It’s finally Fall Break, you would think … wait December isn’t until a month and a half, I guess Italians like to do it differently here. Fall break came at such a great time, right after we finished with our midterm project and exams, therefore we really needed the time off. We started off our journey in Venice, the city of canals. This is the second major trip we have as a part of the UTSA study abroad program. Our hotel was located on an island called Lido, a small island on the Venetian Lagoon, to arrive at the hotel we took a ferry and It was such an exciting moment for me since I have never been on a one before.
When in Venice It was odd having to commute from one place to another using boats due to the lack of roads, but then you get used to it after the first couple of rides. During this trip we got to see the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the Rialto Bridge, the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice and many other churches and museums. It was interesting seeing historical buildings combined with modern architecture. One of the most interesting places that demonstrated that was the late 17th century customs warehouses remodeled as art gallery by Tadao Ando. As well as the Fondazione Querini-Stampalia 16th century palazzo remodeled as arts foundation and gallery, by Carlo Scarpa. Over all Venice was beautiful all the way from its narrow alleys, to its stunning ocean views and of course its amazing food.
We officially started off our fall break in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. The architecture was amazing, and our Airbnb was in the middle of the city which made it accessible to walk everywhere and explore the city freely. I had the opportunity to visit the “Dancing House” by one of my favorite architects Frank Gehry. It was such an experience going all the way to the roof top, drink my cappuccino and enjoy the beautiful skyline of Prague. From modern architecture we went to the gothic Prague Castle, dating from the 9th century. It is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. We climbed over 200 steps to get to the top of the tower, but it was worth the sweat and tears especially after seeing the view from the top and the amazing design of the palace.
Budapest was next on the list. We were lucky to have met Katti, a German exchange student, at a traditional Hungarian restaurant the first day we got there. We explored the city all day long, started in Pest which is more festive than Buda. It has more restaurants, bars, clubs, and many more stores. We then visited the parliament building, crossed the chain bridge onto Buda, then took another hike up the Gellert Hill, where we waited for the sunset. Budapest is also known for its picturesque parks and thermal baths. It is such an amazing place to visit, to relax and wander.
Lastly after all the walking and exploring we decided to end our adventure with going to Mykonos, Greece. I have never seen more beautiful blue ocean water in my life. We met a lot of other students from all over the world on the beach. Luckily our resort had its own nightclub so we all danced the night away after bathing in the sun all day long. We spent the last night of this trip in Athens, because how can you not visit the Acropolis when you are in Greece. Unfortunately, it was closed since we got there late, but we made the best of it by going up a large hill and viewing the city with the acropolis right behind us. Exploring Greece reminded me of my hometown Jordan, due to the architecture and the overall urban design of the city, I could not help but love the city due to the sense of place it offered me.
Over all I’m glad I got to visit these three different countries that I never thought I’d visit in my life. We went through a lot of adventures and learned from them. I am excited to visit and learn about many other cities around the world.