Reflect: Study Abroad

Hello darlings! If you’ve tuned into my blog for the past four months you would have realized I was exploring all of Europe. I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to see as much as I did. I ended up going to eight countries and sixteen major cities.

These were my weekends.

Siena, Italy

I studied in Siena and I wouldn’t have changed the location for the world. It’s an adorable Tuscany city with rustic buildings and contada flags everywhere. I walked to school every day and saw some of the most beautiful buildings. I may have left this adorable town, but I will not forget it.

Sunday Snapshot: I keep getting lost but at least I have Gelato

I’m slowly adjusting 

Christmas in Italy

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Rome, Italy

Mickey and I headed three hours south to see the wonderful Rome. I was blown away by how beautiful the Colosseum was and exhausted by how much we ended up walking… 14 miles. I’d do it all over again to see the rich history thrown across each crevice of the city.

“Roman Around”

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Florence, Italy

We went on a wine tour between Florence and Siena. It was amazing. They gave us delicious wine and truffle oil. I would recommend the wine tour we did. We also explored Florence the next day and saw the busy city.

Grapes are Healthy

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Sardinia and Pisa

Our class took us to Sardinia. Before we left to Sardinia we had to go north to catch a flight in Pisa. We were able to tour before we left. If you want to see Pisa only go for a day! That is all you need. It is breathtaking though. Cagliari beaches were amazing, but I wouldn’t have picked the location based on how clean the city was. However, I’d do it again to see that picture again. Also, I tried snails, liver, and cow intestines in Sardinia… Woohoo.

Sardinia and Pisa

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Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre was my favorite town that I visited in Italy. It was so beautiful and the food was amazing. I would go back in a heartbeat. There is a reason these five towns are so photographed!

Cinque Terre: The 5 Colorful Towns

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Amalfi Coast: Sorrento, Positano, Capri, and Pompeii

Going inside the Blue Grotto was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever experienced. I would recommend it to anyone who is studying broad in Italy. The man sings to you and you try your best not to cry at the beauty.

Rain Can’t Even Make Italy Look Dull

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Assisi, Italy

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi was my favorite Cathedral I went to. The amount of detail in every corner is incredibly impressive. Plus look at the view outside of the Cathedral…

Restful Week in Italy

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Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona was my favorite place I visited. The people were friendly, the architecture was amazing, and the food was mouthwatering. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like about Barcelona… other than the shoes I wore at night…RIP

Beauty of Barcelona

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Paris, France

I was a little nervous about going to France because I heard the people are rude. That was not the case in my experience. Everyone was so friendly. One of our waiters was actually excited to speak English to us! What a lovely city.

Parisian Way

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England: Ashford, Folkestone, Canterbury, and London

England is a close runner up to my favorite place. I have never met nicer people in my life. Everything was just ‘lovely’. My favorite was probably stocking up on Cadbury Chocolate. Already thinking about going back to stock up on more.

The Biggest Ben I’ve Ever Seen 

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Prague, Czech Republic

I was bewildered by how fantastic Prague was. I mean just feast your eyes on the pictures below! I got to feed swans and write on walls. What could you hate about that?

No prague-blems Here!

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Venice, Burano, Murano, Verona

When I was planning trips in the summer I said I needed to see Venice. I mean in a few years you don’t know if it will still be above water. Walking the streets and taking boats to the distant island was like a dream to me.

All that Glisters is not Gold

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Ireland

Ireland made me very homesick! I loved the beautiful, vibrant town filled with thick brogue voices. I’m also very impressed that neither Courtney nor I flew off the Cliffs of Moher!

Irish You Were Here

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Budapest, Hungary

We spend way too much time huddled in the little pathway of the Christmas market and I’m incredibly okay with it. I mean look at that picture… I know you’d do the same!

What a Budaful Place to Be

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So that was my experience in a couple of words and a few pictures! My advice? If you’re thinking about studying abroad, do it. It’s such a rich and rewarding experience. If you have any questions or need some travel advice feel free to ask me questions in the comment section. I might even create a blog post if I have too much to say… which will probably be the case!

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As always,

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Christmas in Italy

Hello darlings! I was luckily enough to stay in Siena, Italy this week! I know it’s a shock! The last weekend I stayed in Siena was the week I did a day trip to Assisi… in October! It’s been a long time.

So instead of rushing myself to get to a foreign country I enjoyed Siena. I got to enjoy every bit of Siena.

