Pisa, Paris, & Plane Problems!

Written by mackenziedyer June 12, 2023

Ciao! As I begin my last week at CIMBA, I am blown away by how quickly this experience has gone by. I have felt so much love, gratitude, and wonder during my time abroad. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredible people and create relationships that I will have for the rest of my life. The past 2 weeks have been some of my favorite memories I’ve made all year, so in this post, I wanted to do a little recap of my summer semester.

The past 4 weeks have been a whirlwind of fun, new and exciting adventures! Traveling to different places around Europe has been incredibly eye-opening and one of my favorite parts of being abroad. I’ve been from Pisa to Paris to Germany!! Being able to travel abroad has allowed me to discover my passion for exploring and trying new things. 

It’s hard to choose a favorite place in Italy. Everywhere you go is beautiful and offers a completely different experience. So far while abroad I’ve been to Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Venice, Paris, and Germany. Next weekend, I am ending my abroad journey in Rome! If I had to choose my most memorable weekend it would definitely be my 2nd travel weekend in Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre was absolutely beautiful! I am a beach girl through and through, so being on the coast was a highlight for me. On our way to Cinque Terre, we decided to spend Thursday night in Pisa! We arrived in Pisa around 6 and went straight to see the leaning tower. We snapped a few photos doing the iconic pose and then ate a delicious dinner. The next day, we headed to Cinque Terre and got settled into our villa. Our Airbnb was amazing and made for an enjoyable and relaxing weekend. On our first day, we did a cooking class in Monterosso where we got to make homemade pesto. It was so fun and fascinating to see all the ingredients that go into making true Italian food. 

I was lucky enough that my birthday fell on the Sunday of our travel weekend in Cinque Terre. Not many people can say they celebrated their 20th birthday in Italy with all their best friends, so I would consider myself extremely blessed. The reason I enjoyed this weekend so much wasn’t only because of the location we were in, but also the people I was with. My friends are the absolute best and made me feel so special all weekend long. A weekend filled with balcony breakfasts, dancing, swimming, and laughter is hard to beat.

For our third weekend, my friends and I decided to go to Paris! The 3rd travel weekend is known to be one of the “crazier” weekends while abroad and now I know why…. 

Paris has always been a bucket list item of mine, so I knew going into this experience I had to go! We left after class on Thursday and stayed our first night in Venice. Venice was very unique and unlike any place I had traveled before. The entire island is connected by bridges and mainly focused on walking. As silly as it sounds, my favorite part of this trip was riding in a water taxi. Our driver was so kind and gave us a detailed tour of the entire city. The next morning, we woke up bright and early and hopped on a 6 am flight to Paris! Arriving in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time will be a memory I will never forget. That moment was something I have dreamed about since I was little, so seeing it in person was surreal. We spent most of our day Friday shopping and exploring the city. I didn’t realize how big Paris was until we had walked for almost 4 hours and only been to 3 stores. Saturday, we spent the day doing all the touristy things like seeing the Arc de Triomphe, touring the Louvre, and watching the Eiffel Tower twinkle around midnight. On Sunday, we packed up our things and headed to the airport. After many, many delays our flight ended up being canceled. This was definitely an unforgettable part of our trip as 10 of us were frantically running through the airport trying to find another solution to get home. Unfortunately, all flights were booked for the next 2 days, so we quickly booked a hotel and embraced having an extra day in France! 

Although my 3rd travel weekend didn’t go exactly as planned, it showed me the reality of studying abroad. Throughout my entire time here, my travel group had incredible luck without travel plans. No missed trains, no stolen luggage, and no late flights. Our weekends had almost been too good to be true. Going through this experience of slight panic and uncertainty allowed me to grow in so many ways. It taught me the importance of error and problem-solving. You will run into problems, miss a train, or have a canceled flight, but you will learn to navigate and make decisions in a way that was completely unfamiliar to you before. The lessons I have learned while abroad are skills I will continue to use for the rest of my life. While I am sad that my time here is coming to an end, I will forever be grateful and cherish all the lessons and memories this place has given me.