One Last Country Before Going Home

We arrive in Barcelona on Wednesday morning and after a little unmonitored luggage fiasco in the airport we go to our airbnb by the beach. What we didn’t know is that we had to carry our luggage up 100 stairs (yes we counted) to get there. We put all of our stuff in our room and immediately changed to go to the beach for a couple hours. The next day we went to the market to grab some fruit cups and juice and did some sightseeing where we stopped by the Sagrada Familia church, Parc Guell and the Magic Fountain. The Sagrada was a whole new level of breathtaking with it being so different from the Catholic Churches I saw in Rome. Parc Guell was a little bit of a dissappointment with the mosaics by Gaudi, but the hike gave us some great views of the city. The Magic Fountain really lived up to its name. It was insanely beautiful and fun with all the music that they played during the show. The next day we were beach bums soaking up the sun at the Barceloneta beach. On Saturday we moved to our other airbnb that was more downtown for the last two nights of our stay. Once we got settled Paige and I took a day trip to Montserrat. While there we went into the church, the crypt and hiked to get some amazing pictures. Truly a unique place. For our last day we went back to the beach but a little further down where it was less crowded and filled with locals. Later that day we walked around downtown and packed up our stuff to head back to the USA in the morning. 

Barcelona’s own Arc de Triumf   Sagrada Familia
Parc Guell    
 Magic Fountain of Montjuรฏc  
      Barceloneta Beach
The Church of Montserrat    
The beautiful views and unique rock formations of Montserrat   
And one last picture of the beach ๐Ÿ˜Š  

I’m so blessed to have been able to spend these last 6 weeks abroad. I can’t wait for my next Euro adventure, but for now it feels pretty good to be home with my momma ๐Ÿ˜Š 


London Day 3ย 

For our last day in London we decided to start out with the Tower of London museum that was filled with the royal Crown Jewels, displays of the amour and a lot of history about the battles that took place there. It was a very cool experience to be able to be in such a historic area. After that we went to the Tower of London bridge and then took the London bridge to get to the Borough Market to get some really good street food. All of their food is GMO free and organic so it was all amazing. We finished up eating and went back to our hotel to change and hangout before our reservation at the London Eye and passed by St. Paul’s Cathedral on the way. A little later we walked over and got our tickets that included a 4D short film so we went and did that first. The film included bubbles, snow, and confetti and was actually pretty cool. Then we grabbed some food and got in line for the London Eye and it was incredible timing with the sun setting. Definitely a once in a lifetime view. After the ride ended we walked over to Big Ben and Westminster before going back to get some sleep before our early flight to Barcelona! 
The Tower of London    
  A Guard in the Tower Amour  
The Tower Bridge 

St. Paul’s Cathedral
Our silly 4D experience glasses 
    The London Eye
 Views from the Eye

    Big Ben
    Westminster Abbey
 And finishing off the trip with the most touristy picture ever 


Can’t wait to go to Barcelona tomorrow! 

London Day 2

After a great night of sleep in our hostel (surprisingly no sarcasm there) we wake up and go to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards. I got a pretty sweet spot on the Victoria Memorial Monument but shortly after, everyone was asked to get off of it. Regardless, we still had a great view and the production of the ceremony was very impressive. Afterwards, we head to the famous department store Harrods where we are surrounded by everything top label brand from Louis Vuitton and Chanel to Alexander McQueen and Oscar de la Renta. Needless to say we could only partake in window shopping and not actually buying but we still had an amazing time. We grabbed some Ladurรฉe macarons and walked to Kensington Palace where we saw royal dresses and how they entertained themselves. Next we went to the hip Camden Market for some street food and then took a bus to Abbey Road which was our last stop for the day!
Buckingham Palace   
  Victoria Memorial  The view from my spot
 The new guards entering the Palace

Inside Kensington Palace   
  The Grand Staircase   Abbey Road (haha just in case you didn’t know)
    Our very sad attempt at recreating the Beatles album cover 
 Some cool graffiti 


London Day 1ย 

After our bright and early 630 am flight we finally arrive in London and go to the British Museum. It wasn’t my cup of tea (๐Ÿ˜‚) but it was still very interesting to see different cultures from around the world and how they lived. Next we went to the Oxford shopping street and came to the Marble arch at the end. After that we walked around through Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square where we stopped and had fish and chips for dinner. Once we were finished we walked through Chinatown and ended our day at Trafalgar Square. 