Instead of having class inside, my flavors and taste class went to a panforte factory! We got to see how these “energy bars” are made. Panforte originates in Siena in the 13th century. It’s made of fruit, nuts, and spices. We also tried ricciarelli, an almond based cookie. The ricciarelli cookies are delicious!

I enjoyed the lovely view near school and ate some delicious gelato. I got coconut and Nutella!

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Wednesday, I headed to the market and snapped a picture of these beautiful flowers. I also got market pizza on my way back to class.

 

I spent time in soul cafe and tried some of their delicious cake. (The coffee is actually my friend’s… I don’t drink coffee).

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My friends and I went out to dinner. I tried this giant tortellini dish! It was very good.

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Saturday and Sunday there was an adorable Christmas market in the Piazza del Campo. I ended up purchasing an adorable ornament, a water colored painting, and a few gifts for loved ones!

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December 8th I turned 21 so my friends and I went out for dinner. We had the entire day off because it is an Italian holiday!

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I have one more weekend in Siena before I go back to the states. It’s such a bittersweet feeling. I miss my family, friends, and puppies so much! However, I’m going to miss picking up market pizza whenever I want to, walking wherever I want to, and traveling every weekend to some foreign land. There is no other way to describe it other than bittersweet. I just need to soak up as much as I can!

As always,

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P.S. This is my 100th post on this blog! Thanks for staying with me for this long!

What a Budaful Place to Be

Hello darlings! I just finished my last big trip of the semester! Have you guessed where I went? The wonderful city of Budapest. It was quite Budaful! I was Hungary the whole time. Okay enough with the puns! I’ll tell you what I did in the wonderful country of Hungary.

After the ten hour drive, we woke up in the country of the red, white, and green. We quickly ate breakfast and then went on a three hour walking tour.

We saw things like the Dohány Synagogue, which is the second biggest Synagogue in the world. We also walked on the Szechenyi Chain Bridge, which connects Buda and Pest together. I got most of my pictures from the bridge. We also saw the outside of Mátyás Templom (Saint Matthias Church) and the outside of Fisherman’s Bastion.

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After the walking tour, we took out HUF and went the the market. There was a lot of different foods we weren’t used to. Mickey and I ended up splitting Lángos. It’s basically a quesadilla with cheese on the outside. It was better than I thought it was going to be! 

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Once we finished eating our Lángos, we marched in the cold to the wonderful Christmas market. There were a few scattered around the city. I believe we went to the main one and to two different ones. After a while, they start to look like each other.

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The picture above is Hot Wine. They had hot wine stands everywhere in Hungary, just like in Czech Republic. It taste more like tea than wine. It is a very strong taste. It kept me warm!

I loved the Christmas market outside of St. Stephen’s Basilica. There was this massive tree with blue lights and a canopy of string lights attached to the tree.

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The next day, we wandered the Christmas markets again. It was snowing and raining so we actually had lunch inside for about two hours. I ended up getting vegetable soup and this burger. It was very good. It looks more red than it was because restaurant’s lighting.

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Later in the day, we got the same circular thing I got in Prague. This one was so much better though! I asked for the cinnamon flavor.

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The next day we drove back to Siena. The drive through Slovenia was amazing.

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It was a very relaxed weekend, which was needed! After traveling so much I’m so glad to spend my last couple of weeks in Siena, Italy.

It’s a bitter sweet thought that I’m leaving Europe in less than three weeks. I’m excited to see my loved ones, eat American food, and to get back to working out. However, I’m going to miss getting lost in all these wonderful countries, eating market pizza, and the wonderful friends I’ve made.

I’ll be posting my Siena favorites sometime soon so stay tuned for that!

As always,

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Irish You Were Here!

Hello darlings! This weekend, I headed out to Ireland with Courtney. We stayed in a hostel Wednesday night near the Rome airport so we could catch our early flight. The room was painted bright orange and had a giant fan pinned onto the wall.

We eventually made it to Dublin Thursday afternoon. Courtney and I went straight to the hostel to drop off our luggage. We stayed at the Generator and it was by far the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in. There was a bar and a restaurant connected to it.

After we dropped off our things, we headed out to grab a bite to eat. We ended up at the Porterhouse. I had a delicious chicken and potatoes.

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After our lovely meal, we wandered Dublin. Every street was decked out in Christmas spirit. We ended up getting delicious organic ice cream at Murphy’s. I got coffee made with whiskey and a sea salt flavor.

