All Over Italy (& Barcelona)

One of my favorite perks of being abroad with DIS is definitely the 9 day vacation they give you in the middle of the semester. While other classes went on their long study tours, I had the week off to travel anywhere and everywhere. Out of all the countries, I chose to go to Italy and Spain for the week with my three good friends. We hit four cities and two countries where I made so many memories that I’m sure will stick with me for a long time.

Milan, Italy: My entire life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy. You might think I’m kidding, but I’ve had a framed picture of the Cinque Terre in my room since I was 15 years old. I don’t know where my fascination with Italy started, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with my obsession with pizza and pasta as a kid. Naturally, my first stop in Milan was lunch by the Duomo where I, of course, got pasta. The rest of the day was spent exploring, going to dinner, and going out to a bar to ring in Claudia’s 21st birthday at midnight. The next day was mostly exploring with a steak dinner at the end as per Claudia’s request. After dinner we bar hopped for a while, eventually ended up at a club, and then back to the airbnb just in time to get enough sleep to prepare for our train to Florence the next day.

Florence, Italy: After checking into the airbnb, we immediately started exploring. Our first stop was a local artist painting little pictures outside of a museum. Of course I had to get one because I’m pretty sure my 15 year old self would be extremely disappointed if I didn’t. We then made our way to a massive lookout called Piazzale Michaelangelo, where you could see pretty much all of Florence from the top. After walking around all day, we stopped for dinner where we got homemade pasta and a bottle of wine which is pretty much as Italy as it gets.

The next day, Claudia and I signed up for a wine tasting trip to Tuscany which was probably one of the highlights of the whole week. Wine tasting has always been on my bucket list so I figured Tuscany wasn’t a bad place to check it off. We went to two wineries, and tried close to 10 different wines, so I definitely found some favorites. I was even convinced to send a few bottles home to Texas so hopefully my mom likes them as much as I did.

The following morning we took a quick train to Pisa because there was no way we were leaving Italy without seeing the leaning tower. We obviously took a million pictures, and then grabbed lunch at a nearby restaurant. Pisa is not the most eventful place other than the leaning tower, so we headed back to Florence later that afternoon and had an early night in order to get ready for Rome.

Rome, Italy: Rome was probably my favorite city of all time. We of course did the classics like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, and Spanish Steps, but we also hit some hidden gems like the restaurant that founded Fehttuchini Alfredo and a karaoke bar. One of my favorite stops was the Castel Sant Angelo where we were able to walk around the top for panoramic views of the city and lots of pictures. Dinner that night was also memorable considering it was my first time making homemade pasta and tiramisu. We figured it would be wrong to leave Italy without taking a cooking class, so we spent our last night making our own Italian food. I might be a little biased, but that was definitely some of the best pasta I’ve ever had.

Barcelona, Spain: Last but not least we made our way to Barcelona which was a much different vibe than Italy. After taking close to 10 years of Spanish, I was actually able to ask where the bathroom was and tell taxi drivers my name. We were in Barcelona for the weekend of Abroadfest which is a big concert/meetup point for American students around the world.

Friday during the day was spent exploring some Cathedrals and buying jewelry which is always a good time. That night was Abroadfest which was basically a massive stadium type place filled with hundreds if not thousands of American students. Picture that, plus some EDM music and flashing lights and that pretty much sums it up.

The last day was spent at Park Güell which was a mosaic garden created by the artist Gaudi, and home to some of the most classic Barcelona picture spots. That night we had a fancy dinner on the water where I tried paella for the first time and was pleasantly surprised.

Waking up at 4am the next morning was a little rough, but we somehow made our early flight back to Copenhagen. I’m not usually one to sleep on planes but this was the one exception because before I knew it I was back in Denmark.

Since being home I’ve caught up on some much needed sleep, laundry, and homework. While I definitely had the time of my life last week traveling around two countries, there is something about being back in Copenhagen that just feels like home. Although home this week consists of midterms and presentations, I’m still glad to be back in my own bed and in my DIS classes.

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