Thursday, September 8, 2016

A beautiful summer spent in Europe

This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in a small city (Viterbo) outside of Rome, Italy. It is an old, medieval themed city that has cobblestone streets and a wall around it. I am really thankful for the opportunity to stay in a smaller city because I feel that I received a more authentic experience because I was forced to use my broken Italian that I learned in my class while studying there, learned to adapt to local stores closing from 1-4 pm during the week, and meals being more of a celebration than a feast to gorge yourself.

The food was delicious in every city that I traveled to. I traveled to Spain, France, Greece, and within Italy. I studied food cuisine while in Viterbo so that I could learn about the typical dishes of different areas of Italy, cook them, and enjoy them! Traveling this summer has been my favorite life experience because I became more responsible, learned how to figure out my own problems, and became more aware of my surroundings because I stopped depending on my phone to feel connected so I started feeling more connected to people and earth. I loved going hiking, jumping off cliffs, and being immersed in so many different cultures.

One of my favorite cities was in Genova, Italy because I spent time at the beach and visited Italy’s largest aquarium that had so many vividly colored invertebrates and vertebrates. They had a dolphin show, huge shark tank, penguin exhibit, and many species of corals, starfish, and herbivorous fish. I was even brave enough to pet the stingray in the petting zones. This was my last city that I traveled to and made me excited to be heading home to do some research on the feisty and beautiful Damselfish we study in the Florida Keys.

My favorite city: Burano (outside of Venice, Italy on an island)

I hiked from Manarola and Riomaggiore in the cold rain. Totally worth it!

All of the churches (Cathedrals) in Europe are so beautiful, even the ceilings.

At the Genova aquarium petting tank
Yes, I ate snails in Paris

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