Monday, November 28, 2011


SO, once again it has been a very long time since I have posted...and let me explain. Well first off, yes we do have school abroad, but to tell you the truth the work load hasn't been difficult until the past 2 weeks. We were loaded with final projects, papers and thinking about the final exams. It was a lot on top of traveling the past two weekends. So aside from school, which I have finally got caught up on all my work, the past 2 weekends were amazing. Last weekend I went to Amsterdam with three of my friends. After flight delays and cancellations, we finally made it to our "beautiful" hostel in downtown Amsterdam. It was the perfect location and it was such an interesting place to take in. It is exactly what people believe, but it it just so much more than what you think. the streets were decorated for Christmas, because they celebrate it on December fifth, and it felt like a winter wonderland. Everyone in Amsterdam is so friendly and nice and there are canals, which make it feel a little bit like Venice. Below is a picture with two of my friends in a traditional Holland clog that can be found all throughout the city

And of course, we had to go to the famous Iamsterdam sign with the giant letters you can sit in and get a few pics. It was really cool to see at night because it was all lit up and the tram ride there allowed us to see so much more of the city 

This is a view down one of the canals. as you can see, bikes line the bridge and the roads because everyone travels around Amsterdam by bike. It's really interesting to see everyone riding bikes and the castles and beautiful views makes it feel almost like a fairytale

The weekend before Amsterdam, my study abroad program API took us to Rome! It was a quick bus ride before we were placed in an amazing hotel right in the heart of the city. Rome was amazing to me because the history was so much to take in on top of the Italian beauty. There are so many famous hotspots in Rome and API made sure that we were taken to them all. Below is the fountain right near our hotel. Surrounding it during the day were art vendors and caricature artists

This fountain is the famous Trevi fountain, which honestly took my breath away when I first saw it. It is so much more magnificent than I ever imagined. Also for any of you that know the Lizzie Maguire movie, yes she did see this fountain and make a wish. Random reference, but still for any of you that know if it is definitely fun. So aside from this fountain, my favorite part of Rome would definitely be the Vatican. It honestly was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. It was spectacular and of course the Colosseum was amazing to see as well. So all in all, Rome was amazing and I could even see myself living there

It's nice to be back in Florence now, finishing up all the hard work, and enjoying the last 20 days of my abroad. I cannot believe its already the end. I have met so many great people and have lived an amazing four months. I will keep you updated on the rest of my time in Florence, enjoy the rest of your semester until break!

Monday, November 14, 2011

SO, I am finally settled in after what feels like a long 2 weeks of traveling! it all started in Austria, visiting my friend Emily from St.Mikes, and also where the film The Sound of Music was filmed (personally favorite) It was so beautiful! We hiked mountains and here is one of the views of a fortress you can see from the mountains

We also did numerous activities such as touring a brewery and taking part in the Sound of Music tour, which takes you to all the places the film was filmed in Austria from the gazebo to the actually VonTrapp house. The whole time there were sing along and we had a wonderful time reliving our childhood watching this film and taking part in the tour. We also had the privilege to be on the tour with Maria VonTrapps actual granddaughter, who happens to be from Stowe, Vermont! It was great to meet her and here all about the VonTrapp house in Stowe. 

Austria also had wonderful food, mainly desserts that were so delicious. One of my favorites was the apple struddle which was surrounded by warm vanilla pudding

After coming back from Austria on Tuesday night, I had a day in Florence before leaving Thursday morning for Cologne, Germany! A friend of mine who I interned with this summer lives in cologne so myself along with 2 friends got to stay with him and get his experience of Germany. It was by far one of my favorite places, and the people were so friendly! On November 11, 2011 at 11:11 am we took part in the Carnival that begins each year on this date. It basically looked like Halloween, and as you can see by the pictures below, people filled the streets in all sorts of costumes. There was also parades and traditional German carnival songs and it was a great cultural experience to be a part of. 

The rest of the weekend, we spent exploring the city which was also full of delicious desserts. Below are just a few examples of the mouthwatering treats lining the streets. Cologne was also much more modern than Florence and even had the one drink I've truly been missing, Dunkin Donuts coffee. It was wonderful to finally get a little taste of that and experience it among one of the most up and coming German cities.

Overall, the past two weeks were amazing, and I cannot wait to head off to Rome this weekend with API to see the big city of Italy! I'll let you know how that trip goes as soon as I'm back (: hope all is well back at St.Mikes!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sicily and Malta were both beautiful vacation spots! It was so nice to have a week off of classes and get to relax in the sun before it gets too cold. First we went to Sicily, where we stayed in a beautiful Villa overlooking the water. Here's a picture of what our balcony looked like!

While we were there we went on a boat cruise that took us to islands north of Sicily. One of them was an active volcano where we took sulfur baths in a natural sulfur pool, and you could feel the heat bubbling below you! Then we went to a wine tasting right near mount Etna, which is a volcano in Sicily. That was beautiful and delicious! We were in Sicily for 4 days then headed to Malta, which was originally a British colony so they drove on the opposite side of the road, as well as drove on the opposite side of the car. We also went on a cruise of the Mediterranean and went to a place called the Blue Lagoon, below, that was so blue full of fish and surrounded by beautiful islands! Here's a picture below

It was really nice to come back to Florence though, it really feels like home now! One interesting thing that I thought i'd share is somewhere i felt some of the strongest culture shock since I've been here...Subway. We went today to get sandwiches and it looks the same on the outside but it was interesting to see how the Italians do subs. First off, the breads were different, the sauces were different and they LOVE loading sandwiches with mayo...they also offered corn and carrots and other varieties to put on your sandwiches. The cookies were different too, and the way they made the subs, from not forming an organized line, to making it take very long to prepare it was a completely different experience. I know, you're probably thinking this has to not be a big deal compared to other events in Italy, but to me, it has been one of the biggest shocks lately!  So if you like subway, go enjoy a nice, quickly made, delicious breaded sandwich for me. Hope all's well! I head to Austria Thursday through Tuesday to visit a friend from St.Mikes as well as see where the Sound of Music was filmed. I'll let you know how that goes!