, something I am drawn towards in any area where that occurs, including oceanside as well. We got a nice group picture with my gopro selfie stick which I’m pretty proud of. I’ve gotten much more comfortable using it around people but I still have a ways to go. I think the group picture below may actually be the first group picture I’ve taken with my selfie stick. Kendall prefers the term “monopod” but personally I want to embrace the “shame” of the “selfie stick” in full and become one with the awkwardness until it is no longer awkward. I’ll keep you updated on that.

This is a historical wall we were climbing in and around. Well, up the towers and across the wall. And there were tons of clocks in the tower. By the end of the wall adventure we had collectively figured out how a pendulum style clock works.

We also couldn’t help but show off our pull-up skills on the ancient wooden beams.

The wall was pretty tall as well:

Luzern - Big wall

Luzern – Big wall

We finished off our time in Lucerne with ice cream and espresso, as occurred often, by happenstance of course. At least it felt like that happened a lot. Ostriches on your right.

Day 2, 3, & 4: Zurich, Splügen Pass, Liechtenstein

On the first day getting to Zurich we walked downtown.

On the next day (Day 3), we went to the Swiss Alps (Splügen Pass) and walked to two wooden bridges in the woods. We then went to Liechtenstein (it’s a country within the borders of Switzerland) and saw a wooden covered bridge.

On Day 4 we went to ETH University (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich – “Federal Institute of Technology”) in Zurich, got a tour of the labs and had lunch, then went to some bridges and waterfalls in the afternoon. When we got back we ran to try to catch the boat but could not find it for the life of us. We then proceeded to walk around town, go to a bookstore and a toy store, then go home.

Class Journal: Zurich, Switzerland, 6/17/15

So far so good. Yesterday was rough. Jet lag was very prominent all day. We bussed to downtown then proceeded to walk around and then ended up walking all the way back to the hostel, which was a bit excessive.

Zurich definitely has that mountainous, Swiss attitude in its architecture—light colored, residential houses with dark, wooden trim. Many of the low-rise apartment buildings seem to be made of concrete or beautified masonry, but designed by the same architect—squarish and modern with a fair amount of vegetation falling out of its openings.

For some reason, there is a slight haze in the distance, no matter where you are in Zurich, Perhaps this is due to the depression in which the city sits, collecting pollen and cigarette smoke, which is plentiful in the city.

Driving out of the city, we entered a landscape reminiscent of the Jurassic Park Island—a small valley edged by steeply rising hills covered mostly in a dense mix of conifers and deciduous. A stream runs parallel to the highway, centered in the valley. The valley is a field of green, green grass, but covered with uniformly spread dots of tree and traditional looking Swiss homes. A fair amount of the houses appear to be farmsteads of some sort.

We were just informed by our guide, Robert, that Switzerland’s energy only comes from hydropower and nuclear energy. A fact worth googling, perhaps?

Driving towards our destination, we passed through many tunnels that went through mountains on the right hand side of the bluish, green lake on our left. The drive was beautiful; everything was picturesque and unbelievable. I had to write in the tunnels under the light of my iPhone so I could look at the landscapes while we were outside the tunnels. Robert does not know the name of the valley we’re in but he said we may almost be in the Valley of the Rhine. There was a cable car that goes up into the mountains. Sweet.

The clouds hung oppressively overhead but somehow an abundance of light streams through such the valley is lit up in a God-like manner.

You just get this sense here that everything is so clean and efficient. Trains running by, wind turbines, green trees, green grass, mountains, rivers, industry that just looks clean.