At the end of my program in Florence, I headed out on a solo adventure to explore beyond Italy. I took an evening train into Lucerne, Switzerland, with a connecting train in Milan. Turns out I should have left slightly earlier for a little more sunlight, because the views were absolutely stunning throughout northern Italy. There are these small cities built up the sides of the mountains, all of them with lakes at the bottom. The train sped by for hours, passing these cities, and as the sun went down and lights were turned on, they seemed to sparkle, everything reflecting on the lakes.
I arrived in Lucerne dressed in denim shorts and a red, breezy one-shouldered blouse, and I was clearly out of place. I really should have checked the weather forecast because the weather was rain, rain, rain, and the dress was sweaters, boots, and scarves. I chuckled at my luck and decided to search for an ATM to get some Swiss Francs. When I finally found one, the minimum I could take out was 50... which I ended up needing all of anyway, because if you are unaware and thinking about heading to Switzerland, just know that the Swiss have a way of emptying your wallet faster than you can say Guten tag!
When you exit the train station in Lucerne, you are greeted by a giant arch, similar to those all over the world like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, or the Washington Square Arch in New York City, or the Arch of Constantine in Rome. I'm beginning to think a city can't be a city without an arch of its own. I had a great photo of this, but somehow in all of the madness of Paris, it got erased. That, or it's lost in my laptop in cyberspace.
Anyway, so I finally grab a cab after standing in the rain with my colossal suitcase, and am whisked away through the city with tired eyes, sore feet, and very much in need of a rain coat and/or sweater. I arrive at my hostel just past midnight, and shuffle into a 20-person room to claim the last bed available... which obviously was a bit of a mess trying to be quiet and also drag a 50 lb. suitcase into dark room and proceed to dig though it for something to sleep in.
More on my Switzerland visit & photos to come :]