Summer Backpacking 2015
Ronchamp, Belfort, Basel, Zurich, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Santorini, Athens, Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, Zagreb, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt
So where and how should I begin? This 45 day backpacking trip began after the end of my paris summer program. A friend of mine came from the states to join me in this Eurotrip(We both received the E. Lewis Dales Traveling Fellowship.) As of now this has been the craziest and most energy consuming trip in my life. I'm not sure whether it was a good idea planning everything so condensed, but we definitely made the most out of each place we stayed. By the end of this trip I have already stayed in europe for over 80 days and travelled to 12 countries(including Vatican city) and over 25 cities across europe. My friend and I got sick at the end of the trip, so we got really lazy when we arrived to Germany. Anyway, I'm writing this blog about 4 months after the end of this trip, so many of the details may not be illustrated. All the picture's here are taken with my smartphone with an exception of a few from my friend congee (bokeh heavy pictures). Non of these images are post processed (No PS NO BS), except for a few instagram photos I might include.
01. Ronchamp, France (6/27)
My backpacking trip began with visiting Le corbusier's famous Notre dame Du haut at Ronchamp! One of the most famous buildings by Le corbusier, and every architecture student's must go destination in France. We first arrived at Belfort and took a small train to Ronchamp, but then we realized our schedule was way too tight, and we had way too little time to walk all the way up the hill to Notre Dame. Luckily we were able to hitch a hike up the mountain by sticking our thumbs at the entrance of the hill! The driver's son was engaged to a Taiwanese girl, so at least we had something to talk about during the 20 minute drive up the hill.
Iconic view of the Notre Dame, I was kind of touched to finally see this church in person.
A pyramid which allows for a much more holistic view of the church
Details of the exterior
My smart phone pics probably don't do this building justice~ but I'm showing them anyway
Adding a quote from wikipedia in just to eliminate the awkward spacing of images and to make this blog less picture heavy!
Le corb's colored glass that filters in southern light. From what I heard, someone stole a piece of this glass while visiting the church and sold it for a fortune on ebay.
It was the church's birthday the day we went there so there were scheduled performances later that afternoon, but our schedule didn't allow for us to stay there that late. We only had about 2:30 minutes to climb up the hill, visit the church, and then leave back to the train station; or else we would be stuck in the small town of Ronchamp, or more like the... wilderness of Ronchamp.
I won't go in this much detail with other buildings, but this building is way too beautiful to write a brief description about. Going down the hill we also hitchhiked or else we wouldn't have been able to catch our train back. Everything was planned so that even a little delay might cost us the trip for our next destination. Two engaged architects stopped by and drove us down the hill. They said they visited this place together when they were still studying in London, and wanted to see this church again before they got married. I guess this summer was a good time to get married~
One of the only tourist attractions in Belfort is the Stone lion which is on a fortress facing the whole town.
We planned to just walk around belfort before our train the Basel. We had an excess of one hour(strolling around Belfort and eating local food) before we got to the train station, but we didn't notice that the train station wasn't the fast rail station(TGV) that we booked our tickets from, so we had to hustle our way to the Belfort TGV train station. We tried calling cabs, but none of them spoke english so we just got on a bus and the bus driver was nice enough to let us get on the bus for free. We almost made it on time but a guy kept talking to the bus driver and slowed her driving down(I was really anxious watching that guy hit on the bus driver). When we got to the station our train had just left.... right in front of our eyes..I didn't think such a small town needed two train stations...
At least the station was rather nice, the louvres filtered in light harmoniously. We tried looking for other options and even calling taxi drivers to drive us to basel, which would cost about 100 euros per person... so we decided to give up our Airbnb at basel and just go to a nearby town called Mulhouse. We stayed there for 1 night and went to Basel the next day.I didn't take any pictures of Mulhouse because I was way too tired...
03. Basel, Switzerland (6/28)
Since we missed our train to basel, and go there noon instead, we only had about 6 hours to hang out around Basel. The first destination that we wanted to visit was the Gotheanum
Details of the interior inside the Gotetheanum! The buildings around all look eccentric and have these spectacular curvatures, I wonder what kind of vernacular architecture evolved into this kind of design.
