2016 took me to some amazing places! In between going to classes, what made my semester abroad so worthwhile was my ability to travel to so many different countries and other cities in Italy. Each new place had its own perks but there were some that stood out the most. I ranked my favorite cities by my overall experience such as the vibe I received while being there, and whether I connected with the city, as well as the food, culture, and beautiful things to see. My list will start off going from 5 to 1. Also, to keep things fair I’m only ranking cities that I visited for the first time on this exchange. This means London won’t be on it since I went as part of my first time studying abroad in 2015. London will always be my favorite places in the world. But for now, let’s see which other places stole my heart.
5. Berlin, Germany
Berlin surprised me with how exciting and lively it turn out to be. At first I was caught off guard with how cold it was but looking back now, 48 degrees isn’t all that bad! Berlin is such a historical city and I learned so much from visiting the museums. I was impressed by every single meal I had in Berlin. A happy stomach equals a happy trip! Also, I wish I had brought another bag because there were so many places to shop in Berlin. I finally was able to see what was so great about Primark. Now I’m hoping Primark expands into the West Coast of the U.S. one day.
4. Athens, Greece
Athens was one of my favorite place for food. Being in the birthplace of gyros was exciting to me. I literally ate gyros the entire weekend I was there. With just the two days I was in Athens, I had such a fun time seeing the ancient buildings and learning more about their historical significance in the Acropolis. Athens is another place that had an abundance of sunshine which may contribute to why I enjoyed it so much. In the midst of 30 degree weather in Milan, a weekend in Athens was like a short summer vacation.
3. Marrakesh, Morocco
I made it to an entirely different continent on my exchange and my experience was quite exciting. It was my last trip of the exchange but still showed me that there is so much more to the world. Marrakesh was unique because after getting the hang of going to new places, it’s still exciting to learn about a culture very different than the European cities I visited. I didn’t know what to expect with Moroccan cuisine but it turned out to be very tasty. Shopping in the city center was always fun and I found such unique and colorful pieces. The main thing I wanted to do while in Morocco was ride a camel, and I made it happen! Even though my exchange is over, going to Marrakesh left me with more motivation to continue exploring.
2. Rome, Italy
Of all the cities I went to in Italy, I could really see myself living in Rome. I loved Rome for its beauty. Rome is charming, full of things to do, and has an abundance of historical landmarks I could spend hours gazing upon.The Trevi Fountain alone was such a spectacle and of course the Colosseum were among some of the many beautiful places to see in Rome. I discovered a very helpful menu ingredient for ordering the type of pasta I wanted. The word is “bolognese” and this changed my life for the the rest of my time in Italy. I no longer had to eat just pasta with sauce but now I finally knew how to ask for beef to be apart of the spaghetti. But besides the great food, I enjoyed how easy it was to navigate the city. Walking to Vatican City was a workout I probably wouldn’t purposely partake in but it was still doable. I could never get enough of hearing street music and hearing the sounds of different languages.
1. Barcelona, Spain
Being in Barcelona was such an uplifting and heart-warming experience on a personal level. Initially, nervous about going on a trip to a new county by myself, this trip turned out to be a special time for self-reflection and celebration. I loved Barcelona so much because of how meaningful it was for me to finally be in a place that I had dreamed of going for so long. I was by myself but felt so whole and completely joyful. The food was amazing. I had this amazing taco that I still dream about today.
I went to Barcelona in early November and the sun was still shining. I could get around better with the knowledge of Spanish I picked up om my 2 years of Spanish in high school. Having a better understanding of the language made me feel more confident and accomplished as a visitor in a new land.I walked miles a day to see the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and caught the amazing view of the city at Turo de la Rovira. I was a Cheetah Girl and sang all around Park Guell and random beautiful streets.I think back to the happiest moments of my life and being in Barcelona was definitely one of them.