A SEMESTER IN LONDON: 36 HOURS IN SWITZERLAND

Switzerland has been at the top of my travel list since the moment I found out I’d be studying in London. I have always dreamed of vacationing around the Swiss Alps, however, with only 36 hours, I had to make the most of it. In the program, I have class on Mondays and work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, so I booked a flight for Saturday morning and had to return Sunday night.

Upon arrival, four of my friends and I rented a car. That way, we can see as much of Switzerland as possible. We began in Zurich and traveled through Bern, Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen, and Interlaken. Interlaken is where we spent most of our time, and it was definitely my favorite city we visited. 

Interlaken is a resort town valley in the middle of two emerald-colored lakes: Thun and Brienz. Its surroundings consist of mountains, dense forests, and alpine meadows. The population of the town is only about 5,000 people, however, it was very lively and city-like.

Once we arrived in Interlaken, we rushed to the lakes before the sun set and then headed over to a chocolate-making class at the famed Funky Chocolate Club. We learned everything there is to know about chocolate – from the cocoa percentage to the sound of the chocolate snapping. I guess we can call ourselves chocolate experts now.  

They allowed us to pick if we wanted dark or milk chocolate, or a combination of both. From there, it was up to us to design our chocolate. The class was an hour long and about $70. Although it seemed pricey, we snacked on expensive Swiss chocolate throughout the entire class and took home three huge, home-made chocolate bars. This experience was definitely worth the price and a must-do if traveling to Interlaken. It was so fun; I would do it again if I have the chance to come back! 

Although the chocolate-making was great, my favorite activity in Switzerland, and maybe my favorite thing I’ve ever done in my life, was paragliding. I debated for a while if I wanted to do it or not, but two days before the trip, I booked it. I didn’t look up much about paragliding beforehand because I didn’t want to get scared and back out, but now that I’ve done it, I would do it a million more times if I could. 

The adventure starts in the valley of Interlaken. You trade in your shoes for hiking boots and board a bus to take you up the mountain. Before you know it, you’re off the bus and standing on the steep ledge of a snowy mountain. You’re paired with your pilot, suited up, and ready to jump off a mountain! I say jump, but it’s more of a run. With the parachute already open, you run down the steepest point of the mountain until your feet lift up from the air and you’re floating. You’re in the air for about 20 minutes and then land right back in the valley of Interlaken. The view from up there can’t be duplicated from just hiking up the mountain, so I highly recommend paragliding if you are in Switzerland or any other city that offers it! 

Rachel Volpicello, Study Abroad Correspondent

Rachel Volpicello is a junior at Boston University’s College of Communication pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She is currently studying abroad in London where she is excited to intern for LD Communications, the UK’s leading entertainment PR agency. When she is not focused on her studies, she’s attending concerts, music festivals, and award shows. She hopes to incorporate her love for music into her future PR career. 

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