After laying some groundwork down in my last post, it’s time to have some fun. 🙂 During the three-week pre-semester intensive French course that I took part in, we were given the chance to take a few excursions to nearby cities. Here’s a quick tour through the highlights!
- Morat/Murten — Morat is a beautiful small town resting beside the Lac de Morat. As a group, we took a tour through the town, learning about its rich culture and history. A couple of days later we returned to Morat in order to take part in some sports activities. After spending a few hours playing beach volleyball (which was difficult, but fun at the same time), I tried out stand-up paddle boarding for the first time in my life. Despite what others may say, it was not as easy as it looks and I ended up spending the majority of the time sitting on the board in lieu of standing, haha. Needless to say, I’m going to need to work on my balance a bit before the next attempt.
- On a beautiful Saturday morning, a large portion of my peers in the French language course caught the adventure bug and decided to venture to Schwarzsee. Meaning “black lake” in German, Schwarzsee, according to legend, was the spot where the giant Gargantua washed his feet one day, leaving the lake black. I suppose when you have a mammoth stature like Gargantua, it would be quite difficult to maintain cleanliness (aka, we forgive you for making the lake black, Gargantua). The rich, dark color of the lake was striking against the cobalt blue of the sky. The image was absolutely magnificent—I can see why people say Switzerland is a breathtaking country. As we walked through the fresh air, the sound of cowbells murmuring in the background became a familiar jingle. I have to say, hiking with friends is a splendid way to spend the day.
- Bern — As the capital of Switzerland, Bern certainly does live up to its expectations. With a breathtaking river flowing through the middle of the town, one can’t help but pause and admire the view. The town itself is also quite beautiful, maintaining its historical architecture and beauty of years past. We were able to visit most of the main attractions: the live bears that are kept near the river, the clock tower, and Albert Einstein’s childhood home. In hopes of capturing a bit of the genius’ perspective, I even took a picture out of his window (see below). 🙂
Lausanne — Lying à côté de Lac Léman, Lausanne is one place that I have always dreamed of visiting. With a view of the French Alps in the distance and an expansive, beautiful lake to capture one’s gaze, Lausanne makes for a perfect day trip. I could spend hours admiring the way the mountains come in and out of focus, always looking a bit different depending on the cloud cover. The dynamic landscape was mesmerizing. After spending some time in pensive self-awareness on the banks of the lake, we decided to visit the Olympic Museum. Imbued with the Olympic spirit, the museum left me inspired (and wishing I had devoted time to a sport so that I could take part in this tradition). Somehow, the Olympic Games always serve to bring out the best in people. As the creator of the modern Olympic games, Pierre du Coubertin, said “Olympism is not a system, it is a state of mind. The most widely divergent approaches can be accommodated in it, and no race or time can hold an exclusive monopoly on it.” If we could only carry this mindset into all things in life — the mindset of healthy competition, of peace, of coming together around a common goal while recognizing that we all hold unique perspectives on life. If we could all maintain the Olympic spirit in all that we do, then maybe our positive collective impact could change the world for the better.