Nice, France / Monaco / Swiss Alps!

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July 14th 2009
Published: July 14th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Monday Lisa and I left Barcelona and headed for Nice, France. It is a beach town on the French Riviera. We didn’t get there until around dinner time on Monday, and all we had time to do was walk around at sunset (which was gorgeous). We walked around along the water and stopped to have dinner on the beach. It was so pretty with the sunset and the waves!
Tuesday morning we took a quick train ride to Monaco. Monaco is a very small country within France. It is on the water as well and attracts many wealthy people, especially in its affluent neighborhood Monte-Carlo. There are HUGE yachts in all the ports and mansions along the mountainous shoreline. We visited the Jardin Exotique which is a park that overlooks the city and has tons of cacti and flowers. It was really pretty! While on our train ride back to Nice, we saw a train stop that was right on a sandy beach (Monaco doesn’t really have a beach and Nice’s beaches are small pebbles). Spur of the moment, we hopped off the train and had another beach front lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out on the beach.
Tuesday night we took a train to Milan where we stayed just for the night in order to take another train early Wednesday morning to the Swiss Alps!

The Swiss Alps were unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. We arrived into Spiez, Switzerland early on Wednesday morning. It was quite an adventure actually getting to our hostel from there, which was in a very small town way up in the mountains called Gimmelwald.
We first took another train to a town called Interlaken Ost. Next we took another train to Lauterbrunnen. Then we took a gondola up to the town of Murren. There we had to buy groceries for our two day stay in Gimmelwald, since the town is so small they don’t have any restaurants or grocery stores! We got into Murren a little after 12, but the grocery store is closed from 12-1:45 for lunch. Sort of stuck, we thought we would grab lunch at a café - which ended up being on the ridge of the Alps with amazing views! Finally, we were able to get some groceries and then had to take one last gondola to our hostel in Gimmelwald.
The actual hostel was basically for hikers. People stay there from anywhere from a night to a month to do nothing but hike the Alps. It truly was a great base point to hike from. On our first afternoon there, we hiked a little up a path that lead back to Murren. Quickly tired from our travels that morning (and our out-of-shape butts that can’t hike the alps with any grace or ease), we headed back and made pasta! We rented a movie on itunes and had a relaxing night in the alps.
The next morning we woke up early. With our friend Annie from Chicago and a group of guys from California who we met in our hostel, we set off for a four hour hike to a far off very small “town” (two houses) where we heard opened up to a sweet field of glaciers. The hike was pretty intense. Lots of steep climbing, crossing rivers of runoff coming down from the snow-capped mountains, and more and more steep climbing! It took us about two hours until we arrived at a beautiful valley. We were surrounded on all sides by amazing peaks. Simply standing in that place with my sister and a couple of friends I had just met was such a reality check. Way cool. We sat on a couple of boulders and snacked on a bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast and soaked up the views. Obviously the boys were boys and climbed up one mountain and rolled a rock down the mountain. We watched and laughed until we realized the rock was actually a boulder and it was bouncing full speed - at us! We reached for our bags about to run out of the way, but it missed us by a couple meters! It was scary for a second, but would have been a cool story as to why I broke not one but two cameras on this trip!
After we hiked back to the hostel, we made soup for lunch, showered up, and made our way back down the mountains to Spiez to take our first night train to Rome!

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22nd January 2010
I do love train travels and nature walking! It's a nice day to hang around too. I am loving your blog! :-)

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