Belgium Bound!

Last weekend, I got the chance to go to Belgium and to explore the cities of Bruges and Brussels!

Day 1: Bruges

My friend and I left for our flight at 3:30 in the morning to fly into Brussels. When we arrived in Brussels, we immediately got on a train to go to Bruges, which was only about an hour. The train rides are great because you can get a mini-tour of the Belgium and all the scenery. When we arrived, we immediately looked for something to eat and found a cute sandwich place where we could make our own sandwiches and choose what was in it. After that, we found a cafe to get some iced coffee and found the cutest place. It was also the first time I learned that when you get coffee in the cafes of Belgium, they always give you a tiny biscuit or cookie.

After we dropped our bags at our Hostel, we walked around some more before going on a boat tour down the canals of Bruges. The bright colors of the buildings reflected off the water almost as though the water itself was glowing. When our ride was finished, we decided to hike up the bell tower in the Markt, which is the towns main square. The steps seemed endless to get to the top, but the view was worth it. We got to see Bruges in all its entirety. We could see the windmills across the skyline and all the beautiful buildings below our feet.

Walking around was the best part of the trip simply because it allowed us to see everything including shops, houses, and plants. We found a burger place for dinner that had Belgian fries. They gave us so many fries that we almost couldn’t finish them.  Before going to bed for the night, we had to stop for dessert. It was my opportunity to get my first Belgian waffle. It was sooooo good, definitely my favorite food on the trip. The whipped cream was made from scratch and it was the best I’ve ever had. Belgian waffles are definitely sweeter than regular breakfast waffles and I think that’s why I liked them more.

Day 2: Bruges/Brussels

Once we woke up, we immediately looked for a cafe to get some coffee before getting on the train to go to Brussels. Once we finished our coffee, we walked around some more and went inside some beautiful churches. When we later arrived in Brussels, once again we immediately searched for a place to eat lunch. We got sandwiches once again and they really hit the spot. After we finished we dropped off our things before walking around and exploring the city. Brussels is definitely more similar to the cities in the United States with sky scrapers and modern buildings. We found some steps in front of the art museum and got to watch the sunset from one of the best views in Brussels. There was also a street performer playing his guitar and singing while we watched.

Day 3: Brussels

Since we did not have a real plan of things to do, we decided to walk towards the central square and see what we found. We went to two different museums and I got to learn all about the history of Belgium as well as the history of comics. The comic museum was so cool because it was very immersive and colorful. The smurfs exhibit was my favorite because we got to see tiny smurf-sized props that were adorable. When it came to the art museums, my favorite pieces of art were the landscape paintings, specifically the sunsets.

The central square was stunning. There were so many gold details that made the architecture look frozen in time. It was such an elegant touch to the buildings that I was obsessed with. We got to sit in the square to drink some coffee and watch some street dancers. The sun was shining and it was truly a beautiful day. Before we left for the airport, I got to have one last Belgian waffle and it was just as good as the other one I had. We sadly had to leave for the airport after that, but everything with our flight went very smoothly and we even got to see the sunset.

Belgium was not originally on my bucket list of countries before I arrived here, however it has now become one of my favorite places I’ve been.


Italy Trip!

Out of all the countries I have visited so far,  Italy has been my favorite. Not only for its beauty, but because of the joy the experience of traveling there was able to bring me after two years of feeling stuck due to Covid.  The last time I went to Italy was 2019, therefore I was able to reminisce while also appreciating all that Italy had to offer.

My friends and I were able to stay in Italy for nine days and travelled to Rome, Florence and Venice during that time. I packed two small carry on bags and we traveled by train to each city.  We were able to stay in amazing Air BnB’s all week that came to a very cheap price when we divided it between the three of us. Although there were stricter Covid guidelines to follow, it did not effect any of our plans. Most restaurants just required proof of vaccination and the trains required special masks.

Day 1-3: Rome

Our first three days in Italy were spent in Rome and it was a great start to our journey. We were able to see everything we wanted to see even though they were not necessarily close to one another. The Colosseum was a short ten minute walk from our Air BnB, which made it so easy to walk by on our way home at night. We were also able to see the Trevi Fountain during the day time (right before it rained) and at night as well. All I could think about was how many coins go into that fountain everyday and how many wishes have been made over the year. I wondered how many of them have been granted over the years, and how many have gone unnoticed. We also saw the Spanish Steps and the Roman Forum. Apparently Caesar essentially made an apology video for the countries he invaded. We were also able to walk around the Vatican City at sunset, which was stunning. After shopping all day and enjoying the beautiful buildings, it was very easy to fall asleep from exhaustion every night.

