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Tales of Travel Part II

Five months and twelve countries later, I have finally completed my semester abroad. I ended my last post in Amsterdam and will start this one in Belgium, where a friend and I somehow, after much trouble, managed to book a small house on a farm for eleven college students. The farmhouse was about forty minutes outside of Brugges, where we spent a full day exploring, avoiding the rain, and eating our weight in fries.

A busy street in the center of Bruges, Belgium.

After our excursion to Belgium, I had to put traveling on hold for something not nearly as fun: exams. However, after the tests and the holiday break, during which my family came to spend Christmas in Paris, I went to Berlin with two friends from K. As I walked through the edgy, exciting city, it was hard to keep my eyes off of the street art.

Me in front of the Berlin Wall

After Berlin, I returned to Strasbourg to present a project and take one more exam before I set off a nonstop trip around Europe. With the semester over, I could spend all of my time moving from country to country, going to museums, seeing monuments, eating food, and meeting people from around the world. My journey started in London.

Big Ben in London, UK

After visiting three museums, seeing Wicked at the West End, and trying fish and chips, my friend Kathleen (also a junior at K) and I flew to Dublin. We spent three days in the city and took a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland

Kathleen and I then met up with two fellow K students, Lucas and Olivia, in Prague. We stayed in a small apartment I booked via and spent a day and a half exploring every corner of the beautiful city.

The Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

Now with three fellow travelers, I set off for Austria. Although the four of us spent lots of time visiting the oldest zoo in the world, Schonbrunn Palace, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, we also spent many hours in Café Central trying multiple cakes. I’m a bit embarrassed to say we went to that café three times… in three days.

St. Stephen's Cathedral at night in Vienna, Austria.

Next stop: Italy. Specifically, the gorgeous and fascinating city of Rome. Between seeing all the historic sites, we stopped for some of the best pizza, pasta, and gelato I’ve ever eaten.

Left to right: Lucas, Olivia, me, and Kathleen at the tops of the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy

Although we were sad to leave Rome, we were happy that it was not yet time to leave Italy. We headed north to Siena, a small city with traditionally Italian architecture. One of Olivia’s high school friends was studying abroad there and was able to give us insight into the interesting parts of the city as well as the lives of the people who live there.

Siena Duomo in Siena, Italy

After a short day in Siena; Kathleen, Olivia and I headed to our final destination while Lucas took a train to Paris for his flight back to the US. Stresa, a small town along Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, was the perfect spot to end our traveling. We stayed in an apartment that was walking distance from the water and the center of town and spent our days in Stresa enjoying being outside and away from the more busy, urban areas where we had spent the past few weeks.

Lake Maggiore in Stresa, Italy

January was extremely exciting. I learned a lot about the people, politics, architecture, food, and overall cultures of the countries I visited. I hope that I can return to Europe one day. There is so much left to be seen!