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Frederiksborg and Icelandic Horses 

This past week, my host family treated me to two incredible days of adventure and fun. First, Katja and Nuka took me to what I think is the most beautiful castle in Copenhagen: Frederiksborg Castle. Katja grew up in the town where this gorgeous castle stands, so I lucked out with the best tour guide I could possible have.
We explored room after room of the incredible structure. One of my favorite areas was the church with one of the most beautiful organs I have even seen. Katja grew up singing occasionally in this church with her choir. The windows and painting were amazing. 
Another one of my favorite rooms was the Great Hall where extravagant parties used to be held. You could imagine the parties as you walked across the huge room. The walls are lined with portraits of the royal family, and I loved to see how they have evolved over time. A mock dinner table was set up to give the room the feel of how it would be set up for hosting a party hundreds of years ago. 
We then walked through the gardens in the back that are modeled after the gardens at Versailles. I could have spent all day exploring the gardens and grounds. I was completely in awe of Fredericksborg Castle. 
Later in the week, Katja, Silja and Nuka took me horseback riding through the forest on Icelandic horses! I was given the sweetest little horse who carried me safe and sound through the forest. 

After riding in high school, it felt amazing to finally be back in a barn with horses. I couldn’t help but to miss riding so much as we got our horses in the field, groomed and tacked them, and then mounted to go for our ride together. 
Icelandic horses have a unique gate that resembles a smooth, fast trot called “tölting.” I had never experience anything like it. After bouncing around for a good while, I think that I finally got the hang of it!

The trails were beautiful and we all had an amazing time! Thank you so much Katja for so many great memories! 
Posted in Denmark (DIS) | Comments Off

Kultur Natten

What better way to get to know the Danish culture than attending culture night?! Culture night has been a tradition in Copenhagen for years. Every fall, museums, companies, stores and other institutions stay open late into the night and offer a cultural activity, exhibition, or special event. You buy a Culture Night pass and then can enter the hundreds of fun events that are set up all across the city. 

Jess and I kicked off culture night by going to one of my favorite restaurants, Mother, for FREE pizza and drinks! 
We then made our way back toward city center and admired the beautifully rainbow lit Round Tower. 
DIS had an amazing event in the courtyard of Jess’s building where there was pumpkin carving, hot drinks, a haunted house, and s’mores stations. Nothing is better than a s’more in the fall.

Next up for the night was Rosembourg Castle where I finally got to see the crown jewels. It was such a unique experience to explore the castle grounds at night! 
We then went across the street to the gardens and walked along the lantern-lit paths as we admired the dancers near the lake. Lastly, we went to the National Museum (my second time was just as great as the first with my Danish class!).

Culture night was such a success. It was great to explore Copenhagen at night surrounded by all of the locals taking part in such an incredible tradition.
Posted in Denmark (DIS) | Comments Off

End of October Update

So as October comes to a close so does my first official month in Dublin, Ireland. This month has been both wonderful and challenging. I have traveled quite a bit so far but don’t really plan on slowing down anytime soon. Looking ahead to the next month I already have trips planned to England, Northern Ireland, Germany, and my fall break where I will be traveling to Spain and maybe a few other countries as well.

I have grown quite a bit closer to a lot of people on my trip which, has been lovely. I have started attending a bible study group at a local Vineyards church taught by a husband and wife who recently moved to Ireland from Texas. Before moving to Dublin they were Young Life area directors! Autumn weather has set in over in Ireland but the weather is still quite pleasant. It rains a bit more now but still not too often and here it rains very on and off as opposed to all day which is nice. The temperature is still in the upper 50’s and low 60’s which isn’t too cold yet. The city itself has started getting ready for halloween and the rest of the holiday season. I found out recently that Dublin has a Christmas Market which I am really excited about!

The tough part of study abroad mostly boil down to money. It can be quite overbearing to always be checking bank accounts and worrying about everything you buy and outweighing if you can afford it or not. I have recently been re-looking at some of the travel I wanted to do and debating if it was best to cut some countries out in order to save some money. Also getting prepared for my return next semester has been a bit overwhelming. I have course registration due in a couple of weeks, picking out my meal plan, and finalizing housing for my return. I received my placement for my practicum that I will be completing over winter term at Planned Parenthood while continuing to work on my summer internship application. Trying to remind myself to stay in the moment of this amazing adventure is difficult but I am so glad I am here.