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Friday

We started the day with a two hour walking tour of the city. We saw a lot of cool graffiti and the Dublin Castle. The guide told us the story about St. Patrick. I did not realize that he used a clover to explain religion to the king. That the clover represents God as a whole but there are three parts- father, son, and the holy spirit. I found it so fascinating. St. Patrick was also Welsh, but he brought Christianity to Ireland. That is why he is celebrated.

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We ended up going inside the Trinity Library after the tour. We were able to see the Book of Kells and their beautiful library.

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The monks used these materials in order to color some of the letters in the Book of Kells.

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After I nerded out from that beautiful library, we headed to Elephant and Castle to get lunch. We were recommend by a few blogs and our friends. It was very good. I ended up getting a chicken curry sandwich. If you ever get the opportunity to go, they’re known for the wings. Courtney ended up ordering their wings and I snagged a few of them.

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We then hustled our way to the Guinness factory. For someone who does not drink/like beer it was so much fun. The factory was so cool! There were so many unique things in the building. For example, they had interactive movies, a photo booth, a random talking clam, advertisement section, and even an area where you get to play with the barley. Since my brother is a brewer, it was cool to learn about the beer making process.

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I even tried a glass of Guinness! This particular glass I poured myself!

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Later that night, we went out for dinner. I got some delcious fish and chips. It’s funny to think I didn’t like seafood three years ago!

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After that lovely meal, we went out to Temple Bar. The entire bar was decorated in Christmas presents! There was even a giant Santa doll floating from the ceiling! If you look really close in the picture, Santa is holding two beers.The band was really good! They played many American songs and a few Irish songs.

We had a great time just observing people in the bar. There were so many groups celebrating someone’s birthday. The people were so amusing! One particular group of women were going up to everyone and just having a fantastic time.

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Saturday

We headed west to see the Cliffs of Moher. While we were driving, we had to stop a few times because of some ‘Irish Traffic.’ Basically there was a bunch of cows that needed to cross the street and we had to wait for them to cross.

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The cliffs were such a cool thing to see. It’s something that you kind of just stare at in amazement. Not one of these pictures does it justice. Also, the pictures don’t capture how freezing cold and rainy it was. We saw rain, hail, and sunshine in the matter of 5 minutes. I guess that’s Irish weather for you!

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We then hopped back on the bus and headed to Galway. It was about a two hour ride and about 3-4 people got sick. Courtney and I aren’t sure if it was because of a ‘fun’ night out or just because the roads were extremely wavy. Regardless… it was an ‘amusing’ ride there.

When we arrived in Galway, we headed straight to the Christmas market. It was pretty tiny but it was the cutest thing ever. There were Christmas lights everywhere, a ferris wheel, slides, hot chocolate stands, food stands, and ornament stands. Since I love Christmas (who doesn’t), it was a fabulous time.

I ate this lovely pulled pork wrap with stuffing.

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After dreaming of a white Christmas, we headed to the shopping district of Galway. They had the cutest little shops. Since I still don’t know if I’m allergic to wool, I tried not to touch anything. Look how beautiful the streets were!

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Before getting on the bus once more, Courtney and I went inside this beautiful church.

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A took a picture of this random pole in the hostel. I just love the saying.

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Sunday

The next morning, we checked out of the hostel and grabbed some breakfast. Since I’m not really a fan of breakfast (I know, I’m sorry), I ended up getting lunch. I had this delicious chicken, pesto, tomato, and goat cheese sandwich. It was so phenomenal.

Courtney had breakfast food, like a normal person. We both tried the black pudding (pig’s blood). It was surprisingly really good!  It just tasted like a sausage with a spicier flavor… a very different texture though!

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One last beautiful picture of Dublin.

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And the sunset on the plane home.

My last big trip is this weekend. Thursday, I’ll be heading to Florence to Catch a bus to Budapest. I can’t believe I have so little time in this beautiful part of the world! Stay tuned to see the pictures of Budapest!

As always,

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All That Glisters is Not Gold

Hello darlings! I had to start this blog post with a line from the Merchant of Venice! Especially because I visited both Venice and Verona this weekend with my friends! Lucky for us, everything that looked beautiful stayed true! Venice and Verona was incredibly beautiful despite the fog on Friday! The fog actually made a lot of these pictures look eery and gorgeous!

Friday, we woke up early and jumped on a bus in Florence. When we arrived to Venice, we checked into an… interesting… hotel. There was a little mold in certain places, but we survived! The first thing Courtney did was check the corners of the beds for bed bugs, ha!

