TRAVEL GUIDE: 24 Hours in Amsterdam

Welcome back, everyone!

If you remember from my previous post, one of my final weekends abroad was split between two major cities: Paris and Amsterdam. This was definitely an ambitious travel plan, but we were able to make the most of what time we had in both cities, and I think we did a pretty good job.

Out of everywhere I traveled while studying in Madrid, Amsterdam was definitely my favorite. I’m not sure exactly what it was that made this trip stand out over all of the others, but the atmosphere and the culture I experienced here was like a fairytale, and I know I’ll be back soon. We spent about a day and a half in Amsterdam, but everything we did could have been condensed into one day. So, if you find yourself in Amsterdam for just one day, keep reading for my recommendations.

Before even getting to Amsterdam, you’ll want to book tickets to the Anne Frank house – these sell out VERY quickly, so make sure to look into this as soon as you start planning your trip. When I visited, we booked the weekend too late, and so by that point everything was sold out. These tours are fairly quick, so I recommend either starting or ending your day with this, so you don’t have to break up your entire schedule.

A great way to see the city is by taking a canal cruise, and these run all day so you can plan this around the rest of your schedule. You’ll likely need to purchase tickets in advance for this as well, but they’re much more available and flexible. This cruise is, in my opinion, the best way to see the buildings, the nature, and the whole environment of the city in a relaxing way. Each canal is lined with such beautiful apartments and bridges, so it’s definitely worth exploring.

Another more underrated activity that I think is definitely worth your time is the Heineken Experience. The Heineken brewery is located in Amsterdam, and what we thought was going to be just another tour of the building turned out to be one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. The whole event is way more than a tour, so while you do get to see and learn about the behind-the-scenes aspect of the brewery, you also get to experience an entire show, ride, game, and party (it sounds crazy, but there’s no other way to explain it). Once again, you will need tickets for this, but it was the best $20 I’ve spent.

Aside from scheduled activities, I definitely suggest taking some time to walk around on your own and see some smaller city sites. Dam Square is a beautiful place to explore, and there are lots of shops and boutiques in the area, so you’ll have lots to do. Amsterdam is also home to a number of wonderful museums, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh, and the Moco. If you find yourself left with any extra time in the day, this is a great way to fill it.

If you’re looking for something to do at night during your short stay in Amsterdam, I would say the best scene is a bar. This is all we did during our stay, as we’d been told the club scene is not the best, but its definitely a very social city and there is always lots going on at night. Lots of the smaller bars and restaurants were the most fun, as they weren’t too crazy and we could all relax together after a long day of activities.

As far as transportation goes, Amsterdam is a very walkable city. That being said, most (if not all) locals bike everywhere. So, if you’re looking to get around quickly, or just to fit in with everyone else, renting a bike for the day is a great idea. If you choose to stay on foot, though, be careful crossing the streets!

For housing, be aware that Amsterdam is not a cheap city to stay in. This was by far the most expensive Airbnb I booked while traveling abroad, but it was very much worth it. If you’re looking to spend a little extra for a cool experience, I also suggest looking into a houseboat – you’ll see these all along the canals, and if I ever return to Amsterdam, I will definitely be staying in one!

This wouldn’t be a proper travel guide if I didn’t touch on the food, so, here are a couple of my favorites:

  • Pancakes (or poffertjes – mini pancakes)
  • Cheese
  • Stroopwafel
  • Frites and mayonnaise
  • Herring (I never tried this, but I’ve heard it’s great there!)

In the end, you really can’t go wrong in Amsterdam, and if you’re ever planning a trip to Europe or don’t know where to go next, this city is my number one recommendation. While there is so much to do, there’s also a very relaxed feel to the city, so even though we were always going during our stay, I never felt overwhelmed. I would love to hear any of your experiences in Amsterdam, and I’m always available for questions or further suggestions. That’s all for now, and I’ll see you next week with some more travel tips!



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My Favorite (& Least Favorite) Things about Europe

Good morning everyone 🙂

I’m back this week with another overview of my study abroad experience, and a more general review of what I think about Europe! After returning to the States and talking with friends and family, I’ve come to some conclusions that people tend to love the same things about the continent – and that being said, people also tend to have the same reserves. Here I’ve put together a list of my favorite, and furthermore my least favorite, things about Europe as a whole.

Starting off with my FAVORITES! Overall, I loved Europe, and though it is so diverse, there are lots of similar cultural norms across the continent. I definitely have more favorites than least favorites, so let’s get into it!