This month has been wonderful and full with lots of trying new things and adventures. This past week I was able to attend my first Rugby game, Leinster vs. Wasps and Dublin’s team(Leinster) even won! Though I had no idea what I was watching half the time the game was very exciting and I really enjoyed the experience. Also this week my class went on the Hellfire Club tour. This was perfect for Halloween because our guide led us to some really interesting sites that were filled with creepy stories  based on historical events. Even though we were all a bit on edge we got to se the most gorgeous view of Dublin at night overlooking the city.

Well that is all I have for now but look for my next blog post in a few days about my trip to London I am taking this weekend!

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

Ring of Kerry

Over the weekend I took a lovely weekend trip to my new favorite location in Ireland, The Ring of Kerry. My friend, Clare, and I took a train from Dublin on Friday evening to Killarney located in the west of Ireland. The train was nice and only took about 3hrs. Once we arrived in Killarney we walked a few minutes to the hostel we were staying and checked in. Clare and I then walked around the town for a while and found some dinner. The town of Killarney was adorable! Lots of local pubs, ice creams stores, and small shops. It reminded me of exactly what you imagine a small town in Ireland should look like.

The next morning we left for our Ring of Kerry tour. The tour was quite inexpensive and only had about 10 people on the tour itself. Our tour guide was extremely funny and entertaining during the entire tour. We left at 10am from Killarney and worked our way around the peninsula. We stopped every 10-30min to take pictures and see some of the most amazing views. The landscape reminded me of things you see in movies like The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings. With breathtaking mountains and valleys set beside waterfalls, enchanted forests, and beaches. The entire tour was extremely well done though I did wish I would have been able to rent a car and drive the peninsula myself to really spend a lot of time soaking in the sites. Unfortunately in Ireland you have to be 25 to rent a car and also the roads are quite narrow and twisting. The tour however was the best suitable alternative. After the tour we stopped at a local pub for some dinner and to watch the Rugby game. We wandered around the center of town for a while too stopping in shops and getting Murphy’s Ice Cream (also located in Dublin) which was incredible! We also stopped by a new bar opening up that our hostel told us about called The Shire and was supposed to be based of the location of The Hobbit. It was quite cute so we stayed for a little while and then headed back to bed. We left very early Sunday morning to catch the train back to Dublin.

Ring of Kerry was an amazing weekend trip and I would return in a heartbeat. This was easily on of the most beautiful locations I have ever seen! Hopefully next time I will be able to spend more time there as well!

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

Cardiff, Wales

This past weekend I took a relaxing holiday to Cardiff, Wales! I fell absolutely in love with this country and city! The city itself was beautiful and a perfect mix of a modern marvels and Wales historical past. The city center itself has beautiful castles beside skyscrapers. The Welsh people are also some the friendliest people I have ever met to date!

I left very early Friday morning getting to the airport around 4:45am. I arrived in Cardiff around 8am and walked to the Riverhouse Hostel where I was staying. I was in desperate need for a nap but couldn’t check in until 2pm so I dropped off my bags and continued on my way. I walked towards the Cardiff Castle, which was only about a 5min walk from my hostel. I stopped at a tea café in a park right next door to the castle and ordered some hot chocolate and crumpets. I then paid to visit the Cardiff Castle. The Castle itself was really beautiful and was quite large. I appreciated the fact that an audio tour was provided when you bought a ticket so I strolled around the castle for most of the afternoon listening to the history of the location. Afterwards I walked on the main city street that was filled with shops and restaurants. I strolled through some outdoor markets that sold lots of traditional Welsh food including Welsh cakes that were very delicious. I then went to one of Cardiff’s free museums, The Cardiff Story, which depicted the history of the city in a interactive museum. Finally then it was 2pm so I went back to my hostel to check in and took a nap for a few hours. I went and had dinner than at The Queen’s Vault where the Welsh soccer game was playing and called it an early night.

