March 14, 2022

For the end of February and the beginning of March I had a winter break. I learned this was a winter break and not a spring break because I get a two-week spring break at the end of April and the beginning of May. The Thursday before the break (because I have no class on Thursday and Friday), I met with my group members for a paper we are working on and then directly headed to the airport to go to Barcelona. My best friend from high school is studying abroad for the semester in Barcelona and because I had the extra days for break, I wanted to go visit her as well as see a new city.

I was also looking forward to sunny weather because the weather in January and February is so dreary in Paris and I just wanted some sun! Because my friend is living with a host family this semester (which I highly recommend while studying abroad because you get to learn more about your host culture as well as get to practice the language!), I had to stay in an AirBnB, but this AirBnB had a beautiful view of the city, and it was so nice to wake up and see the sun. I got to see the main sights in Barcelona like the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Park Güell, and other things, as well as getting to go to the beach (although it was way too cold to get in the water).

Sagrada Familia

After going to Barcelona, I flew back to Paris to repack my bag and catch a train to go to Stuttgart, Germany. I know it is crazy that I flew back to France and then went to another country in the same day, but it was so easy to do (I was super tired, but I also had to stay up late that night to catch office hours with a professor at Boston College). One of my best friends that I made here while being abroad in France is from Germany and for the vacation, she let me come to her house and then one day take a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, which is something I have always wanted to see. It was nice being able to go to her house because it was like I was going home to my family’s house, so it got rid of some slight homesickness of being in a big city and living alone.

The first day I was there I just got to see the town, but then the second day we took a 3-hour road trip to the castle. Again, it was nice riding in a car and taking a road trip for once, because I do not drive in Europe and so I never get to take road trips from Paris. We got there two hours early and so we walked to the top and had hot chocolate and sat and talked while we waited for the tour. Finally, when our tour time came, I was so excited, but then the tour only lasted 30-minutes! The castle was never fully finished once the king who was building it suddenly died, and so the only part that was truly finished was the king’s wing and some of the servants’ wings. The views were beautiful, but I was so sad to know that the whole castle that I saw was just an empty shell.

Neuschwanstein Castle

We then took the 3-hour drive back home and her family made Spätzle with lentils for dinner, which is a traditional German dish (which I LOVE). We took the train back to Paris the next day because for the two weeks following, I have had friends come for their Spring Breaks and so I have had to host a lot of people in my tiny apartment. It has been so nice to travel and get to see friends, but I also cannot wait to fall back into my normal school routine!