The British Museum   The Marble Arch
Piccadilly Circus  

 Total British Meal ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ 


   Trafalgar Square 


We couldn’t have done it all without ya, Starbucks. 

The Pantheon and St. Peter’sย 

The first time we went by the Pantheon it was closed so I headed back by myself one day after class! I went inside and took some pictures and it was so crowded so I didn’t stay for very long but it was well worth the walk. As for St. Peter’s, Amy and I went the Friday before we left Rome and had a nice and hot hour and a half wait to get it. After being hit in the head with multiple sun-shading umbrellas we made it into the church and it took our breath away. There was so much to admire inside. Unfortunately we couldn’t touch the foot of Saint Peter’s statue because it was closed for his holiday, but it was a great way to finish off my study abroad and now onto London! 
The Pantheon   The tomb of Queen Margherita 
  The Altar   Panoramic view of the inside 
Vatican City   
  St. Peter’s       The Statue of St. Peter   Cute little guards โ˜บ๏ธ 

Weekend Trip to Veniceย 

We arrived in Venice on Friday morning and went to check into our air bnb before we went exploring. We walked around the island checking out all the canals and did some shopping and of course went into the high fashion stores such as Chanel, Celine, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry (just to admire). We ended up getting a little lost in the process and ended up in the middle of an art studio, which was actually pretty cool! Later that night before dinner we went on a gondola ride with some girls from our school who were also here for the weekend. We brought little mini bottles of wine/prosecco and made our driver sing to us โ˜บ๏ธ. Afterwards we stopped and got pizza by the slice and sat by the canal. On Saturday we went to the Basilica di San Marco, Doge’s Palace, walked along the Gulf of Venice, and stopped for some tea at the famous Florian Restaurant. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the church and the outside was halfway under construction but the mosaics covering the entire inside of the church were stunning. Once we went to the church and museum we sat and drank some fancy tea at the Florian. After our touristy day, we had dinner on the canal which was very very yummy. Sunday we took a water taxi out to the island of Lido to hang out on the beach and soak up some sun before going back to Rome in the morning. On the way back from the beach our friend Hannah tried to feed the pigeons to recreate a picture of her grandparents when they were here, which was absolutely hilarious because we are all terrified of them (and especially Hannah ๐Ÿ˜‚). The floating city was absolutely amazing and I had such a relaxing time here ๐Ÿ˜Š

 Cute little canals  
 Piazza San Marco 

 A view on our walk around town  

 The Grand Canal   Our Gondola ride with Giovanni

   Basilica di San Marco 

 Inside Doge’s Palace 

   Views from inside the palace 

   The courtyard between the jails of the palace

 The Florian Caffe that opened in 1720 

   Me by the Gulf of Venice  

Can’t believe that I only have 6 more days in Italy ๐Ÿ˜ฉ 

More Fun in Florence

On Saturday, our first stop was the Cappelle Medicee where we saw the massive tombs of the most important family members and some of their precious crowns. Next we headed to the never ending leather market where I picked up some very nice made in Italy leather goods ๐Ÿ˜Š. After that we had a lunch break and then headed to the Galleria dell’Accademia where the famous statue of David resides. The statue was so impressive because of the size (around 17 feet tall including the base) and the fact that Michaelangelo created this masterpiece at the age of 20. It was breathtaking and I’m so glad I was finally able to see it in person. After that museum, the economics students went to a museum for their class and we had the rest of the afternoon off to explore Florence. We met back up with our group to enjoy a nice meal of pizza and wine together and had a great time โ˜บ๏ธ

(Disclaimer: there aren’t many pictures for me to post because I would have way too many pieces of art to show but here are the highlights!) 
Cosimo Medicee’s Tomb    The David 
    And of course my delicious prosciutto and mushroom pizza ๐Ÿ˜‹ 

On Sunday we visited the oldest and very famous art museum, Galleria degli Uffizi, where we saw rooms full of pieces from Giotto, Botticelli, da Vinci, and Michaelangelo. The most famous paintings we got to see were:  the Ognissanti Madonna and The Birth of Venus. After the Uffizi, we had a very long lunch break so we grabbed some food, walked around and stopped to make our own Magnum ice cream bars ๐Ÿ˜‹. After our break we went to the Santa Maria Novella church where we saw  Masaccioโ€™s Holy Trinity and the Crucifix by Giotto. That was our last stop of the fantastic weekend in Florence before packing up to leave. 
Our Magnum Ice Cream Bars  The Holy Trinity Painting  The Santa Maria Novella Church

Next stop, Venice! 

