Since I last wrote, I’ve been lucky to do quite a bit of traveling:
Amsterdam: I loved Amsterdam. Besides Paris, it might have been my favorite city! It’s so cute, and has tons of little shops and cafes. I saw the Van Gogh museum, the Bibliotek, took a canal tour, and of course, ate Dutch Pancakes.
Florence & Rome: I met up with one of my best friends from Northwestern and spent 3 days in Rome, wandering around the incredible sites, eating spectacular gelato, pasta and pizza. It was nice and hot then, so I wore shorts the entire trip! Florence was absolutely beautiful; we hiked up to see the view of the city, and toured the Uffici Gallery and saw Michaelangelo’s David.
Prague: Prague was such an interesting place; while Rome and Florence were thought provoking in a more academic way, Prague’s recent darker history of communism was surprisingly prevalent through its city vibe. My roommate and I saw the castle and walked across the Charles Bridge, took a walking tour through Old Town and ate too many cinnamon twist baked goods they sell at the markets outside. Prague to me looked like a fairy tale, but one with a lot more complexity than expected.
Tuscan Hike: We trained to Florence (and ate some of my favorite paninos there), and then took a two hour bus outside the city to a small Italian town to do some hiking. The countryside along the bus ride was beautiful. We then hiked to a nearby castle amongst the fall foliage and had dinner in Florence!
Venice: Venice was a true Italian town: a maze. We spent half of our time trying to find the square and a delicious buffet and pasta place off the beaten path. The shops and bakeries were fun to peruse, and there were literally canals around every corner that made for the perfect day trip.
Paris: Paris was my last trip, last weekend, and such a good last trip at that. The city is huge, and probably the most well-planned and consistently beautiful places I’ve been. Paris reminded me some of London, with a slower vibe and more old-world charm. I took a tour of the Marais district, then shopped around its boutiques (there’s definitely a reason the word boutique is French), ate at the Christmas markets, saw a view of the city from a Ferris wheel, saw the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffle tower, and made it to Versailles for a bit, too. Overall, Paris is definitely somewhere I hope to go back to.
Since the traveling is over, I’ll just be hanging around Milan- not that I can complain about that at all. Milan has been the perfect place to study; what will be difficult about leaving is not the plane ride home, but the knowledge that I’ll never come back here to be in this exact time, studying abroad, with all of these people. (See, already nostalgic.)