January in an Instagram

As should be obvious to just about everyone, I love Instagram – all the time, always, no matter what. But when I’m traveling? Well, let’s just say that “love” might qualify as an understatement. In fact, perhaps amending the word would be more apt: “love…to share an obnoxious amount of photos.” And since I’m abroad this semester, this means that 1) there is a lot of Instagramming going on and 2) there are consequently a lot of photographs for me to choose from when doing these roundups. It was hard to narrow it down, but these are my very, very favorite shots from January:

Geneva – The Blues of Lac Leman:

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I have two favorite snapshots this month, and this is the first one. The reason why? BLUE. I have mentioned it before, but the blues in Switzerland blow me away. They are gorgeous, and I want to stop and take a picture every time I see an especially blue body of water or piece of sky. This shot comes from my very first day in Geneva, when I wandered all around Lac Leman as the sun was setting. Talk about a “pinch me, I’m spending this semester in Switzerland” moment.

Zurich – Tiny Side Streets:

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One thing I will always adore about Europe are the tiny cobblestone lanes lined with colourful buildings. You might find these streets in a million cities around the continent, but they always make me smile nevertheless. I’m not sure exactly why, but something about them just charms me – and that’s why Zurich, which had a lot of little lanes just like this one, totally won me over.

Zurich – Luxemburgerli from Sprungli:

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This picture – of the delicious mini-macarons from Sprungli – recently became my all-time most “liked” photograph on Instagram, meaning that I will never again feel bad about taking yet another picture of a macaron. I am clearly not the only one obsessed with these colorful, tiny concoctions, so why not give the people what they want?

Geneva – The Cutest Car in the World:

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If you had to list the differences between Europe and the USA, “car size” would be an obvious contender for the list. Tiny cars are everywhere here, and even though I retain a fondness for the more spacious vehicles back home, I love seeing all the little cars on the streets. And while I wouldn’t necessarily want to ride in one regularly, that does not mean I don’t want to photograph them any chance I get. This little guy – spotted on the streets of Geneva – is an especially adorable one in my book. Again: blue!

Geneva – I Love You (Monday Through Saturday Only):

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I captioned this photo “love you too, Geneva” on Instagram, and that’s true but not the whole truth. It’s true because I really do like it here, but there are of course ups and downs. For example: I think this is a pretty photograph, but what you don’t get from it (or from my cheerful caption) is that I took it while wandering around for a good forty-five minutes, looking for a place to grab lunch on a Sunday. A huge amount of restaurants were closed, along with every grocery store. So, I love you Geneva – but not on Sundays, when you shut down and make my life unnecessarily difficult.

Geneva – The Walk Back into Town:

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While my early Geneva wanderings centered around the portion of the lake that’s right in the heart of town, I’ve also begun venturing further out. I like this particular shot – snapped on a Sunday, when “walk by the lake” was the one attraction in town open – because it gives you a sense of how lovely the pathway by the water is, particularly when the Jet d’Eau is spouting off in the distance.

Geneva – Touring the United Nations:

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I toured the UN with the other Michigan Law externs a few weeks back, and it was a neat experience. Neat because we got to see a lot of the UN’s fancy meeting rooms, and it’s cool to think about the important conversations that happen in spaces like this. Also neat because the UN has some pretty snazzy décor, such as the ceiling in this room, which can only be described as some sort of stucco-stalactite-rainbow explosion. And yes, I had to google “stalactite vs. stalagmite” to properly write that sentence.

Lucerne – Parade Remnants:

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I like this photograph for two reasons. One, it reminds me of the delightful little parade that I kept running into throughout Lucerne, which was one of my favorite unexpected highlights there. Two, it reminds me that I really love my shoes. Like, really really. I’ve been walking all over in these bad boys (Toms Cordones, in case you were curious), and they are super comfy and perfect for lots of exploration on foot. Also: they’re cute.

Lucerne – Picture Perfect Charm:

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I have already whipped out every cliché in the book to describe Lucerne, but not without good reason: it truly is lovely, and that cannot be overstated. Take this photograph, for instance, which contains the holy trifecta of European architectural charm: 1) colorful buildings with 2) ornate balconies that 3) line a pleasant body of water. You just cannot beat that.

Bern – Christmas Decorations Forever:

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One thing I’ve noticed these past few weeks is that Europeans seem to leave their Christmas decorations up longer than Americans do (I snapped this picture on January 19). Frankly, this thrills me; I hate when people take Christmas decorations down on New Year’s Day, and don’t even get me started on people who take them down on December 26. I took this shot in Bern, but I’ve found little leftovers from the holidays everywhere I’ve visited so far. I have found my people, and I love it.

Geneva – A Desk with a View:

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You might expect that, as an intern, I’m crammed into some drab cubicle or bleak, windowless office – but as you can see, that is most definitely not the case. I lucked out with this view, and on a clear day, it’s particularly magical (albeit more than a little distracting). Still, I’m not complaining.

Nice – Vintage Postcards:

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When I saw these bright postcards outside a souvenir shop in Nice, I knew I had to stop for a picture. I have a little collection of vintage European travel poster prints at home, so these guys were right up my alley. In fact, I loved them so much that I scooped up a few to send to friends and family. I may be one of the last people on planet earth who still does something as old fashioned as sending postcards, but I don’t care – I love it.

Nice – Strawberries at the Market:

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Walking through Nice’s Cours Saleya market – which features fresh produce on one end and fresh flowers on the other – was an absolute treat. I love colorful outdoor markets, and I especially love ones where everything looks so fresh and appealing. I spotted these strawberries and, I swear, they were the reddest, most delicious looking strawberries I’ve ever seen. Over a week later, I still regret not buying a carton of them.

Nice – The Russian Orthodox Church:

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I’ve always wanted to visit Russia (someday…), so when I heard that Nice had a Russian Orthodox Cathedral of its very own, I was intrigued. It was a bit of a hike to get there (I decided to walk instead of taking the bus, which was a mistake in retrospect), but it was so worth it. I wandered all around the cathedral for quite a while and, while the interior was beautiful, it was the colourful domes of the exterior that killed me. Too much pretty!

Villefranche sur Mer – Boats in the Harbor:

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I mentioned above that I had two favorite pictures from this month, and this is the second. It’s slightly embarrassing to admit, but when I was walking around Villefranche sur Mer’s harbor and saw this row of boats, I immediately thought: “that will make a great photograph.” I think it was the colors on this particular string of boats that got me, and I also think that I was right: I love this picture, and to me, it perfectly sums up the quiet, easy charm of Villefranche sur Mer.

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Whew, that was a marathon of a post. If you made it through all that, why not just go ahead and follow me on Instagram already?!?

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