This past week I participated in an optional IES Abroad trip to Italy, which was a tour through a few cities in Italy. We visited Venice, Verona, and Padua, all cities in northern Italy. It was a five-day trip and was a great opportunity getting the chance to explore a bit of Italy at an affordable cost.
It was an adventure getting there and back because we took a bus, which took about 8 hours on the way there, but it took more time on the way back due to major traffic jams throughout Switzerland. We didn't let the traffic stop us and get us down too much, other than the time delay, but we turned it into a dance party with music and we were all singing along. We also did some people watching from the bus, because many Swiss people were getting out of their cars and walking around, which we found interesting and our bus driver informed us that it was illegal, but it helped to make a long journey much better. The scenery throughout the drive was also quite beautiful, and also played a role in helping the time go by.
As for the actual trip to Italy, we saw Padua, Venice, and Verona. All three cities were unique and had cool things to see. We spent about two days in Venice and also two days in Padua, but only about 2 hours in Verona. During this time I along with the other IES Abroad students ate a ton of pizza and pasta, along with many helpings of gelato, and I even found my favorite gelato combination, which I discovered in the United States, chocolate and grapefruit, at a few gelato shops.
Venice was more of a standard tourist city, but it was also able to escape some of the crazy touristy places especially due to having a friend who studies there at the moment. There we had a two-hour walking tour where we saw a lot of the city. The remainder of the time in Venice we had free time, where we explored more of the city, everyone doing different things. I explored the city with some IES Abroad students and found free art exhibitions. I also had the opportunity to meet up with a friend who studied there. Padua and Verona were also quite touristy but not as touristy as Venice. Verona had Juliet's balcony from Romeo and Juliet, along with an old amphitheater, which is older than the Coliseum. We were able to go into the amphitheater and lucked out because they were having a special deal where it was only one euro to enter when it is normally ten euros. Padua was more of a university city but also had a lot of Catholic influence due to the fact that St. Anthony lived there. We had a city tour there as well and saw a lot there. In all of the cities, meals made up a lot of the time, due to the Italian culture of long mealtimes.
It was nice to do some traveling before the crazy time of term papers and finals come up. Well, I got to get back to studying.
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Hey I am Claire, and I am from Des Moines, Iowa. I am studying International Relations, Russian, and German. I am a Midwestern girl who loves to travel, and I can’t wait to see what adventures are ahead this semester.