On my 21st birthday, my friends and I went to Ireland. This weekend was an extremely fun way to end our trip because Ireland is such a fun city. On the first day we were there, we explored Dublin by taking the Hop On Hop Off bus around in order to see the whole city, and we also did the Guinness experience which was a tour at the Guinness factory to show us how Guinness is made. After this, we went out to the iconic bars at night to enjoy the lively music and festivities around Ireland. The next day, we took a train to Galway which is another smaller city in Ireland in order to explore. We stayed at a bread and breakfast here and it really made the experience charming because we were able to see how people really live in Ireland. The next day, we went on a tour to the Cliffs of Moher which are beautiful and very famous cliffs in Ireland. Because of this being our last trip, everyone was very fun spirited and it was one to remember.
The last week abroad included finals and our bucket list which included doing all of the things we loved most in Rome one last time. After these fifteen weeks, it was clear to me that I made a great choice of going abroad because I experienced and explored so many amazing new places, found out things about myself that I never knew, met 10 amazing new best friends and have memories and stories for a life time. I hope you enjoyed following my story as much as I enjoyed sharing it, and if you want any more information regarding anything at all feel free to contact me at my email address:
Thank you again
Hey everyone! I am so excited to write about Switzerland because it was unexpectedly one of my absolute favorite trips so far. First of all, we booked this trip through the touring company Bus2Alps and if you are going to come to Switzerland, I recommend doing it with them because you can completely plan your whole trip and all the different activities you want specifically want to do, but they help you with connections and transportation to these places to make it easier for you. For example, Switzerland is usually a place where people go to do extreme sporting such as sky diving and paragliding. All of my friends do these types of activities but I personally am not interested in extreme sporting so it was nice to have the company help me plan what I was going to do while my friends did this. We were in Interlaken, Switzerland which is a very small touristy village that you can completely walk around in less than an hour. That being said, Bus2Alps helped me book an appointment with the local spa while my friends were off doing their sporting appointments and it was the most amazing spa I have ever been to in my whole life. At this spa, I got a manicure and pedicure. After this, I used their facilities such as the sauna, the steam room, and their pools. Not only was it amazing to be alone and enjoy this relaxing day but the best part about the spa was that there was an indoor hot tub that led into the outdoors only to overlook the Swiss Alps. This was such an amazing way to enjoy the views and although this is not the typical way to enjoy the mountains, it is definitely something to consider if you do not want to do extreme sporting like myself. Then, we walked to a near by lake that had such beautiful water that was the brightest blue I've ever seen! The next day, my friends and I went on the Interlaken free walking tour which was led by two of the local men. These men told us of the history of their village, showed us their local animal, the ibex, and took us on a hike up the mountain to see some beautiful views. After this, they took us to their towns local Christmas market and this market had many different tents filled with local wood carvings, little trinkets, and their famous foods such as Swiss cheese melted on bread and hot chocolate. This was such an amazing experience because there was absolutely no tourists there, just us and the locals. After this tour, we signed up for a culture and heritage walk where the same two men took us cheese tasting, chocolate tasting, and took us to see the local cows to pet them and drink their milk. This culture tour was very informative and fun because Switzerland is famous for their cheese and chocolate! The next day, my friend and I went to this place called funky chocolate where we then took a chocolate making class where we did some more chocolate tasting, learned how to properly make chocolate bars, and decorating these bars only to be able to bring them home. This class was a fun hands on experience and also a great way to get a fun gift to bring home! Switzerland was a perfect combination of beautiful views, winter activities, culture, and fun! I would recommend this trip to anyone who loves the winter, cheese and chocolate, and to anyone looking for the perfect trip.
Next week I will be writing about having Thanksgiving and my 21st birthday in Ireland!
Ciao for now!
