Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Girls' Trip to France~Switzerland~Spain: Wanderlust Wednesdays

Wanderlust Wednesdays

I have intended to join my sweet Kerri and friends for this link-up for months and months.  Finally, I've remembered to do it! 

Part of my problem with not being prepared for this link-up is this: many of my travel stories that I want to share happened a while, I mean, pre-camera phones a while ago.  And, I'm not organized enough to have all my travel photos easily accessible.  Need to fix these.

Anywho....let me tell you about one of my European excursions.....

Short story:  2006 - a girl that I was joined at the hip for 10 years in the latter part of college and my early professional life (Shawna) now lived in Paris.  My cousin (Elizabeth) was 20 and got the travel bug.  I'd been to Europe and loved it.  We had a girls' trip, and it was sensational.  It was 10 years ago, so I'm really not even sure I'm going to remember all the details.  But, I'll give it a go.
Fly direct Houston to Paris - take taxi - French driver doesn't understand us - we show him address - he gets us to my friend's apartment - the street has a distant view of the Eiffel Tower.  Very nice!

I was supposed to pick up a key from the concierge of Shawna's apartment while she was at work - concierge not there - can't get key - we sit outside, backpacks in tow - residents who pass tell us "all French concierge take lunch break from at least 12-2" - okay then.
I could stare at stained glass windows for hours

We did all the tourist-y things - Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Hotel Invalides - one of the days in Paris was my birthday - drinks with lovelies in Paris is not too shabby a way to spend one's birthday - we went dancing one night at a discoteque.

Elizabeth & I train to Switzerland - we spent a day in Bern - played tourists again - walked the town, went to Albert Einstein museum - admired the beauty of the river running through the city - checked out the bear exhibit. 

Train to Interlaken (my favorite place in the world!) - Guess what - when we arrived at the Funny Farm hostel (a place I've stayed more than once), it was happy hour! - 2 for 1 drinks in the beer garden - we drank with the locals and met some people staying at the same hostel - had fantastic Thai food (who knew there was good Thai in this little Swiss town) - went to a underground dance club at one of the hostels.

Next day canyon jump/swing - I'd done this before and was super excited to do it again - (as I pull the link for this activity, I learn they aren't doing this currently due to "rockfall in the gorge") - Elizabeth chickened out - she's scared of heights - I used to have a video of my jump but have no idea what happened to it.
That's me jumping! And that's Elizabeth looking down the canyon to make sure I survived to tell you about it.

Early wake-up to go canyoning - outdoor adventure guides take you through mountain gorges, natural water holes, part rappelling/part hiking/part jumping/part swimming - we were with an overly athletic group (and the only girls) - I'd done this before but Elizabeth hadn't - she faced two big fears of hers: heights & snakes - yep, there was a tiny snake, the size of a straw, in the water with us - she jumped on top of me, and I almost drowned (not really) until our lovely guide jumped in and scared it away - we treated ourselves to celebratory drinks that night.

That night, we agreed to go with a special group and bungy jump over Lake Stockhorn in the dark for Summer Solstice (only during special events do they go at night) - bbq & beer at the bottom of the lake where Elizabeth hung out - I bungy jumped from a mountain gondola over the lake - adrenaline was pumping because it looked like I was just leaping into darkness - it was amazing!
That is me on the right - you just gotta trust me - I look so close to the moon!
These are smiles & cheers of accomplishment - this was my German bungy jumping buddy - we tried to keep each other calm (in broken English) while waiting in the gondola

Geneva to Barcelona night train - electricity black out caused us to miss our train - no hotels available anywhere in Geneva - I had a smart idea - we trained one town over - found a hotel with a huge bath tub - Elizabeth soaked for an hour - left Shawna a message at hotel that we would be a day late because we didn't travel with mobile phones back then.

Arrive next day to Barcelona - They were celebrating the summer solstice too, but it's called some Saint's Day (don't remember what saint. my bad.) - people were partying on the beach, kids running around throwing firecrackers, live music.

We resumed doing all the tourist-y things - beach, markets, watched street performers, went to a Pablo Picasso museum, checked out the unique architecture of Gaudi.

