I haven’t written in a while, and boy do I have a lot to write about. I had to put travel blogging on hold because apparently I have classes to attend and midterms to take in between my four month long vacation in Europe. I’ve certainly done a lot since the last time I’ve posted so instead of a detailed play-by-play, I figured I’d just have a short little list.
October 15th: At this point I hadn’t traveled outside of Italy in a while, but that didn’t mean the fun didn’t stop. Two friends from Saint Joe’s who are studying in Madrid, Shannon and Katie, came to visit me in Florence and I finally began doing “tourist” things in Florence– something I had been putting off.
Fall Break: my parents came to see me and yes, I teared up when I saw them at the train station. After showing them around Florence for a few days we rented a car and made our way to Parma where an Italian man gave us a tour of his parmigiano cheese factory. Following the Parma pit-stop we headed North to Milan where we spent a day and a half touring and shopping. My parents and I ended our little trip in Nice, France. I had already been to the French Riviera in September and wanted to show my parents why I loved it so much.
Halloween Weekend: After spending a few days in Nice, I hopped on a plane to Barcelona where I met Shannon, Katie, and more Saint Joe’s friends for Halloween weekend. I knew nothing about the city and was blessed to be with four friends from Madrid who were a little less clueless than I. Our AirBnB was situated just around the corner from Sagrada Familia, and we could see the side of it from our balcony.
On the first day we went to the food market and had fresh fruit juice, delicious empanadas, and macaroon ice cream sandwiches. After eating our way through the food market we went to the Cathedral and Gaudi’s houses, which were intricate and ornate.
After experiencing Barcelona night life for the first time, we had a late start to our day on Saturday. By 1pm we were finally ready to go, and made our way over to Parc Guell. It was a bit of an uphill hike, but worth it to walk through the park and get some pictures on the tile benches. That night we hiked again to the bunkers of Barcelona where we had an amazing view of all of Barcelona to watch the sunset. It wasn’t a easy hike, considering I was in a dress and leather booties.
I ended my fall break in Oratino, Italy, the little town where my family is from. I met my parents in Rome and we drove south to Oratino. The town’s population is about the same as my high school student body. It’s small and it’s situated on the top of a mountain. My parents and I spent a day and a half with our cousins, Emilia and Michele, and enjoyed dinner with the rest of the 30-ish cousins. Out of all of them, none speak English so it was my job to translate as best as possible. A few of them knew about as much English as I know Italian, so you can imagine the struggle it was for us to communicate.
Fall break was amazing, and although it wasn’t what one would describe as a relaxing break, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.