I got to travel to 9 different cities over my 2 week long spring break which is absolutely crazy to say. I had been looking forward to this trip since it was planned at the end of February but I knew once it came my time in Spain would be coming to an end. It went by super fast and flying back to Valencia I had a feeling of “ah I’m home.” Valencia does feel a little like home and I was excited to get back to my host family and share my adventures, have my bed and home cooked meals. I can’t believe that in 8 days I will be home in the United States and although I’m excited I am also kind of anxious. I love the US and am so excited to see everyone but I’m going to really miss Spain. I have met amazing friends, had an outstanding host family and have made memories to last a life time and I’m scared to leave. I think it’s more knowing that next May I graduate and enter the real world but I want to be able to travel so much still as I get older. I feel like I have matured a lot being here and there is so much of the world that I haven’t seen but I would love to! Heck there’s so much of the US that I haven’t got to see!
Anyway I could write so much about each city but I have a lot to write about and don’t want a giant blog post so the first stop on my spring break was Trieste, Italy! Although I basically just spent the night there and only walked around for a couple hours the next day, it was beautiful. I like the small town vibe and it seemed like everyone was so happy. I would have loved to spend 2 nights there but I think I still saw most of the important monuments in the city.
When I stepped off the train in Venice I was in awe. I couldn’t believe that in 2 hours it seemed like I had traveled to a new world. There were people everywhere along with stands selling food or clothing or souvenirs as well as people selling things like selfie sticks (I eventually bought and used it throughout the vacation). It’s hard to explain but Venice immediately felt different and I loved it. We had 2 nights there and for the most part we just explored the city and I was amazed by the little details like the bridges over the canals and all the tiny walk ways that made it feel so unique. At night we decided to walk around and “get lost” in Venice which we did but eventually found our way to the hostel but some of the side walks were flooded! Obviously it’s bound to happen but seeing it and seeing people take their shoes off and walk through it or get creative and climb on the cement walls next to the canals was crazy. It’s hard to pick one high light from Venice because everything was cool and different. I loved how there were no cars and we could easily walk everywhere and I love how everywhere I looked it felt like I was in a movie! It was definitely one of the coolest cities I have ever seen. 🙂
Next stop was Florence which yet again felt so different! Everything was much taller and there were tourists everywhere, so with the people who live there plus the tourists people were walking in the streets like it wasn’t a big deal even though there was traffic! A couple girls we met in our Venice hostel said everything in Florence is really close together so we should be able to see most of it and I think we did. One of the first things I saw after the train station was the Duomo which is an enormous cathedral that has green, white and red colors and I couldn’t stop staring because it looked so awesome. The first night we hiked up to see the statue of David by Michelangelo and the view was stunning. I could see all of Florence and watching the sun set was so beautiful I could have cried. It it would’ve been a little warmer I would have loved to have a picnic as the sun was setting but it was perfect nonetheless. There were a lot of plazas and churches in Florence and we got to see almost all! I’ll also remember all the naked statues I saw there and the little markets which are well known in the area!
Next was Naples, and unfortunately out of the gate, I wasn’t impressed. Kayla and I had missed our connecting train from Rome to Naples so we arrived 3 hours later as it was getting dark and was rainy and cloudy. The second I stepped outside the train station I noticed all the trash, graffiti, construction and car horns. I know it wasn’t the best neighborhood by any means but earlier cities I think we were spoiled by being so impressed the second we saw the city. The next day, Easter Sunday we decided to go to Pompeii which I absolutely loved! I really felt like I had traveled back in time because for being almost completely destroyed, there were so many ruins. It was a lot bigger than I expected and I know we didn’t get to see everything but we still saw a good amount. It was crazy to see petrified bodies and vases that were recovered. Unfortunately a storm rolled in and it started to pour so we decided the 3 hours was sufficient and we were going to take the metro back. Surprise! The metro stopped at 1 pm and now the only two options were a bus which was 20 euros per person or a taxi which luckily only ended up being 16 per person. Naples was also really rainy and crappy so we decided to make our Easter lunch which consisted of ramen noodles…haha. I think if the weather wouldn’t have been so bad it would’ve been much easier to enjoy Naples but I just didn’t feel safe there so at night we didn’t go out and the next morning we walked around a little bit of the historical quarter and saw the cathedral which we entered and was beautiful! I’m glad I saw Naples and although I wasn’t impressed I would definitely give it another chance if I returned to Rome because I have heard great things about it despite the mafias.