Hey everyone! This weekend I went to Prague and it exceeded my expectations. Prague was a trip I was really looking forward to because when I was deciding to go abroad, Prague was not somewhere on my list of places I wanted to see because I knew very little about it. All of my friends here wanted to go, so I decided to go with them and I am very happy with this decision because since I did not have any expectations going into this trip, everything was very new, fun, and exciting for me! On the first day that we arrived, we checked into our hostel, and immediately asked the reception des for a map and directions to the city center so we could start exploring. Prague's public transportation was by far the easiest and most convenient to use and to get around in all of Europe so far. This was because it was very straight forward and easy to follow. Something that I have noticed while being abroad is that every public transportation in a city, for example the subway or the tram, requires one ticket for a day pass. The only suggestion I have about public transportation in Europe is that you have to make sure you validate your ticket because when you use the transportation because if you do not and someone stops you and asks for your ticket, you could get slapped with a big fine. The validation process consists of putting your ticket in a machine that takes three seconds in order to stamp the date on your ticket and is well worth the short amount of time so you do not get a fine. I know many people that this annoyance has affected their day on their abroad trip so it is something to be aware of! This ticket costed 100 crown which is equivalent to less than 5 euros. Crown is the currency in Czech and so for this trip, we had to change our money over! Anyways, when we got into "Old town", the only way I could describe it would be that it looked as though it was directly out of a fairytale! All of the bridges, houses, and stores, looked magical. There is a famous bridge named the Charles bridge to see and also a very famous castle that many of the Disney movies based their movies on, and I can see why! Prague is very cold so as we walked around, I was looking for a hot drink and stumbled upon their famous drink which was mulled wine. This was a hot wine that tasted like apple cider and was very delicious. A dessert that Prague is famous for is their spiraled donuts filled with ice cream or Nutella and this combination is a perfect dessert to have on a cold night and to also feel as though you are submerged into Prague's culture! As we walked around, we found many various hip and new food markets so we tried many of them. There was a food stand that I always saw on Facebook that was potatoes with melted cheese on top of them so I finally got this dish and was very happy I did! I love finding these things in the countries that I had no idea about before going! A similar trend I am finding in Europe is that these new and hip competitive food stands are starting to appear everywhere! It makes every place we go feel homey, quant, and cute! After this, we took an old fashion car ride all over the 5 different sections of Prague and this was very fun because we were able to see everything and have a blanket on us while we sipped on our mulled wine! The next day, we walked around the entire day and saw the John Lennon wall which is a very famous wall created by students in Prague after John Lennon's death as a peaceful protest against communism. Now, it is a wall of expression and also a great place for pictures! After this, we had a traditional Prague meal which consisted of soup, pork, cabbage, and dark beer! Before coming abroad, I never realized how many places around Europe were influenced by Germany. Most of the places I have gone to such as Vienna, Salzburg, Amsterdam, and Prague have all had a very German flare to them! I was happy to discover this observation because I had no idea about this before and didn't realize how big of an influence this country would be on all the other places! Prague was a pleasant surprise and I would love to go back one day.
Next week, I am going to Switzerland with a tour group that I have mentioned before named Bus2Alps and I am very excited to see what this adventure will bring!
Ciao for now!!!
This weekend I went to Amsterdam and it was so fun! Amsterdam is a great place to go when you are abroad because it is a mixture of Copenhagen and Belgium combined if you are not able to go to those places in the few short months you are here. I say this because of the cuisine, such as waffles, and because of the architecture which is very similar so it is a good middle ground to be able to feel as though you saw that part of the world! When we arrived in Amsterdam, we discovered the city and walked through the many walking pavilions and canals which were very beautiful at night because at this time of year, they were filled with Christmas lights and decorations. The next day in the morning we had the tradition food of Amsterdam which is Dutch pancakes. These were so amazing and very different from any pancakes I've had before! Deserts, such as waffles, ice cream, and crepes, seem to be the Amsterdam’s specialty because these types of shops can be found all around the city! In the afternoon, we went on the Heineken tour and experience which was a tour of how the Heineken company makes their beer. This tour consisted of beet tasting! Heineken is the classic beer of the Netherlands so it was cool to experience this in the place where it is made and where this famous company started. We then went on a canal tour that took us all on a boat around the city and was very informational about Amsterdam's history! After this, we walked around and went to the infamous I (AM)sterdam sign and continued to have dinner and walk around some more. The next day, we went to new and hip restaurant called Bulls and Dogs. They had amazing milkshakes that me and my friends loved. What I noticed about Amsterdam was many of the restaurants were new and hip and focused more on being unique and different in the way that they would all have something they were specifically known for that was over the top, such as stacks of waffles and cream, and these were all take out shops as well. It seems because Amsterdam is so young and hip with people constantly walking around, they care more about making a statement with their food instead of caring about having an amazing sit down experience for dinner like you would have in Rome! This was something I loved about Amsterdam because it was something I did not know or expect so it was really fun to try all of the different take out places instead of having a traditional sit down dinner like we always do!
After this, we proceeded to go to the Anne Frank house and Museum. This was an amazing experience because I have heard about the Anne Franks diary my entire life and to actually see where Anne Frank was hiding was an experience I suggest everyone to do. Since I have been in Europe, I have now done two things that have related to the Holocaust and they have both been very informational and emotional experience that I highly suggest everyone does in order to be able to see for their own eyes something they have been hearing about their whole life.
Something that is very important to know when studying abroad is that many of the activities and tourist attractions that are in these countries need to have tickets bought previously in order to skip the line and go in at a certain time. We knew this, but everything was sold out for this specific weekend. So I suggest buying them very early, and also buying them to skip the line in general. Because we did not do this, we had to wait in line for many attractions and sadly could not do some of the things we wanted because we had to wait in line. If we bought the tickets online, we could have done everything! But standing in line takes up a lot of the day so I suggest doing this to maximize your trip!