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Afterwards, we headed to see the Murano glass being made. It was such a cool process! The glass is literally made in just seconds! When the glass is hot, it can be stretched out like play dough.

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We then ventured to St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). It is crazy to think that all of the gold and statues were stole from other countries.

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For the rest of the day, we wandered aimlessly to see the beauty of Venice. I was told that the best way to see Venice is to just get lost in the canals! We certainly did that!

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Murano

The next day, we hopped on a water taxi to explore the little island of Murano. I ended up buying an adorable little pumpkin wine stopper. I loved how adorable the little town was. Both Burano and Murano looked as if they were an section of Disney world!

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Burano

If you ever go to Venice you have to see Burano. It is the most adorable little island you’ll ever see. People hand make lace in many stores and all of the houses are painted vibrant colors.

Make sure you look into all the shops before you buy something! My friend bought something and wanted to return it after she found something she liked more. The shop keeper gave her a hard time when she wanted to return it. It all worked out in the end but just be extra careful!

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We then headed back to Venice. Courtney and I really wanted to see the top of St. Mark’s Campanille. When we reached the top, I started tearing up. I’m lame, I know. It was just incredibly beautiful. Venice was always a place I wanted to visit one day and when I finally got to see it all from it’s highest point it was amazing. Plus we got to see the sunset. What a beautiful time to see it.

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I also ate my first Buffalo burger and buffalo milk ice cream!

Verona

Sunday morning, we headed to Verona. We were able to see Juliet’s Balcony. It was an English Major’s dream. We all wrote letters to Juliet and shoved them into the wall.

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It is good luck to rub Juliet’s right boob for a good love life. Here is a wonderful picture of Mickey and I laughing while we were doing so. Sorry for violating you, Juliet!

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And that was my weekend in a nutshell! I hope you had a fantastic weekend as well. Thursday, I’ll be heading to Ireland for the weekend! I’m quite excited.

As always,

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No Prague-blems here!

Hello darlings! Last weekend, I took a 12 hour bus to Prague! The bus part sounds awful doesn’t it? Surprisingly, it wasn’t bad at all! We watched movies the whole time and I was able to fall asleep on the bus. It was kind of nice having a day off to just relax. We left Thursday night and arrived Friday morning.

Friday

After the 12 hours on the bus, we had a little over an hour break to get ready for the day. Once everyone was ready we started a walking tour of New Town, Old Town, and the Jewish Quarter. It was so interesting to hear all the history about Prague. It also helped that our guide was hilarious! Did you know Prague was a communist country until a little over 20 years?

After the walking tour, we went to grab dinner. We ended up getting chicken schnitzel, fried cheese, and a very salty feta cheese salad. Everything was very good. I also tried apple cider beer. It was very sweet and delicious.

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After dinner, we stopped and picked up gingerbread man! He tasted as good as he looked!

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We then wandered a little and decided to see the view from the Prague Astronomical Clock Tower.

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Saturday

We woke up and visited the John Lennon Wall, Charles Bridge, Petrin Hill, and the Prague Castle. For those who don’t know about the John Lennon wall, it is a wall that has been spray painted since the 1980s. It started out being a statement against the communist regime. The wall represents a symbol of ideals such as love and peace. On November 17th, the wall was painted white and said “wall is over.” The wall has already been repainted and the saying has turned into “War is Over.”

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(Rob said it looks like I’m flipping of the camera… I am pointing at the peace sign just in case you think I’m being a punk)

After seeing the wonderful artwork, we got to feed swans in front of Charles Bridge! I’ve seen swans before but these swans were massive! Their feet were bigger than mine! I thought they were the coolest thing ever. I actually ended up getting a Christmas ornament of a swan because from now on whenever I see a swan I’m going to think of Prague!

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After feeding those majestic creatures, we waddled on Charles Bridge. Fun fact: the Charles Bridge was actually made out of eggs! One part man made and one part eggs!

This is a view of Charles Bridge from another bridge:

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We then went to Petrin Hill and saw the Prague Castle. Courtney needed some caffeine in her body so we went to a Starbucks and it had the most epic view ever.

I, unfortunately, do not like coffee so that is actually hot chocolate. What do you think of the red Starbucks cups?

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The rest of the night, we walked around, ate food, and shopped. We also bought some adorable ornaments. I also ate this beautiful Nutella delight. It is called Trdelník. Don’t ask me how you pronounce that because I have no idea. Excuse the quality of this picture… I was very excited to eat it!

