by Matt Mercado
Senior nursing major Matt Mercado traveled to Europe this summer with his friend Taylor Lynch. Using the hashtag #TayAndGayDays, he documented his trip on a different continent. Below are his photos and captions from the summer adventure.
This was our view almost every morning while we ate breakfast in the outside eating area at my Aunt’s Swiss cottage in the small mountain village of Corin. It was this view of the village of Seirre and the Alps that initially stole my heart and I knew that this trip was going to be life-changing.
Left: Hiking on Mount Gornergrat with a stunning view of the Matterhorn. It took about three hours and several trains to capture this iconic Swiss view of the Matterhorn.
Right: This photo was taken at the summit of Mount Gornergrat hiking towards the glacier. About an hour prior to this photo being taken, there was a helicopter rescue mission transporting several people from the glacier to a small clearing to receive medical attention.
Left: Me at the beginning of the hiking trail from the Swiss mountain pass Kleine Scheidegg to the trails around base of Mount Eiger, one of the world’s deadliest mountains, due to the dangerous climbing routes on its north face and Jungfraujoch. The views from this place were absolutely stunning. I repeatedly had to remind myself that this was real life and not a dream.
Right: Thirty minutes before this photo was taken at the base of the north face of Mount Eiger, I started a snowball fight with the young woman in this photo, Taylor Lynch. It was hilarious and insanely cold.
The Rhine is a river that starts in Switzerland and empties into the North Sea. All along this gorgeous river, there are castles and cute towns and villages. One of the most famous attractions is the Rhinefall, which is a waterfall in Schaffhausen, Switzerland and is depicted in this photograph. There is a rock formation in the middle of the falls that adventurous tourists can take a ferry to the base of and from there one can climb to the top. The view from the top is spectacular, but the trail is highly-congested with other tourists.
Left: The Eiffel Tower at midnight is one of the most surreal experiences I had during my stay in Europe. The twinkling lights looked like it was straight out of the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”
Right: Exploring Paris when the temperature was 90 degrees and humid was miserable, but the historical buildings and sites, the food and the music made up for it. Taylor and I coincidentally ended up being in Paris during Fête de la Musique, which is a free, city-wide music festival where DJs, bands and all sorts of other musical groups take to the streets and perform. As the sun went down, this massive city transformed into one big rave. There were people dancing all over the streets and in the fountains, and the music could be heard from anywhere.
Taylor sitting on the summit of Mount Pilatus. Instead of hiking the whole way, we took the world's steepest cog railway to the hotel on the mountain and then hiked the short trail to peak, where we ate lunch enjoying the gorgeous views of Lake Lucerne and the towns on its edges.
Left: Me 'summiting' Mount Blanc, the highest peak in the swiss Alps. Just kidding, this photo was taken in a mountain-climbing museum in Chamonix, France! On the way to Chamonix, there was a guy who got out of his car, started beating on the bus while yelling obscenities at the driver, then he attempted to board the bus. After a few minutes of arguing with the driver, he hopped back in his car and drove away.
Right: Hiking in the beautiful but very buggy Alps surrounding the french town of Chamonix. About an hour into this hike, my traveling companion and I started hearing someone yell "Monsieur, Téléphone!" over and over. Turns out I had dropped my cell phone somewhere on the trail and this kind French man was returning it.
Left: This photo was taken on one of the balconies on the spiral staircase to the top of a cathedral that is almost 1,000 years old in Konstanz, Germany. Being afraid of heights, I had a really hard time making it up the stairs without freaking out, so I rewarded myself after reaching the top by vegging out at the local McDonald’s.
Right: To get to Konstanz, Germany from Gossau, Switzerland, it only takes about 30 minutes by car, but it ended up taking a little more than 3 hours because we missed our bus from Gossau to Wetzikon, then got lost in the Zurich Hauptbahnhof, but it was completely worth it. Konstanz is a beautiful lakeside town on the border of Germany and Switzerland. The border is open, so my friend Taylor and I took a video of both of us hopping over the line separating the two countries, which we saw several other tourists doing as well.
Sion is a small town that had the coolest walking tour that ended by guiding us through two castles positioned on the peaks of the large hills.
This photo was taken on the walkway to the Chillon Castle on the Montreux Rivera. Several hours prior to this photo, I was on the hunt for some chapstick, so I ended up at one of the many pharmacies in the town. The closest thing I found was a rose-scented, sparkly lip balm for 12 CHF. For the remaining two weeks I had left in Europe, I smelt like flowers and could almost blind someone with the glare from my lips. My friend Taylor thought it was hilarious.
The Swiss capital was by far my favorite city to explore due to the Einstein house, Bern University, the rose gardens, the Cathedral of Bern and 'CityBeach.' which is an awesome rooftop bar the overlooks the city but is only during the summer. The views from both the Rosengarden and from the top of the cathedral of Bern are breathtaking. This photo was taken at “Da Vinci,” a cute Italian restaurant in the middle of a plaza next to the clock tower. The food was delicious.