As semester two begins, I thought it was fitting to do a post that reflects on some of the incredible trips that I went on last semester.
#3 – Bordeaux, France
RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATION: L’ÉCOLE DU VIN
MUST SEE: PALAIS DE LA BOURSE
TRIP DURATION: FRIDAY MORNING – SUNDAY MORNING
Before coming on exchange, I had compiled a list of all the places I wanted to go. I can very honestly say that Bordeaux was not on this list. I had my sights set mostly on places outside of France, so this beautiful city was most definitely overlooked. A friend of mine was studying there last semester, so finding cheap tickets was all I needed for an excuse to make it a trip. It was really nice having someone who knew the lay of the land to make sure we made it to all of the “must see” places.
Melissa and I went at the end of November and while it was cold and rainy the entire time. Bordeaux took me by complete surprise. The city itself had so much to offer; incredible food, beautiful cathedrals, churches and palaces, and so many different things to fill your time with. We were also lucky enough to be there just as the Christmas market opened.
Honestly, European Christmas markets are amazing, and I am going to miss them so much next holiday season. I have been to quite a few places in and around the Lyon region, as well as Marseille and Paris, but as of right now, Bordeaux is easily my favourite French city.
#2 – Copenhagen, Denmark
RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATION: VITA BOOST AT TORVEHALLERNE (GET THE ACAI SMOOTHIE BOWL AND THANK ME LATER)
MUST SEE: NYHAVN CANAL
TRIP DURATION: SATURDAY EVENING – TUESDAY EVENING
I was lucky enough to go home for Christmas break, but since I had a gap of about six days from my final exam to my flight home, I decided to go on a little Scandinavian adventure with some friends who were on exchange in Brussels and Maastricht. Copenhagen was everything I expected; beautiful, culturally-rich, and expensive as everyone said it would be.
I had never been to a Scandinavian country before, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. The people were incredibly friendly, every meal we ate was better than the last and the city itself was clean, colourful, and incredibly easy to navigate.
On the Sunday of my trip we went on a walking tour led by a refugee from Refugee Voices. She is in the middle of trying to become a legal citizen of Denmark but as of right now, she has no legal nationality. She guided us through Copenhagen and the different landmarks that are significant to her story, Danish refugees, and the history of Copenhagen. To this day I remember her as one of the happiest, warmest people I have met this year, it was amazing to meet someone who had been through such hardship be so joyful and positive.
While Copenhagen was easily the most expensive city I have been to, it was absolutely worth every penny, and it made me very excited to explore more of Scandinavia in the future.
#1 – Mallorca, Malaga & Barcelona, Spain
RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATION: LA PEPITA, BARCELONA
MUST SEE: MALLORCA NATIONAL PARK
TRIP DURATION: FRIDAY MORNING – FRIDAY EVENING (7 DAYS)
It’s pretty much impossible for this trip to not have been my favourite of the semester because I was able to see four different cities in seven days as myself and 6 other girls travelled throughout southern Spain for our October reading week.
We started in Port d’Alcudia in Northern Mallorca where we stayed at Hotel Bellevue for 3 days. Since it was the last weekend of the tourist season (October 27-30) we were able to upgrade for all inclusive.
We took a boat tour of the national park where we were able to swim in secluded beaches and caves. From Port Alcudia, we went to Palma for the night. We didn’t do much exploring because of an early flight the next morning, but we ate empanadas on the beach and then made our way to the beautiful city centre. I imagine Palma to be a great city to go to as a student in the summer. From there, we went to Malaga where we spent a couple of days seeing the sights and hanging out at the beach.
Malaga was beautiful and felt very youthful and vibrant. From Malaga we spent two days in Barcelona. I had already been before a few years earlier with my parents, but it still holds the crown as my favourite European city. I love absolutely everything about it and would go back without hesitation.