  • Most cities are very walkable, and public transportation is rather simple to figure out, so it’s super easy and pretty affordable to get around between sites.
  • Branching off of that, it’s SO easy to travel between cities/countries. Flights, trains, and busses, tend to be inexpensive for the most part, and travel time isn’t too bad either! Since most countries in Europe are part of the EU, this makes travel time even easier, since you don’t have to go through customs every time you fly.
  • Europe is such a diverse area, with different weather, culture, and architecture in each city. Even within the same country you can find so many interesting and unique spots, so there’s always something new to see.
  • The food in Europe (for the most part) is SO amazing! Each city has it’s own menu of local recipes that can’t be beat anywhere else. Some of my favorites were chimney cakes in Prague, a pesto pasta dish I had in Ventimiglia, Italy, and the gelato I tried in every city we visited!
  • One of the best things about eating out in Europe is that tipping culture is way more minimal than in the States. While in the US it’s almost assumed you will tip 20% at every restaurant, employees in Europe don’t expect anything. This was definitely helpful on a college student’s budget!
  • In general, it seems like people are much more open in Europe than in the US. People are so friendly and accepting, and the social culture is much more elevated, whereas in the States it can be more reserved.
  • It’s a simple fact that Europe holds way more history than the US, which is clear walking through any major city. The architecture itself is amazing to look at, and the history and culture behind it is even more rich.
  • In my experience – and what I’ve heard from others – Europe is much safer than most parts of the US. Yes, pickpocketing is a major issue, but other than that, I never once felt unsafe where I was, or questioned a situation that could potentially be dangerous.
  • Overall, it was amazing to see everything I had seen pictures of or learned about in school before in person. These are real places with real stories, and it’s definitely worth making the trip.

Not to end on a bad note, but as much as I love Europe, there are some things to keep in mind before traveling that might make your experience slightly more difficult…

  • Though some countries do speak English, most do not, and so this was definitely a struggle while traveling. In Spain I was usually okay understanding the language, but I noticed especially in France, Portugal, and most Eastern European countries that I really had to pay attention (or use English!) to converse with people.
  • I’m a very picky eater, so as much as the food was delicious for the most part, some things were not my cup of tea. For example, Spain is most famous for their jamón – and I don’t eat any ham or pork. I think I had more ham in the four months I was living there than I’ve had in my entire life.
  • Spain was a very affordable city to live in, which was great, but some places I traveled to were definitely not! A lot of northern European cities I visited, like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, were much more expensive, so definitely be aware of the differences in the cost of living where you’re traveling!
  • I’ve mentioned this before, but drinking water is not as big of a thing in Europe as it is in the US. This sounds crazy, but while we’re so used to carrying around water bottles all day at home, it’s very rare to be given water at a restaurant without having to ask – and even then, it’s usually a very small glass. For me, this was difficult since I tend to drink 4-5 liters of water a day!
  • This doesn’t bother everyone, but I walk very fast, and so the concept of people walking slowly/stopping short in the middle of the sidewalk/taking up the entire sidewalk was very frustrating. I definitely got more used to it as the months went on, but you’ll notice right away that Europeans are much less worried about their surroundings or their being in the way of others in public places.
  • Similarly, time is much less of a strict concept in Europe, especially in Spain. In most cases, people are never on time – and that is normal. Going along with that, no one is ever rushed. Servers at restaurants will not come back to your table after taking your order unless you call them over – so if you wan’t the check, you need to ask!

There are definitely more pros and cons to living in Europe than I have listed here, these are just a few that stood out to me. Along with that, I am by no means complaining about the European lifestyle – there are things I don’t like about the US either! These are just some of the things I would be aware of while traveling to Europe, and all of this is to be taken lightly 🙂

I loved my four months in Europe and I will definitely be returning soon, I just wanted to share these thoughts with you all! I hope you all have a great week, and I’ll see you next Monday with a review of one of my absolute favorite cities 🙂



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Tips for Easy & Efficient Packing

Good morning!

This week’s post is a bit more pragmatic and organizational, rather than my usual travel guides and stories, but definitely helpful information! Today we’ll be talking about how to pack minimally and effectively for any kind of trip.

Some general suggestions:

  • Look ahead at the weather for your trip! It’s good to be prepared and to know what kinds of clothes/accessories you might need while traveling. For example, if it’s going to rain on your trip, you’ll definitely want to know that in advance!
  • Pack for the events and activities you’ll be doing while traveling. If you’re walking a lot, pack comfortable shoes. Packing by outfit is also a good idea, so you’re not bringing extra clothes, and so you don’t have to stress about what to wear while traveling.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle with you, or buy one to keep for the week/weekend at the airport ahead of time. You don’t realize how helpful this will be until you don’t have water when you need it!
  • Try to pack in the smallest possible bag or suitcase. This will be physically easier to travel with, and also probably cheaper to check/take with you.

For shorter trips:

  • Again, it’s cheaper to pack lighter, so if you’re only traveling for a few days, try to make do with just a carryon bag (which are almost always free on flights), instead of paying to check a larger suitcase.
  • Using a backpack to travel instead of a suitcase or duffle bag is a good idea if you’ll be on the go a lot. Being able to carry everything on your back and not worry about holding onto a bag makes travel much easier!
  • For just a quick trip, it’s a good idea to rewear clothes if possible. Try to bring just one or two pairs of shoes, and one pair of jeans that you can wear multiple times. These things tend to be bulkier, so avoiding having to pack multiple will leave you lots of space.
  • Check if where you are staying has laundry available – this way you really don’t have to worry about bringing extra changes of clothes!
  • Wear layers or your bulkiest items while traveling so you don’t have to pack them. Wear your heaviest pair of shoes, or your largest jacket, to save room in your bag for smaller items.

