I’m trying get back into the swing of things this week after a wonderful holiday during Spring Break. Unfortunately, when one comes to study abroad in Ireland, you only get one week off from class, so I was limited in what I could do and where I could go. St. Patrick’s Day occurred during my Spring Break which gave me an opportunity to travel in Ireland before I left the country. The biggest celebrations take place in Dublin, so my friends and I decided that was where we had to go. I could not believe how packed it was everywhere we went. It made things difficult, especially when we got lost and had to ask for directions because no one was from the area and were unable to help us. So much went on in Dublin that day, the biggest event being the St. Patrick’s Day parade. A lot of people show up to this, so I recommend that if you want a good spot to see everything, you need to get there early. We showed up for the parade about a half hour before it started and there was no where to stand to get a good view of the street. Once it started it was so hard to see anything that we only stayed for about 15 minutes before finding something else to do. Much our time that day was spent in the Temple Bar district in town. The area was full of people and there were tons of pubs with live entertainment. Overall, it was a good experience despite all of the crowds and street traffic.
The next day I headed to Rome for a five day holiday. My friends are there for the semester, and I figured it would be a good chance to catch up with them and see bunch of amazing sights. The first day and a half that I was there I walked around the city on my own because my friends were on holiday in Spain. I was pretty satisfied too with everything that I saw and felt that I saw almost everything that I wanted to see within two days. Some of the sights I saw include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, and several cathedrals. All of these places were very busy with tourists and vendors that it was a bit overwhelming at times.
On my second day in Rome my friends arrived home and we went to out to dinner. It was a good time, and so nice to finally see some familiar faces. I never really realized how much I had missed my friends until I saw them again. The whole few days that I got to spend with them were so much fun and made my experience in Rome so much better. It was good to catch up with them and learn about how their own study abroad experience has been going so far. My friends also knew all about the masses during Holy Week at the Vatican and had got tickets so we could go to mass at St. Peter’s for Good Friday and Easter Vigil. It was a rather special and unique experience to be able to go to mass with Pope Benedict and have mass being recited in several different languages. I also could not believe how early we had to get to the Vatican to wait in line before mass to get good seats; it was almost disaster when people began pushing when they opened the doors.
The disappointing part of the holiday was having to leave on Easter Sunday early in the morning. I have never traveled before on Easter and have always been with my family, so this made the day less fun than usual. It was a long day of traveling home, and after 3 buses and 2 planes I was glad to get home in the evening. My Spring Break was quite an eventful one and I really enjoyed my opportunities to travel and see my friends, but at the end of the week I knew it was so good to finally be back at the place that I call home.