Spring break in Italy
12 years ago Britney Weber 0
Over the past two months, the students studying abroad here in Italy have been carefully formulating, calculating and perfecting their plans for spring break. What was the result? A once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with adventure, confusion, risk, relaxation and, most of all, fun. All the students expressed a great deal of satisfaction with their overall trip, though there are a few things they would have changed. Here are some of their thoughts.
Sight-seeing in northern Europe
Sophomores Alaina Woodall and Cami Plaisted chose to use their spring break to explore the northern parts of Europe—Vienna, Austria, Munich and Berlin, Germany, and Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland. Most enjoyable for them were the gardens, the ancient churches and the Death Bridge of Lucerne, which contains pictures of death as it visits various people in every stage of life. The best food they ate was the German pretzels with sauerkraut and the traditional Black Forest cake. They would recommend the lively cities of Munich and Lucerne most enthusiastically, with the prime sights to visit being the abundant (and cheap) museums and the Berlin Wall. And most importantly, don’t forget that Switzerland uses the Swiss franc, unlike the rest of the European Union, which uses the euro, so be sure to switch currencies!
Goff and the Louvre
Freshman Jonathan Goff spent his break with his parents in Paris, France, and Florence and Venice, Italy. Most memorable was the French museum, the Louvre, which houses historical artifacts and several famous works of art, including the “Mona Lisa.” Trying escargot was his most daring venture, of which he said, “they were not very good at all!” However, Jonathan said the real French chocolate mousse was incredible.
Rome with an architect
Sophomore Chad Byers utilized his week of break to revisit Rome, Italy, with his dad. Although he loved seeing famous tourist spots, such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, his favorite spot was the Hard Rock Cafe.
“Eating at a Hard Rock in a foreign culture makes the taste of home mean so much more,” Byers said.
“Being in Rome was the experience of a lifetime. I would have loved to see more of the countryside,” he said, “but the trip was wonderful how it was.”
Byers also nearly tried a lamb delicacy but then decided against it. For final advice, Byers, whose father is an architect, said, “Don’t travel through a foreign country with an architect!”
“Kabobbing and cubing”
Sophomores Kait Kopeski, Katie Wilkins, Lauren Hess and Ryan Yonce spent their time in Athens and the island of Naxos, Greece. Naxos was unanimously the favored location among the group, with its beautiful mountains, fields of flowers housing the famous Naxos goats and lizards and timeworn churches where the elderly inhabitants of the island frequently visit.
“It looks just like you would expect Greece to look,” Kopeski said.
The students loved their time in Athens, but said they wished they had spent only one day there, leaving the remaining days to explore the islands. “Kabobbing and cubing,” the art of searching out the best kabobs and then lounging between the local “cubes,” or screened in porches designed for relaxing and hanging out with friends, was a favorite activity for all while in Athens. Goat, Naxos sausage, mousaka and kabobs, among several other Greek dishes, were the sustenance of choice. When listing the various foods, Younce said, “Pretty much if it was Greek, we ate it!”
On a note of caution, the students reported the trolleys as being the most likely location of pickpockets.
My family and I in Europe
While the rest of the students were off seeing various parts of Europe, I spent my time with my family in Italy, driving between remote towns such as Cinqua Terra, Verona and Volterra, ending up in Florence. The rain during the first few days put a bit of a damper on our sightseeing, but I was much appreciative of the precious time I was able to spend with my two brothers and parents.
Cinqua Terra was the most beautiful of the cities, being located on the cliffs of the western coast of Italy overlooking the brilliantly blue Mediterranean Sea. Florence was my favorite though, with its open markets, archaic buildings, and of course, the Academia and Uffizi museums. Though I am not generally a proponent of eating anything that can be considered a domesticated house pet for Americans, I did try rabbit and was most pleasantly surprised.
In conclusion, Spring Break 2009 was an experience of a lifetime for the students at SBI in Italy, and one that they will hopefully not soon forget.