For longer trips:

  • Think about what you’re really going to need on your trip, and whether you can rewear these items or mix and match them in different ways. Chances are, you can get away with packing a lot less than you think, if you just plan ahead and put together some outfits beforehand.
  • Take into account how often you’ll be able to do laundry (if you’ll have access to this). You probably don’t need to bring as many extra t-shirts or pairs of jeans, as long as you can wash the ones you bring regularly.
  • Try not to pack heavy or bulky items, like big boots or thick sweaters, if possible to avoid. You’ll probably find that you don’t need them anyways.
  • Make sure to leave some room in your suitcase if you’re planning on buying souvenirs while traveling!
  • Pack tightly to maximize space – roll your clothes into smaller bundles, and pack smaller items inside larger ones (for example, you can fit a couple travel-size shampoo bottles into an empty reusable water bottle) to fit more!
  • Pack in bags that you’ll be using during the trip, like a tote bag as your carryon and beach bag, or a backpack that you can take with you for day activities, so you don’t have to pack these separately.
  • If you have packing cubes or vacuum bags, these are a great way to maximize your space when you really need to squeeze a lot!

Packing always seems to be a struggle, so these are just a few suggestions to ease the process and effectively fit everything you need into a smaller space. I’ve definitely gotten better at packing over the many trips I’ve taken, and I now realize that most of the things I thought were necessary in the past I really could have gone without.

Obviously everyone has tips and tricks that work best for them, but these are just my top recommendations that I’ve seen work for my friends, family, and I. I hope this helps, and please reach out with any questions or comments! Have a great week, and I’ll see you next Monday 🙂



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TRAVEL GUIDE: 24 Hours in Prague

Good morning!

Today we’re talking about quick trips – this one to Prague, Czechia. If you remember back in October, I spent a weekend alone in Eastern Europe, and I had just over 24 hours in each of the cities I visited. It was definitely an ambitious and busy weekend, but I quickly learned how to manage my time and get the most out of each city in the short time I was there.

My first and favorite stop on this trip was Prague, Czechia, so I wanted to go into a bit more detail on how I spent my day, and give you a more structured itinerary on how to best see the city in just 24 hours. I definitely would recommend spending more time there, and I hope to go back some day and see more of the area, but for a quick study abroad weekend, I’m satisfied with what I accomplished.

To begin, I want to mention that Prague is a very walkable city. I was never too far from where I needed to be, and I never felt the need to take a taxi or a bus anywhere. The only thing I would pay attention to, though, is how far from the city the airport is. From what I remember, the drive from the airport to the city center was about 30-45 minutes, so plan ahead for this – you will definitely need to drive or take public transportation!

Once you’ve made it to the city center, everything is relatively close to one another. Sone highlights I definitely recommend hitting are:

  • Prague Castle and St. George’s Basilica – these are right next to each other, and you can buy tickets to walk around inside.
  • Letensky Sady (one of Prague’s largest parks) and the Prague Metronome – a bit out of the way, but very peaceful and worth spending some time here to take a break from the major city sites.
  • Old Town Square – there is so much to see here! Stop by the famous astronomical clock, the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, and the Old Jewish Quarter. This is also a great place to do souvenir shopping.
  • Charles Bridge – my FAVORITE part about Prague!
  • John Lennon Wall – cross over the Charles Bridge into Mala Strana, a much younger part of the city.

Some food recommendations:

  • The Farm: a modern, trendy cafe that’s a bit outside of the city but (in my opinion) definitely worth the walk. It’s right past Letensky Sady if you’re already in the area!
  • Trdelnik: a traditional cinnamon sugar rolled pastry, which you can get with ice cream, chocolate sauce, fruit, etc. I recommend getting this fresh from a street vendor in Old Town Square – much better than in a shop!
  • Traditional Czechia food is mostly comfort food, so this is a good option for dinner. There are lots of restaurants in Mala Strana worth exploring.

If you’re only staying in Prauge for 24 hours, I recommend finding a cheap hostel to stay in overnight. Hotel rooms are also a good option, but I found that the hostels in Prague are generally very clean and comfortable, and you can leave your belongings here for the day so you don’t need to carry everything around. You can find a bed for around $15/night, which I think is worth it for such a short stay. The hotels are also very centrally located, so you’ll always be close to something fun!

As much as there is to do in Prague, it can also very easily be done in one day (if needed), so even if you already have a packed itinerary, I highly suggest finding some time to spend here. Prague was definitely my favorite Eastern European city that I visited, and I think there’s something for everyone here.

Let me know if you have any specific questions on traveling through Prague, or Eastern Europe in general, and I’ll see you next week!

Safe travels!



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Tips for Affordable Travel in Europe

Good morning!

