Today was my last day in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, and in Europe for my study abroad semester. Daniela, our director here in the Villa, took all the students, architecture and the others, on a day trip to Mogno and a hike through the Monza Valley. We headed for Mogno around 8 am and about two hours later (and many hairpin turns) in a giant bus, we made it to the top of the mountain. This small town of Mogno has a Mario Botta chapel, a gray and white patterned church of extremely small size. It was freezing in the town and even more to our dismay, the chapel was under construction. We snuck in for a few pictures before getting asked to leave. Somewhat disappointed, we all piled back into the bus and headed towards Mondata, the base town of our hike for the day.
Before we started, we ate lunch by the river, its crystal-clear waters rushing by. We were all pleased to find it much warmer here than Mogno, and even took off our jackets. Once we finished eating, we headed into the woods. The hike was mild and very up and down the whole way. It paralleled a somewhat distant road, heading towards the final destination of Foroglio. Along the way, Daniela showed us the traditions of Switzerland, such as the goat houses and small villages that were scattered along the trail. We passed around four or five villages, a few bridges, and several amazing viewpoints. About two hours later we neared the final town and eventually Foroglio, where a grand waterfall drops off the edge of a cliff. It was pretty dramatic and beautiful in the small town. We sat and had coffee and relaxed after a long day. We headed back to the bus and we returned to the Villa by dinner.
It was a wonderful way to end the semester, with all the people I spent it with and seeing the country exactly as it is perceived. As my senior year comes to a close, I feel myself more prepared for my thesis (fifth year) than before traveling abroad. I think it has been an essential influence in my academic career. I had an insane amount of adventures, experiences and wonderful times here in Europe and I couldn’t have imagined living in any other country. Switzerland has stolen a piece of my heart forever, and I will always remember it as my temporary home. I am sad to be leaving Europe, but I am very excited to spend a few days in Iceland, and even more excited to go home, to the best country in the world-America.
I will post a few blogs from Iceland which will be my final posts, so make sure to see the beautiful wonders of the Icelandic country!