On Saturday I woke up early to enjoy the lovely breakfast at the hostel and then figured out my plan for the rest of the day. I took a bus to Castle Coch, which was about 30min from the city. The castle is typically described as a “fairy castle” since it looks like what is often depicted in fairytales. This castle also included another audio tour that was extremely interesting to hear the history of the landmark. After I finished I hopped back on the bus and rode to Caerphilly. This is the 2nd largest castle in all of Europe! It had just started to rain when I got there so I hid in the information point till it stopped. This castle unlike the others really seemed to not be as well kept as the other ones I had seen. Also there was no sort of audio tour or informational signs to know what you were seeing. I wondered around for quite a while and even saw a beautiful wedding reception that was occurring the Great Hall. I even got to see the bride and groom who were taking photos throughout the castle as I walked around. I then returned back to the city center in Cardiff to find some dinner. I ended up stopping at an upper scale pizza place that had really good food for not too much money.

Sunday was a very relaxed day. I walked down to Cardiff Bay, which was about 45min from my hostel. The bay was full of interesting shops that sold trademark Welsh items such as Welsh Cakes and LoveSpoons. The bay itself was an area full of art and expression. There were lots of outdoor sculptors and art galleries that I wandered through. The national concert hall and parliament were also part of the scenery. There were also lots of boats that offered sailing trips around the harbor but I opted out for that today because it was quite windy and cooler than it had been the previous days. I was looking forward to going to the Dr. Who Experience but unfortunately it has been closed for the past month in order for renovations to occur. I then walked to the Red Dragon, which is a large complex that contained lots of restaurants, cinema, and shops. Last minute I decided to go see Mazerunners a film I had really been looking forward to seeing. After the film I went back to the bay and grabbed dinner at Nandos, a popular chain restaurant in the UK. I headed back towards my hostel and stopped at a coffee shop called #1 Coffee. I possibly had the best hot chocolate ever! It was a sweet white-hot chocolate with caramel mixed in as well. When I got back to my hostel they had a free dessert night with chocolate cake that I enjoyed and played with the two cats that lived there as well.

On Monday morning I flew back to Dublin and made it in time for my 1pm class! I really enjoyed my time spent in Cardiff. I think this is one of the few cities that I would love it live in rather than just visit. The Welsh population seems extremely nice and the cities and town were beautifully arranged. Really hoping to go back here someday

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

They say time flys when you are having fun!

Not even sure where to start since I last posted! Let's go with Noche en Blanca (Saturday 10/4), the evening where there are street performances of improv or dance, free museum entrance, classical and jazz concerts, dance lessons and learning how to play different board games. Overall there was tons to do and see. My friends and I ended up going to an improv performance in the subway station and then an amazing jazz quartet of saxophones. Then we all went to go eat some tapas and chat before heading back to our respective homes. Sunday (10/5--also my sissy's birthday!), I went on a tour of Carmona where I learned about the history of the city and how it served as an important strategy city in terms of the military.

This past weekend I was in Barcelona with Greta and her friend, Jeremy. We had such a blast walking all over the city learning about the history, seeing the beautiful sights, and also making sure that Jeremy tasted all of our favorite tapas. From the museums of Picasso and Miro to hitting three world heritage sights in one day (the nativity facade of the Sagrada Familia, the Palau de Musica Catalana, and Park Guell) we made the most of our short stay. On the last night, we went to a fountain show with a mix of jazz, classical, and traditional Catalan music, which was so fun!

This week I got to go to my volunteering for the first time, which was really great! I am working at a school for children with special needs and get to go with the younger children to the pool and help them with water therapy. Each child has me or one of their teachers working with them in the water and their is an instructor for the class who first lead us through a group warm up and then told us what each child should do to help them with motor skills. The little boy I worked with, probably around 6, needed to work on walking by himself in the water, so we played keep away with some balls and also played a version of basketball. Then we showered and changed them all back into their clothes and headed back to the school. I left early since I had to go to class and I didn't know how long the walk would take, but next week I think I will have time to help them with lunch, too. The kids are very sweet and so far I think I know all of their names. Four more children are coming with us next week, which brings out number up to ten kiddos :)

Sadly, the day after volunteering I realized that I have a cold. Luckily for me, Jori knows all of the home remedies to get me back up and running. From keeping my neck warm with a scarf at almost all times to spoonfuls of lemon juice and honey mixed together (shout-out to my Dad who makes me hot water with lemon and honey when I am sick--you have an ally in your methods) and eating a spoonful of olive oil at breakfast and before I sleep, I should be better by the start of next week--fingers crossed!
Posted in Semester, Seville, Spain, Spring | Comments Off

They say time flys when you are having fun!

