Sunday, April 13, 2014

Assisi

I went on my final school trip this past weekend to Assisi. It was a day trip, and we spent the time we had wandering around the beautiful town of Assisi. It was beautiful, and definitely cool to learn about how much religious history is there. Here are some pictures from the day! :)























Lemons, Lemons, and more Lemons

So if not all you knew, the Amalfi Coast is a massive producer of lemons. I got the pleasure of learning this when taking my school sponsored trip there. It was one of the most incredible weekend getaways I have had so far. It really showed me how beautiful Italy can be.

The weekend started off with us getting soaked while walking to school at 6:30am through a thunderstorm to meet up with our group. That was probably one of the most discouraging things to wake up too. The weather forecast had predicted that it was suppose to rain all weekend while we were there. The first stop we took was to Vesuvio. We got the incredible opportunity of being able to climb Mount Vesuvius. This in itself was an AMAZING experience, but it would have been better if we were able to actually see something. Unfortunately while we were there, it was raining and fog was everywhere. After a long and wet climb, we finally headed to our hotel in Sorrento. Everyone was exhausted, so we all mostly slept until dinner. That night, we had a very good dinner at the hotel, and we ended our night getting drinks with friends who were on the trip as well.

Day two had a very educationally packed itinerary. Our day plans were to go to the excavated city of Pompeii and then off to Naples to eat the best pizza in Italy. First off, let me say that being able to walk through and hear the stories of Pompeii and the great explosion of Vesuvius was an experience in itself. It was probably one of the coolest things I have been able to do on this trip. After a very nice and informative tour, we then had a few hours to spend in Naples. My roommates and I went to a Pizzeria, got some coffee, and then walked along to Promenade by the ocean. It was a very nice day, and we were very fortunate that the weather stayed nice and sunny the whole day. We headed back to the hotel to have dinner, and then spent the night out in town.

The final day of the trip started off with an extremely early wake up call. We proceeded to walk down to the port while navigating through the beautiful city of Sorrento. We then proceeded to take a ferry, and spent the day in Capri. Capri is by far one of the most beautiful places I have seen. It has the typical coastal look with the city in the hills overlooking the ocean. A group of us took a nice hour and half boat ride around the island stopping at the well known spots such as the Green, White, and Coral Grotto. After, we took a cable car to the actual town of Capri, and got some lunch. Before leaving the island, my roommates and I shopped around, and then found the most beautiful place to relax and really take in the beauty of the day. I have been more than blessed when it has come to this study abroad experience, and I couldn't be more happy!





















Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lights, Camera, Niner!

I feel like everyone hates having to come back to reality after exciting adventures, but I was happy to see Rome after being away for a week. There are many aspects of this place that really feel like home to me, whether it be: seeing my roommates every waking second of everyday, sitting in the AUR garden, hanging out with friends, or even going to our favorite coffee place for our daily cappuccino. This week has been filled with school work, job applications, and the anxiety of preparing the perfect schedule for fall semester at Central. 

This weekend was a very special weekend for me. Back at home was the premiere of Niner, an independent film that I was actively involved with the production of. Although I was very sad about not being there for the theatrical premiere, I was able to watch it in Rome. Even though I couldn't share this experience with the cast and crew, I was still able to be apart of it. This showed me that for studying abroad, you must make sacrifices. Whether they be big or small sacrifices, I would never trade in this experience for anything. 

This past Friday, my roommates and I decided to try something new. Instead of continuing our consistent consumption of pizza, pasta, and gelato, we decided to go for the more ethnic feel. Kalkidan is Ethiopian, so we ventured off and tried a new restaurant called: Corno d'Africa. I have never tried Ethiopian food in my life, so this was a very interesting experience. I was beyond surprised how much I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to find many Ethiopian restaurants in Michigan, so I'm going to have to enjoy it for the time being.

It's sad to see time fly by so quickly here. We quickly approached our final two months. Knowing that time is quickly passing us, it really has helped me look around and really take in the little moments. Even though I should be doing my homework, I am going to sit back and enjoy the nice weather with tea on my balcony with my roommates.









Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spring Break

The past two weeks have been so busy, so I finally found time to tell you all how a European Spring Break is. First off, my boyfriend Jordan Mazur, came in to visit. The first week he was here, it was spent in Rome. I had midterms that week, so it was jam packed with studying and sight seeing. He has never been out of the country before, so I took it upon myself to make sure we saw EVERYTHING. After he finally was adjusting to Italy, it was time to travel. Him and I took a 10 day back packing trip to Paris, Munich, and Venice.

Our first stop was Paris, the city of love! It was also the city of the first hostel I have ever stayed in. We stayed in the Montmartre neighborhood. It was located right next to the Sacre Coeur and the metro, so it was quite easy to get into town. We spent the first day walking to the Notre Dame, Champs Elysse, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triumph. It was a very long, but exciting day. After a long day, we decided to go out for a traditional French meal, which consisted of chicken and lamb. Following dinner, we went out for a few drinks and enjoyed the Parisian night life.

The second day we reserved strictly for the Eiffel Tower. It was on the agenda to climb all the way to the top! After about 600 steps and two elevator rides, we made it to the Tower's Summit. After experiencing some breathtaking views and more steps, it was time to walk around the city again. There was an outdoor festival going on, so it was nice to walk around and listen to some music. One thing that really took us by surprise were the amount of Irish people in Paris at the time. Apparently, it was the last rugby game of the season, so we also got to experience the excitement and competition of the Irish and the Parisians (the Irish won in case you were wondering).  After two long days, it was time to board our train to take on our next destination: Munich, Germany.

When boarding our first overnight train of the trip, we were not quite sure what to expect. But luckily, we had booked the sleeper carts. Getting sleep that night was pretty easy, and in the morning we arrived in Germany bright and early. Unfortunately, the hostel we were staying in wouldn't let us check in until about noon. That was super unfortunate due to the fact that our train arrived in at 7 in the morning. When we got to our hostel, we were astonished how beautiful it was. It was so nice, clean, and had such a friendly atmosphere. We decided to wait out the time and get breakfast. When we finally got our room, we got ready and then head out into town. We spent the day getting to know the area, appreciating the fantastic street performances, and shopped around. When the night came about, we went to our first brewery/beer garden of our stay, Augustiners. After an authentic German dinner and beer, we headed back to our hostel and hung around there for the night.

The second day in Germany, we were fortunate enough to take a guided tour through the concentration camp memorial of Dachau. It was such a humbling experience getting to learn about the history of the camp. A lot of the memorial sight gave off such an eerie and unsettling vibe, especially in the roll-call square and the crematoriums. After a day tour of Dachau, Jordan and I decided to go on the "Beer Challenge" which was a tour that took you to the most well known beer gardens of Munich. Unfortunately it was cancelled, so we went to the Hofbrauhaus and spent time there. We ended up meeting up with some people from our hostel, and had a nice night out.

On our last day in Germany we spent time walking through the Viktualienmarkt, which is an outdoor food market in downtown Munich. After that, we found a nice spot by a river, and stayed there for a while. After a nice and relaxing dinner, we got an authentic dinner of Schnitzel, and then headed to the train station to head to our final destination: Venice.

This overnight train was definitely not as nice, we however, did find our own Coachette. After a night of barely any sleep, we arrived in Venice. We checked into our cozy little Bed and Breakfast, and got ready for the day. Our host was nice enough to pretty much plan our day out, so we followed his recommendations. We went to grab some coffee and breakfast, and then headed to the Fish Market (taking a Venetian Gondola to get there). Following the market, we headed around to San Marco's Square and got lunch there. After lunch, we decided to take a boat ride out to Murano, the well known glass blowing island of Venice. We stayed there for a few hours and walked around the different glass shops, and we even sat in on a glass blowing factory (they were making cups at the time). We finally decided to head back to the main land, and got dinner. For dinner, I had the Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia, which is a traditional squid with ink sauce pasta. It was delicious, and a nice way to end the day.

On our final day of the trip, we just took it easy and walked around the island and shops some more. Finally around 5pm, it was time to head back to Rome. After such a long time away from Rome, it was super nice getting back. It was an exciting and unforgettable trip!