Fun in Florence

We took the train and arrived in Florence on Friday morning and went to the Santa Maria Fiori Church that includes the Duomo, which is the largest brick dome ever constructed. Also, the church is shaped like a flower which gave it the name Fiori (flower in Italian)! We toured through the church and saw some famous paintings by Giotto and then proceeded to make the trek up the dome, where we witnessed the most beautiful view of the city. After our climb we went to a pizza place and got the spicy salami pizza that the cooks made into a heart shape for us girls ๐Ÿ˜Š. After lunch we went to the Santa Croce church which had the tombs of Michaelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli and Galileo. That was our last stop of the day so us girls walked around a shopped a bit before going out to dinner with our group. At dinner Hannah and I split the most amazing meal of gnocchi in ragu and a filet with red wine sauce ๐Ÿ˜‹. After dinner our teacher surprised us by taking us to the hog statue where we of course called the hogs Arkansas style (and made a bit of a scene haha). It was an incredible first day in Rome with even better company.  
Santa Maria Fiori

  The Duomo  Inside the church     The View from the Top of the Duomo  Our Spicy Salami Pizza  Santa Croce  Michaelangelo’s Tomb  Galileo’s Tomb  Gnocchi   The Famous Hog Statue  
I’ll be posting the rest of our weekend tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜Š

A Weekend in Cinque Terre/Pisa

Our alarms go off at 430 AM Saturday morning and we head out to catch a cab to get to the train station. We head towards our train where we are met by this very kind man asking to help us find our seats so we said why not. Once we get seated the man puts out his hands asking for money and wouldn’t leave till we each gave him something. It was a frustrating experience but we know now not to let that happen again! After a quick 3 hour ride we get to La Spezia and we head to our hotel to check in. The hotel was really nice (way better than our apartment in Rome!) so we got our stuff for the beach packed up and took the train to Manarola. We saw the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and the national park of Cinque Terre. After a small hike we took the train to Monterosso to have a beach day. After soaking up the beautiful Italian rays we got an incredible seafood dinner at a place close to the coast ๐Ÿ˜‹. Once we finished our meal we called it a day and went back to our hotel and had a quiet night in. 

Manarola Views    
         My Citrus Pesto Pasta with Scampi Dinner ๐Ÿ˜ 

On Sunday we woke up and went to a restaurant that advertised an “American Breakfast” for super cheap and it ended up being exactly what we needed. They even included a cut up hotdog ๐Ÿ˜‚. After breakfast we walked down to the marina/pier in La Spezia to kill time before our trip to Pisa. Later, we go to get on our train and we find out that our train staff had gone on strike! So we found another train that stopped in Pisa and snuck onto first class hoping that they wouldn’t come around to check our tickets. We made it to Pisa without any trouble and walked toward the famous Leaning Tower. We took the cheesy pictures holding up the tower and then was approached by an American filming us and asking us to tell him why it’s leaning. Thank goodness I had looked into it the night before and knew that it was because the ground was too soft on one side causing the tilt during construction (super boring reason if you ask me but oh well!). So hopefully we won’t end up on YouTube looking like dumb tourists ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ After a couple hour stroll around the area and a simple lunch we were on our way back to Rome. 

The City of Pisa   You Guessed it, the Leaning Tower! (Fun Fact: the angle of the tilt was originally around 5.5 degrees when the building was stabilized then later corrected to a 3.99 degrees)
  My Super Dorky Tourist Picture   Pisa Baptistry 
A nice little weekend getaway ๐Ÿ˜Š

Trip to Tivoli

Today we took a trip to Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy with our group and professors from the Rome Center. We arrived to the Villa and learned that it dated back to the 16th century and was commissioned by Cardinal d’Este after numerous attempts to become a Pope. So he thought the next best thing was to show off this grand palace of his with an amazing terraced garden surrounding it. We strolled around the palace, took tons of pictures, and laid in the sun. It was a very peaceful day at such a gorgeous place ๐Ÿ˜Š 


A Balcony in the Palace  One of the Many Fountains  The Most Famous View  The Fountain with a Huge Organ Playing Music Inside   A Walkway Leading to A Fountain   Views of the Palace from the Gardens  
Off to Cinque Terre/Pisa for the Weekend!