Coming from the States, travel throughout Europe can seem like a busy, far-away, and expensive trip, so most people keep putting it off and never end up getting the chance to explore all that is out there. I’ve learned that Europe is actually much more accessible and affordable than it seems, and with a little planning, you can enjoy an amazing trip for a minimal cost!


  • Booking flights early in the morning or late at night is usually cheaper than during the day (and maximizes your time where you’re traveling without having to pay for an extra night of housing!)
  • Pack light! Having to pay for more checked bags is usually an unnecessary added cost, so look into how many bags you are allowed free with your airline (it’s easier to travel with fewer bags anyways)
  • Take into account how far away the airport is from where you need to be – sometimes it could be an hour or two outside the city, so plan accordingly!
  • For travel between cities within Europe, compare flights with buses and trains – sometimes it’s cheaper to take a train, and not too much longer (and if you’re really on a budget, you can take an overnight bus or train to save money on a hotel!)


  • Look at ALL of your options when booking a place to stay. Depending on the city, your group size, and how much you’re planning on being in the room, hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs can all be good options.
  • Look at where you’re staying relative to the city center, or wherever you’re planning on spending most of your time – account for transportation costs!


  • Public transportation is usually the cheapest option and not too hard to figure out in most cities, so it’s worth trying if you’re on a budget
  • That being said, make sure to buy a ticket! Most cities allow you to get on a bus or train without having to scan any ticket, but you can be heavily fined if caught without one.
  • Some cities, don’t have Uber or other ride sharing services, so make sure you know which services are available


  • Plan ahead for whatever activities you want to do – some things require tickets, so make sure you purchase that all in advance in case things sell out!
  • You’ll also want to plan transportation and timing ahead of time. Set up a loose itinerary for each day to ensure you get to do everything you have planned.
  • Be aware of local customs! Not only is this respectful when visiting another city, but it can be helpful for you, too. For example, we tip employees most places we go in the States, but in most European countries, this is not necessary.
  • This was something I learned the hard way, but as a population, Europeans drink significantly less water than Americans, so restaurants will not give you water unless you ask, and when they do, it’s usually a very small glass. Make sure to stay hydrated and carry a bottle with you, especially if you’re busy throughout the day!

I hope these tips help! There is definitely a lot to learn along the way, and I’m sure I could come up with lots more suggestions for European travel, but for the most part, it’s relatively simple as long as you’re prepared. Feel free to comment any specific questions before your trip, I am happy to give any advice I have, and subscribe below for more content each week!

Happy travels!



TRAVEL GUIDE: 1 Week in Madrid

As promised, I’ll now be continuing my blog as more of an informative guide to travel while I’m taking a break for it myself here in Boston. It’s only fitting for me to begin with the place I learned the most about: Madrid.

There is never enough to do in Madrid, and even during my four months there, I still did not get to see or do everything that I’d planned (so I guess I’ll just have to go back!). That being said, there’s definitely a way to see the major highlights of Madrid in a week, in three days, or possibly even in 24 hours if needed.

For a normal, planned vacation to Madrid, I think one week is the perfect amount of time to spend in the city – it’s long enough to see everything you need to, while also getting some time to relax and enjoy some of the more local parts of Madrid without feeling too rushed. To start, I think the best way to get around Madrid is public transportation – it is very easy to figure out, clean, and affordable, and Madrid is a rather walkable city, so there’s no need to take cabs or Uber. You can purchase a weekly pass for around 30€ which allows you to use the metro, bus, and train as many times as you like.

The first area you must visit is Sol. Puerta del Sol is Madrid’s city center, and just close by is the Plaza Mayor. Both are large open plazas, surrounded by restaurants, shops, and lots of street activity. This area is definitely a bit more pricey (it’s a major tourist spot), but one of the most bustling, popular places to visit. Right outside of the metro station is one of Madrid’s most famous bakeries, La Mallorquina, which you’ll definitely be able to smell right away! While in the area, I also recommend grabbing a bite to eat at the Mercado de San Miguel – a large indoor market with a wide variety of Spain’s traditional food items. The Chocolatería San Ginés serves churros with chocolate 24 hours a day, and is one of Madrid’s oldest and most famous chocolaterías. Lastly (and my favorite), you must visit Takos al Pastor at least once. There are two locations just outside Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor, where you can get some of the best tacos I’ve had (and the best in Europe) for 1€ each!

Another great area to walk around is the neighborhood of Mala Saña. This is a much younger area with lots of shopping, so be prepared to spend some time here! You can walk down Gran Via toward Calle Fuencarral, both filled with stores and great restaurants. I would recommend starting at the Plaza de Cibeles, one of the prettiest buildings in Madrid (which you can go inside and up to the roof!), and making your way up Gran Via during the day. Spend some time on Fuencarral, and then find a cool tapas restaurant in Mala Saña for dinner!