Treated ourselves to a delicious feast of tapas and Sangria - went dancing at a discoteca.
Rented bikes to explore some more - a fun way to get around the city - we had the best weather this entire trip!
Spent the last day visiting the zoo & the funky & delightful Parc Guell
Took a night train back to Paris - Elizabeth & I were delirious at this point.

I planned everywhere we stayed, everywhere we went, and every site we saw by using Trip Advisor - it is my personal favorite travel site for reviews and suggestions - plus, I'm old school - I like travel books, and I used those too.

I've participated in outdoor adventure activities seven different times in Interlaken, Switzerland - always used Alpinraft for these activities - the experiences are worth every penny, and the guides are fun, knowledgeable, and fantastic!  Plus, one of those guides took this picture using my camera.  It's my all-time favorite travel photo.

I have been fortunate enough to share many travel experiences with many special people.  This one is one for the record books...a time that I shared with two of my favorite people in this entire world.

Have you ever been to any of these places?  Have you ever taken a girls'-only holiday like this?


  1. Fabulous photos!
    I don't even think I knew TripAdvisor existed 10 years ago!

  2. What a fun girls trip!!! You got to see and experience so much. I have never been to any of these places but would love to go sometime!

  3. Oh my gosh, I need to go on a vacation with YOU! You cover so much ground and do so many amazing things!! (Isn't Switzerland the most beautiful country ever? It's my favorite!)

  4. I heart old pictures, they're my favorites! I want to canyon jump, it sounds like a huge adrenaline rush!

  5. yay fo joining the linkup! i am loving these old photos. oh barcelona - my fav city! love love. and the bungee jumping - i would die. so afraid of heights haha. i want to visit paris so bad. these photos give me all the feels :)

    xoxo cheshire kat

  6. We didn't spend any time in Switzerland or Barcelona, so those are both still on my list! All of the outdoor activities look AMAZING!

  7. So beautiful! I want to go to Switzerland! Minus the canyon diving for me haha, although that is impressive. You planned a great trip. I used trip advisor when I planned our Iceland excursions, too, like whale watching.

  8. Despite living in London, the only one of these places I've been to is Paris! How shocking, I need to set that straight asap. This trip looks like a barrel o laughs from beginning to end, and I'm so impressed at all your adventurous pursuits! Bungee jumping eeeek.

  9. God, remember leaving messages at hotels and just figuring out how to maybe contact people? It was so different back then.

  10. Wow, so jealous! It looks like an amazing time with your girls. :)

  11. Impressed that you planned everything yourself. Is t trip advisor the best. I love that you did this trip with a girlfriend, something every woman should do with a friend

  12. Awesome!!! I forgot about traveling without phones. Ha! I do a girls' trip with my oldest friend every two years, but it's just a road trip somewhere in America. Your trip was amazing!

  13. What an amazing trip!! I have two friends going to Europe this summer for like 6 weeks and I'm considering joining them for part of it...

  14. Wow, that sounds like an awesome trip!

  15. Such a fabulous girls trip, definitely something you'll all always remember! Glad you were able to find a hotel when Geneva was booked, and yay for huge bath tubs! I have that same Arc de Triomf pic in Barcelona - gorgeous!
    Green Fashionista

  16. barcelona!! gaudi's the best architect EVER.

  17. That seriously sounds like the most fun girls trip ever! I think that I'm going to be the most surprised by how Europeans take their meal time very seriously and how long it is, but I love to eat so I can totally get behind that! Interlaken looks so beautiful and woohoo for bungee jumping! I don't think that I would have been able to do it!

  18. A superb girls only trip! I really loved all photos and glad that you all had a great time together. My friends and I are going to attend a friend’s destination wedding at beautiful Chicago wedding venues. Never visited Chicago, so thrilled to be there.

  19. oh wow, seriously what an awesome trip. i would have loved to go to on a trip like this. and i'm happy you have photos from trips like these, i lost all of my photos from like pre 2010, so my first US and first London trip are gone. sigh. i have a few, but not enough to make a post. anyway. i have taken a few US weekend girls trips and they are seriously always so fun.


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