2012 Spring External Programs Shannon Barter United Kingdom

Spring Break in Europe!

Long time no updates – sorry about that! I have spent the past three weeks on spring break traveling around Europe. One of the best things about studying in London is the how easy it is to get around to the rest of Europe. London has four major airports, three of which service the budget airlines that are the most reasonably priced way to travel around mainland Europe. Of all of the cities I have looked into, London is the most well connected on the international travel circuit which simply reinforces how happy I am that I chose to study here!

The first stop on my three week excursion was Rome, Italy with my friend Grace. It was an absolutely beautiful city, and I definitely see why so many Temple students choose to study there! I got to meet up with some of my friends at Temple Rome which was nice, especially since they gave me the low-down on the best places to go in Roma! We saw the Colosseum,  the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon all in 3 short days. It was a very busy but extremely exciting trip, especially since I got to see all of the famous sights I have learned about in history class for years. We also got to visit the Vatican right after Easter, which meant we got to see all the chairs set up and just how many people visit the city for the holiday! Definitely not a small intimate affair to say the least…

Our next stop was Venice to meet up with our friends Monica, Maddie, and Nyla where we continued our quest to eat as much pizza and gelato as humanly possible (YUM!) While the weather in Venice was not the nicest, it was definitely one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. The gondolas winding through the plentiful canals are as picturesque as one would imagine, and there is certainly no shortage of stores to shop in! There were Carnivale masks everywhere, which made me officially put experiencing Carnivale in Venice on my bucket list in the coming years!

Following Venice, we all took a short plane ride over to Nice, France to get a taste of the French Riviera. My parents have always told me how much they love the South of France, and they certainly were not lying about its beauty. The beach in Nice is rocky but absolutely gorgeous, and the entire city is full of colorful houses and shops. We also took a bus to Monaco (which means I have officially been to the two smallest countries in the world)  and got to see Monte Carlo! The famous casino looks as regal as I imagined, especially with the abundance of fancy cars valet parked all over the premises.

Our next stop was Spain, where we went to Ibiza and Barcelona. Ibiza was more of a spring break feel, as we spent the majority of our days lying on the beach soaking up the beautiful Spanish sun and admiring the crystal blue waters. We were only in Ibiza for two days, but it was definitely a much needed rest from our busy days of traveling and sightseeing! Barcelona was just as lovely, as we walked around the streets admiring the abundance of Gaudi architecture surrounding the city. From murals of tiles to the Segrada Familia, everything that man designed was fascinating! We were also in Barcelona for St. Jordi’s Day, a big holiday in Catalonia where men give women red roses and women present men with books! There were book shops spread across the streets and roses everywhere, and it is  the only day of the year where visitors are allowed into the Barcelona City Hall! I also got to meet up with some old friends studying  in Barcelona, which is the great thing about studying in Europe!

Our final stop on our grand Euro-trip was Budapest Hungary, a more unique and slightly less touristy location. Budapest is known as the Paris of the East, and for good reason. It is an absolutely beautiful city, split in half by the Danube River into Buda and Pest. We went caving in the deepest caves in Buda, went on a late night cruise on the river with breathtaking views of Parliament, and experienced the famous Budapest Baths with special healing minerals straight from the Danube. We also ate Hungarian food, which I have learned mostly consists of fat, sour cream, and everything deliciously horrible for you! (Who could ask for more!?)

All in all, this has been the most amazing three weeks of my entire life and an experience I will without a doubt never forget! I arrived back in London just yesterday, and I cannot believe how little time here I have left. I have 26 days left in this amazing city, and aside from finals preparation I am going to make sure I make the most of it!

Here are some pictures from my trip:

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