Alp me Baby! The Livin’s too Eze-y

Trip Region: Western Europe
Country(ies): Switzerland & France
Partners Trek? Yes
Trip Cost: $3085
Airfare Estimate: $1600
Nightlife: 5   •   Activity: 7

Welcome to your dream European couples getaway – the ultimate blend of Alpine mountain magic, French opulence, and Riviera relaxation. The perfect trip to get you ready for your Ross experience!

We’ll hike in the Bernese Alps where the ice-clad peaks are reflected in crystal-clear lakes and cows graze in picturesque mountain pastures. We’ll bike through the gorgeous valleys and gaze upon countless waterfalls tumbling from the sky. We’ll meet the friendly locals and sample their finest chocolates and cheeses. We’ll enjoy dinner in one of the finest food cities in the world, Lyon, and explore the famous day market in Aix-en-Provence.

We’ll finish our amazing European holiday with nothing but sunshine and rose wine on the French Riviera.  You’ll have time to soak up what makes this region so famous – the historic old town of Nice with squares lined with al fresco style dining, the ancient ruins from the Roman influences, the beaches lined with the beautiful and the famous, the azure blue Mediterranean sea, and all the delicious food and drink we can get our hands on.

We’ll depart Europe having accomplished everything we set out to do: conquered mountains, explored majestic scenery, gotten a tan, eaten incredible food, drank maybe a little too much, and made great friends along the way.

Now you’re really ready for year one.

Day 1 — Saturday, Aug 17

Welcome to Switzerland! After arriving at the hotel and settling in, we'll start our adventure with a rendezvous in the historic financial powerhouse that is Zurich. We'll kick things off the right way with a night filled with new friends, fondue, and as much bier and wine as we can handle

Day 2 — Sunday, Aug 18

After Zurich, we’ll take the famous Swiss trains to our alpine home base of Interlaken where we'll spend the next three days working off the carbo-loading by exploring some of the most awe-inspiring scenery on the continent. On our first day in Interlaken, we will hop on bikes with our local guide for a bike tour of the city.

Day 3 — Monday, Aug 19

On day 3, catch a morning train to Grindelwald through the Bernese Alps. Hike down to Lauterbrunnen, the picturesque valley home to 72 thunderous waterfalls, and explore the village at your own pace – shop for souvenirs, or simply grab a beer and enjoy the views. Hop back on the evening train to Interlaken.

Day 4 — Tuesday, Aug 20

Free time! Explore more of Lauterbrunnen, join some of us on a train and hike to the "Top of Europe," explore Swiss cheese-making factories, take a break at a Swiss spa, or test your bravery by skydiving over the Alps!

Day 5 — Wednesday, Aug 21

At the conclusion of our alpine adventure, we'll head to the south of France with a private transfer for a more relaxing second leg of our trip. We'll start in the Rhone valley - the second largest wine-growing region of France - and of course stop at a winery right away to put ourselves in the Provençal spirit. We will continue our short journey to Lyon, the second largest city in France and known for its historical and architectural landmarks. Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk and in modern times has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France. Home to 16 Michelin starred restaurants and a breeding ground for famous chefs, Lyon is sure to please all palates!

Day 6 — Thursday, Aug 22

Continuing our journey in France, we will take a short drive via private transport to Aix -en-Provence; Leafy boulevards, elegant public squares lined in 17th & 18th century mansions - Aix is a tourist paradise. Join in for a morning walking tour of Aix following in the footsteps of Cezanne ending in the world-famous day markets and have the rest of the day to yourself. Stroll along Cours Mirabeau, the boulevard where Camus and Hemingway would have come for lunch when they lived in the city. Wandering through the streets and squares of the old town is one of the great pleasures in life. But it’s not just historic and picturesque – Aix in the 21st century is also affluent and chic, a little piece of the Paris left bank transported to the South.

Day 7 — Friday, Aug 23

Today we’ll take a private transfer to the city of Eze. On our way out of the Provence region we'll up the opulence one more notch by getting a guided tour at a perfumery where we learn the trade secrets behind the highest quality French perfume and cosmetics (and try not to spend too much on souvenirs, but hey we’re on vacation!). We’ll finish the day in Nice, getting acclimated to the city with a guided walking tour. Nice is the capital of the Cote D’Azur and our home base for 3 final nights on the Mediterranean coast. From here we'll be able to explore and one of the most charming, historic and beautiful areas in France all the cities and offerings along the Riviera.

