Things to see in Milan

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A bucket list must have.

My heart has never left Italy since that Rome trip. And it has definitely not been cured by the most recent one to Milan. I might just ramble on about how amazing its buildings, dishes and lifestyle are, but I will let the old saying “one picture means a thousand words” prove  my point.

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Duomo Cathedral

Now, I will just state, as I did in my Vienna post, that you need to book ahead if you want to avoid the queues. By the way, right near it is Royal Palace of Milan which holds various exhibitions.

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Castelo Sforzesco

I am a history lover and I ain’t gonna lie! But let’s be real for a second, who doesn’t love roman battles and intrigues?! Sforza family was one of the most influential ones back in the days and this magnificent building is a clear proof for it.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II 

Even if Prada was never in your budget, a glance through this amazing establishment is a must.

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P.S: just try everything!

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What to do in Vienna

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Wien.

I believe that writing about the Viennese schnitzel  or the delicious pastry filled with apples, Apfelstrudel, won’t be any news for anyone so I will get straight to the point.

It is fairly simple to realize that I have a thing for architecture and I tend to write on and on about how much I appreciate it. But this Austrian city couldn’t be spared of my appreciation as it has all the baroque styles one must see.

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I will start by saying that the hotel I stayed at, Terminus, was right in the center and when I crossed the street I stopped and stared with my mouth open for a few minutes at Karlskirche. Embarrassing, I know. But Karlskirche, or St Charles Church, it can only be described as the definition of what baroque architecture was trying to be.

I mean… judge for yourself.

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If you’re a regular listener of classic music, or just think that Mozart is “cool”, might as well bring some fancy clothes and book tickets in advance (trust me!) for one amazing night at the opera house.
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Also, don’t forget to take a stroll through Belvedere’s amazing garden and enjoy for a moment or two the stunning view.

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Schonbrunn is again a place for a walk in its beautiful gardens that are so well kept. But at the same time you can buy tickets to visit the palace. The tickets are sold for some areas in particular, if one’s only interested in seeing just Sisi’s rooms, as well as for the whole palace. Inside there’s a Disney like world. It kind of reminded me of Beauty and the Beast’s final dance.

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Stephansplatz is made for the spenders. It has that Victor Emanuel galleria vibe, but in an open place, for the little shopaholic that hides inside of us. And if you’re feeling guilty, you can pray for your soul at the St. Stephen’s Church. Another baroque wonder.

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In the last couple of days the cloud gathered around for a noisy party, a great opportunity for the visitors to act like children and go to Prater park. Some sweet guilty pleasures have to be indulge, after all what we eat in abroad doesn’t count, right? 😀

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And as if that wasn’t enough, the fun ended with an amazing view over Danube.

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A trip to Prague

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A hidden gem.

Prague is one of those cities that one does not think of adding it on the top of the travel list. But it should be right there!

The former capital of Bohemia is by all means the perfect city. Not to mention that everything it was less cheaper that I expected. Which you know, is an important aspect when travelling.

I stayed at Tyl Hotel, which is quite close to the center and that I booked with only a month ahead. In many cases this will be a naughty thing to do, but not for Prague, apparently. Yet there are so many other reasons to just go for it.

First, the architecture lets you speechless.

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And is like that everywhere in the city.

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Second, there’s the old town, that is filled with people even on the week days. But even so I would still advice to avoid the weekends at all costs.

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Is definitely the place to be and daydream while drinking a glass of wine at one of the many restaurants available in the area.

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Third, while you’re in town, have a beer. Prague is famous for this alcoholic beverage and it doesn’t lack in the various types of beer. At the same time, it doesn’t lack in making you crave something sweet.

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Don’t worry about the calories, if you’re really into that. They can be easily burn while admiring the baroque architecture of Charles Bridge, that connects the Old Town and the Castle.

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Stop every now and again and enjoy the music, the painting of the street artists as well as the history of it.

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Last but not least, in case of major emergency during the summer, you can take a boat trip on Vltava.

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Love from Praha!

 

Valuable lessons whilst studying abroad

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I could probably write tons of list on top of other list about it, but instead I’m posting just a few.

Let us first begging by becoming a bit personal shall we? And by ‘personal’, I mean going back to a fourteen year old me who has just started high-school and was already thinking of going to Uni in the UK. Loved everything about it… or at least the idea of it. However, reality hits the eighteen year old one, who realizes the sacrifices that not only her, but everyone she depends on, has to make. But the desire and ambition stayed and two year later I have applied for a scholarship. I admit that I was scared to not have my dreams crushed again, so England was my second option. But…fate, or luck, or karma, or whatever and whomever, aligned everything in such a way for me to make it. And I did, and I felt more accomplished  than ever.

But enough about that, or maybe… Now that I think about it, ever since I have never excluded the idea of impossible and went for everything that I wanted even if it seemed unlikely. So here’s a bonus lesson that I’ve learned.

Recently I was asked by one of my friends at home to help him with some advises and opinions about how it is/feel to study abroad. And whilst writing him a response, I have discovered some things that have changed at the twenty one years old me thanks to this.

  1. It gives you more courage to socialize. Here me out, even if you are the most extroverted person, in the beginning the culture will hit you, and if you are a non native speaker as I am, the impact of the language. I’m not going to pass again through how much the English I have learnt and the one from here marked me, but you can find it here. (smooth!)  All jokes aside, I was, still am but not that much, a combination between an extrovert and introvert. As I grew older I became more extroverted is true. However, here I forced myself to know people, to learn about them, after all I have dreamed for five years to have this. And it was way easier than I thought, because everyone else wants to find out more about you and where you’re coming from.
  2. It gives you independence. As a lonely child, I know what a brat, I could get almost every time what I wanted. Then I was brought into thinking that because I am on my own I have to solve things by myself. There was no big brother that could protect me, nor a little sister whom I could blame. Therefore, I had to handle it in my own manner. But I was never the one who every time (get ready for it): did the groceries, the washing up, the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the… everything else that prepared me for moving on my own. And I love it! The satisfaction of having done thing all by yourself is…after all the crises done during the chores…amazing.
  3. Lean more that you think you would. As an international student you are told this since the very first day. That you will not only study subjects from a different point of view, but learn about a different culture at the same time. You will learn about more than one. You will not be the only international student, chances are that the university you’re applying for offers opportunities around the world. So prepare yourself to travel while being in the same place, by listening to all the nationalities, telling about yours, celebrating their customs and eating a large variety of food.
  4. Somehow you are the ambassador of your country. I believe that there is no other way of truly knowing a culture, without  knowing its people. Media and internet may give a wrong idea sometimes (let us think about all the unfortunate events that are happening in Europe) so by only talking to people you will learn the true. No pressure on you know, but the way you behave, the way you treat others say a lot about the way you were raised and you’re a sample of your country. I love when people from countries that are shown in the media as ones that dislike each other, are here friends and over those stereotypes. It all about the humans!

That is all for me now. Apologies for the long post, but if you’re reading this at one point in life that it is similar in any type, shape or form, I am more that happy to read about it.

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Cheers! 😉