Hiking along the Italian Coast

I shared a few photos from our hike through Cinque Terre, Italy here. The seaside, the views – it’s lovely. : )

seaside.

We started out early in the day by grabbing some fruit at one of the small streetside markets….

snacks.
Our hike wound along the coast of the Mediterranean through 5 towns, some vineyards, and natural cliffs. In the middle of one orchard, we came across an Italian man selling fresh lemonade to hikers….

homemade.

fresh lemonade.

For lunch, we stopped in the harbor of one of the towns with some grab-and-go pizza….

lunch.

Throughout the hike, we overheard people talking in all different languages – Italian, English, German, French, and more. It was an interesting mélange of people from all different places – all come to enjoy the Italian coast….

hilltop.

Everyone we passed would say “excuse me” in a different language. Scusi, permesso, entschuldigung, pardon…

vista.

Cinque Terre is famous for its beautiful scenery and seaside hikes, but its mixture of different visitors makes for a really unique atmosphere, too. : )

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One Tuesday at Cinque Terre, Italy

In April, I got to spend my spring break – 11 days – in Italy. The trip was rich with history, culture, and especially food. : )

We spent most of our time in Rome, but made this day trip out to Cinque Terre for some beautiful hiking along the Italian coast.

riomaggiore.

seaside.
This hiking area is full of sweeping views, crisp and salty Mediterranean air, seaside life…

perch.
The main hiking trail also takes you through 5 small coastal Italian towns, where you find your way through small, winding, complex Italian alleys….

street.

Interesting architecture and inspiring personal touches accent the walls and streets throughout each of the towns…

mixed media.
italian.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about some of the food we came across as well as the atmosphere of our hike! See you then. : )

Danish Street Music

 
 
I looove street music. Traveling around some of the big European cities, I’m always excited to see what sorts of music the street musicians play. Accordions in Italy, violins in Stockholm, and all the different kinds in Paris – they’re all so cool!

But some of my fave street music is from Copenhagen, Denmark….

Awesome! : )

Wrapping Things Up

It’s getting late here in Freiburg.

I’m catching the early train to Frankfurt in the morning, and flying from there back to the States. It’s been almost exactly four months since I first came to Europe, but the time has flown.

Right now I’m feeling….

  • Sad to say goodbye to all the aaaamazing people I’ve met!
  • Bummed to leave this fab city of Freiburg
  • Eager to see my family
  • Excited for some Chick-fil-A!

This has been one of the most amazing times, and greatest of opportunities, of my life. I have absolutely loved my time spent abroad studying Germany and the European Union.

freiburg.

I had the great fortune to be able to travel to lots of different cities and countries this semester – sometimes with my study program and sometimes on my own. I spent so much time making all these great memories and the rest of my time cramming for school…. And sometimes, I didn’t get the chance to blog about it all.

SO! My plan for after I get to the US of A: finish blogging and fill in the gaps. There’s still a lot about study abroad and my experiences that I can’t wait to share with you guys! Stay tuned for….

“A Barista Tours Vienna’s Coffeehouses”
“Easter at the Vatican”
“A Weekend in Copenhagen”
“Food around Freiburg”
….and more. : )

 
Alles Liebe,
Kate

Model European Union

It’s been finals week here in Freiburg, and I officially finished my last one today! It feels great to be done with all the exams, but my study abroad program still has one more big academic event….

The Model European Union Summit, 2011.

model eu.

This weekend, all the students on my program are suiting up and stepping into character to represent EU member states in a simulation summit. We’re divided into two groups: Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers. And we’re all discussing hot topics facing Europe today, just like in the real EU.

I’m the foreign minister for Lithuania…
lithuania.

…and I’ll be talking about European Neighborhood Policy, European Enlargement, the new European External Action Service (EEAS), and Common Asylum/Refugee Policy.

Most of my time will be spent in this room:

model european union.

It’ll be around 13 to 14 hours of debate, discussion, and compromise. The goal is to draft some legislation addressing those EU topics, but mostly we’re here to learn about the involved, complicated, and difficult process of meeting the needs of all European states.

Might be a bit of a bumpy ride!

