So this is a long one, but I did so much over break, here it goes…
Last Friday (the 25th) started my fall break I had a whole week off so I made plans to travel outside of Italy for the first time. I decided to visit my Villanova roommate Victoria who is studying at Cambridge University this semester (smarty) for the first half. Then was invited by my friend Cat to go to Greece where she has a lot of family. This week marked a few firsts for me starting with the first time I flew by myself, (the first time I have flown in jeans haha) and first time to the UK and Greece! I started my trek after my Italian midterm for a week of fun! I first flew on Ryanair, a budget airline and sat next to this adorable little Italian boy and his father, the boy offered me his snacks and I let him lean over to look out the window when we were landing it was really cute.
I got to Cambridge Friday night and was so excited to see Victoria and hang out for the first time in what felt like forever. We got to her house, I met her roommates and we all went out to their favorite bar/club, Revolution. It was a really cool place the bottom floor was a bar, the second a dance area more like a club and then a rooftop bar. We hung out on the roof, did some dancing, we were back at it, going out together again, it was a blast. Saturday we got up early-ish (for after a night out) and Victoria showed me all around Cambridge and the different Colleges. There were students in caps and gowns who had just graduated it was fun to see. We got into Kings College one of the famous Cambridge Colleges (and for free which you usually have to pay to see). We walked around and it was beautiful, the church was so pretty and we walked around the grounds over the river on a warm fall afternoon. After walking around, shopping and catching up we went Punting with some of Victoria’s roommates. Punting is a Cambridge tradition where you get a boat and advance yourself down the river using a pole and by pushing on the bottom of the river you go down the river. The girls just sat and had some wine and let the boys do the work. It was really fun and seemed hard to do! Saturday night we went to Revolution again clearly their favorite spot!
Sunday Victoria and I went to London and we did a TON we walked to Big Ben, saw the Parliament Building, walked to Buckingham Palace around to Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar and Leicester Squares. There was actually an American Football game being played at Wembley Stadium in London so we thought we might be able to find a place to watch football for a while. We were told to go to the casino which seemed weird, but we got there and they didn’t have just the one game but every football game being played on a TV in different rooms. It was like heaven we had been so deprived of watching our favorite sport it was fun to watch together. The guy who ran the game viewings was really nice brought us some free drinks and introduced us to his friends (English and Irish) sitting nearby. We chatted with them for most of the night while watching the games, they were genuinely interested to see other American football fans in London they had just got into the sport a few years ago and loved talking about the sport and atmosphere around football in the US. The night was different from what I expected as a night out in London but it was a good time, I really miss football (even though the Giants aren’t doing so hot). Sunday we toured Westminster Abbey and did some shopping in Knightsbridge, it was more window shopping because it was all the brand name stores but we walked through Harrods for hours because everything was so beautiful. Later we went for dinner by the London Tower Bridge on Saint Katherine’s Docks at this cute place called the Dickinson Inn, we both tried Fish and Chips, the piece of fish was huge but it was good! I think I can say I like fish now hah. We asked the bartender where to go out on a Monday night and they told us to go to this Australian Bar nearby called Walkabout. It was more of a club we danced and had another really fun and different night. In the morning Victoria had to leave to go to class but I stayed to tour the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels, they were incredible. I walked around the towers a little but it seemed more geared towards children with interactive things and cartoon characters it was cute but I felt really old. After I wandered along the Thames River and walked across
London Tower Bridge which was really pretty before taking the train back go Cambridge. For my last night in Cambridge we tried Revolution again but the bouncer told us it was dead and to try a club called Ballare which had a big party going on. It was a Halloween party and it was really entertaining, it was a student night so it was a lot of Cambridge students they we quite an interesting group to watch, we felt like we were at a middle or high school dance but we still made it fun.
Overall it was nice being in UK, to hear English and be able to talk to people around me with no problem. Cambridge was a really cute small town, but I didn’t love London I’m not sure why, it was interesting to see everything there, but it didn’t compare go my Roma.
Wednesday was my travel day started with a 2 hour train from Cambridge to Gatwick airport and a 3 and 1/2 hour flight to Athens, then an hour bus to where Cat, Abbie and Cat’s cousin Angeliki picked me up! Long travel day but it wasn’t too bad and was totally worth it. Greece is absolutely gorgeous, and Cat’s aunt and cousin were so welcoming (and made us amazing home cooked Greek food). When I first got in the car Angeliki took us to the top of a hill that had an amazing view of the entire city all lit up. Then she took us to Gazi where we had some food and a really good drink I don’t know what it’s called (everything’s in Greek) but it was warm with honey and cinnamon so yummy. Thursday we went to the Acropolis and the new museum and saw the Parthenon. It was incredible to see I didn’t know much of the history but Cat does and was a little tour guide filling me in about the Greek myths. After walking around we met up with another one of Cat’s cousins Demetria for a late lunch/early dinner of gyro Greek salad and some zucchini ball things-all really too good. Abbie and I went out to Gazi again [Cat wasn’t feeling great :(] after getting lost on the way we found the bars they were a fun atmosphere, expensive though so we hung out for a bit before heading back. Friday we went out of the city to the beach to meet up with Cat’s Thea Vivi she took us to the Temple of Poseidon which had an amazing view of the Aegeon Sea. After, we went to the beach! I had a wardrobe malfunction when trying to put on my bathing suit, the string from my top broke, literally so annoying. But Abbie and Cat were going swimming and made me! And I wanted to, so I went swimming in my tank haha. It was really cold but refreshing and amazingly clear, I could open my eyes under the water and see everything. After Vivi had a feast for us of course: a rice and shrimp dish with tomato and feta, meatballs, and Greek salad, it was too good once again! Never did I think I was going to get homemade Greek food in Greece. Later that night we went out with Angeliki and her boyfriend to a few really cool bars in the Monastiraki area. Saturday we slept in which was a nice change…I don’t remember the last time I was able to do that! We walked around Syntagma Square, Monastiraki and Placca. We had some lunch I had gyro so delicious, I had no idea I liked Greek food! Later that night we went out again with Angeliki and her boyfriend for a drink at a Mexican bar (it was busy because it was Dia de Los Muertos) it was funky and a nice last night. Sunday we packed up and left for the airport, stopping with Angeliki for some coffee and a quick bite at a rooftop bar with a view of the acropolis it was so warm and a beautiful view, a perfect end to a great vacation.
I absolutely loved Greece and Athens it was even more beautiful that I imagined. I think a big part of how much I enjoyed Greece was because of Cat’s family. It was amazing having people around who know the city and could take us out and around to the best spots. It was so really nice to see a family, even though it wasn’t my own family, they were so welcoming to Abbie and I and you could see and feel the love around. I loved Greece and I really hope to return some day. Now it’s back to my reality here in Rome with a crazy November schedule and probably some actual school work to get done…