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After spending the previous day enjoying the serene landscape of Bern , I woke up with the insatiable urge to go hiking. Growing up, I was never particularly fond of “the great outdoors," but after a few years of living in Manhattan, I craved the occasional escape from the concrete jungle. Once I experienced the joys of hiking and camping, I couldn't ever seem to get enough. Since no trip to Switzerland would be complete without at least one hiking trip into the Alps, the decision was obvious.
Since my semester abroad back in college, Switzerland held the title of “the one that got away.” Even though I studied in one of the most northern cities in Italy, Milan, I never made the trip up to visit my neighbor to the north. For years Switzerland (and Germany for that matter) remained my biggest regrets of that semester. Both countries were unbelievably close to me, but even after six months of living in Milan, I still didn’t have enough time to visit them. I now have a second chance on this trip and I wasn't going to let it slip through my fingers again. Before I even left the US, I knew I would eventually travel through Switzerland even if it meant completely sinking my budget.
After spending several days in Marseille exploring the old town and hiking through the calanques along the southern coast, I accomplished much of what I set out to do, but there was one landmark that continued to elude me - Chateau d’If. Touristy as it may be, I was determined to see it as long as the forceful mistral winds took a day off. Every morning for the past five days, I've walked down to the ferry dock in Vieux-Port to check if the boats were running, and five times I've returned disheartened. Finally my stubbornness paid off and on the sixth day the mistral took pity on me.