9 months: 11 countries, 29 cities.

My wonderful, amazing, cliche life-changing study abroad year is at an end, and I find I’ll like to remember all the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit. So for one blog post let’s explore the trips I’ve managed to take since I arrived in Montpellier on August 17, 2013.

1. Francefrench flag

Cities I visited: Aix-en-Provence, Annecy, Arles, Avignon, Carcassonne, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Narbonne, Nice, Nimes, Paris, Perpignan,  Rouen, Toulouse Continue reading

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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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Going to Salzburg? Your 4 must-do’s

One of my best spur-of-the-moment decisions when I studied abroad became when I decided to take a day trip from Munich, where 2 friends and I had planned to visit for a weekend to celebrate the end of finals, to Salzburg. When discussing travel tips with my dad- who spent years in Germany- he suggested we take a train to Salzburg. I knew Salzburg was in Austria, but that was about it…I didn’t know anything about the city! It was a wonderful decision that gave my friend Brooke and I many memories and another country to check off the list!

1. Hohensalzburg Castle

The main attraction in Salzburg is the fortress castle that is perched up on top of the Festunsberg, the hill of the city. Visible from anywhere in Salzburg, the fortress casts an imposing view over the train station that we exited on that cold day. As we decided to be cheap and hike up the hill ourselves rather than take the Furnicular- also good for burning off bratwurst calories!- we saved a euro each in admission fees. Exact figures can be found here. The hike up to the fortress gave us gorgeous views of Salzburg!

We climbed that!

We climbed that!

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