Holiday Season in Europa

I’ve been seriously slacking on my blog entries, and I apologize! It’s not because of a lack of adventures, in fact, it’s the opposite. I’ve had an incredible month since I last posted. With less than a week until I go home for winter break, I am realizing how thankful and thrilled I am that I get to come back to Italy and continue my study abroad experience for another seven months or so.

Like I said at the end of the last post, I’ve spent most of this past month in good old Bologna (with a few exceptions), and had a blast. I’ve gotten a lot closer with a couple groups of friends, that include Italians, Brazilians, Portugese and Americans. I’ve been finishing up with classes for the semester (my last exam is tomorrow) and I’ve got one more weekend in Bologna for the year of 2011. Thank goodness I’ll be here for a good portion of 2012 as well!

Two good (goofy) friends, Michely (Brazil) and Federica (Italy)

Like I mentioned, there have been a few little excursions away from Bologna. One weekend I went to Milan to visit my good friend from Minneapolis, Emily. It was so good to spend some time with someone I’ve known more than just a few months. We exchanged many stories about our experiences in Italy and I got to see a little bit of the city of Milan, as well.

Emily and I in front of tne Duomo of Milano

The next week, I made a quick day trip to Florence to see another good friend from home (and from Madison), Lauren! She’s studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain this year, but was doing a trip around Italy that week. I was thrilled to see her as well as another friend, Stephen, who walked us around the beautiful but rainy Florence for a day and taught us a little bit of art history. Talking to Lauren made me just itch to plan a big trip to Spain next semester, once it gets a little warmer. I also can’t wait for both her and Emily to visit me here, in Bologna, so I can show them my life here too!

Lauren and Stephen in front of the Duomo of Firenze

The grand finale “viaggio” for the semester was a city I have been dying to see for a long, long time. BERLIN! Just got back from there this Monday- exhausted but so thrilled to have finally seen the capital and one of the most historically fascinating cities in Germany. Highlights of the trip included a 3 and half hour walking tour of the city by an amazing Irish tour guide named Barry. He taught us a ton, made us laugh throughout the whole tour, while at the same time approaching pretty sensitive topics in a really tactful and interesting way. As a tour guide myself, I was impressed and also very curious about the possibility of becoming a tour guide in a foreign city after graduation. Definitely adding that onto the list of things I want to do in my life. Other favorites things: numerous Christmas markets, finding a Bavarian restaurant and finally drinking a full Radler, going to a famous techno club with a native Berliner, and seeing the East Side Gallery.

All in all, Berlin was one of my favorite cities I’ve seen so far this semester (the others being Palermo and Bologna of course). It’s big and fascinating, with tons of history and art and a very youthful vibe. Plus I got to show off my German to my American travel buddies all weekend!

Ramie, Jess, Christina, Zoe, Bo and I in front of the Brandenburger Tor

The girls and our hot chocolate in one Berlin's many Christmas markets

Me and my Radler!

In front of one of my favorite parts of the East Side Gallery

This week, a little worn out and without a voice (as always), I’ll be doing some final studying, saying goodbye to the semester kids from my program (so sad), packing and preparing to go home on TUESDAY! Looking forward to seeing the fam, friends, and eating some delicious chipotle burritos. For those of you who will be in the area, I’ll be in Minneapolis from December 20th to January 9th, with a quick trip to Madison over new years in the middle. Hope to see as many of you as I can!

Either way, I hope you all have peaceful, happy holidays with your families and/or friends. A dopo!

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