After surviving four written and two oral midterms, I celebrated by spending fall break in three different countries over a span of six days. It was absolute madness, but definitely worth it. We started off the journey by taking a train from Siena to Pisa, and then flying from Pisa into Budapest. At the Pisa airport, we met a Hungarian girl named Juniper who spent the next two days touring us around the city. It was great to have someone show us all of the local spots, and not just the touristy spots. After Budapest, we took an overnight bus to Prague, which was an adventure all in itself. Sarah, another IES Abroad Siena student, and I were in front of a very loud group of Hungarian men who ate constantly throughout the entire eight hour journey. We also made a stop in Bratislava, Slovakia at 2:30am, which was quite entertaining. Once we arrived safely in Prague at 6:30am, the five us located the only two taxis at the bus station, and traveled to our hostel. We then spent the next two hours sprawled across an array of bean bag chairs and couches, trying to recover from the long and painful bus ride. We spent the next thirty hours walking all over Prague, which, I think, is arguably one of the prettiest cities in the world. Budapest was a gorgeous, large city, but Prague looks like it belongs in a Disney fairytale. While we were there, I was able to see my grandparents, who were doing a European river cruise, and just happened to be docked in Prague for the weekend! It was the first time that I had seen family since leaving for Italy in August, so it was very refreshing and heart warming.
Our third and final stop was Barcelona, where we all met up with four other IES Abroad Siena students. A couple of us spent exploring the Sagrada Familia and the Gothic Quarter, hiking up to Park Guell, and relaxing on the beaches of the Mediterranean. It was nice to be able to walk around in jeans and a t-shirt, compared to Prague where we were all bundled up due to the arctic temperatures. Barcelona was a lot bigger than the other two cities, so it felt more modern and Westernized. It was still charming, and I'm really glad that we were able to spend Halloween there.
Overall, it was an incredible fall break. It was filled with beautiful locations, wonderful people, and five glorious trips to Starbucks! The only thing that I would change would be flying Vueling Air. We took them from Barcelona to Florence, but the pilot was unable to land the plane safely in Florence due to high winds (he attempted three times, and it was terrifying), so we had to land in Bologna, instead. We then had to take two buses and a shuttle to get back to Siena. We managed to arrive safe and sound though, so no harm done!
However, every time I come back from an exotic trip, I am reminded about how lucky I am to live in Siena, and how it truly feels like home.
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<p>I am a current junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Italian at Sewanee: The University of the South. I am a proud member of Kappa Delta sorority, and am a coxswain for Sewanee's crew team. In my free time, I enjoy kayaking, reading, going for runs, and playing with my dogs.</p>