|wish we could have taken that boat|
|I spy the Alps!|
|blue skies, blue water|
But how great is this elevator.
On the first of two days in Zurich, we explored the town and cried at the exorbitant prices.
|the Limmat River|
|whomping willow sprouts|
|old town Zurich|
|probably still the Limmat|
|this is a thing|
We had plans to eat dinner at a Mexican restaurant, but after walking a solid half hour outside the center of the city, we discovered that a simple burrito cost 35 francs (read: 35 euros) (read: $39), so it was back to the center of town for us. We finally gave in and ate at a semi-expensive Vietnamese restaurant, which was actually fantastic.
|pad thai, anyone?|
|is that you, john lennon?|
|this one has cool music notes!|
|the dollar needs to step up its game|
|Lefty's like "wf did you just say boy"|
The next day, we had the hotel's surprisingly decent breakfast including my favorite cheese in the world...SWISS!!
|he was mooning us, ha ha|
I think this is an important building.
|whomping willow babies along the lake|
|im not a buoy, im a girl!|
|poems should be written about this tree|
There were several mini towers of very precariously-placed stones on the banks; it's a wonder the freezing and strong wind didn't topple them over.
|such Lake Zurich, very Alps, much Swiss flag|
|hey it's me!|
|imagine living between the Alps and Lake Zurich?|
|a painted photo|
When we had sufficiently frozen our rear ends off, we toured old town Zurich. First, we came across this darling bookstore straight out of Harry Potter:
|don't mind if I do|
Old Town was bright against the cloudy sky, with clean streets and tasteful street art.
|good luck climbing that|
I snapped a whopping total of one picture inside of Grossmunster, much to the chagrin of my fellow tourists who were obeying the "no photos" rule.
|just look at her sassy hand gesture|
|awful picture of the outside|
|ah there it is|
|Grossmunster across the way|
|the center of Zurich|
(Note the little green food stand)
At a food stand (did you remember to note it?) I swear to you we ate the most delicious wiener or something godly, which included onion crisps, pickles, and some creamy white sauce from heaven:
|wait you don't even understand|
|nice outfits, goofballs|
|not quite as stylish as the Venetian Carnivale|
Obviously, we couldn't not buy mounds of Swiss chocolate!
|praise the truffles|
|those boxes cost around 100 francs|
|don't mind if I do|
|Object in Photo is Smaller Than It Appears|
|no judgment pls|
|come to mama|
|oh sweet baby truffles|
Some of the flavors I had were: sangria, cherry liquer, caramel, pistachio, hazelnut, cappuccino, Bailey's, etc. They were divine.
At entirely-too-early-o'clock the next morning, we boarded our train from Rumlang, a borough of Zurich, back into the city center...which is when it decided to snow!
|not now pls|
We took the fast train from the center of Zurich to . . . Paris!
|tired but excited in the train (bathroom)!|
|"Maigret and the Hotel Majestic" by Georges Simenon, which takes place in Paris|
Our hostel was in Montmartre, an artsy and hipster district outside the heart of Paris. And thus continued the series of unfortunate events. The hostel, admittedly pretty cheap, was more than disappointing. Our private room was on the top floor, and smelled like musty construction workers...possibly because the workers were still renovating the room while we were in it? Not to mention the scaffolding right outside our window, where intensely loud drilling took place every morning at around 8. Did I include the stains and hairs on our blankets, or the broken toilet? Anyway...
The location was still admittedly great. The Basilica of Sacre Couer was only five minutes away, so that was our first stop, along with our first authentic crepes!
|our view from the outside cafe|
|a little too rough to function|
|ah yes, my loyal Parisian subjects|
|gorgeous day, luckily|
|ah the splendor|
|HAHA LOOK WHAT I DID|
This prohibited picture received decidedly the loudest tongue "tut" I have ever heard in my 20 years. B-b-but, Saint Michael's my guy!
To stretch our lazy limbs, degenerate from the long train rides, we climbed to the top of the dome.
|300 steps later...|
|we saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time!|
And don't forget the macaroons we drooled over:
|wow this picture is worse than I remember|
We will now have a moment of silence for the best restaurant I have ever had the pleasure of dining at.
We feasted at a highly recommended fondue restaurant right up the street in Montmartre, called Le Refuge des Fondus, which offered either bread & cheese or raw steak to cook yourself in a vat of boiling oil, accompanied by a (baby) bottle of wine...
all preceded by a brilliant array of appetizers and a sweet white wine.
|yum yum YUM|
|note the array of unbelievably tasty sauces ^|
We had the good fortune of sitting next to two lovely chaps on a business trip from California who made the dinner that much more enjoyable.
|cheese, love, meat, heaven, potatoes, dreams, sauces, afterlife, oil|
|cheers to our first day in Paris!|
|all the necessary utensils|
And not a morsel was left, not even a chunk of fat.
Crying (literally) of excitement, we finally got to see the Eiffel Tower up close for the first time!
|<3 <3 <3|
|bad hair and a happy heart|
|annoying "obligatory" selfie|
Don't worry, much more to come.
