It’s MAY?

It’s May. Did you know that? It’s already MAY. Which means my time abroad has reached its final month. Its final 26 days?? How is this possible? I have a feeling it has something to do with the month of April and how jam packed it was and how quickly it flew by… So, let us investigate the month of April further.

April 1-7: School. The 4th was my first test in my Sorbonne course on comparative literature, and I did well on it by the way! Most of this week was spent, however, running around in a frantic panic trying to prepare for spring break.

April 8: Leave for Italy– Arrive in Rome in the afternoon and meet my brother, Kevin at the huge train station. We drop our bags off in the hostel and take a whirlwind evening tour of the city. He drops quite a bit of impressive history on me, which is no doubt due to his job working at an abroad program in Tuscany. We hit all the monuments and ruins just as dusk has settled in on Rome and everything is beautiful. We had gelato before dinner, which ended up being pizza sold by the kilo. Perfection.

April 9: We checked out a museum of Roman history that was between our hostel and the train station to kill time before our train to Arezzo, the town in Tuscany where Kevin lives and works at the Academia Dell Arte.  It just so happens that one of my best friends from high school, Lucy, is studying dance there this semester. We arrived in the afternoon after a beautiful train ride through the Italian countryside and met Lucy and some other students in a ruin of an amphitheater, which is apparently very standard in those parts. That evening, we had an amazing dinner where I ate gnocchi with sage butter sauce and panna cotta and all sorts of other delicious things. I stayed up all night and watched the sun rise from the villa over the beautiful Tuscan landscape.

April 10: A lazy Sunday is the same thing  worldwide it seems. We lounged and eventually got supplies to cook a delicious dinner with Lucy and a few of her friends as well as my brother. Then we promptly passed out.

April 11: While everyone else had to go to class or work, I took a solo journey into Florence in the morning. One of my friends from elementary school, who lived down the street from me my entire life, happened to be studying there, so we met for lunch after I’d taken in the city. Amazing food. Amazing duomo. But, it was my last day, so I headed back to Arezzo to prepare to leave. It was really sad saying goodbye to my brother! I got a train back to Rome, and stayed in a hostel for the night before an early flight to Portugal!

April 12-15 Discovered that I’m in love with Portugal. Stayed at an incredible hostel, with dinners and free city tours and incredible staff. We saw the sights, went to the beach in Cascais, checked out the modern Oriente neighborhood. We were all really bummed out to leave to go to Spain, but headed to Madrid regardless, hoping to get back to Lisbon some day soon.

April 15-16: The afternoon in Lisbon was hot and beautiful; we went to the most lovely park and passed the afternoon sitting lake-side as Spanish people paddled around in boats in front of us. We were all feeling so great! Dinner was difficult as we ran into some language barriers– my friend Katy ended up receiving a plate full of raw salmon– definitely not what she expected. After dinner, disaster struck. We’d planned to buy our train tickets to Alicante the next day, but when we went to check the times online, everything was completely sold out. So were the buses. We spent 4 hours trying to figure something out but finally at 3 am we gave up, with the plan to wake up at 5 and get to the bus station when it opened, to try to get the last 4 spots on a 7am bus. Well, the bus was sold out, so we had to stick around until noon in the bus station, but we did eventually make it to our beach-side destination– though once we got there, it was cold. And windy.

April 17: Beach day, which was incredibly cold and windy but we made it work. We all ended up getting silly sunburns though, accidentally. We checked out the castle at the top of a hill in the center of the city and the views were incredible.

April 18-20: BARCELONA! The train to Barcelona was peaceful but we were all excited to get to what we’d heard was the most fun destination in Europe. Our hostel was very lively. We took a bike tour one day that was really fun; not what I was expecting seeing as I haven’t ridden a bike in years. It was a great way to see all the sights of the city quickly but thoroughly. I also ran into 6 different Batesies while I was in Barcelona– madness! Made me really excited for senior year!

April 21-22: Back in Paris, and my friend Liane from Bates happens to be visiting with her mom for April break. Liane and I went abroad opposite semesters so I hadn’t seen her in almost a year. We lounged in parks and had picnics and all sorts of other lovely french things.

April 23-27: PARENTS IN PARIS! My parents arrived and the weather was beautiful and we saw all sorts of sights and sat in cafes and ate THE MOST AMAZING FOOD! Since I’ve been here, I haven’t been eating out frequently because it’s so expensive, but with my parents I dined at all the most incredible restaurants. Lets just say I’ve never eaten so much “foie” or animal liver in my life..

.April 28-May 1: PROVENCE with my parents. We stayed in a beautiful “mas” or farmhouse in St Saturnin les Apt, in the Luberon region of Southern France. We spent the weekend exploring little towns with medieval ruins and old churches, and of course eating more incredible food. It was kind of stressful though, as I had to act as translator for all these people and that certainly put the pressure on. All in all, though, it was an incredible weekend.

See? Didn’t April go fast?? I hope May isn’t the same. Other than exams, the only thing on my calendar currently is a trip to BUDAPEST this weekend to visit the Bates short-term abroad class. Check back for a post on that!

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About nbrouder
I'm a senior at Bates College getting ready for thesis and the real world!

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