I have no idea how time speeds by so fast. None. Zero. I swear I just landed in Europe, and yet here I am, posting Instagram snapshots that summarize my third month abroad. This, then, is the cruel joke of time: I am having an amazing experience here, so therefore my days zoom by quickly; once I return home and start studying for the bar, my days will creep by at a glacial pace. And if that’s the case, I had better celebrate this experience while I still can – so here’s a look back at the month of March, through the lens of my iPhone.
London – Old and New:
For me, a big part of London’s appeal is the juxtaposition between old and new: the city has an incredibly rich history, yet at the same time feels vibrant and modern. While wandering around near the Shard, I snapped this photograph, and to me, it perfectly captures the contrast: an old, retro red phone booth combined with the sleek, high-tech engineering marvel that is the Shard.
London – In the Royal Arcade:
When in London, I had a mission: head to Charbonnel et Walker and acquire pink champagne truffles. Done and done. Though Charbonnel et Walker itself was a delightful shop, I think I loved the building it was housed in – the Royal Arcade – even more. Looking up at the brightly-colored, ornately-carved archways was a treat, and it’s definitely a spot I will be returning to the next time I visit London.
Jungfrau – Sunshine at the Top of Europe:
As you can imagine, when you visit a place called “The Top of Europe,” you find yourself at the mercy of the elements. This photo is deceiving, then: I spent most of my time on the Jungfraujoch’s observation deck battered by a bitterly cold wind, but every now and then, the sun poked through and the winds ceased. I happened to catch this shot at one such moment, and I do love how stunning the snow-capped mountain ranges looked in the sunshine.
Jungfrau – Through the Ice Cave:
One of the coolest things about visiting Jungfraujoch was the ice tunnel, tucked away inside the mountain. Every surface of the cave (even the floor, so tread carefully) is literally ice, which makes for a cool experience. While the tunnels were pretty quiet during my visit, I waited patiently for every last tourist to leave this particular passageway before snapping my shot – and I love the result. What a neat experience.
Basel – A Sun-Drenched Corner:
I found Basel to be a cute little town, and I was lucky enough to visit on what was our first “true” day of spring – the weather was in the 60s, the sun was shining, and everyone’s winter coats quickly came off. The spring sunshine was so bright that most of my photos unfortunately have a harsh midday glare situation going on. However, I did love this one; Basel’s colorful corners looked idyllic in the light.
Lyon – Along the Waterfront:
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in Lyon, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I adored the city. So many parts of it were beautiful, but I don’t think you can find a more quintessentially wonderful sight than the waterfront with its rows and rows of colorful buildings. I took many, many shots along the water, but this one just might be my favorite of all.
Annecy – Ice Cream Among the Canals:
Even though I inadvertently visited Annecy on a busy weekend (they were celebrating Carnival), I still found much to like about the town in spite of the crushing crowds. The best thing, for my money, was just strolling through the city; the buildings are colorful and beautiful, and set against the canals, they look like a dream. Adding to the dreaminess of the scenario? A pistachio and salted caramel ice cream cone. Lazy Sunday perfection.
Annecy – Adorableness Abounds:
Everything about Annecy was cute and picture-perfect, but this little corner was off-the-charts adorable. The baby blue bike? The picnic basket on said bike? The cobblestones? The worn yet beautifully textured wall? The leafy plants? All utterly charming, much like Annecy itself.
Geneva – Signs of Spring:
One thing that has become increasingly clear over the past few months is that I lucked out, weather-wise, this semester. While much of the US has been besieged by snow storms and frigid temperatures, Europe has been having its mildest winter in quite some time. In fact, there were many occasions in March where our weather was in the 60s – even hitting 70 one day – while it was snowing back home (don’t hate me). Because I’ve been well-aware of the fact that I would be having a much chillier time of things in Michigan, I have been more appreciative of the spring weather than usual, taking special notice of the sunny days and blooming flowers (like these guys, which I spotted on a gate on Rue de Lausanne while walking home from work).
Geneva – Making Tracks:
Now that it’s gotten warmer and lighter in the evenings, I have started walking a large portion of the way “home” from work. I take a bus from my office to the UN, and then I walk from there. The 20-minute walk takes me over this jumble of railroad tracks, and I had often thought to myself that the tracks were visually interesting and might make a good photograph. One evening, I passed by at just the right moment – the sun was setting and the sky was alive with colors – and voila, this Instagram snapshot was born.
Budapest – Parliamentary Reflections:
As I was packing for Europe, I realized I did not have a good pair of sunglasses. So, I did what any person would do: I went into my sister’s room and stole some. However, the pair I chose was old to begin with, and sometime in March, it broke. So, in Budapest, I hit up H&M – always reliable when you’re in Europe and need to replace an accessory cheaply – for a new pair. How did I celebrate my new purchase? By spending more than a little while perfectly lining up a reflection shot of the Hungarian Parliament in my new shades. Of course.
Budapest – Sunset on the Danube:
I loved Budapest (it’s my favorite place I’ve visited so far this semester), and I think I can pinpoint this night as the source of my Budapest-adoration. I left Castle Hill at dusk, and by the time I made my way down to the river, the sun was setting. Budapest always looks grand and magnificent, but it looks even more so when its backdrop is a sky alight with colors.
Budapest – Gritty Graffiti:
One of my favorite things about Budapest was that its streets were not perfectly clean and tidy; there was a little roughness around the edges. While walking through the Jewish Quarter, I spotted lots of graffiti, but this wall in particular caught my eye – I loved the funky, colorful collage-like quality of it.
Budapest – In Bloom:
Walking down Andrassy Ut, I spotted several trees in spectacular bloom and, of course, had to stop to snap a few photos. If there’s any picture I’ve taken that confirms the quality of the iPhone’s camera to me, it’s this one. When I saw how clear and sharp the flower’s center (the stigma? Shout out to elementary school science) looked, I had to smile. Not too shabby for a phone camera, huh?
Scotland – The Castle on the Hill:
When I visited Edinburgh Castle itself, I couldn’t find an angle that really captured the castle well. Up close, it just looked – in my opinion – grey and bleak and not that impressive. Upon visiting Princes Street Gardens, however, I realized that the Castle’s best angle is when it’s seen from below. It looked imposing and magnificent from my vantage point down in the lovely gardens.
Scotland – A Foggy Morning on Arthur’s Seat:
When I visited Ireland, I kept marveling over how green the landscape was; I was in a near-constant state of awe at my surroundings. I’ve only visited one city in Scotland, but from my glimpse of Edinburgh, I’m almost certain that if I were to spend more time in the country, I would be similarly stunned by its lush, green landscape. Hiking up Arthur’s Seat on a very foggy Sunday morning, I kept pausing to take in the beauty of my surroundings – and with trails like these, can you really blame me?
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