Exploring Southern Europe

I do apologize for not posting at all over the past couple weeks, although I do have good reason for it. I’ve been traveling through Barcelona, Rome, and Florence, and since all of the airlines and trains have expensive policies when it comes to checked baggage, I packed pretty light, including leaving my computer behind. I had recently finished up with my midterms, so I was able to relax and just enjoy the ten day break.

I started off my trip in Barcelona for 4 days. We saw La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, the Gothic Quarter, and walked Las Ramblas during my time there. My favorite sight was probably La Sagrada Familia, as the architecture is so intricate and delicate, it truly doesn’t look like any church I’ve ever seen before.

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Not only did I enjoy the phenomenal views of La Sagrada Familia, but on our last day in Barcelona, we climbed to the top of Park Guell to the Bunker de Carmel, which offered some beautiful panoramic views of the city. We went up to the top around 5:30pm, and stayed long enough to watch the sunset. It really was incredible to watch, and we were surrounded by probably at least a hundred other people all there just enjoying the day and the view.

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After Barcelona, we flew out to Rome. It took us a bit longer than expected to get to Rome, as it snowed for the first time in six years in the historic city. However, we eventually got a flight, and believe me, the cancelled flight was worth the wait. Quick backstory: I actually visited Rome and Florence 4 years ago, when I took a trip to Italy with my parents and my twin brother. However, a lot of my flatmates wanted to go to Italy, and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see two of my favorite cities in the world. Plus, the food is a real bonus!

We started off by going to the Vatican museum, including the end of the tour at the Sistine Chapel, which was even more mesmerizing and powerful than I remembered. We walked a short journey over to Saint Peter’s basilica, which although we did not go in, was still vivid in my journey from the last trip. After that, we walked past Castel Sant’Angelo, and visited the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and climbed up the Spanish Steps. We even took a quick side tour to the Borghese Park to get a pretty view of the Roman architecture across the city. In all, it was quite busy for my first day in Italy!

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On the second day, we went to the Colisseum and the Roman Forum. What was really cool about both of these sites that was different from my last trip was that it was winter, whereas it was summer during my first trip. It was a rare sight to see snow in the Colisseum, but I got plenty of photos as evidence. The ancient ruins were neat, but since we didn’t have an audio guide as we didn’t want to spend a ton of money, it was hard to understand some of the sites.

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We also took a short trip up to Florence as well. Florence is a bit smaller than Rome, but still is a large city, and there is plenty of things to do. Although the weather wasn’t as forgiving, as it was raining almost all the time during the two days we were there. However, when we climbed to the top of Il Duomo, the rain stopped, allowing us to take great pictures.

We saw many sights over our time there, included Santa Croce Church, Il Duomo, Giotto’s Campanile, and the Ponte Vecchio. Unfortunately, our time on break couldn’t last forever, and we flew back to Kilburn earlier today.

Since I took a couple weeks off, I think I’ll make another post over this upcoming weekend. I think I’ll talk about some of the challenges I’ve had so far throughout my time here, as no journey is perfect.

Cheers!

-Jared