Not even sure where to start since I last posted! Let's go with Noche en Blanca (Saturday 10/4), the evening where there are street performances of improv or dance, free museum entrance, classical and jazz concerts, dance lessons and learning how to play different board games. Overall there was tons to do and see. My friends and I ended up going to an improv performance in the subway station and then an amazing jazz quartet of saxophones. Then we all went to go eat some tapas and chat before heading back to our respective homes. Sunday (10/5--also my sissy's birthday!), I went on a tour of Carmona where I learned about the history of the city and how it served as an important strategy city in terms of the military.

This past weekend I was in Barcelona with Greta and her friend, Jeremy. We had such a blast walking all over the city learning about the history, seeing the beautiful sights, and also making sure that Jeremy tasted all of our favorite tapas. From the museums of Picasso and Miro to hitting three world heritage sights in one day (the nativity facade of the Sagrada Familia, the Palau de Musica Catalana, and Park Guell) we made the most of our short stay. On the last night, we went to a fountain show with a mix of jazz, classical, and traditional Catalan music, which was so fun!

This week I got to go to my volunteering for the first time, which was really great! I am working at a school for children with special needs and get to go with the younger children to the pool and help them with water therapy. Each child has me or one of their teachers working with them in the water and their is an instructor for the class who first lead us through a group warm up and then told us what each child should do to help them with motor skills. The little boy I worked with, probably around 6, needed to work on walking by himself in the water, so we played keep away with some balls and also played a version of basketball. Then we showered and changed them all back into their clothes and headed back to the school. I left early since I had to go to class and I didn't know how long the walk would take, but next week I think I will have time to help them with lunch, too. The kids are very sweet and so far I think I know all of their names. Four more children are coming with us next week, which brings out number up to ten kiddos :)

Sadly, the day after volunteering I realized that I have a cold. Luckily for me, Jori knows all of the home remedies to get me back up and running. From keeping my neck warm with a scarf at almost all times to spoonfuls of lemon juice and honey mixed together (shout-out to my Dad who makes me hot water with lemon and honey when I am sick--you have an ally in your methods) and eating a spoonful of olive oil at breakfast and before I sleep, I should be better by the start of next week--fingers crossed!
Posted in Semester, Seville, Spain, Spring | Comments Off

Ed Sheeran Concert

Another amazing opportunity I had in Dublin was to go to an Ed Sheeran concert at the O2 arena! This is the third time I have seen Ed Sheeran live and easily he is my favorite musical artist and performer to see live. I had originally bought my tickets back in April but once I found out my class was going to West Ireland the night I had bought tickets for I had to sell my tickets. Since the concert was sold out I was able to sell my tickets for double there value and buy general standing tickets for the same price a different night. Even though these tickets meant I didn’t have a seat it did mean I had a shot at getting really close to the stage. My friend, Alexis, and I arrived to the concert about 3hrs before doors opened with boxes of pizza to eat. We ended up arriving at about the perfect time because about 10min after we came the line nearly tripled in size! Finally we were let inside and we were so close to the stage! We started off about 8 people back from the front of the stage and directly in the center. I can honestly say I have never been so squished before in my life. Almost constant pushing before the show started and the room grew extremely hot with 14.5K people inside. The opening act was a guy named Saint Raymond who was really excellent. Then finally Ed Sheeran came on! My friend and I had gotten separated in the crowd because of the pushing so at this point I was only about 5 or so people back from the front of the stage. The show was phenomenal with lots of older and newer songs mixed in. The concert itself was absolutely crazy though there were a couple people fainting almost every song from standing so long and the heat. Guards were constantly passing water out to try and help out. My friend ended up fainting as well right before the show ended. The guards told me to go get her after the concert. After the encore the show ended and I stood around while the room cleared out trying to figure out where my friend had been taken. As the room cleared out a security guard threw a bunch of papers towards me saying I could have them. I picked them off the ground and IT WAS ED SHEERAN’S SET LIST!!! I was beyond excited! I was given two copies so once I located my friend in the medical room I gave one to her as well! Even with the craziness of the show it was easily the best concert I have ever been to!
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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

