Geneva: A Tour of the United Nations and a Taste of the World Cup

There’s no better way to see a city than being shown around by a local, so imagine my luck when I learned my sister would be spending her summer living in Geneva, Switzerland. I shared our first day’s adventure last week, in which we took a cable car to the top of nearby Mont Saleve, France for magnificent views. The second day of the trip, however, had two primary missions: touring the United Nations and watching the Swiss national soccer team take on Cyprus in a World Cup qualifying match.

United Nations, Geneva

Flags on flags on flags at the UN

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Geneva from Above: Cable Car to the Top of Mont Salève, France

Flashback to 2008 before I became a true traveler. I had been out of the country several times with my family and had spent a month studying in Granada two years before. The travel bug was buzzing around my ears, threatening to bite, but I was still a year or two away from being impossibly afflicted by wanderlust. My mom, aunt, sister, and I headed to Switzerland for a week-long cycling and wine tasting tour through Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Gstaad, Gruyéres, Interlaken, and Grindelwald.

Paragliding Bernese Alps, Switzerland

Paragliding in the Bernese Alps during our 2008 Switzerland trip (2008 was obviously a really cool time for sunglass fashion)

Flash forward five years later, and my sister was spending her summer in Geneva as a researcher for the Global Detention Project. I was living in Madrid at the time and had adored Switzerland previously (despite being a travel neophyte!), so, naturally, a Swiss family Robinson reunion with a newly crowned local was in order. Continue reading  

A Love Affair with International Soccer

The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off less than twelve hours from the time I’m writing this, and I can barely contain my excitement. To count down to this year’s tournament (and Spain’s inevitable kickassery!), I’m taking a look back at the international soccer events that make up some of my all-time favorite memories.

Spain World Cup

Can anyone guess which team I’ll be supporting?

The World Cup came to the U.S. in 1994, with matches played just minutes from my house, but, at age five, I barely knew what soccer was and sadly missed out on an opportunity I surely would have gone mad for had I been a few years older. I’m envious of my parents who did attend!

However, five years later, the Women’s National Team was captivating the nation. I had Continue reading  

2013: Yet Another Travel-Filled Year In Review

I can’t believe the year has flown by so fast, but it’s time once again for my end-of-year travel recap post (see 2011 and 2012). And I must say that, having visited sixteen countries this year alone (plus loads of cities within each), 2013 may have been the best year for travel yet.

January
Once again, I began the year in California, home from Spain for two weeks to celebrate Christmas with friends and family. I then returned to my beloved Madrid, where I would live for another six months. At the end of January, I took a fabulous trip to the Spanish island of Menorca for just €15 round-trip, which proved absolutely beautiful, particularly because the island was almost empty in the off-season, allowing us to crawl coastal cliffs and explore abandoned buildings with no one around.

Menorca, Spain sunset

We ended the third day in Menorca with one of the best sunsets I’ve ever witnessed, preceded by a full double rainbow. Perfection.

February
Life continued in Madrid with lots of adventures and outings with friends I now miss. I also got to return to Sevilla for a work trip, rediscovering all of the things that made me fall in love with the city when I lived there the previous year. Continue reading  

My ABCs of Travel

All right, so I wasn’t tagged, but I saw this survey posted on Christine in Spain and just had to do it! It takes me back to the good old days of LiveJournal memes.

A: Age you went on your first international trip: At the age of 2, I traveled to Hong Kong (or “Honk Honk,” as I called it) and Singapore for my aunt and uncle’s wedding. A few months later, we also went on a Baltic Cruise with stops in Scandinavia and the Soviet Union (right before it collapsed).

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where: I don’t even like beer! But I’m going to have to go with a Guinness in the Guinness Factory in Dublin. It tasted terrible, but it was free (it’s normally included in the tour, but it was Dublin Culture Night, so the tour itself was free!) and I drank it with two of my best friends from the top of the Factory, overlooking all of Dublin. Plus, it was the day after Arthur Guinness Day, a big celebration marking the 250th anniversary of Guinness.

C: Cuisine (favorite): Italian. It’s everywhere in the U.S., and I’ve always loved it, but it’s even better in Italy! Even when you’re just eating at cheap restaurants!

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why: Spain is my favorite, duh. My least favorite was probably Continue reading