Roads Go Ever Ever On

The last post of the class snuck up on me quickly! I have enough material for countless more posts, but I wanted to write about a few of my favorite memories from the last days of my trip. Switzerland was by far my favorite place we visited. It’s hard for me to say exactly what made it so special for me. Maybe it was the lush greenness surrounding me, the clear lakes, the fresh mountain air, the crisp mountain water, the majesty of the Alps…All I know is that I never wanted to leave, and the day we left Switzerland was the most reluctant I had ever been to climb aboard that bus. Ever since then, I have been longing to return to Switzerland. While every other place we visited was amazing, I left a part of myself in Switzerland. I have to admit, I have never felt more at home or more at peace with who I am and the world around me than when I was in Switzerland.

580917_416626105045905_1330775553_n

This was our view during our first dinner in Switzerland.

539628_416624755046040_850630285_n

Our first night in Switzerland was draped in fog, creating an aura of mysteriousness and dreaminess.

534554_416627768379072_2136142895_n

One of my fondest memories is walking a trail through the woods with my dad and discovering beautiful waterfalls.

480041_416632735045242_198866363_n

The Matterhorn!

599348_416633211711861_650769670_n

I could have walked and climbed the Alps forever! (If not for the oxygen deprivation)

376790_416626305045885_1364818060_n

The view outside our hotel room window.

396837_416631111712071_579710631_n

Our Switzerland concert featured the brass section during “Stars and Stripes Forever.” I’m the short one…

 

556055_416628658378983_664216194_n

I also got to tour my first castle in Switzerland: Chillon Castle.

I have lived in Illinois my entire life, but I feel as if I was meant to live in Europe. During the entirety of my trip, I never once felt afraid, homesick, or nervous. Even though I was surrounded by different languages and cultures, I felt more at home walking the streets of London and Paris and climbing the Alps than I have ever felt here. My dream is to one day return and live in Switzerland for a time. That dream seems unreachable to me now as I struggle to pay rent and buy groceries each month, but I know that whatever I set my mind to I can accomplish through hard work and dedication.

I plan on continuing my blog even after this class has ended and I am an official SIUE graduate. I want to continue sharing my adventures and observations with whoever cares to read. I hope that through my travels, others will be inspired as well!

I wanted to end this segment of my blog with a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien that he features in his book The Hobbit. I believe it perfectly captures the feeling of wanderlust.

Roads Go Ever On

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Still ’round the corner there may wait
A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

Au Revoir

Our last sightseeing adventures in Paris consisted of spending two hours in the Louvre art museum. Two hours was not nearly enough time to see even a third of the amazing art the museum holds. Of course, I HAD to see the Mona Lisa.

8033_416621665046349_1279230053_n

The Mona Lisa is much smaller in real life than I had expected and rather less impressive. But it is still fun to brag that I got to see it in person!

563990_416621785046337_147348986_n

The Louvre

396072_416621745046341_825995053_n

Another gruesome and confusing painting I found interesting.  

The Louvre was formerly Napoleon’s palace; there is a whole section of the museum dedicated to him. We did not have time to visit that section, unfortunately. The Louvre was a very rushed stop, and I wish we would have had more time to explore. It is definitely on my list of places to visit again and explore as long as I want.

Our last stop was Notre Dame cathedral. The cathedral was closed to visitors, so we had to content ourselves with just the outside of the building. Even just the outside is amazing, though!

555834_416620908379758_808162632_n

406051_416620778379771_1602309527_n

I absolutely love the gothic architecture!

After our last sightseeing day it was time to say Au Revoir to Paris. The city was definitely a magical place, and I cannot wait to return again someday! I feel like all I got was a snapshot of what the city has to offer; all it did was whet my appetite and leave me wanting more! The culture, architecture, history, and the people were all so fascinating. I cannot wait to return someday and just walk the streets, explore to my heart’s content, and feel as if I have truly experienced the city of love.