Taking a Walk

The weather is so nice this week in Freiburg! It’s inspiring me to take more walks. Although I usually hop on the tram in the mornings, I like to do the 30 minute walk back to my dorm after classes. I love the sights and smells of springtime Germany in the evening. : )

Here are a few photos from my familiar walk….

kirche.
sidewalk.
street art.
bissierstraße.
field.

On the Autobahn

 
 
I’ve talked before about getting around Germany, where the train is definitely my go-to mode of transport. But sometimes I also get the chance to take buses on the autobahn, or German highway.

autobahn 1.

The interesting thing about the autobahn in the area where I live: no official, federal speed limit! Generally, the advice is to stay under 75 or 80 mph, but it’s a funny feeling never seeing a speed limit sign on the interstate.

autobahn 2.

Cool fact I learned: Germany has the third longest interstate in the world.

autobahn 3.

I love riding through the German countryside. And here in BadenWürttemberg, there are always mountains along the horizon in the distance. J’adore. : )

Guest Post: Lucky Enough Blog in Ireland

You’re in for a treat! Here’s a special guest post from Lizzie over at Lucky Enough Blog. She’s studying in Galway, Ireland and today’s she sharing how Ireland has lived up to her expectations….

 
 
as soon as i told friends and family that i was going to study abroad, i received the exact same feedback multiple times a day: “oh my! you are going to have the best time of your life!”

now i think that is a whole lot of pressure to put upon a brand new adventure. moving from san diego, leaving my full time job, and deciding to study abroad in ireland was big enough on it’s own. but now it had to be the best time of my life? wowzers.

weeks before i left for ireland i spent hours online reading other study abroad students’ blogs. i looked at photos and read stories about so many amazing experiences. i made a list of places i had to see and photos i had to take and things i had to do.

and then i landed in ireland. i moved to the most exquisite, quaint, and welcoming town galway. for the first month i was bogged down by my lists. i beat myself up for having jet lag. how could i be wasting precious time sleeping? i beat myself up for not seeing the entire island within the first two weeks. what was i doing with my time?

and finally, during a trip to the cliffs of moher i let myself go. i decided to just live. looking over cliffs as majestic as the cliffs of moher you are forced to feel a monumental change inside your soul. i let go of my lists and my must dos must sees. and i tried very hard to just see and do as it happened.

my entire life i’ve always built up such high expectations for everything. i’ve always been that girl who cannot sleep the night before going to disneyland. i’ve always been the girl who paints lovely pictures of what each event in her life is going to look like. and while optimism has never been an issue for me, i’m filled to the brim with it, letting go of strict expectations has not been easy for me.

ireland has exceeded my expectations ten fold because for the first time, i’ve let them go. the only thing i truly expect is that ireland will love me just as much as i love her. i love her green hills and her blue rivers, i love her cold winds and her persistent showers. i love her people and i love living here. am i having the best time of my life? well who really knows. but i know i’m happy, and that’s truly all that matters.

if you’re lucky enough to be happy, you’re lucky enough

Thank so much for sharing your experience abroad with us, Lizzie! Ireland sounds amazing, and I hope to visit it someday. : )
 
You can read more of Lizzie’s adventures in Ireland on her blog, or follow her on twitter @luckyenoughblog.

Spring Break: Viva Italia!

Spring Break has officially started, and I’m excited to be spending it in Italy!

I’m staying in Rome for 11 days, and making two day trips: Florence and Cinque Terre.

It’s been crazy busy at school lately with projects and papers and presentations and research, and I am mega excited to relax and sightsee in Italy. Today, my friend Emily and I visited the Vatican and saw St. Peter’s Basilica (including visiting the very top of the cupola on the roof for a great view of the whole city!), the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel.

Here we are in the square of St. Peter’s Basilica….
st. peter's square.
And for lunch we got our first real, authentic Italian pizza! Yummm….

pizza italiana.
The Vatican + gelato + authentic Italian pizza…. our first full day in Rome was so exciting!

AND! Today, April 21st is Rome’s birthday – celebrating Rome since 753 BC. I love being around so much history. : )

Springtime in Freiburg!

  
It’s springtime in Freiburg!

Along with the warmer weather and longer days, other small changes are taking place all around town. For example, more and more flowers are for sale each day at the open-air market….

flower stands.

Trees and flowers are blooming everywhere….
sidewalk.

And even the ground beneath your feet is decorated by the spring blossoms!
pink.

I love Germany in the springtime. : )