Yesterday I got back from ten straight days of traveling. My program had a ten-day break in between our half semester in Athens and half semester in Rome. Amazingly, my friends and I made it to five cities in ten days. On the first day we flew from Athens, Greece to Rome, Italy to drop off our luggage at our new school in Rome. That night, we flew in to Barcelona, Spain. We stayed four nights in Barcelona, two nights in Amsterdam, and four nights in Paris.
Everywhere we went, bad weather followed us, up until the last day in each place, of course. It rained every day except the last that we were in Barcelona and it stayed between forty and fifty degrees. Nonetheless, Barcelona is a beautiful city. Some of the highlights of my stay there were seeing La Sagrada Familia, doing a guided audio tour of Casa Mila, and visiting Park Guell. All three of these monuments were designed by the famous Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi. His work is really extraordinary. I learned that he bases all of his structural ideas off of natural structures. For example, the ceiling of the attic in Casa Mila resembled the inside of a whale’s stomach. He believed that the strongest and long-lasting structures come from nature itself.
Amsterdam was something special as well. It was so clean, quiet, and colorful. The highlight of my stay there was touring the Anne Frank house. I never realized just how big the attic is, it was more like a small apartment. Being in the presence of such horrific history was an amazing feeling. Oddly, tragic history is something that intrigues me, I love to learn about firsthand experiences during times like World War II.
Last but not least, my last four days of my break were spent in Paris, France. This was my favorite place by far. The Eiffel Tower is incredible, especially after sundown when it lights up in sparkles every hour on the hour for five minutes. We also toured the Notre Dame, the Sacred Heart church, and the Palace of Versailles. I love Paris because there is endless things to do, we didn’t have to think too hard about how to spend our day we just picked something and went.
Amsterdam and Paris were my favorite because I really got out of my comfort zone and used the public transportation in both places instead of spending so much money on taxis and ubers. It allowed me to get to know the city more deeply and interact with the local people. I appreciate how easy it was to navigate the cities.