Category Archives: Independent Travel

The Castles of Ireland

One of the things I was most excited about doing in my semester abroad in Dublin was taking in as much Irish/European history as I could. There is just such a magic in the subject here that delves so much farther back than anything the US has to offer. In particular, one of the key features I wanted to explore at length while here was castles.

From where we stepped off the bus

From where we stepped off the bus

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Hiking Howth

Northeast of Dublin, no more than thirty minutes on the DART, local train service, is the coastal village of Howth. The village isn’t one of those well-kept secrets we all hope to stumble upon in our travels; it was pretty crowded with tourists on the Saturday that I went. Still, if you want to get […]

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Under the Tuscan Sun

BY julianna pratt, ’16 // early childhood and elementary EDUCATION

Fall Break was magical. During this week-long break I had the opportunity to visit Italy, a place I have been longing to go to since I can remember. My entire family is very Italian and I have always dreamed of going there. It was just as perfect as I could imagine. The architecture was beautiful, as well as the views of the rolling hills of Italy and the wine, the most delicious wine. My seven days in Italy were fabulous, I couldn’t have asked for a better break with three of my closest friends.

The view of the Alps from the air

The view of the Alps from the air

I hopped on the plane in Dublin and flew over to mainland Europe and I got to see the most fantastical scene, the Alps from the air. It was absolutely beautiful. Then as we landed I was so excited because I was finally here. I landed in Italy!  I couldn’t imagine being more excited. I then took a bus from Pisa to Florence and the real adventure began. I walked through all of Florence, heading to my friends’ apartments and I was just stunned. I kept stopping and gazing around; I was awestruck. Everything was brilliant. As I entered Renae and Katelyn’s, my two friends, apartment, I ran straight to their big open air window and glanced at the street below. Everything was just as I’d pictured.

Enjoying aperitivo with my friend Renae

Enjoying aperitivo with my friend Renae

Later that night, I learned of one of the most glorious part of Italian culture. Aperitivo. Aperitivo is a before dinner appetizer and drink. You pay 7€ to 10€ for any drink and you get to eat at the appetizer buffet all night long for free and everything was delicious. Negroni was the best place for aperitivo in all of Florence, all the food was delicious and the staff was friendly. It was a great way to start my adventure in Italy.

The pizza!

The pizza!

The next day we got to experience the Central Market which is filled to the brim with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats as well as having some of the best pastries around. Any food you could imagine was sold there and that was just the first floor. The second floor was filled with restaurants and kitchens for cooking classes. This was where I ate the best pizza, hands down, that I ever had in my life. All the ingredients were fresh including the dough, cheese and vegetables. It was amazing. Outside the central market, the streets were filled with hundreds of vendors each of them selling different things, trying to draw you into their booth. Seeing this market opened my eyes to part of the Italian culture.

Kaitlin and I exploring the Boboli Gardens and the Petti Palace

Kaitlin and I exploring the Boboli Gardens and the Petti Palace.

On Tuesday, I got to experience the Boboli Gardens and Petti Palace. This is probably one of the biggest pieces of land in Florence. This palace used to be owned by the Medici family and still holds many of their collections in what is now a museum. Petti Palace is home to exhibits of art, fashion, dishware, and much more. The history that I learned as I walked through the rooms of the palace was incredible. Also I think one of my favorite places I visited on this trip was the Boboli Gardens. It had panoramic views of all of Florence and was filled with beautiful lawns and fountains. I could have spent hours just wandering through these gardens. Continue reading

What To Do If You Are Stranded

During Fall or Spring break at Champlain Abroad, students have 10 days to explore the continent and immerse themselves in European culture. Some students chose to stay in Ireland, going through the beautiful countrysides and seeing castles. Others decided to go to the beaches of Southern France. I decided I wanted to spend my week-long vacation in Prague, Czech Republic and […]

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Strung Tight in Dublin

Firstly: Congratulations to everyone who has already been accepted to Champlain Abroad Dublin next semester! It’s great news that you’re coming over to such a fantastic city and get to experience Europe next spring! Now for the bad news: the budget. It can get a bit expensive living in Europe with the exchange rate, travel, […]

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Tips and Tricks to deal with Homesickness

When you travel somewhere else – like sleeping over at a friends house or sleep away camp, you know you are in for a fun time! It can be exciting to get away from home, learning new things, and spending time with friends! Study abroad is a fantastic experience to do all of that and […]

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Travel Tips: Study Abroad Dublin

Part of the allure of Champlain Abroad is the ability to travel throughout the world. By going to the Champlain Dublin program, I would have multiple weekends to take trips anywhere I wanted. These trips are independent of the college, although many faculty members are willing to be of assistance in making travel plans. This […]

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