Monday, August 5, 2013

The End

Sadly enough, today was my last day in Basel and in Europe- I am headed home on a plane tomorrow morning. On the bright side, I had a wonderful day to end this amazing trip. Kurt, Carolyn, and I woke up early to grab breakfast at a near by cafe. I had hot chocolate with a croissant. Yum! Carolyn and I then walked to her work (today was her first day back) and I helped her and her co-teacher begin setting up their classroom by label-making, sharpening pencils, moving furniture, etc. I had a really enjoyable time and I was so pleased to be able to see where Carolyn works! I was given lunch there which was super and right afterward, I walked home to begin packing, checking into my flight, and getting all ready to go. As soon as Carolyn and Kurt got home, we headed off for a swim in the Rhine! It was amazing! The current is strong enough to carry you down while you just float or tread water. I had so much fun. Getting out was a bit scary though... Afterward, we headed off to the best pizza in town. It's owned by Italians and boy was it delicious! We sat there for quite a long time and then headed to the river for a bit more fun where we met up with Carolyn and Kurt's friends afterward. Then we headed home and here I am! It was a lovely day.
I can't begin to explain how wonderful this trip has been- taking the long journey over here is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I feel I have grown in many ways and am so excited to see where life continues to take me. I am so looking forward to coming home- 48 days away is a very long time and I am ready for some down time in my wonderful home town. A big thanks to each of you who have read my ramblings this entire time- I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them; I would love to see each of you back home at some point in time. That's all I have for this adventure. Perhaps we will meet again during the next one. Take care!

(photo credit: Leah Kelley)
(photo credit: Leah Kelley)
I am fortunate enough to have made some incredible friends on this trip.

(photo credit: Leah Kelley)

These memories will last a lifetime.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Gift of Music

Today was another wonderful Sunday in Basel. During breakfast, Carolyn, Kurt, and I watched a summer rainstorm as it crashed down around us, complete with loud crashing thunder and huge bolts of lightening. It was incredible. We then took a walk to the park around the corner that used to be a cemetery- it was beautiful. Carolyn and I then headed across town to the botanical garden- this was incredible. It has everything you can imagine and more, including a house that basically holds a jungle (it was really hot in there!) We then walked down by the Rhine and ordered burgers and fries, enjoying the beautiful day. Afterward, we headed to a museum in town that is centered around an artist named Jean Tinguely, a man who took lots and lots of "junk" and turned it into beautiful moving machines. We spent about two hours here thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We then headed home where Carolyn gave me a bunch of her music- I am really excited to listen to it and share it with my friends. Music is one of the best gifts in the world. We then had dinner with Kurt and then biked out to the garden where I busied myself picking blackberries and raspberries. It was quite a busy day. I have loved the time I've spent here and am so glad to be sharing this incredible adventure with my sister. Until next time. Love to all.
The troll in the park! (Another boyfriend to add to the collection, obviously.)

A pretty sunflower tree in the botanical garden

Tiny little frogs outside a house in the garden!

I saved him. :)

Basel is beautiful.

One of Tinguely's works- this was moving, you just can't see that in the picture.

Another artist was also being featured in this museum- his show was called "Slow Motion." When you walked in this room, all this magnetic tape was on the ceiling. It was a strange thing to look at.

My favorite of Tinguely's pieces

Mmmm want some?!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Two Days in the Alps

Hello again! I have safely returned to Basel after two days of an amazing adventure. Carolyn, Kurt, and I traveled through Switzerland, went swimming in a lake, climbed into the Alps, (complete with a steep ride up a mountain in a bus that honked loudly around every corner, your average sketchy bridge suspended above a glacier, a rope to help climb an especially steep part, and waterfalls to occasionally fall into) and we stayed in two separate huts. It was absolutely amazing to say the least; there is no way I can explain to all of you what it was like to be where I was- I am so thankful Carolyn and Kurt planned this out so well in order for us to enjoy such an amazing time together. Both huts were quite the experience, each containing other families (one much more filled than the other) and one even supplied breakfast, dinner, and really delicious tea. I can now say that I have hiked 8 and a 1/2 hours in the Alps and I came away sweaty, hot, exhausted, and so excited. It was absolutely incredible. I have included a few pictures but Carolyn and Kurt captured a lot more special moments on their camera that I will share with some of you at a later date. Until next time. Love to all.
In the city of Lucerne, we swam in their lake.

The "Post" bus that took us to the starting point of our hike

Taken from the bus

The first waterfall encounter on our hike...amazing

Our entire hike was like this- simply beautiful

A picture of my bunk in the second cabin

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fireworks and a Barbecue

Hello! Today, August 1st, is Swiss National Day- this means that last night was a huge party in Basel which meant that we had so much fun with friends, food, and fireworks. Carolyn and I began the day by walking around the town some more, enjoying a few shops (I bought a couple things!), grocery shopping, getting an amazing lunch in a little square in town, and buying fireworks! We then came home, got all ready to go, and headed out to the garden for a barbecue- a ton of Carolyn and Kurt's friends showed up and I had a wonderful time. There was more than enough food and I definitely stuffed myself. We, along with many others in their gardens, set off our fireworks and enjoyed each other's company. Around 11, we set off for the river to watch the real fireworks show. As we biked there, I looked up as much as I could- they really do an amazing job on their fireworks here; I was in awe. Unfortunately, JUST as we pulled up to the river and I scooted my bike toward the edge and tried to move so a tree wasn't in my way, the last firework went off. We were all pretty bummed but the fact that we had just raced down there all together (about 8 of us on bicycles- I would call that a sweet bicycle gang) was super exciting so we got over it. A few of us from the group then went out! There had been a dance party planned for this night, put on by D.J. Koze, so Carolyn, Kurt, and I bought our tickets right before the BBQ. We all biked there- it was about a 20 minute ride- got off, and went inside to enjoy the electronic beats of a European Discotheque. For me personally, the music was a little too trance-like so I had a hard time dancing but it was super fun to watch the people inside enjoy themselves- it got really really packed. We ended up getting home around 3:00 in the morning, so I am pretty exhausted as I write this at 9:30 the next morning. As I sit here, the church bells of Basel are all singing away to celebrate the day, I'm guessing. It is really neat. Today, the three of us will be traveling to Lucerne, Switzerland to hike in the Alps!!! Of course there is a lot planned around that, but we will be gone until late Saturday afternoon which means, unfortunately for you, I won't be back on here rambling until then. This trip continues to amaze me and I can't wait for these next three days- I, Janna Yates, will be hiking in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, stopping in two separate cabins to sleep the night away in the fresh mountain air. Oh! Night before last, the salsa dancing was so much fun- I danced with quite a few guys who were very understanding of my extremely basic knowledge of the dance. I had a great time and Carolyn and I wondered home around 12:30 am. Until I return! Love to all.
On our way to salsa!

The best ice cream in Basel (Julia and Marc- this one is a winner)

The great place we ate lunch

An amazing almond cookie that is well-known here. It is just so tasty.

A great little side street

There are fountains all over this city that you can drink from! Carolyn and I stop almost every time we see one.

A little flashback to Prague! We were playing "Never Have I Ever..." (Photo credit.- Benedicte Masson)

The group in Prague <3 (Photo credit.- Benedicte Masson)