West Ireland

This past weekend I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel with my Irish Life and Cultures class (mandatory for all study abroad students at DBS) to Western Ireland. We left our dorms early Friday morning we were loaded on a bus for 3hrs to make our way to Galway. We stopped briefly at our hotel to drop off baggage and then were whisked away into the city of Galway for an afternoon of leisure. Some friends and I first walked around for about 10minutes to find some lunch. We stopped at this modern looking pub that seemed pretty cheap. After lunch we strolled around the main city square for a while and looked at the different shops. Galway is home of the Claddagh ring so there were lots of different jewelry shops everywhere. I really wanted to get a Claddagh ring so I figured here would be the best place to do so. After shopping around for a while I finally found the perfect ring! We also were able to tour Thomas Dillions, which was the first place to invent and sell Claddagh rings. In addition to their store there was also a small museum that told the history of the ring. There was a sweet older woman working at the store who told us how each ring sold there was hand casted individually and that every other ring sold elsewhere was just a copy of this one. Even though I would have love to get a ring there the cheapest ones were 240euro which was way outside my budget. After getting my ring we walked around Galway’s main park and finally headed back to meet our bus. We were brought back to the hotel where we were provided a 3 course dinner which was splendid. All the students included myself really enjoyed our hotel rooms with our big comfy beds (unlike our very springy ones back at school) and normal showers instead of wetrooms.

 

The next day we all ate breakfast at the hotel and then headed on the bus for 40mins as we drove to meet a ferry that would take us to the Aran Islands. A friend and I sat on the top deck so we could have the best view as we sailed to the Island. It started to sprinkle for a few minutes but then stopped and revealed a small rainbow! Somehow seeing a rainbow in Ireland just makes any day that much better. Once we arrived to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands with a population of 800, we hopped off the boat and boarded a bus that took us to the large fort on the island. The island was beautiful filled with rocks and cliffs that made the scenery one of a kind. We walked up to the fort, which held the most spectacular view of the island that most of use spent a multitude of time taking photos there. After the fort we checked out a few small shops on the island that sold the iconic Aran sweaters and grabbed some tea. We then went and visited the oldest cemetery on the Island were we saw another rainbow! This time however it stretched the entire way across the sky. Finally we headed back down to the harbor were we grabbed a lunch of fish and chips and headed back to Galway. Once again we had dinner at hotel, which was as good as the first night.

 

On Sunday we got to sleep in a little later till we hopped on the bus for 2hrs with our luggage to head towards the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher is easily one of the largest attractions in Ireland due to its incredible view and deadly drops. Once arriving to the cliffs we were able to have 2hrs to walk the cliffs taking lots of pictures. Everyone’s hearts were beating a little faster as we stood toe to toe with edge of a drop that could end anyone’s life. Though it was very windy and cold I would one hundred percent recommend this trip to anyone. The sites were to die for and led to a really relaxing hike. Finally I grabbed some seafood chowder from the small café inside and boarded the bus to head back to Dublin. I really enjoyed this weekend especially since all of activates and meals for the most part were prearranged for us which allowed us really relax and enjoy Ireland without the stress of planning.

