Just like everything else so far this semester, fall break flew by and is now a thing of this past! Everyone is now back in school mode and ready to see more of Rome. I loved hearing everyone’s different adventures, anywhere from London to Morocco and Turkey to Amsterdam was covered by Temple Rome students. As for me, I got to explore the beautiful cities of Paris and Barcelona for a week! Since this is my first time in Europe, I really enjoyed getting to visit two very different cities, and loved being able to come home to Rome at the end of the week. I spent the first weekend of fall break in Rome, then jetted off to Paris last Monday morning. We packed our days full with museums, churches, parks, and crepes. I got to visit Musee d’Orsay, which had am amazing collection of Impressionist paintings and of course The Louvre. Somehow we managed to see all but one section in one morning and needless to say I was the biggest art history nerd possible, literally swooning over sculptures and paintings I’ve been waiting forever to see.
We visited a few of the city’s prettiest gardens, hunted down Starbucks, and had a night out at a Parisian club near the Arc di Triumph. Our last day in Paris was my favorite- we visited both Saint Chappelle and Notre Dame. Saint Chappelle is a gorgeous 700 year old church with huge stained glass windows throughout the entire chapel.
Friday morning we left for Barcelona and arrived mid-day. We were pleasantly surprised with the hostel we booked, it was 20 feet from the beach and we had our own room! Since we were exhausted from Paris and all of the traveling from the previous few days, we slowed our pace significantly for the weekend. We explored Las Ramblas, the main street in Barcelona that runs north and south, filled with markets, vendors, and delicious food. We got the chance to go the Picasso Museum and saw the progression of his works form beginning to end. It was unreal to see how much his style changed based on where in Europe he was living. It was a tiny, but impressive museum, with works only by him. I am known to be an extremely picky eater, and have been doing pretty good in Rome. But Barcelona was my ultimate test. I don’t really like any kinds of spicy foods, so I was definitely nervous walking into a Spanish restaurant but I was so pleasantly surprised! They are famous for their ‘paella’, a rice dish usually served with seafood, and I think I literally ate it 4 times throughout our weekend. We also enjoyed the sangria! On our last night in Barcelona, we took a 3 hour bike tour around the city and got to see a number of architectural works by Gaudi, who really left his mark in Barcelona, designing a majority of the city’s most famous spots. Gaudi’s most famous project is La Segrada Familia, a large unfinished church in the center of city. It was started in 1883 by Gaudi and was never completed by him due to his early death. The church is supposed to be completed by 2026 and will have over 18 towers, representing the holy family.
We caught our flight back to Rome early Monday morning and headed back to class and back to our old routines. Out of all the things I learned and realized over break, I was so amazed by Europeans’ skill with language. We met so many people from different countries that could literally speak 6 or 7 languages. We met people our age from Sweden while we were in Paris and had them tell us each of the languages they knew how to speak. They all started to learn English by age 5 and by high school could speak Swedish, English, French, German, and Italian. Never have I felt worse about my lack of language skills! This occurred in Barcelona as well- one of our waiters came up to our table and said, “Italiano? English? Espanol?” and so on and so forth. He spoke great English to us, French to the people next to us, and Spanish to his co-workers. It’s so great to see people able to communicate with with so many different types of people. I wish I would’ve started learning other languages while I was younger, it would’ve helped me so much here and in the future!