We had our first meal in Switzerland there, and finally started to realize how expensive everything was. We also had to pay for water, which was quite unusual compared to Paris and other places in France. Water was 3 Francs per cup.. super expensive!
Perfect public urinal during night time
crossing over the bridge in Basel
There was some event going on near the river, a bunch of people and dogs were swimming together holding floats :or maybe this is just how people in Basel spend their free time.
I left out some other small churches and places we visited in basel, but those weren't that impressive in comparison to larger churches across europe. We left Basel around 7PM to catch a train to go to Weil am Rhein in Germany, to then catch a 2 hour bus to Zurich. Surprisingly, they did not even check our passports when we arrived in Germany, but re-entering Switzerland they checked our passports for a few seconds. We arrived at zurich pretty late, so I didn't take any first arrival pictures. I'm glad we stayed in Zurich longer, to heal from the past 2 days travelling to 5 different cities including the transit cities.
04. Zurich, Switzerland (6/28-6/30)
Not a great first photo I know
I guess I was a lousy photographer that day, or it may be that it was super gloomy and I was a little to exhausted to check my photos, but heck it was just the start of my trip and I already spent one whole month in Paris prior to this.
Really nice building by corb, too bad it wasn't opened on that day and we were leaving the next day! The 10 Swiss Franc bills also have a picture of Le corbusier on them, but Le corbusier himself became a french citizen in the midst of his carrier.
Probably should have visited ETH Zurich when I was there, but I was way too tired and I do miss out on quite a few tourist attractions during my travels. All these experiences will just strengthen my trip planning in the long run. Maybe.
I don't usually take pictures of urinals, but this urinal was a, dryer, hand washer, soap emitter, and toilet all in one. And it's also free! unlike some other public toilets in Switzerland.
One man band, and another good singer in the background
More strolling around zurich
Really nice ramping carpark - carpark city haha
The next day.. early morning (10 AM)
Roger Federer donated this tree for the office building,which is currently empty and curated by a company called Livit. We got to know the Livit guy and he let us into this private office building. The reason the building is still empty is because it was too expensive to rent out(100 million Francs or some crazy number as I recall) The design of this building was really nice, it's a pity that this building isn't in use. Then again if it were occupied, then there would be no way we could visit this building(the cocoon).
This building was unexpectedly marvelous! The views on the roof top was really nice, and the interior atrium space was larger than I thought from the outside. According to the Livit guy, the parking lot below grade uses sonic waves to control waters from flooding into the building, and also to keep the underground water from permeating through the parking lot. Sounds really high tech to me!
Tamedia office is a sustainable building designed by pritzker prize winner Shigeru Ban. Sadly we couldn't go inside office spaces of the building, but the lobby was already really nice, and we had a sense of Shigeru Ban's design language in this building.
Obviously I didn't take these photos! The building looked like a Japanese temple while it was under construction!
This blog post was faster than I thought it would take, then again it was way longer than I thought. Since it was a long time ago, I assumed I would be able to curtail the details and focus on the main events of the trips, but I realized the details are what makes this trip interesting. My next blog will be about Italy, from Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, and to Sorrento ( where my smart phone fell in the water..). Judging from this blog I'm not sure if I can cover my whole Italian trip in one post. I think I might have to split the post in half. Anyways this is just a brief summary of the first four cities or towns that I've visited. I know there are some really bad pictures in this blog, but to make things fast for me I've decided not to photoshop any photos since there is too much to cover. It is currently 5 A.M, I don't know why I do this to myself, but once I start something I Just feel like finishing it. I started this blog around 1 AM so it took 4 hours to put together. Thanks for reading or just skimming through my post! For the most part I just want to document my trip, and it's kind of nice recalling back memories of the trip. Feel free to leave a comment and give me any suggestions below! Or donate money haha just kidding!
11/22/2015 5 A.M