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Posted in Spring 2014 | Comments Off

Travel Break 1: Prague – Budapest – Salzburg – Zurich

From Prague, to Budapest, to Salzburg, to Zurich, my first travel break was packed with adventure, chaos, and memories that I will never forget. After weeks of planning lodging, transportation and excursions, it was finally time to embark on my 10-day European adventure. 
Stop 1: Prague

After class on Friday, Mary Catherine, Sarah and I flew to Prague as our first stop. The flight went great, then we hopped on a bus heading to a metro station (literally ran and hopped on…bus ticket? Oops). We jumped off at the metro station to find that to get ticket we needed Czech coins instead of bills. We spotted KFC way down the road and went to buy some french-fries to get some change! FINALLY we got our tickets and were on the metro headed towards our Air B&B. For those of you that don’t know, Air B&B is a company that allows people to post open rooms in their homes where you can stay for a few nights. We found it to be WAY cheaper than any hostel! Our host greeted us and had our room perfectly prepared with maps of the city and comfy beds. We were finally settled in Prague! Here’s some photos of our wonderful stay, only about a 25 minute walk from the center of the city. 
After we unloaded our bags and got a little settled, we met up with one of my wonderful Elon friends, Amory, who is currently studying abroad in Prague! She took us to a pub for some cider and hot cocoa, walked us down to where she takes her film classes in the city, and took us to her favorite late-night food spot, a tiny burrito place where we were all too excited to have a quesadilla that tasted like America. Thanks Amory for such a fun night!
Our first morning we went on a beautiful walking tour of the city. Our tour guide was so animated and knew so much about the city. Some highlights included the astronomical clock, the Jewish cemetery, the opera house and the old town square. 
Our tour guide let us know about cheap student tickets to the opera, so we went for it! We saw Mozart’s Don Giovanni. It was beautiful and such a wonderful experience. 

The next morning we met up with some of my other Elon friends who are studying abroad in Prague, and then we went on a tour of the Prague Castle, the largest castle in the world! It was like an entire town in itself and we were all awestruck by its beauty and massive structures. 
After the castle tour, we walked across the Charles Bridge and went out to dinner at a famous Michelin Star restaurant called Mlynec. It. Was. Amazing. The currency is a major bonus in Prague. One Czech krone equals 0.046 USD, so we paid a normal amount for a nice dinner that was actually worth way, way more! You must go to dinner here when you visit Prague. We all enjoyed our last night as we ate while overlooking the Vltava River.

We then raced to the train station and thankfully hopped on our overnight train to Budapest just in time. Note to self: trains have NO mercy. It was stopped for maybe one minute and then took off again. Be ready to step on to your train when you travel right when it is schedule to arrive!

This train was a nightmare. That is all. Packed, dirty, people with colds, loud, bright lights on the whole time. Ugh. It got us where we needed to go, but it was definitely a low point of travel. You’ve got have some experiences like these to get the full  “broke college girl across Europe” experience though!

Stop 2: Budapest

We arrived in Budapest early in the morning and checked into our Air B&B that could not have been in a more perfect location. We had no idea our apartment would be on the nicest street in Budapest with the Louis Vuitton and Gucci right downstairs.

 After some exploring, we got ready for our cruise on the Danube River, the water that separates Buda from Pest. After sprinting down the water asking every human in sight where the meeting point was, we finally found our boat (after almost hopping on a boat to Amsterdam…oops again.) This was one of my favorite experiences of the trip. We got the best seat out on the deck and sipped champaign as we sailed between Budapest lit up in the night sky. You must do this if you ever come! It was breathtaking. 
After the cruise we went out to dinner at a traditional Hungarian restaurant that served some of the best food we had ever had. Some of our favorite Hungarian dishes were the fried dough (an amazing soft baked dough with cheese on top), and paprika bread. YUM. 

The next morning we went on another amazing walking tour. Always look into free walking tours while traveling. They’re amazing! We went to Saint Peter’s Basilica, walked across the chain bridge, went up to the castle, and then ended at Fisherman’s Bastion.  

Too soon, it was time to say bye to Budapest and we were on our train to Salzburg. This train compared to the one from Prague to Budapest was like flying first class in the lap of luxury! The train was so clean, quiet and comfortable. The only uncomfortable situation was when two Hungarian men got into an argument with me in sitting right in the middle…so peaceful. 

