Hey everyone! I've been home for about two weeks now and I'm taking this time to go through all the stuff I did while abroad and write about my experiences. While overseas with the European Union program, I was lucky enough to visit six countries with the program and an additional six by myself. I tried to keep a list of things I liked about each city so that they wouldn't melt into one another in my memories. I consolidated these notes into this list I'm calling the Abroad Awards for now because I don't have a better title in mind.
Best Architecture - Brussels
Before I went to Venice, Brussels was my favorite city. I loved everything. The people, the places, the food but mostly the architecture. It seemed to me like the buildings were different and unique on every street. Brussels is a perfect mix of the old and the new. I'm not educated on architecture so I can't tell you what specific types I saw or what decade they are from but I can appreciate them. The Grand Place is the most beautiful square in Europe, don't @ me.
Best Changing of the Guard - Monaco
I have seen quite a few changing of the guard during my time in Europe from the Swiss Guard in Vatican City, the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Place and the elaborate horse show at the Palais Royal in Brussels, but none compare to the prestige of Monaco's changing of the guard. For starters, it takes place at the Prince's Palace which overlooks all of Monte Carlo. It's surrounded by gift shops, cafes and a museum (I think?). Anyway, even though there weren't any horses like in Belgium or uber elite formations like in the UK, I think the combination of the beautiful scenery and the Carabiniers du Prince (the formal name for the Prince's guards) make it extremely worthwhile. My only advice is to get there early because like any free event, it draws a large crowd and make sure you pack a snack or twelve because you have to basically climb a small mountain to get to the top.
Best Gelato - Freiburg
I know what you're probably thinking. Sabrina, you've been to Italy, France, all these places and you still think Freiburg, Germany has the best gelato?!?! With the exception of one amazing gelato cone I had in Rome, Freiburg definately has the best gelato and for the best price. I probably got at least four cones a week from different places before settling on my favorite. The gelato was always under three euros which is phenomenal considering the prices that I encountered on my travels.
Most Picturesque - Venice
Venice is the most beautiful place I have ever been to, and I want to go every day for the rest of my life. Now that that's out of the way, Venice is truly the most picturesque place I visited, and I'll tell you why.
Best Food - Rome
Like every other human on earth, I love Italian food. Gelato, tiramisu, bruschetta, pizza and PASTA galore. Must I go on? Word on the street is that places make fresh gnocchi on Thursdays.
Best Public Transportation - Berlin
My friends and I talked about Europe's transportation for ages because it is awesome. Every city we visited seemed to have wonderful public transportation that managed to be punctual and clean every time. Berlin's easy to manage city lines made our lives simple while we were there and it went everywhere. East coasters, think of the MTA or the MBTA on steroids.
Most Stylish - Paris
This one is kinda obvious but the Parisians can dress. Even a simple day out is a fashion show. I just couldn't compete but it was fun to look at. I imagine people watching in Paris must be a real good time.
Best Day Trip - Vatican City from Rome
The Vatican City was a short and cheap bus ride from where we were staying in Rome. It was super cool to go see everything, and now I've been to two of the world's smallest countries. The Vatican is totally worth the trip because you can see St. Peter's Basilica which is beautiful, the Vatican Museums which are beautiful and finally the Sistine Chapel which is... a tad underwhelming in my opinion but beautiful nonetheless.
Until next time,
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<p>Hi! My name is Sabrina and I'm from New Jersey but I go to Bowdoin College in Maine. I'm studying Environmental Studies and Government with a concentration in International Relations to prepare myself for a career in international diplomacy (fingers crossed!). Outside of academics, I am the president of the Caribbean Students Union (shoutout to my fellow Haitians/Guyanese!), a member of Bowdoin's Entertainment Board which coordinates concerts and activities for the student body, help low income families make their homes more energy efficient through AmeriCorps, and DJ two shows at my school's radio station. On my rare days off, I enjoy painting, binge watching rom coms on Netflix and hosting new album listening parties in my room.</p>