Sunday, August 10, 2008

Europe Trip-Travel Days-Switzerland & France

July 15 (Tuesday)-It was a travel day! Mandy realized we were leaving Italy and got a little emotional. It would be sad. Italy is beautiful!! We made a quick stop in Torino, one of Mandy's areas, to see a woman she's been working with, Barbara. She's accepted everything and is ready to be baptized except for living with her boyfriend. So hopefully she can take care of that. She loves her so much and you can tell she loves the gospel. We almost missed seeing her since we were going to her work and were an hour and 1/2 late! Torino has the CRAZIEST drivers and intersections!! Then, we were off and out of Italy! We drove through a little bit of France and we got to drive through the Swiss/French Alps!!! I didn't think this was part of the trip!! It was SO amazing and BIG!!! This picture is of Mount Blanco and of the line we waited in to go through this HUGE tunnel!! We had to pay $34 Euro to go through and then to drive in Switzerland on the autoban, you have to buy a pass for $30 Euro. Kind of pricey! We stopped for a potty break in a little French Park City-like town. I peed in a hole!! That was a scary experience!!! But that was the only hole I peed in the whole trip! I thought it was going to be more common. So I was somewhat prepared!
Switzerland doesn't have their own language. At first, exits were called sortie in French. Then, they were called ausfart in German. We had fun with that one! Our waitress that night said she speaks 5 languages-Swiss German (which she says doesn't count), German, French, English (very well too!) and Italian. Very cool! Anyway, we get to Bern, Switzerland around 6 p.m. We check out our very nice and modern hotel (don't mind the video too much...we were traveling all day and a little loopy!) and watch some Home Improvement in German, while Mandy tried not to watch. Pretty entertaining! I even had a bath that night cuz we actually got a bathtub!

I guess Bern is a small city (but isn't it the capital of their country?) so everything closes early! We want dinner! We were used to Italy where they just get started eating dinner at 7pm! So we had to eat at the hotel's pricey restaraunt. My Dad complained the whole meal, but it was SOOO good!! We had YUMMY pasta and THE BEST CREPES I've had in my life!! It was scrumptious!! There was also salad dressing (finally!) that kind of tasted like Ranch!!! We also tried the Swiss drink, Rivella. It was good. I can't really describe what it's like-it's carbonated! (Cool picture, huh?) And the dollar goes farther here, right?? Why was he freakin'?

July 15 (Tuesday)-We got up and left Switzerland, but we stoppped at a grocery store to get all the chocoloate we can with 5 franks (left over from entering and paying to drive in Switzerland), which was about 4 bars of chocolote. YUMMY!! We had a map so we could try and find the Bern Temple. We could see it from a distance but couldn't ever figure out how to get to it. So we called it good. There just aren't enough ausfarts in these places! Well, Switzerland is exactly what you'd imagine...tons of grassy rolling hills with little houses or villages or farms or churches or castles all around. It's a beautiful country.
The French border was a little more intimidating than the other borders (which we never had a problem with). We've heard the French are really snobby especially if you don't even try to speak their language. They were jokingly giving us a hard time (we think) so it wasn't so bad! We drove through lots of cute, little French towns, even stopped at a gas station to use the hole! France also has really nice rest stops and are about every 20 minutes, which is nice. What I was MOST excited about was this was my LAST time driving that stupid car!! And I went out with a bang!! I drove us into Paris!! It was full of traffic even at 3:00 in the afternoon! No so fun! But our hotel was actually off the freeway, that was a first, so it was easy to find our Holiday Inn hotel! We checked in, got situated, and then headed off to find the Metro and something to eat. We found an Arab restaraunt that sells Ka-bobs, which Mandy said we had to try. They're not kabobs, but Ka-bobs which is something like pulled pork on a sandwich. It was really good!
We figured out the Metro, which is a feat in itself with all the 20 different lines! And made it to our first stop, The Eiffel Tower!!! I REALLY wanted to see it at night so this was the perfect day and time to do it!! I thought it was surrounded by park and no streets...I was right about the park on one side, but on the other side where we came in, there were streets and cars all around! Also, they put a ring of stars on the tower (I think they're on France's flag) so those were ruining my pictures!! Right under the Tower, there were a bunch of breakers. They did a pose they called the Eiffel Tower. They were pretty good but not as good as the people on SYTYCD. We talked my parents into waiting in line (where we met some BYU students who noticed Mandy's tag) and climbed all 638 stairs to the top (Well, not the VERY top, you take an elevator to do that, but to the 2nd level). Our quads got a great workout! It was fun being up there and very much like the Washington Monument in DC with the long, grassy park area and signs showing you the different landmarks when you're up there.

Then, it turned dark and the lights turned the Tower blue!! Then, twinkling lights started all over the tower!! It was like fireworks with everyone oohing and awing!

So it was about 11:30 pm by the time we started heading back home on the Metro. As we were going through the tunnels to get to where you get on the Metro, a fight broke out between two guys RIGHT in front of us!! Tiff and I were really scared. Mom and Mandy were yelling at them (in English!! They probably don't understand!) to stop and finally my mom went over and tugged on one of them to stop!! We were scared for her!! Who knows if they were carried a weapon!! Finally, we snuck past them and waited for the Metro. We heard a sickening pop like a head hitting the concrete. Everyone was yelling at them to stop (I think) and one of them came out and started yelling at all the people. I wish I knew French. Finally, the Metro came, and the fight stopped. Then, they were totally patting backs and acting fine even though they were bloody. Scary. We were pretty shook up. Then, I sat by a big, drunk guy who was hiccuping, sleeping, and stinking the whole ride home. Nice. What a day!! Our first day in Paris!!


John & Jennifer Savage said...

Wow...I can't believe you saw the Eiffel tower. I mean, I don't know why that part seems so amazing, but it's just so pretty! Wish I had some swiss chocolate right now, you made it sound so good! Hope you're not too stressed out these days! Let me know if you need some help or even just some sugar (I've always got some of that stashed around for stressful situations!) lol

Brandi said...

That is a beautiful picture of the Eiffel Tower at night. I have always dreamed of going to Switzerland. No Fair!!

Sants said...

I am loving reading about your trip! It is smart to do it in sections like you are.

I am desperate to take the trip you just took! Maybe someday (in 16 1/2 more years Mamu will be back from his mission so that is looking like a good goal). I am so impressed with all the languages people in Europe speak.

I am also so not impressed with the body odor that many Europeans embrace.

When I went to Egypt we had to pee in holes all the time and they were GROSS!!!!

Angie said...

Ohhh the Alps look amazing. That's great you were able to drive through there.

That fight sounds crazy. Although, if you knew French, you probably wouldn't want to hear what they were saying...I'll bet they were swearing a lot.

stephschmidt said...

Wow, what a gorgeous picture of the Eiffel Tower! I'm glad you kept such good notes of your trip so we can hear all about it :) I loved our visit this morning; I am gonna miss you!

Tooele Brezoff Family said...

traffic, fights, drunken men what else can you ask for? It Paris!!

I love reading this Thank you for sharing!
I want more!!

happy mom said...

Okay so I am not making time to read all of these, because you know, I am really behind!

but since I have memories of Switzerland and France. I will comment here.

I am loving all the pictures, and I have to ask now, does it all just seem like a dream this huge trip you took for such a long time and now it is just a memory like a dream, that is how I always felt after major vacations, I already feel that way about NYC, and Mexico and Europe were so long ago, they for sure feel that way!

what a great experience, maybe I will be able to catch up and read the posts, I hope. really love all the pictures, and I am so jealous!