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That was my trip in a nutshell! Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Venice and Sunday I’ll explore the romantic land of Verona! I’m so excited! I might pull a Colosseum moment and start crying. Wish me luck!

As always,

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The Biggest Ben I’ve Ever Seen

I feel like I keep saying I met the nicest people in “insert place here” but London defiantly had the nicest people. I’m still shocked by how nice and friendly everyone was.
Day One
Micky’s family friends picked us up from the train. They welcomed us with warm faces and hugs. Immediately I knew I was going to like them. And boy was I right! Every word that came out of their mouths I couldn’t help smiling or laughing at!
They brought us to the Ashford Designer Outlet where we popped into stores and ended up getting fish and chips! I obviously felt incredibly English, ha!

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Our next stop was Folkestone where we walked along the water. There apparently is a saying, “if you can see France it is going to rain and if you can’t see France it is already raining.” We walked to the Road of Remembrance Arch for WWI Veterans who died in combat.
Afterwards we marched our way into the grocery show to pick up way too many Cadbury chocolates. Goodness, my mom is going to be so happy she sent me abroad!

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After stocking up on candy, we headed to Barbara’s house where we had afternoon tea and scones. They thought it was weird that I did not put milk in my tea. Let me know in the comments if you put milk in your tea or not!

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Later that night, we went to MayFly for dinner and I met more of Micky’s family friends. Like I said earlier, English people are just so nice! I had a wonderful chicken sandwich and ice cream.
Day Two
We went into Canterbury and shopped around. If you heard of the Canterbury Tales that’s the place! Since I read it in my class last year, it was really cool being there!
We ended up getting afternoon tea in Tiny Tim’s Tea Room. It was apparently haunted so that was a great place to go to around Halloween time.
Here is a picture of me sitting in the haunted room and our delicious afternoon tea:

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I also went into TopShop for the first time! I wish you could have seen my face! It was so much fun seeing the clothes that many bloggers wear. I ended up purchasing two necklaces. I’ve been wearing them every day since.
Later that evening, we went out to meet more of Micky’s family friends. They ended up driving us to Roehampton where our friend, Courtney, lives. We stayed with her for the rest of the week. We went out with everyone for a drink and then returned to Courtney’s campus and went to bed. I know, we’re wild.
Day Three
We woke up and traveled to the Camden market. It was a huge market filled with food, souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, anything you name it! We ended up getting donuts and I got a cup a fruit and two rings.

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There was a blog about a year ago that posted about Smack Deli. The post had the amazing lobster rolls and these interesting looking fries. From that point on I told myself if I ever went to London I would find that place. It was a little challenging finding it. We went to the main place unknowing that that wasn’t the Smack Deli. So we asked and then they told us it was on Dean Street in Soho. For those of you who don’t know, Soho is apparently like London’s red light district. In reality, there was only one gentleman’s club. Might have been because we went during the day. ANYWAY. We ended up being safe and I got my bomb.com lobster roll. If you’re in London it’s worth finding. Just know you go on Dean street in soho.

Christmas stuff is already up!

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I ended up getting the BLLT.

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From there we got to go on a double decker but to see the main attractions such as the London eye, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace!

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Later that night, we got ready to go out for Halloween. Micky and I dressed up as Christmas trees and Courtney dressed up as a reindeer.

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Day Four
We packed our things (sad face) and headed to meet Micky’s family friend, Dave, for lunch. I ended up having the best veggie burger of my life. Dave was so nice! He actually made me a little homesick because he was just like my brother, Nathan. The only difference was the British accent.

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Our plane actually got cancelled and rescheduled three different times because of the fog. At one point they even said that they we were going to have to pick up our bags and get a hotel. Our flight was supposed to be at 4pm but ended up being at 9:30pm. That means we got at Florence around 12… which  also means we had to hang out in McDonalds until our next bus to Siena at 6am. McDonalds was playing atrocious club bangers the entire time until around 5 because that is when normal people go to McDonalds. There were also two body guards. We finally crawled up in our beds at 830-9am. Safe to say we didn’t make it to class that day. I hope to never have to force myself awake in McDonalds again. I would, however, do that all again if it means visiting Barcelona, Paris, and London again. That was the only thing that went terribly wrong. Everything else was perfect.

And thats the end of my 10 day break posts! Today I’m actually catching a bus to go to Prague in an hour. I’ll be in a bus for 12 hours. Well worth the long drive. Hopefully Courtney and I don’t drool too much on each other during the bus ride! Stay tuned for that adventure next week!

As always,

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