My Summer Internship Journey Part 2: Traveling in Europe
In the previous story, I wrote about my project at my time in CERN. In this article, I will write about how I managed my time travelling around Europe during my internship.
The CERN summer internship lasts for eight weeks, meaning that I got seven weekends throughout my internship period. The interns used these weekends to travel around in groups. My travel buddy was Arifin and Himu. Arifin came from the same university as me while Himu came from Bangladesh.
First Trip: To the Top of Europe
In the first week of the internship, we knew straight away that we needed to explore Switzerland first, before anything else. We then looked for mountains to walk on. Jungfraujoch caught our eyes back then. It has a train going up to the summit, so we newbs don’t have to hike in the snow. Arifin and I then worked together for the itinerary. On the d-day, we took the earliest bus to catch a morning train from Geneve to Interlaken.
Interlaken is a town located between two lakes, hence ‘inter-lake-n.’ The scenery of Interlaken was delightful and peaceful. I wish I could live there forever. After taking a short walk around Interlaken, we went to the Jungfrau train station, and up we go to the top of Europe — or at least that’s what they claimed.
There are two ways to reach Jungfraujoch. The first one is taking the train through Lauterbrunnen, and the second one is through Grindewald. The receptionist suggested that we go up through Lauterbrunnen and go down through Grindewald. The journey on the train was so mesmerising that it nearly made me emotional. The train stopped at the sphinx observation deck.
On the platform, we couldn’t spot other buildings; all we could see was the snowy mountains. We couldn’t feel our body because it was freezing; all we could feel was a delight. It’s bizarre how Mother Nature gave me a cold snap but left my heart completely warm.
After relishing the scenery and took some photographs, we went to the cafeteria and bought some food. That was when I, sort of, got food-poisoned. After taking one bite of sandwich, my head started to turn around like it’s a nonstop earthquake. I tried to calm myself before I ran to the toilet and threw up on the washbasin. It was embarrassing, but at least I was no longer lightheaded.
Second Trip: Luzern and Zurich
We did not travel on the second weekend, because we wanted to have time to research and make the best travel plans. The third weekend was still in Switzerland. This time, we went to Luzern on Saturday morning and slept at a hotel in Zurich. In Luzern, we walked through Kappelbrucke and somehow got lost. We asked the locals for directions, but they offered us a ride instead. Then, we hiked a mountain, rode a 1350m-long frakigaudi toboggan run, and rode a panoramic gondola. In Zurich, we went to FIFA Museum, the Zoo, and the ETH university. It was a fun trip, but I guess the Jungfrau trip overshadowed it.
Third Trip: To the City of Music, Vienna
We travelled to Vienna on the fourth weekend, this time using an aeroplane. We stayed in a six-person shared room hostel. This way we could book only two beds and pay very little for it compared to other hotels. I don’t remember everything about Vienna, but the building architecture style is very distinct. We went to Schonbrunn palace, rode the Prater, and ate a Sachertorte. The highlight of this trip, however, is when we visited musical places. We went to the opera house where Mozart used to perform, we went to Mozart’s apartment, and we even went to Mozart’s tomb. As much as I can remember, Mozart was a great musician that made him earned a lot of money, but he had hefty loans to support his gambling addiction. Nevertheless, I would never take off the credit of his genius in music.
Fourth Trip: To the City of Love, Paris
Travelling in Europe wouldn’t be complete without Paris, I guess? La Ville-Lumière (the City of Lights) was the city’s former title. This nickname emerged when Louis the Great restored the public’s faith in law and order on the mid 17th century. It is also because the city had become Europe’s centre of education and ideas throughout the late 18th century to the early 19th century.
We went to Paris on a high-speed train from Cornavin. We’ve put high hopes on this trip, but just when we arrived, we could smell urine on the streets when we walked to our hotel. We went to the Sacre Coeur — basilica at the heart of the city — and found beer glasses everywhere. The Eiffel Tower was even worst; scams crowded the place. A group of ladies tried to ask for sketchy donations; others wear costumes and will come to take a photo with you but then charge it for a hefty amount of money. On Pont des Arts, a tall guy grab my friend’s hand, made a bracelet out of a thread then charge it twenty euros. My friend didn’t even ask for anything; the tall man just forced it. Well, you get it, it was our worst trip travelling in Europe.
You can see an original painting of Mona Lisa at the Louvre, but you have to go through a long queue inside the room and even longer queue to get inside the Louvre. However, my friends and I have done our research, so we went inside the building through the basement, which had shorter queues.
The Louvre seems to be a consolation. It is massive and considered one of the largest museums in the world. It’s impossible to appreciate every section in The Louvre in a day.
Fifth Trip: To the City of Eternity, Rome
After spending a lot of money on previous trips, we decided to cut some costs by travelling on a bus. We took the bus on Friday night and arrived on Saturday morning. Of course, it wasn’t comfortable, but it saved us a lot of money.
We went to the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and lots of basilicas — the one you can find on Angels and Demons. We booked an Airbnb room near the Vatican. I don’t remember why, but we went to the Vatican Museum for free. The paintings of Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel are majestic and fascinating. The St. Peter’s Basilica is full of spiritual presence, I can tell. The buildings on Rome and the Vatican are amazing for sure, but their history is what made them beautiful.
The trip to Rome pretty much sums up my journey in Europe. I wish I can always cherish those moments, and perhaps this article could help me pick up some memory fragments in the future. Thank you for reading this article. I wish to put a dream in your heart to travel around the world whenever and wherever.