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Meeting the Royals: Switzerland Maymester

Shing Ann Yeh

This glorified vacation in Switzerland flew by much to quickly. In the last week or so, we paid a visit to a goat farm and met the princess of Liechtenstein. Really.

Up for a morning walk and this is what I see.

In Ascona, we went to town. That was more of a figurative statement, because while we loved the vibrant city along the waterfront surrounded by mountains, it was literally a hike. Going down to town was always fun, but the thought of getting back to the hotel was rather daunting. By my last count, I think it might have been 397 stairs. Whew!

Those are excellent colors.

But we loved this location. We listened to stories of the genesis of anarchy and practiced moving in our kinespheres in an empty swimming pool. We participated in a Japanese tea ceremony, where we drank a special tea grown from the only tea plantation in Europe located on the very mountain at which we were staying, Monte Verita. The waterfront was gorgeous and we rode a boat over to the botanical garden located on a little island, where we celebrated a birthday with a chocolate mousse cake. Another day, we hiked in the rain and encountered carved beings greeted us at different bends of the trail. We witnessed gorgeous panoramas and continued climbing further and further up, when we saw a sign with a picture of a goat. Intrigued, we followed the sign and found ourselves at a goat farm! The owners were so sweet and we loaded a backpack full of the most delicious, freshest cheese I’ve ever tasted. We also filled up our cuteness tank by petting adorable baby goats and watching little fuzzy ducklings waddle after their parents around the farm.

That's one of our professors with one of the students. We certainly had fun with these statues.

We spent four short days in Ascona, and then we were off to our last stop: Zurich. This city was busy, filled with all sorts of transportation, much like Amsterdam. Pedestrians, trams, cars, bikes, and boats were constantly on the move. Here, we paid a visit to the Museum of Art, went on a boat ride around the city, and lived in a fancy Waldorf hotel. One day, Professor B. told us, “Liechtenstein is so close, why don’t we take a day trip there?” So we hopped on the train and went across the border to one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We saw a castle atop a hill, so a few of us decided to trek up. When we finally reached the top, we frolicked around the fields surrounding this beautiful castle where the King and Queen of Liechtenstein resided. We decided to take some pictures by the gate, and then the big black gate started to open and a black car with tinted windows began driving out. No. Way. The Princess of Liechtenstein gave us a princess wave and drove off! We were in shock for a good couple of minutes, seeing how we just met royalty.

In awe.

Overall, I had a spectacular time at this Maymester and learned so much from our professors, graduate student TAs, and my classmates.  These three weeks in the beautiful land of Switzerland (plus France and Liechtenstein) I will cherish for a long, long time.

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