I am writing to you after safely landing back in the United States! Sorry I didn’t have time to write to you during my last week and a half, but between traveling and finals, my schedule got a little too crazy. So let me take some time to back track and fill you in on all the amazing memories I have had over the last two weeks.
First, I embarked on my first solo journey to Florence. After a few minor mishaps, I arrived, and it was an amazing experience to travel on my own. Unfortunately the weather was rainy the entire trip, but I didn’t let it stop me from exploring the city. I saw the Duomo, the Accademia, the Uffizi, along with half a dozen other museums and monuments throughout the city. I also got a food education sampling gelato and pasta often.
During my time in Florence I took a day trip to Lucca to visit a high-school teacher, Mrs. Kaplan and her husband whom I have grown close to over the years since graduation. They were my chaperones when I took my first abroad trip to Italy during my senior year of high school in 2009, and now we were reuniting in the beautiful country almost exactly three years later. The Kaplans showed me around Lucca, and then we ventured to Pisa for a few hours, before heading back to their apartment, where Mr. Kaplan had cooked us a wonderful dinner to share.
After Florence, Pisa, and Lucca, I flew to Barcelona to meet my friend Emily from Fordham for a too short visit in this beautiful city. After three straight rainy days in Florence I was beyond excited to awake in Barcelona to bright sunshine, unreal blue skies, and the sounds of waves crashing. Palm trees and remarkable European architecture surrounded us. Following the guidance of Rick Steve’s (my travel guide for life), we let the city take us away, and it was an amazing journey. Amongst some of our adventures we went to the Picasso museum with two of my friends from London, as well as visiting the Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia is a cathedral originally started by Antoni Gaudi at the turn of the 19th to 20th century, but is still in the process of construction today. It’s probably the most beautiful piece of modern architecture I have ever seen, as well as the most unique cathedral. Emily and I literally stayed there for hours it completely awe of this incredible building.
After returning from my whirlwind adventures in Florence and Barcelona, I returned to London for final days of classes, a multitude of final papers, and a 10 minute final presentation for my theatre class to prepare. After a few nights of little sleep I finished everything up and had a day left to say goodbye to London, and pack up my room.
Friday night was our final night in London, and my friends and I decided to do a ‘greatest hits’ of sorts. We started the night at our local pub, where the night got off to an interesting start. At the pub, I spotted Eddie Redmayne, of One Week with Marilyn and soon to be Les Miserables fame. After some debate, myself and two of my friends approached him and asked for a picture! He was super nice and humble, and it was a great start to our last night. After a pub dinner we headed to our favorite bar, named Adventure bar, which features crazy fun bartenders and has become a staple for our group during our time in London. We finished the night at one of our favorite clubs, Heaven, and then headed back to sleep for a few brief hours before waking up for difficult goodbyes as my flat slowly emptied. I said goodbye to a stereotypically rainy London and headed back to Bellingham!
I got home last night, greeted by my family and my best friend Sam. It was wonderful to see them, and I am so grateful to be home, but I still am having mixed emotions as I adjust to being back in America, and facing the facts I don’t know when I will be back in London again.
This semester has been an experience overall beyond words. I have learned so much, and grown a great deal. I have made incredible friends that I know I will stay close with, and I have fallen in love with cities all over the world that I know I will be back to visit again. And above all, London has grown to hold a very special place in my heart, and I will always cherish the amazing memories and adventures I had during my four month stay.
Thank you all for following my travels this semester, I hope you have enjoyed my blog! It was great to share with you.
Until next time,