Day 8 — Saturday, Aug 24

On one of our last full days, we’ll go on a 2.5 hour boat trip (hopefully booze cruise: stay tuned) to Saint-Tropez. Saint-Tropez is one of the most glamorous places in France, with sunny weather, sandy shores, and mild Mediterranean waters. Picturesque pastel-colored houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and shady squares add to the charm. Besides the mesmerizing azure blue seas, Saint-Tropez also boasts a verdant countryside of pine trees, olive groves, cypresses, and shrublands. Explore the city at your own pace and catch the boat back to Nice in the evening.

Day 9 — Sunday, Aug 25

Free day (read: Rose all day). The Riviera really is the ideal holiday destination and the perfect way to wind down and relax as we prepare to return to "real life". Catch some sun on the gorgeous Nice beaches before we join together in the evening for our farewell dinner.

Day 10 — Monday, Aug 26

Farewell! Depart at any time and see you back at Ross!

Lauren Baum & Matt Tucker

Name Lauren Baum
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Childhood nickname LB (an unfortunate set of initials for a girl with a chubby stage that lasted a bit too long)
Favorite Band/Artist: Paul Simon
Choose a movie title for the story of your life (Over)Analyze This
Why you want to hang out with me: If ice cream is on the menu, I’m ordering it for the table
Weirdest Quirk about my partner: He can draw an eerily precise map of the US from memory, basically to scale
Hidden Talent: Choosing the exact right sized Tupperware for leftovers
Perfect MTrek Day: Wake up over a nice, hot cup of coffee while laughing with new friends about last night’s adventures. Head off to a great hike where amazing views and frollicking belled cows abound, and grab an ice cold beer and a späztli and rösti lunch at the end while our legs recover. Head back to the hotel to play some games outside while overlooking a gorgeous lake before hitting the town for some dinner, drinks, and laughs.
If you were a drink, what would you be?: An elderflower fizz – bubbly, sweet, and yeah OK, a little bit basic
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Peru
How would your partner describe you?: Terrible with directions, excellent at making myself vulnerable to cyber criminals
At which store would you like to max out your credit card? The Citizenry
What are your pet peeves? Mean people and Dunkin’ Donuts insisting on giving you a styrofoam cup as a sleeve for your plastic cup every time you order an iced drink
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked, right out of the pint. This LB nickname is making more and more sense with every question I answer…
Favorite thing about Ross: Amazing, kind, interesting people and incredible international opportunities

 

 

Name: Matt Tucker
Hometown: Clearwater, FL
Childhood nickname Tucker
Favorite Band/Artist: Run the Jewels
Choose a movie title for the story of your life Soundtrack: The Life of an Aspiring DJ
Why you want to hang out with me: You can count me on to get the dance party started
Weirdest Quirk about my partner: Get her on a hike and you’ll see that she has a non-stop soundtrack in her head… cause she’ll sing it out loud
Hidden Talent: Lauren outed mine already: drawing a very accurate map of the US from memory
Perfect MTrek Day: Sign me up for Lauren’s perfect MTrek day – that’s mine too!
If you were a drink, what would you be?: Mexico City Mule: a little familiar, a little surprising
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Peru for me, too
How would your partner describe you?: Kind and smart, but a dorky sense of humor and lots of room for improvement in the wardrobe department
At which store would you like to max out your credit card? Huckberry
What are your pet peeves? People who lack self-awareness, windy days at the beach, loud chewing
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Fried plantains. I truly never get tired of them.
Favorite thing about Ross: Kind, fun, and down-to-earth people that make partners feel like they’re in the section (even if your student won’t add you to the section GroupMe)