While in Madrid, a day must be spent visiting its many museums. There is SO much art history here, so I highly recommend taking the time to explore and appreciate it. If you take the metro to Estación del Arte (also called Atocha), you can access both the Museo del Prado and the Museo Reina Sofia, where you can see Picasso’s Guernica. Two other museums I recommend visiting are the Sorolla and the Thyssen Museums. These visits may take up to a whole day (depending on how many museums you choose to see), so definitely reserve some time for this. One more building I recommend visiting is the Royal Palace of Madrid. It’s especially beautiful from the outside, but worth walking around inside as well. There is so much art and history to see, though the line for tickets is often very long, so be prepared and get there early!

Right by the Prado and the Reina Sofia is Madrid’s Retiro Park, which is another must-see. Not only is this one of the few nature-filled areas of the city, but you can rent boats, visit the Glass Castle, or grab lunch at one of it’s cute outdoor restaurants! Retiro Park is especially beautiful during the fall once the leaves begin to change colors, though it’s always an amazing place to visit and a nice escape from the bustling city once in a while. Also nearby is Madrid’s botanical gardens, another great pocket of nature worth exploring.

If you have another full day free, I definitely would suggest taking a day trip to either Toledo or Segovia, both about 30 minutes to an hour outside of Madrid by train. You would need to purchase a train ticket in advance, but these are only about 20€-30€. Both of these cities are so close and accessible, yet so different from Madrid, that I think it’s definitely worth taking the time to explore and get a deeper feel for Spanish culture. There is a lot more history to be learned from these smaller cities, and as much as I love Madrid, there is A LOT more to Spain! While in the area, try Spain’s traditional seafood paella, or a Tinto de Verano (sparkling sangria)!

Now that your days have mostly been filled up, I have some recommendations for the evenings. Spanish people tend to eat dinner around 9pm, so you have some time to kill before restaurants begin to open up. One area that’s best seen at sunset is the Temple of Debod. You can visit here at any time of day, but I think it’s prettiest while the sun is setting, and you don’t need too much time here, so it’s a good evening activity. Madrid also has lots of rooftop bars and lounges, so I highly suggest visiting at least one, again during sunset. You can see all of Madrid from a glance, and enjoy a drink or two before getting dinner. Some of my favorites are Azotea, and the Hotel RIU (360º view). Definitely plan ahead for both of these, as the lines can be long and you don’t want to miss the sunset! Lastly, if you can, try to get to a soccer game while in Madrid! You will definitely need to purchase tickets in advance, but it’s a great part of the Spanish culture to experience.

For dinner, you can’t go wrong with a local tapas restaurant – for the most part, their menus should all be rather similar, and Madrid is a very affordable city, so you’ll be able to get lots of food for a great price! There are also lots of non-tapas restaurants for when you get sick of all of the fish, ham, and cheese (I did very quickly), so definitely try some of these as well. If you’re still looking for more after dinner, Madrid has a very active nightlife, and you’ll be able to find something going on any night of the week, so younger travelers should definitely check out some of the city’s many nightclubs. These are a much larger part of the culture than most other places I’ve visited, and definitely than the States, just be prepared for a very late night – Spanish people don’t start going home until 4, 5, or even 6am!

There is always more to do and see in such a large city, but I think this is a pretty good overview of the major points to hit in order to truly experience the Spanish culture. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong in Madrid, but these are my favorites and most-visited places during my stay. I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide, and I will be posting lots more content like this in the upcoming months before I begin traveling again. Subscribe below to stay posted, and happy travels!



Wrapping Up Abroad

Welcome back everyone!

It’s now been just over a week since I’ve returned to the States from my four months abroad, and it’s definitely been a crazy transition back to normal life. I’ve been going back and forth the past few weeks between being excited to come home, and not wanting to leave the best and craziest four months of my life. I’m finally beginning to adjust to the time difference, the food changes, and the much slower lifestyle I have here, and it’s been nice to settle in a bit more over the holidays. That being said, I would give anything to go back to Spain and keep living the abroad lifestyle I’d grown to love.

Along with this public blog, I’ve been keeping a personal travel journal throughout the semester to remember my weeks and my trips myself, and to go deeper into how this whole experience has affected me. I hadn’t read back any of my journal entries until last night, and reading through the entire semester at once was definitely enough to make me miss all of the early flights, travel mishaps, and times spent with friends in places I’d never thought I would visit. I want to share a few of my favorite thoughts and memories from this journal:

“When we arrived last Monday I was a little overwhelmed and didn’t quite know what to think of my new home, but now that I’m settled I can definitely see myself falling in love with this place.” – 9.1.2019, first week in Madrid

“I know the next four months will fly by, but I’m so excited for all of the adventures we’re going to take and all we’re going to learn.” – 9.1.2019, first week in Madrid

“To sum up our day trip in Salamanca, we spent the night.” – 9.8.2019, after being stranded in Salamanca, Spain

“Even though I barely have school here and being in Europe is so much fun, it was really nice to have a real beach vacation with nothing to do but relax in the sand. We also have such a good group of people, so I’m really excited to travel with everyone again this weekend.” – 9.15.2019, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

“Saturday was a BIG day. We ate breakfast in Nice, France. Then we got all dressed up and headed to country #2 of the day: Monaco where I gambled in the Casino de Monte Carlo. The day still gets crazier. Dinner? We wanted pasta. So we went to Italy.” – 9.21.2019, our day of 3 countries in the French Riviera

