Geeking out in Berlin

 

 I have been dying to go to Berlin for quite some time- it was on my list of places to visit before I left to study abroad in Montpellier! I didn`t make it there during my junior year abroad and placed it #1 on my travel list  when I found out I was accepted to TAPIF!  I majored in history in college, after all, and grew up with my dad teaching me episodes during the Cold War. Berlin just has so much to offer for me to learn about WWII and the Cold War, I couldn’t wait. Luckily, there was a flash sale on Ryanair linking Berlin and Adam’s #1 travel destination, Bratislava, so our Christmas trip was practically planned out for us!

There’s just so much to see in Berlin that I felt like I barely scratched the surface! 

All. The. Christmas. Markets.  Continue reading

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Its Christmastime in the city…

When I found out Adam was just half an hour outside of Paris by train, I knew we had to tack on a few days in Paris before jetting off to Berlin for Christmas. One reason: to see the Paris Christmas markets and the city all decked out for the holidays! Paris certainly did not disappoint. Everything was decorated for Christmas- from the train station to the restaurants to the sidewalks to the national monuments. I absolutely love holiday decorations and felt like I was whipping out my camera every five seconds (probably because I was!), but it really was that good. You can read more about the Christmas markets of Paris here.

Gare du Nord

Gare du Nord

As I mentioned during my October break, Galeries Lafayette is seriously underrated as a beautiful spot in Paris. Best part is: it gets even better for Christmas! Continue reading

Une soirée de Noel

The teachers I work with at Lycée Arbez Carme have really been very welcoming- even the ones who I don`t work with, who don`t teach English! I`ve been invited out for lunch, dinner, had apéro at their homes, and been included in faculty-wide activities such as the annual Christmas dinner. One of my teachers even volunteered to cut my hair when I asked around for a hairdresser recommendation!

We all (about 30 teachers) descended on the banquet hall of the amazing restaurant/hotel Hotel au Moulin du Pont and had a blast! I got to meet some new teachers that I hadn`t had the chance to meet before, and have more in-depth conversations with the English teachers that I assist in class. It was an excellent way to practice my French- being the only anglophone in attendance!

In addition to the conversation, no Christmas dinner post would be complete without the FOOD! Continue reading

Snapshots of Christmas break

Happy New Year! I recently-just this week, actually- got back from a 4 country trip for the Christmas holidays! With Adam, I got to visit the Paris Christmas markets, spend Christmas in Berlin, New Years in Bratislava, Slovakia, along with a much-too-short day trip to Vienna. I had an absolutely amazing time and wil have several blog posts up in the next few weeks, but here are some initial photos from my fantastic trip!

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one of the lock bridges in Paris

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Christmas markets of France…(and Germany and Austria)

One of the best things about studying abroad during the fall semester (and the full year!) is the array of Christmas markets than you can enjoy. Europe really does it up for Christmas, and French Christmas markets are spectacular, along with those of other nations’! Here’s a roundup of the Christmas markets I was able to attend in 2013!

Update: Christmas market additions from 2015!

Montpellier

Of course, the that I knew the best is the one near which I lived! The Christmas market was located within the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle- or park at the end of the Place de la Comédie. The two main passages were lined with chalets selling chocolates, jewelry, scarves, Christmas tree ornaments, decorations, hot wine, or food. A big attraction was the ice skating rink located at the front of all the boutiques, with both French and American Christmas carols playing for the skaters. This first Christmas market was where I- along with all the study abroad students- developed a taste for vin chaud, or mulled wine. You can learn more about the Montpellier Christmas market here.

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“Les Hivernales”: the name given to the Montpellier market

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Christmas in Europe

I am very excited to be writing that after 4 months I`ll be seeing my family! My family will be spending Christmas vacation here in France with me: we`ll spend Christmas itself here in Montpellier, where I`ll show them my stomping grounds and take them on some of my favorite day trips: Aigues-Mortes, St Guilhem le Desert, and the Pont du Gard. After Christmas we`ll pack up and head to Barcelona- stopping at Figueras, Girona, Perpignan, and Carcassonne along the way! I cannot wait! Stay tuned, and Merry Christmas!