Favorite Food: Alfredo at Maria’s

Favorite Monument: The Trevi Fountain

Favorite Sunset Spot: Vatican City

Day 4-6: Florence

Florence was very different compared to Rome. My friends and I agreed that it was much less hectic compared to Rome. Our Air BnB was once again in the perfect location. We were right near the Campanile di Giotto, which included the large Dome and the tall tower that we were able to climb to see the entire landscape of the city. We also went on tours of various museums. We were able to go to an art museum (for free!). It had amazing works of art and I specifically remember the Medusa statues the most. I thought that the prettiest part of Florence was the bridge. When the sun set, it gave one side of the city a golden glow that was the absolute perfect shade of orange. On our last day there, we were also able to climb this hill to watch the sunset over the entire city of Florence. We were able to see that same golden light that cast itself over the entire city itself. On this walk, there was photographer blowing huge bubbles and it made for great pictures. It was another trip full of shopping and excellent food. I particularly thought that Florence was my favorite city when I came to the food. In other eventful news, I bought a small glass dolphin who became my partner on the trip and I named him Gill.

Favorite Food: Margherita Pizza at a Pizza and Grill restaurant

Favorite Monument: Ponte Vecchio (The Bridge)

Favorite Sunset Spot: Piazzale Michelangelo

Day 7-9: Venice

As someone who loves the ocean and lives for the smell of the salt in the air, I was most looking forward to going to Venice. I was not disappointed. When we got there, we were able to watch the sunset behind along the shore. The golden light followed us across Italy and it touched nearly every building watching over the water. On our first day, we were able to go on a gondola ride and it was absolutely beautiful. We spent the first day walking around, enjoying the warm weather, and shopping. We got to see that many people in Italy do not walk their dogs on leashes, yet they don’t run away. St. Mark’s Square was beautiful and had such unique architecture compared to the other cities. The next day, we went to many different art and history museums. All the ceilings were absolutely stunning. The coffee was definitely best in Venice, although that might have been due to the exhaustion from  walking twenty thousand steps everyday. I also got pooped on by a bird in Venice so now I have an agenda against seagulls. On my last day, I was able to spend time in a cafe by myself while I read a book and journaled. It was the perfect end to a perfect spring break.

Favorite Food: Alfredo at Altrove SRL

Favorite Monument: St. Mark’s Square

Favorite Sunset Spot: Outside St. Mark’s Square

A Day at Trinity!

Before coming to Dublin, I honestly did not understand how big of a deal it was to have the opportunity to study at Trinity. Not only am I studying at one of the oldest colleges in Europe, but it has so many famous alumni such as Oscar Wilde and Sally Rooney. It is also an absolutely stunning campus in a great location.  Now that I have been studying here for over a month, I can say with certainty that I feel like Trinity student.

Here is what a day of at Trinity looks like for me:

I wake up at 7:30 (ew) so that I have time to get ready before I begin my twenty minute walk to campus. Sometimes I take the bus or the LUAS, which is a shuttle system, but I try to walk as often as I can. I live about 20 minutes off campus and I have to cross the river to get to campus.

My walk to campus every morning

When I get to campus, I head towards the Arts Building, which is where all my classes are held this semester. It’s usually very busy in between classes. My first class is a lecture for my Psychology of Religion class. This class is smaller compared to my other ones and has about 40 students in it. We learned about religious experiences that change peoples and how we can try to use it in research. Next, I went to my tutorial for my English Class,  Pulp: Introduction to Popular Literature. These are similar to Holy Cross classes in the sense that they are very small with only about 12 people in them. They are more discussion based than lectures and require participation.

Main entrance
The Long room 

After this class, I have a couple hours until my next class. I usually get lunch at O’Briens or KC Peaches to get a sandwich. Both of them are right off campus. Then I usually go to a library and get some work done for a while until I want a coffee break. Right now my favorite coffee is at Costas. 

The Campanile

My last class of the day is my Intro to History of Art and Architecture lecture, which has over 100 people in it ranging from eighteen year old students to eighty year old adults. I have never taken an Art History before and I am very glad I did while I’m in Europe. It makes me feel more connected to the country.

The Graduates Memorial Building

When my class ends, I sometimes stop at the grocery store off of O’Connell Street to pick up dinner for the next few days, which is one of the main streets of Dublin. This is where the Spire is located and other statures.

After that I head back to my apartment and I do a little bit of work. This was a special day because Holy Cross planned a special event where we were able to attend a comedy night.  I was able to get dinner before hand with my friends and we enjoyed our Chinese food before walking to the show.

Comedy night!

The comedy show was great and we even got two drink tickets to get free drinks while we watched. My favorite drink has been Orchard Thieves, which is an apple cider and it is SO GOOD. When the show ended, we walked back to my apartment in the rain, which I still prefer over the snow storms in Massachusetts.

Everyday is an adventure in Dublin and I look forward to every moment!

Cliffs and Castles

My first month abroad has been everything I have hoped for and more. I have been able to see and do so many new things. There are endless opportunities to explore Ireland, which I find so beautiful. Since this has been something I have dreamed of doing since high school, I could not be more in love with my experience so far.  I never thought that Dublin would exceed even my highest expectations.

I have been able to travel easily between different cities and attractions by train, bus and even by simply walking. I want to share all of the cliffs and castles that I have seen since they truly represent Ireland as a whole.