“The more I travel, the more Madrid feels like home, and the more I realize how lucky I am to feel that.” – 9.23.2019, returning to Madrid from Nice, France

“This was probably one of my favorite days abroad – the whole environment was so electric, I ran into so many friends, and the experience itself is something you just can’t miss out on.” – 9.28.2019, Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

“This was one of those memories that you know is more special than words or photos can describe, even while living it. I hope for many more experiences, connections, and nights like this, for these are the ones that will change you, and that will last a lifetime.” – 10.6.2019, after a dance party in a mountain village of Morocco

“Standing on the Charles Bridge and looking around, it all fell into place. The beauty of the river, the architecture of the buildings, the colorful foliage, the bands playing music, and the children dancing – it hit me just how lucky I am to be here, and how peaceful and empowering this alone time has been.” – 10.10.2019, day 1 of my solo backpacking trip in Prague, Czechia

“You are so aware of how high up you are, standing out on tiny ledges and bridges. I could see the river stretch out in both directions, the top of the Gellert Hill I had just climbed in the distance, and the entire Pest side of the city.” – 10.12.2019, day 3 of my solo backpacking trip in Budapest, Hungary

“It truly hit me that night that I’m meant to be in Madrid right now, and this group of people is meant to be my family.” – 10.13.2019, returning to Madrid after a long weekend backpacking along

“Finally having a visitor and getting to show her what my life is like here was so special. And, after hearing reviews of Lisbon, I’m so glad we chose Porto!” – 10.26.2019, Porto, Portugal with my mom

“This was definitely my favorite part of the weekend – great views with great people.” – 11.1.2019, watching the sunset from the Carmel Bunkers in Barcelona, Spain (the highest point in the city)

“This was a much needed trip for lots of reasons: warmer weather, relaxing, change of scenery, and I’m really glad to have had that as the semester winds down. Being with 30 other people who were strangers 3 months ago and now are some of my closest friends, sitting on a beach in the south of freaking Spain, watching the sunset with absolutely zero responsibility, was so beautiful and magical.” – 11.9.2019, class trip to Málaga, Spain (in Andalucía)

“Standing on a bridge in Paris, France, watching the Eiffel Tower light up at night is something so unbelievably special, I still can’t believe I was there.” – 11.14.2019, Paris, France

“From the second I arrived in Amsterdam, I knew I was going to fall in love with the city.” – 11.15.2019, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

“I really liked spending genuine time with everyone and I’m getting very appreciative of all the connections I’ve made here.” – 11.30.2019, Rome, Italy

“It’s now December, which is so crazy to think about – I have less than 3 weeks left here.” – 12.1.2019, returning to Madrid from Rome, Italy

“I will definitely enjoy the break from flying every weekend, but I’ll always miss how spontaneous, careless, and excitingly special these past four months have been.” – 12.7.2019, returning from my final trip to Copenhagen, Denmark

While living through these four months, although I tried, it was hard to truly take in all that I was doing and realize how incredible it was. After a few weeks, the flights every weekend to new cities and new countries became routine, and it was harder to value living in Europe as much as I would’ve liked. Now, looking back on it all, it’s hitting me just how crazy these past four months have been, and how lucky I am to have experienced all that I did.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that “abroad changed me,” as many people do, though I definitely think it helped me grow as a person, and it taught me so much about life and how valuable its experiences are. I know see travel as a fairly easy way to learn and explore, rather than an expensive luxury, or a once-a-year thing. I now take fuller advantage of my free time and want to maximize the time that I do have while I’m young to do and learn as much as a can, whether that’s here in Boston or all around the world. Most importantly, I made lifelong friends who now seem more like family, and I already miss though we left just ten days ago.

It’s weird for me to be wrapping up abroad like this, because I can’t completely believe or admit that the whole thing is over, but somehow it’s not August anymore, and instead of telling everyone that I’m going abroad, I now have to say “I went abroad.” Even though I’m sad that it’s now all in the past, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my four months, and I’m looking forward to everything that’s to come out of this semester and what I’ve learned.

I would highly recommend to anyone thinking about studying abroad to do it – like I said, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing about my time in Spain, and I can honestly say these have been the best four months of my life. I know this is not the end of my travels, I have so much more I want to see in the world! But, for now I need to be in Boston for a bit, and as much as I miss Madrid, Boston will always be “home” for me.

Thank you all for following along with me these past four months, it has been such a pleasure sharing these photos, stories, and experiences with you! I will continue posting as I travel more, along with some tips and tricks I learned while traveling through Europe. For some highlights of the semester, I’ve posted my final abroad video below, I hope you enjoy 🙂

Hasta luego,


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A Week in My Life Abroad: Madrid to Copenhagen

Hi, again!

As classes have now finished and I’m in my final weeks here in Spain, I’m doing my best to squeeze in as much activity as I can before I return to the States. This week in Madrid was definitely a busy one, as the next few will likely be as well, and then this weekend I was able to visit my roommate in Copenhagen, Denmark for my last trip of the semester!

