An exhausting break 

Cinque terre and Interlaken–our two shortest stops, but two of our most beautiful ones. Seeing the striking mountains of Switzerland and the beautiful buildings of small town Italy was an incredible experience. However, even though those two cities were supposed to be our rest, I feel almost more exhausted after leaving them, but in a good way. 
The past four days haven’t been tiring in the way the rest of the trip has–constant movement, adventure, and confusion–but in a more emotional sense. Not being broken into groups meant there was a lot more pressure to move around and talk to the other 15 of your own volition. It was hard to spend quality time with everyone when each member of the group had different goals for their day. On top of that, while getting to move more freely around the towns was a perk, it also meant we each had to make all our plans for ourselves and try our best to compromise with a group and make scattered decisions, something we don’t have to do when we are given a map and objectives. This made working as a cohesive unit much more difficult, and forced us to come together and seek out members of the group with common interests to ours. 
Working together on CR can be a difficult process, especially considering how tired and cranky we can all get at times. However, in Cinque Terra and Interlaken especially I realized how much we’ve all grown. Even though collaborating was harder, I could really see all of us branching out and working to spend time with people we didn’t know as well. As a result, we’re coming into Florence with a better sense of unity than before, and that’s something I’m really excited about. 

Coming out of the past few days, I feel physically rested and ready to take on Florence. Emotionally, however, I’m exhausted. But that’s okay, because while the last two stops were a different kind of stressful, I feel much closer to each member of our group than I did before. So while I wouldn’t call Interlaken and Cinque Terra a break, I think they both challenged me and the rest of the group in a different way, and got me fired up for what’s coming next.