I went to Mass that evening at Sacre Couer in the rain, and if you forgot how many stairs there are, let my deadened calves remind you.
The next morning, we took the metro to the Catacombs. Just kidding, it's closed on Mondays. Typical. Breakfast time for us!
|wait...that's not [an Italian] cappuccino...|
|super cute cafe though|
Since that plan was dead before it even had a chance, we walked to the nearby Musee Rodin, which is of course also closed on Mondays, as we soon discovered everything is. The walk was nice, however.
|to the gold dome thing!|
|it's not my fault it's gothic|
|I don't know how to take pictures|
Classic tourist "IS THAT NOTRE DAME?" right off the bat (don't worry, I didn't say it out loud).
|hershey kiss trees|
|the forbidden forest's little brother|
Entering the very pretty Les Invalides, a collection of military museums and such, featuring Napoleon's tomb!
|ft .golden dome|
|gotta love that french flag|
Out of all the grandeur, still my favorite thing is the hershey kiss bushes!
Then we made our way across Pont Alexandre III,
|can you spot the french flag?|
|hi we are beautiful lamp posts|
which featured beautiful lamp posts,
to the other side with the Grand Palais!
And, not to be forgotten, the Petit Palais!
|and the petit Caroline!|
until after many kilometers...
We ate bread and cheese underneath the Tower like queens!
|impending storm can't dampen our spirits|
|but maybe the cold will|
|nope not even that!|
|at least it was delicious|
|soaked to the bone|
|could've taken cover here|
We were, however, too exhausted/drenched/grumpy to walk down the Champs-Elysées
(I know, I know, how couldn't we) but here's a shot of it anyway.
That night we dined like royals on steak frites and red wine that was oddly warm, but I wasn't about to argue about wine to a French man.
However, the pairing of red wine with chocolate mousse was absolutely to die for.
Each night, we paid the Eiffel Tower a visit!
|I know, I'm awesome|
|we must get closer.|
|MUCH MUCH CLOSER|
|okay back it up now|
The next day, Tuesday to be exact, we had a light and delicious breakfast at Costa (flashback to London)!
|decidedly the coolest picture yet|
|loling at myself|
|even more art!|
We saw some cool Monet and undoubtedly other famous works, but since pictures aren't really allowed, there's a cool thing you can do which is called Google. Anyway, next stop on our journey was Versailles!
|welcome welcome welcome|
|grandiose to say the least|
|hey there's me|
|excellent on the eyes, no?|
|chapel with an organ|
|my future room|
|nasty storm clouds|
|fine we'll stay inside|
|ft. TOUR GROUPS|
|each room a different color|
|ornate yeah yeah|
|chandeliers cool whatever|
|trying to remain calm|
|hall of splendor|
|bed of wonders|
|hall of very important busts|
|then it started to hail, because why wouldn't it|
The tour groups were so wretched we decided to go outside anyway.
|blue skies won't you stay awhile|
|smart people with umbrellas|
|alright this was cool I guess|
|now this was exquisite|
|mm much dead grass|
Do I sound bitter at all?
|such ancient beauty|
One highlight of the city of Versailles was an adorable bakery with the most amazing bread and pastries to date.
|feast your eyes|
|HOW CAN THEY GET THIS BIG|
|salivating even now|
|have I said enough?|
|pleased at last|
where we picked up these cuties,
we again had dinner at the fondue place!!!
|the ever-delicious appetizer drink|
|the cheapest yet most dry and delicious red wine|
|raw steak just itching to be cooked|
|creamy spicy tasty lovely|
|followed of course by complimentary white dessert wine|
|cheers to babies!|
Then came Wednesday, a day trip to Brussels, Belgium! We woke up nice and early to take a Megabus, which we absolutely could not find, into the city.
|oh, and it arrived late.|
|how could I not|
This was a super cool music store where several expensive CDs were purchased.
The famous "Pissing Boy" statue, properly known as Mannekin Pis:
|quite smaller than expected|
|pretty cute though|
Wonderfully, my phone died halfway through the day, so the remaining pictures are stolen off the Facebook of my dear friend/traveling partner Jennifer.
We quickly mastered the Brussels metro, which we took to see Mini Europe and the Atomium, both of which were closed for the winter. Interestingly enough, the outdoor pools/baths were open. Hmm...
|Atomium from afar|
|again, smart people with umbrellas|
|rainy and sad as it is|
|love the bits of gold to brighten it up|
And of course we couldn't leave without mussels from Brussels!
The restaurant we were planning on going to was closed on Wednesdays. Yep, you read that right. Only later did we discover on Wednesdays, its sister location was open. What?
