Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!"
This may have originally been written for children, but Dr. Seuss sure did know what he was talking about. Although being abroad has turned me into a more responsible adult (I'd like to hope), there are many times when I still feel like a little kid. Traveling gives me the same excitement I used to get when I received the new toy I was dying to have for my birthday. I feel this youthful excitement every time I walk onto a plane, on route to a new destination.
This semester has been full of travels to the places that I've only seen in pictures. Each place so unique and beautiful, that at the end of every journey, I wished I had more time to see all that I left un-discovered. But it's all the more reason to return and continue to explore all that the world has to offer.
Here is a list of my favorite places that I've visited so far with a few highlights!
This city is an underrated tourist destination. Not only is it one of the cheapest cities in Europe, but the possibilities of activities are endless. It's a very walking-friendly city and the public transportation is also easy to use. I recommend visiting the famous Turkish baths, exploring the Christmas markets in the winter, walking across the Chain Bridge, touring the castles, and climbing up to the highest point in Budapest, the Cittadella, for breathtaking views of the entire city!
I consider this to be a hidden gem of Austria. It's a small town, entirely surrounded by mountains. The views are so picturesque that I felt like I was walking through a fairytale. Hallstatt is a wonderful destination during the fall, when the leaves have turned into a beautiful variety of colors. If you like spending time outdoors, then this is the perfect place to come. Depending on during what season you travel here, there is always something to do from swimming and canoeing to skiing, biking and hiking.
Visiting London was a pleasant change of pace because everyone spoke English, even though I caught myself saying "Grazie" or "Ciao" in almost every conversation. The diversity of the city brings cuisines from every part of the world, making it a great place to find great food. Don't forget to try fish & chips as well! A few of my favorite stops were at the iconic Abbey Road, a visit to the Victoria & Albert museum, Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus, and Portobello Road.
After living in Italy for 3 months, Spain didn't feel so foregin and even the different language felt familiar since it's so similar to Italian. Although Spanish culture overlaps with Italian culture in many ways, Madrid had its own unique charm. I visited a friend who is studying abroad there which made the experience even better because she knew the city well and all the places to go that were off the beaten path. Make sure to visit the Casa de Campo park, Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía, and Puerta del Sol. Eating churros with hot chocolate is a must after a long day of exploring the city.
This was a perfect destination for an easy day-trip from Milan. If you like hiking, Lecco is a hiker's paradise. It sits on Lake Como amidst the Italian alps. The trails range from any level of difficulty but no matter which you choose, the views definitely won't disappoint. I specifically hiked Piani D'Erna, which takes you to the highest point of Lecco. This was a challenging hike, but they do offer the option to take a gondola up or back down if you don't feel like walking all the way.
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Abigail is our 2016-17 IES Abroad Blogger of the Year! Abigail studies Economics and International Studies with a minor in Business Administration at Brandeis University—where she is also an IES Abroad Ambassador. As a Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Blogger, Abigail illustrated her year abroad in Milan through her insightful posts and candid photography that navigated her growth in the historical city of Milan.