Stop 3: Salzburg

We arrived safe and sound that night in Salzburg in our hostel that we were SO lucky to have an 8-person group room to ourselves the first two nights! And one of the beautiful things about Salzburg is that everything is in walking distance, so again, we could walk just fine from our room to the city.
Our first morning we just had to go on the Sound of Music tour! It was perfect in every way. My mom had done the same tour when she visited Salzburg and highly recommended it, and it was honestly one of my favorite things we did this trip! We saw the outside of the home where the von Trapp family lived, the lake that’s in the backyard of the house, the famous gazebo where Liesel and Rolf sing “16 Going on 17,” and the church where Maria and the captain get married.  We also saw the abbey from a distance! When we went to the church, we got to stop and spend some time the adorable town of Mondsee where we enjoyed some crisp apple strudel to keep up the Sound of Music feel! 
After our tour we spent time in the Mirabell Gardens and ran down the tunnel where Maria and the children ran through.  We hopped up and down the steps and ran around the Pegasus sculpture where they sing “Do, Re, Me.” The gardens were stunning. 
Next, we went to Mozart’s home and went through the museum. I loved this. We got to see Mozart’s original pieces, see some of his instruments, listen to his music, and see his letters. We ended by having some Mozartkugel, the best chocolate ever- so tempting to bring some back! 
The next day we went on a tour of the salt mines in the Bavarian mountains! The drive was incredible. In the salt mines we rode a little train deep into the mountains, slide down miners’ slides, walked throughout all of the deep tunnels, and even rode a little boat over the water inside. 
Next, we ascended into the mountain on a tram and went up to the Salzburg Fortress. The view from the top was amazing. The clouds finally lifted and you could see all of Salzburg and the surrounding Alps. I could have stayed up there forever. Lastly, we went to the top of the Hotel Stein for the free view atop their rooftop bar at sunset.
That night we watched The Sound of Music and pointed out all of the places we had gone on our tour. In the morning, Sarah was off to Munich for Octoberfest and Mary Catherine and I were off on our bus to Zurich!

Stop 4: Zurich

Our bus (that we each paid about $25 for) was AMAZING. It was a double decker with reclining comfy seats and a perfect view out the front. Leaving Salzburg at sunrise to drive through Germany was picturesque. Seriously look into traveling by bus with Meinfernbus! So cheap and so nice. 

As soon as we hopped off the bus in Zurich, Mary Catherine and I went to the famous confectionary: Conditorei Schober.
Beautiful and delicious are understatements. We both had a cup of their world famous hot cocoa and a slice of passion fruit cheesecake. What a way to start off Zurich!
We then went exploring around the city and visited two famous churches, the Fraumünster and St. Peter. Chagall’s stain glass windows in Fraumünster were absolutely incredible to see in person, and the largest clock face in Europe on St. Peter's tower was amazing. In St. Peters we met some girls studying abroad in Italy from California, and we hit it off so well we all went to dinner together in the cute walking streets of the old town. It was so fun to make some new friends in Zurich and share study abroad stories together! 

The next day we went to the top of Mount Üetliberg and got a bird’s eye view of the city. The train ride to the top of the mountain was beautiful, and the walk to the top through the woods was so refreshing. We looked out over Zurich and the surrounding mountains and reflected on how thankful we were to have the opportunity to travel around Europe.    
Swiss cheese fondue was next up on our Zurich food bucket list! We went an adorable restaurant in a hotel known for the best fondue in town. Delicious. 

We did another free walking tour and got to hear about the history of Zurich as we roamed the streets. We ended at Grossmünster, the last church to check off our list, and were in awe again of the beautiful architecture. 
Lastly, we went to the Kunsthaus Museum and wandered for hours admiring works by Picasso, Miro, Monet and Chagall.

After ten days of traveling from country to country, managing foreign languages, currency, and public transportation, I was so excited to be back in Copenhagen with my host family. This was a moment of realization that my study abroad experience has officially become where I am comfortable, happy, living and thriving. I would have never thought that Copenhagen would be a place that would bring me so much comfort and peace. When I stepped into the airport, I was relieved instead of overwhelmed by hearing Danish. The metro felt like my car at home as I sat down and had no fear where I was going or how to get home. The pumpkin on the front porch of my host family’s house brought me feelings of fall in Nashville, and laying down in my bed reminded me of coming home for Christmas break from school. Copenhagen now gives me feelings of home, instead of feelings of travel. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, and I can’t help but to beam when I reflect on how this city has transformed from a place of newness and insecurity to a place of comfort and tranquility.  

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