Every spring, the streets of Sevilla become packed with tourists from all over the world to celebrate “Semana Santa,” or Holy Week, the week preceding Easter. As a very religious society, Sevilla is known for its elaborate processions during the week. When I spoke to my professors and other Spaniards, many told me that it is a touristy time and suggested that I only stay for one or two days. I did as they told me, and I was glad I did not stay for the entire time because it was so over-crowded. I even had a hard time making it back to my apartment!
As if my abroad experience hasn’t been as perfect as I could imagine already, my uncle invited me to go to Switzerland and Paris with his family. I met my family in Zurich, Switzerland, where I was amazed in every possible way. Out of any city in Europe that I have traveled to thus far, Switzerland really blew me away—from the cleanliness to the mountains, I found myself in awe. Plus the chocolate was indescribable! We spent a good amount of time in Zurich, but we also made day trips to Schauffhausen and Lucerne, two nearby cities, which both exceeded my expectations.
Lucerne was my absolute favorite. It was very unique because it is mostly a French-speaking area, but citizens of the area speak German and Italian as well. It is a small city, but the most populous in Central Switzerland -- with about 80,000 people. From any point in the city, you can see the Swiss Alps, and it is right on the shore of Lake Lucerne, making the city absolutely magnificent.
Although I was in no rush to leave Switzerland, I was pretty excited to be heading to Paris. My family and I took a speed train from Zurich to Paris, which took less than four hours. I would take the time to describe the crepes and bread, but all I can say is that my descriptions would not do them justice! We toured the entire city, beginning with the Eiffel Tower, which was even more amazing than I thought it would be. We went to Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and more. I was lucky enough to meet up with some friends from home and Wisconsin as well, so I could see the city the way they enjoy it.
Although I was so sad to say goodbye to my family after an amazing trip, I was ready to go to Rome! Wisconsin spring break coincided with Semana Santa, and a few of my friends and I had planned to meet in Rome. My friend Leah played host to six of us and toured us around the city. I had been to Rome with my family years before, but I must say, going back as a college student, I had a very different appreciation for its history and architecture. We went to the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, and that’s just a few of the sites. The food in Rome was even better than I remember from years ago. And as a true pizza expert, I made sure to eat pizza once a day while I was there.
I had the ultimate Semana Santa because I got the best of both worlds; I was able to be with my family, and I was able to be with my friends. In every city I visited, I saw amazing sites, and more importantly, I ate the most magnificent food!