Something I love about these weekend trips is that by the end of the weekend, I really feel as though I know the place like the back of my hand! It is very rewarding to feel as thought I know all of these amazing places when I am so young and can come back when I am older only to remember the fond memories made on these weekend trips!
Next week I am going to Prague and I have absolutely no idea what to expect so I am very excited to explore!
Ciao for now!!!
Last weekend my friend came to visit me in Rome and it was so fun! We did everything that's a must in Rome for example the Colosseum and the Trevi fountain. My friend loved everything I showed them and felt as though they got the full Rome experience in less than 48 hours. My friend also loved that I showed them some things you might only see and know about if you live there, because they are totally underrated. Since I already talked about my Rome weekends, I wanted to combined this week with my weekend talk about Barcelona! Barcelona was nothing like I excepted it to be. It is such a big and modern city when I honestly was excepting a smaller place that was less westernized with more tradition and culture, but I did not feel this way at all. That being said, my friends and I planned this weekend based off of people who studied abroad in Barcelona’s to do list. If you knew someone who studied abroad in Barcelona, I suggest taking advice from them because of course they will tell you about the main tourist spots to see, but since they lived here for four months, they will really be able to give you some insight on places to go that might not be as popular but are defiantly underrated and amazing. Also, on these trips we have been staying in hostels and in the lobby in most hostels the people working here will help you navigate the city and most hostels have organized events for you to do. For example our hostel had transportation there and back to a soccer game which was so convenient and helpful since were not familiar with the city. Most hostels also do this and it's a great way to also become familiar with something you may have not known about the city before! Anyways, On Thursday, we went to this cute little restaurant near to our hostel and got "tapas" which is appetizers and this is what Barcelona is known for. Whenever I go to the places we are traveling for the weekend, I like to do exactly what the people of the culture do to feel as though I'm emerging myself into their culture even if it's for the weekend. It makes the experience so much more exciting! On Friday, we went to the famous Park Guell where we walked around and saw the beautiful styled art done by Gaudi. This spot was not only beautiful and picturesque, but it overlooked the whole city which was cool to see. That night, we went to the clubs because Barcelona is known for their clubs as well. This was a fun experience to see what the people here do at night but also made me appreciate Rome so much. When choosing to study abroad, I was so torn between studying in Barcelona or Rome and although I loved this weekend, I still feel as though Rome is the only place in the world that is not completely modernized and is filled with amazing culture and after coming here, I am 150% positive that I made the right choice. Barcelona has a unique culture of its own but there is just nothing like Rome. Anyways, on Saturday we went to a famous brunch place that everyone we talked to suggested. It was called Brunch and Cake. Brunch is a cultural aspect of Barcelona and we wanted to be a part of it! We waited in line for two hours but the food was amazing and it was so fun and totally worth it. The best about about this brunch was that my friends and I were sitting next to the girl who played Orphan and was in the hunger games and had no idea, until her friend walked in and was the girl from soul surfer and it clicked in our head that she was famous. I honestly was so happy that before that I didn't know she was famous and it didn't click in my head because before this, we were talking to her so normally and she was so cool. She probably really appreciated we were not all over her for being famous and treated her like a normal person. That being said, I felt so cool that we were doing what famous people were doing and this is not the first time we've had this experience. in Positano, we met the pretty little liars, and in every country we've been in we have spotted famous people over and over again. After this, we went to see the Sagrada Familia which is a famous church in Barcelona. It was so beautiful in person! After this we went to a famous market here named Mercado de La Boqueria and it was my favorite thing we did here. This was not your typical farmers stand market, there was meats, cheeses, restaurants, fresh candy and chocolate, fresh fruit juice stands, Macaroon ice-cream stands, and more! The atmosphere was so fun the only thing I could compare it to is that if you ever have been to Chelsea market in New York. After this, we went to a traditional Spanish dinner and ordered their traditional dish Paella with their tradition drink Sangria on the side. This dinner was so fun and a great cultural experience to share with all of my friends here. The meal was delicious and something that I'll always remember. To finish our Barcelona experience, we went to a soccer game and watched the best team in the world play. Going to a soccer game is something I've always wanted to do abroad because the vibes and the atmosphere it nothing like any American sport or game. The fans were absolutely crazy and loyal just like I thought they would be and it was a great and suspenseful game as well! I honestly know nothing about soccer and I was still excited and had so much fun. Barcelona was a cool, hip, and young city and I would suggest it to anyone who goes abroad. Next week I'll be going to Amsterdam and will be writing about my experiences there! Ciao for now!