Starting out the week was definitely stressful, as I had my last three days of classes Monday through Wednesday, and then immediately began Christmas activities. My friends and I took a bus (called the Navibus) around Madrid on Wednesday night which passes through all of the Christmas lights they’ve set up, and it was so nice to finally be able to really celebrate the holidays. Unfortunately I had my first final exam on Thursday, so it was a busy week of studying, and then I left straight from my exam to the airport.

Spending time with my roommate in Copenhagen was so nice, not only because I haven’t seen her all semester, but it was really nice to have a quick break before buckling down to take my remaining 5 finals back in Madrid. I was only in Denmark for two nights, but we spent our time exploring the city (especially the Christmas markets!), and I took advantage of the amazing food there – I’m starting to get sick of tapas!

Copenhagen was very similar to Amsterdam, which might have been my favorite city so far, so I really liked exploring different neighborhoods and seeing all of the Christmas decorations. The one thing I could’ve done without, though, is the cold weather. I’m definitely a warm weather person, so getting back to Madrid (even though it’s still pretty chilly here) was great.

Now that I’m back, I’ve been hustling to study for the rest of my finals, as I have four on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then my last one the following Monday. On Sunday morning, my friends and I continued to get into the Christmas spirit by running a 5k in Santa suits – so much fun! The suits were far from durable so we lost most of them by the end, but we got to cross the finish line under (fake) snow, so I got a little taste of Boston in my last two weeks here.

This upcoming week will be filled with studying and exams, but once I finish I have some time to spend in Madrid before I leave, so I’m excited to get my last few memories in. I’m so thankful for all the experiences I’ve had these past four months, and I can’t wait to continue traveling the world! Thank you for following along with me on all of my journeys, and I’ll see you next week for my final post of abroad!



P.S. Once I’m back in Boston, I’ll be shifting my posts toward more tips and tricks for travel, and itinerary suggestions in some of my favorite places, so please subscribe below for a lot more content coming soon!

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Weekend in Rome

Welcome back! It’s definitely been a while, but I’ve been spending lots of time in Madrid recently and taking some time off from traveling every weekend. I spent Thanksgiving here last Thursday with my entire program, who put on an amazing dinner for us all. Even though I couldn’t be at home for the holiday, it was nice to spend it with so many special people in Spain.

The following day we had a very quick turnaround – early Friday morning we flew out to Rome! I’d only been to Italy for one dinner before back in September, so this was really exciting. We spent lots of time deciding which city we should visit, since there’s really so much to do in Italy, but Rome seemed like the best weekend option.

When we landed Friday morning, we first made our way to breakfast. We walked up the Spanish steps, and then found our way to a small cafe where we had spinach and mozzarella sandwiches. We had some time before checking into our apartment, so we walked around the area we were staying in, visiting the Pantheon as well. I studied Latin all four years of high school, so I spend LOTS of time studying Ancient Rome. Therefore, seeing all of these  sites and monuments in real life was so interesting for me.

After checking in that afternoon, we decided to spend the rest of the day in the Vatican City. Even just walking around outside in the city was so beautiful, and they were setting up Christmas decorations which made it even more special. Walking through the Sistine Chapel as well was amazing. This is definitely one of the most intricate and beautiful things I’ve seen so far, for every wall is lined with famous artwork and designing, and it all tells a story. I am so glad I was able to experience this place, and I would highly suggest a visit here at some point.

For dinner that night, we went to a very small, intimate restaurant which our renter recommended to us. I had spaghetti with a pepper and cheese sauce, and it was by far one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Italy definitely knows how to make pasta! We spent the rest of the night trying a couple different bars in the area as well, as Rome has a much more relaxed nightlife scene.

Saturday was our second and final full day in Rome, so we made sure to hit all of the rest of the city’s sites. We started at the Colosseum, which was probably my favorite part of the weekend. Not only had I studied this in SO much depth in high school, but the structure itself is so immense and breathtaking (it’s one of the seven wonders of the world!). By now we were all starving, so we found a local pizza shop and had a little picnic outside. I don’t know if it was the fact that we were in Italy, or just that I was so hungry, but this pizza was amazing!

After lunch we headed back toward the Colosseum to explore the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Everything we saw here was straight out of my high school Latin textbook, so I had another wave of excitement. There was so much history to see in the Forum, and all of it was preserved so incredibly. 

Once the sun began to set, we made our way to the Trevi Fountain to toss in some coins and make a wish. We shopped around this area for a bit, and then got ready for another pasta dinner. This time I got fettuccine with pesto, and this was definitely my favorite meal of the weekend! We explored another bar that night (Scholars’ Irish Pub), which was so much fun, and then went home before we had to catch our Sunday morning flight home. 