Finally we arrived in Rome and boy was I blown away! Of course I had heard amazing things about Rome but I never expected it to be how it was which was breath taking. I’m not kidding, everywhere you look there is something to be seen. The first night we were there we did the Spanish steps while the sun was starting to set which was just gorgeous, again I felt like a movie with the sun shining, people everywhere and music being played. We headed to the Trevi Fountain and ran into a huge monument which ended up being Piazza de Venecia then got to the fountain which was partially under construction with no water but I didn’t mind! I still threw a coin behind my back and made it into where water should have been. I definitely want to go back when it’s not being worked on. We ate at this restaurant got 2 free wine bottles and had amazing pasta, they treated us like royalty! Then we saw the Pantheon to end the night and the next day we went to the Roman Forum and Colosseum. The Forum was mind blowing, there were so much to see and it was beautiful! Of course I loved the Colosseum, it was all surreal…I can’t believe I was in there, never thought that would happen in my life, always hoped but yeah! After hours in the both of those we walked all the way to the Vatican and stood outside taking it all in for awhile then we got to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. It was absolutely incredible. I had no idea a church could be so beautiful but it was, I couldn’t stop staring at everything.
After two nights in Rome we thought we would be heading to Ibiza on Wednesday morning but the night before we got an email saying the flight was cancelled. Surprisingly we were fairly calm and decided to just go to the airport tomorrow to figure everything out. We got there around 9 or 10 and were there until 1:30 and were put in a “hotel” in Rome, Ciampino which was very small and the nearest place to buy food was almost 2 miles away. We had pushed back our vacation one day so we could still have 3 nights in Ibiza but oh surprise surprise Wednesday night we got a email that our connecting flight from Holland to Ibiza was cancelled (we had a flight from Rome to Eindhoven and Eindhoven to Ibiza). We were at the airport for almost 12 hours and finally got a flight booked from Milan to Ibiza…Saturday morning. We were pretty much stranded in Rome since they refused to put us in a hotel (don’t worry we kept every receipt and already requested a lot of money back). Anyways we decided to get a night train to Milan so we could sleep but also be in the city where our flight was. We just showed up in Milan with no where to go so we found a McDonalds and figured out where to stay close to the airport. Surprise again, we didn’t realize Milan-Bergamo where Ryanair flies is about 1.5 hours by bus away from Milan. Long story short Milan was pretty for the 2 hours we saw of it, the bus rides were long and we were even on an Italian school bus as it was packed, I mean PACKED with middle schoolers. We learned to laugh it off and I’m lucky that I have these girls as my friends because we made a pretty crappy situation into something that was bearable and we’ll always remember. ❤ Also the pictures below are of me trying to politely refuse the food to feed the pigeons because I don’t like having money sucked from me and the beautiful cathedral in Milan!
When we finally got to Bergamo it was beautiful and I wish we had more time to explore it! Luckily the bed and breakfast we stayed in was pretty cheap and very nice. Eventually we got to Ibiza at 9 am and headed to the hotel and got ready then went out for lunch. We got some drinks for the beach and enjoyed what sun there was as well as the beautiful blue water. When we called it a day we returned to the hotel and did some stupid silly games like truth or dare and eventually just passed out because we were all exhausted. The next morning we woke up to a perfect view, got some coffee right on the boardwalk then got a cocktail and headed to the airport. It was an amazing break and I’m glad I got to spend it with such amazing people! At least we have a pretty funny story to tell and maybe we’ll even get some reimbursement from Ryanair!
This week we went to Javea on Monday and of course it was beautiful I would love to have a vacation home there if only it were closer to the US! On Thursday I got my first fish pedicure which was super cool! It didn’t tickle as bad as I would have thought but it was just so weird to think about, but I liked it! Last night was when I went to Mya, a club near the city of arts and sciences, and I was having a lot of fun until I realized my phone was gone! It’s unfortunate to say but I rely on my phone so much. Of course while I’ve been here I am not on it hardly at all unless I’m in my home because there is so much to absorb around me and it’s not necessary to be so worried about technology but there’s so many personal things on my phone that it would be such a pain to lose it! I don’t know who turned it in but I wish I could thank them because the amount of times people have told me that I was extremely lucky and that this seriously never happens has been a lot and I’m just so thankful. Some things have gone wrong while I’ve been here but that’s life and what that has taught me is priceless.
Tomorrow the ISA group is heading to Montenejos, a small town in a mountain, and we get to go hiking, rafting, swimming and ziplining! I am so excited and it is our last hooray! It’s sad and crazy to think that I come back to the US in one week because the people I’ve met here are amazing and I will miss them so much. It’s insane that Valencia has become my home, I would’ve never expected that but I feel comfortable and anyone who knows me knows I love palm trees and not that I’m taking them for granted, but seeing palm trees doesn’t even cross my mind now because I am so used to them and it feels like home. The amount my Spanish has improved is amazing and I really hope I can utilize it this summer but I am excited to come home. I will keep the sweet memories I have made here forever and cherish everything as life is short and the fact that I got to live in another country for 3.5 months is something incredible! 🙂 ❤