It’s hard to believe that spring break came up so fast! After a long few hours of deliberation at the IES Abroad center, my friends and I decided on London and Rome for our week of travel. One of my favorite parts of Europe is how affordable travel is! All our travel, which included coming from and back to France, was under 145 euros. That’s less than what I pay to get from Indiana to Portland!
After fitting an entire week’s worth of clothes into one backpack, we were off to our first destination, Bordeaux. (shoutout to my host dad for the candy on the road!) We took a flixbus from Nantes to Bordeaux, a trip that lasted about 5 hours. I get motion sick very easily, so I ended up sleeping throughout the whole ride to avoid feeling sick. Before we knew it we were at the Bordeaux train station! Bordeaux was essentially just a layover, so after getting to the train station we boarded a bus to take us to the airport. The ride may have been cheap, but we were the last stop, which meant standing on a crowded bus for over an hour. (Not good for my motion sickness-prone self!)
After a queasy hour, we arrived at the airport and were ready to board our flight to Rome. We all ordered an Aperol Spritz and cheered to our successful arrival at the airport. Only 13478237423 modes of transportation left to take! We arrived in Rome at about 11 pm, so we went straight to bed once we got to the Airbnb.
Here’s a quick recap of what we did during our 3 days in Rome:
Day 1: Coliseum and the Forum, the best pizza I’ve ever had, gelato, having drinks in Trastevere (and playing cards with some new Italian friends!) and having Alfredo at the restaurant where it was invented, Alfredo Alla Scrofa. I’ve never had anything like it, so rich and creamy that I couldn’t even finish it! (And I never leave pasta on the plate.)
Day 2: Piazza Navona, supli, and meeting with some UP friends studying abroad in Rome! We went to Trevi fountain and the Pantheon together, had amazing focaccia sandwiches, and of course gelato. This was one of the highlights of Rome for me, and it felt so great to see people that remind me of home. After reuniting with my travel group, we went to the Spanish steps at sunset. It was so beautiful, and I got a little emotional about how lucky I felt to be around so many people I loved in the middle of Rome. <3 We ended the night at a bar close to our Airbnb, where I got to try out the shirt I thrifted at a thrift market we passed. (2 euros!)
Day 3: The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, a much-needed AirBnb nap, and an early night in after going out for dinner. (We had an early flight to London to catch!)
Overall, I loved Rome. I had high expectations and they were all met! I would say one of my favorite parts was the food. I wish I had some supli right now… (fried rice balls, so yum) Next stop was London!
After an early flight to London, we caught a train to our hostel which we were able to board straight from the airport. I was shocked at how kind everyone in London was, and I loved being able to speak the language. (It had been so long!)
Here’s my London recap:
Day 1: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, (lots of ducks!) Chinatown, and so many tube rides. (I love the tube!!)
Day 2: London Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, Vintage markets, and Spitalfields Market. I walked around London with some other UP friends who are spending the semester there, another fun reunion! Ended with a night at the Pub where I discovered my love for Orchard Thieves Cider.
Day 3: Kensington Palace, Natural History Museum, shopping, and exploring other parts of London. We even got to ride the double-decker bus, a must for me!
I loved the people and the food in London, and I can’t wait to visit sometime again. You can truly never run out of things to do there!
After a crazy week of traveling, we caught our flight to Paris and took the train back to Nantes. I’ve never taken such a great shower and slept so well. It was an exhausting week, but worth every minute and every penny. Reuniting with other UP folks helped with the homesickness that creeps in every once in a while, and I loved getting to hear about their study abroad experiences thus far. I loved spending time in some bigger cities, but it also makes me appreciate my less busy life in Nantes just a little bit more.
See ya soon!
More Blogs From This Author
Hello! My name is Sophia Barton, and I'm a sophomore at the University of Portland, though I'm originally from Indiana. (Shout Midwest folks!) I'm currently majoring in Political Science and Global Affairs and French, with a Spanish minor. Can you tell that I love languages? I could not be more excited for the opportunity to immerse myself in the Nantes culture, and I'm so excited to take you all along with me. Rendez-vous à Nantes!! :)