Mussels were eaten anyway, don't worry.
|apparently fries are also famous here?|
Last but not least, Belgian chocolate (found everywhere!!) was purchased and quickly devoiured. We got to hand-pick each one too!
|that's what I'm talking about|
No day is complete without a night trip to our dear friend.
|goodnight my friend|
|I was so ignorant|
|already a bad sign|
|up up we go|
The elevator to the first platform!
|dim view of Paris|
|ugh you mock|
|only clouds as far as the eye can see|
|trying to remain optimistic!|
|what's up there?|
|this isn't so bad!|
But then we went up to the very top....
|my personal favorite|
|wow! what great views!|
|observation room, also nope.|
|not so big are ya ben|
There was no point in staying long, so we sadly descended once more.
Instead, we headed to a recommended cafe which served croque madames, but...it was closed. For 10 years, as the neighboring building receptionist told us (but how did our friend go last year...?)
No matter, no matter. We'll just have hot chocolate at another recommended cafe!
Nope. Under construction. How who why when HOW WHY WHY WHY WHY.
Alright, fine, remain positive, let's go to this super crowded cafe, it must be good! Let's see here...a piece of toast for 15 euros? Sandwich for 30? Bottle of Magnum for 450?! Nope nope nope nope nope. We kindly excused ourselves (now THAT was an awkward explanation to the waiter). Cheap Americans, that's us.
I guess that's what happens when you choose a random metro stop and it happens to be the highly posh district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
|even the metro stop is fancy.|
|thar she blows!|
|on we go!|
|locks on locks on locks|
|oh look more locks|
On the main part of the bridge, it is all boarded up to prevent more locks from being attached, because the bridge has become way too heavy to support all of the locks. In fact, each year they have to detach some of the locks so the bridge doesn't collapse. RIP hundreds of relationships. Also, whoop-de-doo for all your happiness and love. My boyfriend was 3800 miles away at this point. I hope all your relationships fail (just kidding, I'm just bitter).
|where's my boyfriend?|
|ain't she a beaut|
|yippee! I love art! (lol)|
|or am I just pretending|
|ugh it's so cool|
|ugh I'm so cool|
In we go!
|there...there she is|
|well, that's all folks|
Art lovers (louvres?), don't be mad, but that's all we really came to see. I assure you, we're not the only ones! The Louvre is just so gigantic that we were immediately overwhelmed. We only spent about two hours in here, just fooling around and trying to soak everything in. Maybe another day when we're not exhausted.
Outside of the Louvre, we wandered around the Place du Carrousel, which was pleasant:
|darn you cloudy tower|
|nice and puddly|
|Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (ft. carousel!)|
|[cue Hunchback music]|
Some type of Gregorian chant and worship was going on, which was super super cool and surreal.
This was definitely in the top 3 of my favorite churches visited abroad. Understandably so, I think.
|so so cool|
|back of the altar!|
|anyone recall the fire scene from Hunchback?|
We made our way around to go up the belfry...
PARIS IS CANCELED, WE CAN'T DO IT ANYMORE, LIFE AND EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING SUCKS, GOODBYE FOREVER.
You think I am being over-dramatic? I assure you, if you had been there and experienced that much misfortune in one week, you would be pushed over the edge as well.
Drying our tears, we stomped through the rain (in drenched socks and shoes) to eat duck at yet another recommended restaurant, where the service was bad and the waiter worse. The duck, at least, was scrumptious:
|photo by Jennifer, eaten by Jennifer|
Finally, we headed back to the hostel in utter defeat,
|cool metro stop, though|
Thus begins our last full day in Paris. After one last coffee from Costa,
|<3 thanks Costa|
|in we go...|
|what awaits us?|
|cool sculpture, cool|
|nice architecture underground, alright|
|bones upon bones upon bones|
|for two kilometers|
|or 1.25 miles|
Definitely one of the coolest parts of our trip, as morbid and creepy as it was. Mind was blown.
After we had regained our eyesight above ground, and our sanity and appreciation of life, we once more went up the Eiffel Tower, this time taking the stairs.
|up we go!|
|finally, the view we were looking for|
|we made it!!|
|ha ha, here I am|
|just too happy for the view|
|ugh, I hate Paris|
|just kidding it's great!|
|one of my faves|
|it's candid I-I swear!|
|wait, how do I photo again?|
|forever bad posture (sorry mom)|
|what a perfect day!!|
|wait, I hate Paris again|
|no wait we love it!!|
|Paris is our friend :')|
|probably the best pic of the bunch|
|ft. mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes, etc|
|Victor? Hugo? Laverne?|
|pretty cool eh|
|so so gothic|
We also saw the iconic side of Notre Dame:
|hurray!!! ft. JP2|
After shopping a bit in the area, we got a delicious dessert called Caroline!!!
|it looks just like me!|
We must have gotten some bad karma from laughing at that lady, because we drank bad champagne by the tower that night, and the fondue place closed early. We ended up eating the worst kebabs of our life at the only place that was open.
|smiling through the pain|
Saturday morning, we were kicked one last time by Paris by a rude baker who gave us the wrong type of baguette. Disgruntled and incredibly ready to leave, we took a bus to Beauvais Airport, flew to Pisa, discovered my macaroons were crushed, took a bus to Florence, and vowed never to return to Paris again (just kidding, can't wait to go back).