This weekend was for sure a quick one, but I’m so glad we were able to see such a beautiful city. The weather was great, and I was with so many close friends, so it turned out to be one of my favorite trips of abroad. Now that I only have a few weeks left, the traveling is starting to slow down while the school work is picking up (today is my last day of school before finals!). I have one more trip planned this upcoming weekend, and then after that my next flight will be back to Boston!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying my weekly updates, and I hope to keep this going in some form or another once I’m back in the States! Please subscribe below to be notified of new content, and I’ll see you all next week 🙂



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Weekend in Paris and Amsterdam

Welcome back!

This past weekend was definitely an ambitious one, but it was definitely my favorite so far. We had been mostly traveling to more uncommon cities so far, with a few exceptions, but this weekend we finally hit some of the major “abroad” destinations. On Thursday we started out in Paris, France, and then on Friday we made our way to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Honestly, I didn’t expect to like Paris too much, because I had heard it wasn’t the nicest or friendliest city, and it was very touristy. So, I went into that leg of the trip with rather low expectations. I was completely wrong. In the one day I spent in Paris, I saw so much more that I thought I would, and the city completely surprised me. We got crepes, visited the Sainte Chapelle (so beautiful!), the Louvre Museum, and the Arc de Triomphe. From there, we finally made our way to the Eiffel Tower. This was much bigger than I expected, and was really amazing to see. As we were leaving, the sun was setting so they began to turn on the tower’s lights. Seeing the entire Eiffel Tower light up was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen abroad so far.

After a break at our hostel, we ended up going back to the Eiffel Tower to eat dinner at a nearby restaurant. Every hour, the tower’s lights twinkle for about five minutes, so we were able to see this before we ate dinner. Standing on a bridge in the middle of Paris, watching the Eiffel Tower light up, was one of those moments that you know is so special, even as it’s happening, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be back to see that again, but I feel so lucky that I was able to experience it this week. In the end, I’m glad I went into Paris with low expectations, because it only continued to pleasantly surprise me, and I ended up loving a city which I didn’t even plan on visiting.

Friday morning was an early wake up, as I had to catch my bus to Amsterdam. What was supposed to be a six-hour drive turned out to be eight, so by the time I reached Amsterdam, I was ready to walk around. From the minute I stepped off the bus, I noticed how charming and cozy the city was, with restaurants and shops lining the streets, and Christmas lights strung everywhere. I reached the apartment we were staying in, which overlooked one of Amsterdam’s many canals. Sitting in the warmth on the couch looking out at the lights over the cold water felt like the holiday season, and made the weekend even more relaxing and homey.

We didn’t have too much time on Friday since we got in later in the afternoon, so once we were settled we headed out for an amazing pasta dinner at Spaghetteria, and then explored some of the bars and plazas open in Amsterdam at night. Again, seeing all of the Christmas lights everywhere, and everyone so bundled up in the cold, got me SO excited for the holidays.

Saturday was the only full day we had in the city, so we packed everything in. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get tickets to the Anne Frank House (they sell out really fast, so buy them FAR in advance!), so we started our day with a delicious pancake breakfast at De Carrousel Pannenkoeken. From here, we toured the Heineken Museum, as we had previously bought tickets for the “Heineken Experience”. Going into this, we expected a normal museum tour, explaining the history of Heineken, with a tasting at the end. We were completely surprised to find an entirely interactive experience, with films and music and lights and games, ending in a Heineken bar. I am definitely not a beer person, but the whole experience was so cool, I would definitely recommend the tour if you are even in Amsterdam.

After leaving the museum and getting a quick snack of stroopwafels, we made our way to the canal tour we had booked. I suggest touring the canals both by foot and by boat, because first of all, they’re so beautiful and you can never see enough, but also, you get a much different point of view passing through the streets in the water, and you get to see so many cool bridges and corners and pathways while relaxing on the back of a boat.

For the rest of our day, we walked around to hit some more sights while it was still light out. We passed by the outside of the Anne Frank House, we visited Dam Square and tasted lots of cheese, and walked by the Centraal Station of Amsterdam. Eventually we made our way to Casa di David for another delicious pasta dinner (we don’t get pasta in Spain), and then explored some more bars, including my favorite which had live jazz music.

We flew out early Sunday morning, so I had the day to catch up in Madrid. Again, I’m not sure how we fit Amsterdam into pretty much one day, but I definitely could have spent a lot more time there. This city felt so different from everywhere else I’ve traveled, and I think that’s why I loved it so much. It was definitely the right time of year to visit, with all of the holiday decorations out and the cold air, and even though it’s a pretty big city, it had such a personal, small town feel – I could definitely see myself spending a longer period of time here. It also felt like a much younger city, with lots of students and young families, where Paris had an older, more traditional feel. I will surely be returning to Amsterdam at some point while still in my twenties, hopefully for a few months so I can really enjoy the city.

The semester is finally beginning to slow down, so I will be staying in Madrid this weekend, and then only traveling a couple more times after that. I’ve been seeing and learning so much while abroad so far, and it’s crazy that I only have a few more weeks, but I’m excited to continue exploring Europe in this last month, and even after I return to the US.

I hope you’ve been enjoying my weekly updates, and I can’t wait to share more!



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