Rachel McDonough & Zak Kasza

Name Rachel McDonough
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Childhood nickname Swampy (unfortunately this was also the first fact my entire section learned about me on the first day of orientation)
Movie title for the story of your life Me and my Dog, A Love Story in Three Parts
Why you want to hang out with me: If you need sugar, the snacks can be found here.
Weirdest Quirk about my partner: He actually uses Siri… who does that? Oh and his La Croix addiction… Is it normal to drink bubbly water in the shower…? Oh AND he narrates our dog’s thoughts regularly.. Shall I go on?
Hidden Talent: I will figure it out and get back to you in August. Expect a demonstration in Switzerland
Perfect MTrek Day: Wake up, immediately procure caffeine, walk around town in the morning and sit in a café drinking more coffee and people watching. Then go exploring and have some adventure with friends in the afternoon and enjoy dinner with a view while watching the sunset. Make some friends with locals and try the local drink at a bar after dinner!
If you were a drink, what would you be?: A Last Word: Little weird, but grows on you (I hope)!
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: I have to go with Barcelona!
How would your partner describe you?: Delightful, obviously
At which store would you like to max out your credit card? West Elm
What are your pet peeves? Dogs that look at my dog the wrong way. Slow walkers, talkers, and drivers
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Chocolate covered strawberries
Favorite thing about Ross: The people are amazing and MAP – such a cool experience!

 

 

Name: Zak Kasza
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Childhood nickname Spuds
Favorite Band/Artist: Bon Iver, Frightened Rabbit, The War on Drugs, LCD Soundsystem (basically I’m a 31 yr old white guy)
Choose a movie title for the story of your life The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and Everything in Between
Why you want to hang out with me: I have a somewhat excellent sense of direction and love planning so I will find us the 5 best bars we want to go to in every stop.
Weirdest Quirk about my partner: She has this amazing ability to be freezing cold regardless of the actual temperature of her environment. I’m talking patagonia fleece with a blanket around her discussing how cold it is when she has the heat set at 75.
Hidden Talent: I overshare so maybe my talent is adding excruciating detail to every story but also it’s not hidden because I overshare 🙁
Perfect MTrek Day: Wake up and immediate get Rachel espresso at a local coffee shop to avoid the inevitable lack of caffeine break down. Once she is properly caffeinated, walk around town in the morning and have some pastries and more coffee with fellow mtrek friends. Head out for a day of exploring and adventure, checking out the local culture and scenery. Head back and grab a drink and trade stories from the day. Get everyone together for a great dinner and then more drinks afterwards as we make friends with the locals.
If you were a drink, what would you be?: Lion’s Tail – It’s a whiskey drink crossed with a tiki drink with just the right bit of spicy bite from the allspice dram. It’s me in a glass – masculine, sweet, spicy, and Rachel only likes it occasionally.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Right now we plan to retire in Sevilla so I’m going with that.
How would your partner describe you?: She would say that I am occasionally brilliant, usually motivated, and always bossy.
At which store would you like to max out your credit card? Binny’s Beverage Depot or Petco
What are your pet peeves? Slow walkers, inefficiency, cat people, bad drivers (ask Rachel about ‘Cranky Carl’), raw tomatoes
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Taco Bell (I work at McDonald’s)
Favorite thing about Ross: I love that the partners are all very great people and go out of their way to make you feel like you’re part of a community. And I love Mtrek.

Viraja Ramanujam & Harshavardan Kasturirangan

Name Viraja Ramanujam
Hometown: Delhi, India
Childhood nickname V
Favorite Band/Artist: Kygo, Kenny G, Bollywood
Choose a movie title for the story of your life Life of Pi
Why you want to hang out with me: I’ll laugh at all your jokes, irrespective of how good they actually are
Weirdest Quirk about my partner: On days he works from home, you can see him in a different set of clothes every few (3?) hours (Editor’s note: WE NEED EXPLANATIONS)
Hidden Talent: Behaving drunk around drunk people despite being completely sober
Perfect MTrek Day: Wake up, jump into a hot shower and then get a good / big breakfast with eggs and a ton of sugar (muffins, cakes, waffles, pancakes, pastries – Yes, I’ll eat all these if the spread is that huge, much to Harsha’s horror). Head out for a hike to burn those calories, get lunch at a famous, local restaurant, head to the beach to laze around with margaritas and a nice book and end the day watching the sunset, having dinner with a view and then heading out with fellow trekkers to explore nightlife.
If you were a drink, what would you be? Mojito
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Japan
How would your partner describe you?: Usually smart but always needs to be better at focusing
At which store would you like to max out your credit card? Restoration Hardware
What are your pet peeves? Slow walkers, crowds, noise, long lines… you get the drift, unclean surfaces, garlic in home-cooked food, standing close to the basket and passing the ball to someone standing at the 3-point circle
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Devil’s Food Cake
Favorite thing about Ross: The people, Michigan sports, great food!

