Wow where do I even begin? I just spent the last week traveling to various cities in Italy, and if I could summarize the whole trip in one word it would be “bliss.” This past week was the first of the two travel weeks during the fall semester here at DIS. Each student has one of these weeks free and the other is spent traveling with their core course. I travel with my class during the second week (coming up very soon at the end of the month) and we will be going to Rome (Italy again, yes I know). After spending a week away from Denmark it feels quite strange to be back. It was weird to have a full week off in the middle of the semester to go traveling, and coming back to classes was a bit of a challenge. But here we are, and luckily I brought home enough pasta, chocolate, and olive oil to last me until I go back to Italy for the second time:)
I traveled with a friend I know from Georgetown, Melanie, who is currently at DIS Stockholm and had the same travel week off as me. I had never been to Italy before, but I actually speak a little Italian after taking it for two years in college. We spent eight days exploring three different places: Bologna, Cinque Terre and Venice. Splitting the trip between three different destinations gave us the perfect amount of time in each city, which were all were all so different from each other despite being in the same country!
Bologna is a major foodie city (yes, this is why I chose to visit here). Centered in the region that produces Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano cheese, and balsamic vinegar, this came as no surprise. To make things even better, food was insanely cheap compared to Denmark. We had delicious meals for the price of a coffee and pastry in Copenhagen, which just blew my mind. But, instead of me describing those meals, here are some pictures.
After Bologna we took a train to a collection of five towns known as Cinque Terre, meaning the five lands. This is where I think I found my version of heaven on earth. The small villages are full of adorable colorful houses perched on cliffs high above the Mediterranean Sea. Seeing the beach and the sun glistening on the water was absolutely amazing, and Melanie and I just kept repeating how perfect everything was. We spent a full day hiking between the five towns on beautiful trails overlooking the sea, and then stopping in the various towns for pasta pit stops (and gelato, of course). I had the most yummy seafood and also so much pesto, which happens to come from this region! The weather? PERFECT. Cool enough to comfortably hike in but also warm enough to wear sandals and cute dresses. I will definitely be coming back here again at some point in my life. If anyone reading this has a free weekend or a chance to visit… GO! You will not regret it.
From Cinque Terre, we took a longer train ride to Venice, consisting of three stops, but lots of beautiful views of the mountains and the countryside. We arrived in Venice after dark, and I was stunned by the magical feel of the city with the moonlight sparkling on the canals. Venice was definitely a more touristy and expensive city than the others we visited, but still so worth it. Every single street was so beautiful and photogenic; Melanie and I spent our three days there getting lost in all the little side streets, and absolutely loving it.
Overall Advice for the Free Travel Week
Some of my DIS friends visited three or more different cities across all of Europe, hopping around on a bunch of flights all in the span of seven days. Although it sounds super cool to visit Athens, London and Amsterdam all in one week, I would recommend not doing that, as travel can get exhausting sometimes. Within Italy, we took trains between cities and none were longer than three hours total, which was perfect and really allowed us to take advantage of all our time in the country. I would also advise planning out the things you want to do and places you want to visit before getting there, so you can make the most of the week.
After eight days in Italy, despite it being so wonderful and amazing, I was ready to come back to Copenhagen. Honestly, being away from my happy little apartment and my flatmates made me appreciate living here so much more than I already did, and I love that Copenhagen has become a place I can come home to:)