I have been mulling over that question for a few weeks now. It feels like yesterday I was living in a castle and having the one of the most life-changing experiences yet. I looked at my calendar today, and to my surprise I realized I have been home for almost two months. The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” is all too true in my case. I never anticipated missing my trip this much, so soon.
I am ashamed I didn’t blog more when I was abroad, but I want to take the time now to recount some of my favorite memories on my trip. (I’m feeling quite nostalgic today).
My first big trip outside of the UK was four weeks into my study abroad program, and my aunt and cousin flewout to travel with me. We started our trip jumping from taxi, to train, to another train, to yet another taxi, to finally our destination in Paris. What a beautiful and lively city. The wine was exceptional, the desserts were mouthwatering, and the scenery was simply breathtaking. You don’t realize how truly big the Eiffel Tower is until you’re standing right beneath it looking up as far as you can, and start to get dizzy from titling your head back so far. It’s also hard to imagine the city in full until you’re inside it looking out for miles at different types of buildings and architecture. Because we only have nine days of travel, our trip to Paris was cut short to only a day and a half. Seeing Paris at night, however, was all worth it.
Our next destination was to Florence, Italy. A taxi, a train and an overnight train later we arrived in Italy. To our surprise we actually realized our hostel was about 30 minutes outside of Florence in this small town of Tuscany called Empoli. I’ll be frank when I say we were all a little anxious (well mainly me) as we sat in this small train station and we waited for this “van” to come pick us up and bring us up to our hostel. It was starting to sound like a plot out of a horror movie. After about two hours of waiting, this van, which was actually a shuttle, arrived. Still a little apprehensive, we went to greet our driver as three American’s jumped out. They started lusting over this hostel they just stayed in, and how much we would love it. A 30 minute drive later up into the hills of Tuscany, and we finally arrived. It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Our three person hostel was not a hostel at all; it was the cutest little cottage that had its own deck that overlooked the town of Empoli. The best part? Two words: infinity pool. I could have lived there forever. Tuscany was my favorite part of my entire trip for two reasons: homemade, from scratch, Italian food and fresh Tuscan wine. My taste buds will never be the same again! I met some of the most amazing people, so kind and so carefree. Although no one spoke English in the nearest town up the road, I had the best experience with the, sometimes challenging, language barrier. I cannot wait to explore more of Italy as soon as I can.
We ended our trip in the south of France, where we stayed at a hostel in Nice. Definitely not as luxurious as ourlast sleeping arrangements, but everyone staying at this hostel was young and full of life. Nice is such a beautiful city, and the water is absolutely spectacular. It was my first time seeing tropical, blue water and my first time ever swimming in the ocean. It felt like a dream. I don’t think I have ever seen something more beautiful in my life. Awe-inspiring old architecture and the bluest water I’ve ever seen. Nice turns into a completely different city when night falls, and it could have been because there was a huge music festival that weekend, but the entire city square and beach were packed. I found out later that there were over 40,000 people on the beach that night, partying until dawn hit. It was a magical city, and the people-watching was just phenomenal.
Six months ago I was absolutely terrified for my trip, I couldn’t really wrap my head around the fact I will be out of the country and away from my family/friends for two months. Could I really do it? I honestly thought I was crazy for going through with it. I had never traveled anywhere without my family, let alone outside the United States. Looking at my trip now that it’s over, I had no reason to be afraid. I was bit by the travel bug and I am happily anticipating my next adventure. (Greece and Italy, hopefully!)
More experiences from my summer abroad to come soon.