 

 

 

Name: Harshavardan Kasturirangan
Hometown: Madras, India
Childhood nickname Poeye
Favorite Band/Artist: Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan
Choose a movie title for the story of your life Into the Wild
Why you want to hang out with me: I’m an endless storehouse of completely useless knowledge
Weirdest Quirk about my partner: She has microscopic vision, especially for food crumbs falling onto the carpet or couch
Hidden Talent: Juggling
Perfect MTrek Day: Start with a good breakfast, preferably with eggs and a bloody mary to recover from the previous night. Head out on a hike, stopping at whatever place catches our fancy and get a hearty lunch at a small, picturesque restaurant. Head to a spot with a beach where we can throw a ball or frisbee around for an hour or two. Then slump down on an armchair with a beer and a good book before heading out into the city as the sun sets. Suit up, get a nice dinner and go out to a nice bar with the MTrek crew and the inevitable locals we pick up on the way
If you were a drink, what would you be?: Old Fashioned
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Iceland
How would your partner describe you?: Typically brilliant, much more typically clumsy and scatterbrained
At which store would you like to max out your credit card? Best Buy
What are your pet peeves? Squeaky sounds (like kids’ sneakers), loud cars, public displays of anger/rage, cilantro as a food additive, not going for it on 4th and 1
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Fried Chicken
Favorite thing about Ross: The people, The big house, the bus, FOOTBALL!!!

Stephen Liuzza & Lauren Savary

Name: Stephen Liuzza
Hometown: Slidell, LA
Childhood nickname Crazy Legs
Favorite Band/Artist: Anything liked by Brad and Chad
Choose a movie title for the story of your life The Sandlot
Why you want to hang out with me: I’m V chill
Weirdest Quirk about my partner: When she doesn’t understand something in a convo, she won’t ask for clarification. She just smiles and nods.
Hidden Talent: Telling stories horribly

 

 

 

Perfect MTrek Day: Wake up, hot shower, and manage to put pants on without falling down. Nice breakfast with delicious pastries and cappuccino. Head to the beach for a few hours with some beer, wine, bread, cheese and meats. Apply spf15 to obtain the optimal amount of sun for my half Italian skin. Get buzzed enough at the beach that you roll into a beach bar to have sunset drinks. Parlay that buzz into a nice dinner (change at some point into all white linen suit). Have an espresso to cap off the dinner. Then head home for a nice snooze
If you were a drink, what would you be?: Mimosa. Responsible yet risky
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Tuscany
How would your partner describe you?: Secretly sufficiently weird
At which store would you like to max out your credit card? Best buy
What are your pet peeves? Loud eating, slow moving crowds that take up the whole walkway, bad drivers
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Chicken parm
Favorite thing about Ross: Endless opportunities for real world impact and experiences

 

 

Name: Lauren Savary
Hometown: Hartford, CT
Childhood nickname L
Favorite Band/Artist: Andrew Duhon
Choose a movie title for the story of your life Help I’m Stuck
Why you want to hang out with me: I always have a smile on.
Weirdest Quirk about my partner: His Shakira-like dance moves & commitment to mumbling.
Hidden Talent: I do a great Boston accent.
Perfect MTrek Day: Strong morning coffee & stroll around the city. Some outdoor activity (hike, bike ride, kayak, swim) after breakfast. Lunch outside, read & relax for an hour or two before dinner or watch the sunset somewhere. Gather with friends over good food & wine in the evening.
If you were a drink, what would you be?: The one with the egg whites.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to: Tanzania.
How would your partner describe you?: Hilarious… right Stephen!!?
At which store would you like to max out your credit card? Ditto West Elm (high-five Rachel!)
What are your pet peeves? People that drive slow in the fast lane.
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Ask me tomorrow and it’ll be something different but today I’m going with steak.
Favorite thing about Ross: Ann Arbor is the cutest! Unexpected great food. Easy to make friends as a partner. Also the perfect place to be if you love the Great Outdoors.