I was able to see Glendalough through a field trip that was provided by Trinity College. I got to explore this beautiful cliff with Holy Cross students and other visiting students, which made it even more memorable. We took a coach bus and watched as the city slowly transformed into grass fields full of sheep. When we got there, we learned all about the history of the Glendalough Cathedral (first photo), as well as directions to get to the cliffs and the water fall.  There was actually a glacier at the top of this cliff and it melted into the water that we saw to create a lake. It was an easy walk with obvious paths so we did not get lost at all as we explored the scenery.



Cliffs of Moher

My two friends and I were able to take a weekend trip to Galway and also saw the Cliffs of Moher that same weekend. We were able to take two different buses that took us there directly from the Hostel that we stayed in, which was perfect. The pictures do not do these cliffs justice because they were HUGE! They were absolutely unbelievable to see in person. You could hear the waves crashing against them yet the water was so far down. We could stand right on the edge, which made the experience even more real. Although the intense wind tunnels scared us at first, the weather ended up being absolutely perfect. The sunshine revealed all the colors of the cliffs. The experience was unreal and it could not have been more perfect.



Kilkenny Castle

I truly felt immersed in history as I walked through the halls of Kilkenny castle. Before our tour,  a group of Holy Cross students and I were able to hear all about the history of this castle and every room has a story behind its design. The castle was deteriorating until the 20th century when it was restored in order to encapsulate what it looked like when it was first built and when the Butler family resided in it. My favorite room was this art gallery, which the Butler’s took great pride in and the castle was built around their love of art.


Howth Cliff Walk

Howth is only one thirty minute bus ride away form Dublin and I am already planning my second trip there. These cliffs may have been my favorite ones so far simply because we were able to go to the bottom of them and look at them from below. Not only was there a rocky beach that filled the air with the salty smell of the sea, but we could see the cliffs up close.  The water was so blue that we felt like it was tropical, even though it was forty degrees that day. Once again, the photos do not do justice to the size of these cliffs but they were magical.


Howth Castle

This castle was a short walk away from the town of Howth, which made it very easy to add to the itinerary of the day trip. Howth Castle has very tall towers and it truly looked like a classic castle. Although we could not go inside, it was nice to be able to explore the architecture on our own. While walking around, we found a small stone building without a roof that deteriorated so much that trees were growing within the stone. It created a roof made out of leaves that made it feel like a house built by fairies. It was unlike anything I have ever seen.


I can’t wait to see so many more cliffs and castles! They were all so easy to get to and many of them led to new discoveries about the different cities in Ireland. I have also gotten very lucky with the weather as well and as someone who has lived in Massachusetts their entire life, forty degrees and sunny has felt like a vacation. I feel very grateful for this past month.

Off to Dublin!

The day is finally here! I’m beyond excited to study in Dublin, Ireland for the spring semester at Trinity College Dublin where I will be staying in an off campus apartment!

In this blog, I’m hoping to record my experience in Dublin as I am living it. Specifically, I have always had a love for photography and I was actually able to bring my camera with me.  I always try to capture life through pictures because I think they are best way to relive and remember the best of what life has to offer. I am very excited to share my experiences, whether that be through writing or photography (two things I love!)

On the plane to Dublin!

Now that I have arrived in Dublin, here are some of my thoughts about what it was like to prepare for such a big change:

The feelings that I experienced everyday leading up to my departure to Dublin were truly indescribable. There was excitement, nervousness, joy and everything in between. The day had finally come where I could experience a dream of mine since middle school, studying abroad and traveling the world.

Although there were many concerns and unknowns about studying abroad before I left, it seemed as though the most difficult thing was figuring out what to pack. I was able to bring one large suitcase and one medium sized suit case that I could store in the larger one. How do I pack my entire life into two suitcases?  My moms answer:

Vac-and-seal bags.

These allowed me to compress many of my fabric items so that I was able to fit more in the limited space that I had. By using a hand help pump, similar to a basketball pump, the air was sucked out of the bags completely to flatten all of the items completely.  Once packed, they looked like flat and hard seat cushions. I was able to pack more things and have the ability to bring more things home with me at the end of the semester because I could use the pump while abroad on the same bags. These were essential for my thickest items such as jeans, sweaters, towels and a blanket (to use the very first night until I could buy proper bedding).

I also found it helpful to consider what I could easily buy in Dublin that was not essential for my first night there, such as large bottles of cleaning supplies/toiletries. I have been able to buy everything little by little as I have walked around and explored the city, since everything is conveniently near my dorm. Although there were many things that I was nervous about not being able to bring, I have learned that flexibility and adjusting to the new world around you is a very special part of studying abroad that allows me to be independent in the city.

Being able to travel and study abroad has now become more of a privilege than ever before. The COVID pandemic has truly made the concept itself a leap of faith. However, I am very grateful for the opportunity that I have been given and I cannot wait to take advantage of all that Dublin has to offer.

More photos coming soon!