4 Cities, 10 Days

I recently returned from Spring Break, which was honestly the most amazing and exhausting 10 days of my life. Spring Break directly followed midterms, so it was really wonderful to relax after so many late nights studying and stressing over exams. I traveled in a group of 6 – with Maddie, Melissa, Erin, Denisse, and Rehana, who are my very close friends here in Florence. I am so thankful to have met these girls, and all but one go to Pitt so we can continue seeing each other every day when we return home! We left for Spring Break Thursday, February 22, for our adventure.

First Stop: Lisbon, Portugal

I am not exaggerating when I say Lisbon is the most wonderful, lively city you could visit. I actually didn’t have high expectations for Lisbon before the trip, but it was love at first sight. We arrived late and tired our first night, so we ordered food and went to bed early to rest up for the next two days. On day two, our first stop was the Time Out Market. If I could visit this market for every meal for the rest of my life, I would in a heartbeat. The market consisted of tons of different stands featuring skilled chefs, and foods I have never even heard of! We spent over two hours trying the various drinks and food combinations, until we literally could not eat anymore. We spent the rest of the day exploring the city and watching the beautiful sunset. Our third day in Lisbon was quite literally the most perfect day of my life. We journeyed by train to one of the local beaches, and were blessed with a beautiful, warm day. We sat on the beach, soaking up the sun and relaxing all day. We wandered from the beach for dinner, where we stumbled upon the most amazing restaurant specializing in seafood dishes. We started with a pitcher of sangria for the table, followed by a round of oysters! This was a new one for me, and while I would not order them again I am really glad to have tried something new. My meal was a monkfish fillet with three mushroom sauce and a side of sweet potatoes – yum! After watching the sunset on the beach, we trained back and went to sleep to catch an early fight the following day.

Second Stop: Madrid, Spain

Unfortunately, most of my friends caught a stomach bug while we were in Spain, so we did not do quite as much exploring. We walked around a bit the first day, then met up with some friends on a rooftop bar to watch the sunset together. On our second day in Spain, we set up a walking tour with one of the locals! Our guide was a very sweet retired banker, who has a passion for history and the city he calls home. He showed us all the must-see sights, plus some, in around four hours! We tried some tapas for dinner, which is a must when in Spain! Everything was delicious, and we ended our night at a rooftop bar for a drink.

Third Stop: Barcelona, Spain

With my friends still battling their stomach bug, we landed in Barcelona! The first day was dreary, which gave my pals some time to stay in and rest. With a dud first day, we made up for it on the second! Maddie, Denisse, Erin, and I found the local beach, with waves like I have never seen before! It was a great day for surfing, but those waves would have swallowed me whole. We grabbed lunch on the beach, where I tried some new Spanish dishes and am sure glad I did! From the beach, we traveled to a tourist must-see – Park Güell. This park was so colorful, consisting of gardens and mosaic architecture! My pictures don’t do it justice since it was a cloudy day, but you must go if you find yourself in Barcelona someday!

Fourth Stop: Cagliari, Sardinia

I can’t find the words to describe how wonderful Cagliari was. This was the type of place I dream of moving to after retirement. Everyone was so incredibly nice to us, which is not usual in Italy. However, since this is a small Italian island, they often do not experience many tourists and are therefore more tolerant of us. On our first day, we had the most wonderful time walking around and visiting the little shops, learning more of the culture. We were all craving some authentic Italian pizza after such a long time away, so we stopped and had the best pizza I have had so far in Italy, which is saying a lot! After walking through the marina to look at the sailboats, we wandered to a local restaurant for dinner, where I enjoyed a dish of fried ravioli! For a post-dinner cocktail, we stopped by a local bar called Moonshine on our way home. There, we were served the most creative drinks I have ever seen, featuring dry ice for a smoking effect and gummy fangs! It was quite the place. The following day, we did what we do best – relaxed on the beach. We decided to make dinner that night, since it was our last night of Spring Break and we wanted to soak it all in before coming back to reality.

All in all, my Spring Break was better than I could have dreamt of, and I am so thankful for these opportunities to travel the world with my best friends. I will reflect on these memories for the rest of my life, and I hope to return again someday to the places that are so fond to me.