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### Exploring Europe: My Spring Break Adventures Abroad

This article was authored by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

The experience of studying abroad in London has been truly remarkable. It’s something I never envisioned when I first arrived at FSU. London is a city brimming with endless opportunities for exploration, offering an incredible array of experiences. One of the highlights of studying abroad is the proximity to various travel destinations, which proved invaluable for planning my spring break!

Despite my deep affection for the UK, I opted to spend my break traversing multiple European countries—a decision that I can confidently say was one of the best I’ve ever made. In the United States, state borders often hold little significance. For instance, in Tallahassee, you’re just a short 20-minute drive away from Georgia, an experience that doesn’t markedly differ from being in Tallahassee. However, the European landscape paints a different picture, with each country exuding its own distinct character. The richness of cultures varies not only between countries but also within each nation!

My spring break was a whirlwind of immersing myself in diverse cultures and traditions, savoring every moment of the experience. Here’s a glimpse into how I spent my spring break as a study-abroad student.

Rome, Italy

Commencing my spring break journey in Rome, the Eternal City, was nothing short of magical. Accompanied by my two flatmates, we had secured a cozy Airbnb in Trastevere, a neighborhood renowned for its delectable cuisine.

Upon our nighttime arrival in Rome, the next morning greeted us with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. I indulged in my inaugural Roman cappuccino—an experience to remember! Our itinerary included iconic landmarks such as crossing the Tiber River, exploring the Pantheon, and marveling at the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. Every edifice exuded a timeless beauty and intricate detailing, inviting endless admiration.

A visit to the famed All’Antico Vinaio, a renowned focaccia sandwich emporium, treated us to a culinary delight. Our sandwiches, bursting with prosciutto, pecorino Romano cheese, rocket leaves, and truffle cream (a novel yet delightful flavor for me), left our taste buds thoroughly satisfied!

Of course, no trip is complete without acquiring some cheesy souvenirs. I added a keychain featuring the quintessential Roman scooters to my collection of travel mementos. Additionally, my flatmate and I couldn’t resist purchasing oversized graphic tees depicting the statue of David.

In the ensuing days, we ticked off more touristy hotspots: the Sistine Chapel (where queues seemed interminable), the Roman Forum, and the majestic Colosseum. Witnessing the Colosseum by day and night—when it illuminates magnificently—was a sight to behold! Our exploration also led us to the renowned Aventine Keyhole, offering a perfect view of St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome.

As we traversed these locales, enthusiastic restaurant staff vied for our patronage, with one even extending a complimentary dinner invitation. However, we opted for the highly recommended eateries we had earmarked, and they exceeded our expectations.

A culinary escapade in Rome wouldn’t be complete without indulging in copious amounts of pasta. I developed a penchant for spaghetti pomodoro, relishing this dish across various eateries. Additionally, I sampled Italian gelato for the first time, albeit unwittingly selecting a flavor to which I have a slight allergy. Oops!

Milan, Italy

Milan, renowned for its Oreo gelato, holds a special place in my heart. Despite not being a fervent gelato enthusiast, the velvety texture and abundance of actual Oreos in this delicacy beckoned me back—three times, to be precise—even during our brief two-day stay!

Our inaugural dining experience, overlooking the Duomo, treated us to a breathtaking vista, setting the tone for our trip. An evening rendezvous with more flatmates was a laid-back affair, filled with camaraderie and catch-up conversations!

The subsequent day saw us venturing to Lake Como, a locale of unparalleled beauty. A short train ride away, this destination proved to be a hidden gem. Boarding one of the final boat tours at 5 p.m., we relished the sunset cruise, with the golden hues of the sky enhancing the charm of the lakeside residences. I found myself yearning to reside in such a picturesque setting!

Upon our return, the Duomo, aglow in the night, captivated us even more than during the day. Milan, with its vibrant ambiance, made me feel less like a tourist and more like a welcomed local.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona emerged as the pinnacle of my trip, seamlessly blending urban vibrancy akin to Milan with a steadfast preservation of cultural heritage reminiscent of Rome. Our Airbnb boasted a prime beachfront location, a mere two-minute stroll away. Following a swift lunch, we eagerly made our way to the beach, basking in the sun’s warmth. Despite the mid-March chill, the allure of much-needed sunshine—scarce in London—was irresistible.

An evening at a tapas bar with a group of seven allowed us to sample an array of dishes affordably. It was here that I ventured to try octopus for the first time, and to my delight, I found it exquisite! The following day, a visit to La Boqueria, Barcelona’s renowned food market, treated me to jamón y queso croquetas (ham and cheese croquettes) and jamón ibérico (a delectable ham akin to prosciutto).

Exploring the Gothic quarter, replete with ancient architecture, led us to the Cathedral of Barcelona. Conveniently situated across from the cathedral was a gelato parlor where I indulged in more Oreo gelato—clearly, I couldn’t resist! Our itinerary also included a visit to La Sagrada Familia, where construction work was still underway.

That evening, I savored paella for the first time—a culinary delight! The tender, flavorful rice and succulent shrimp, though served with heads intact, left a lasting impression. Venturing into the city’s nightlife revealed Barcelona’s vibrant spirit, leaving me with a desire to call this city home.

In essence, my spring break escapade across three distinct cities was a privilege. Each locale offered a unique yet equally enriching experience. I aspire to revisit these cities at least once more in my lifetime and wholeheartedly recommend them to any Europe-bound traveler.

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