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Showing posts from March, 2013

Fun Facts Friday: Nature Edition

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Hello and welcome to my new "Fun Facts Friday" column! One of the many things my first year at Franklin has taught me is that there is SO much to learn about Switzerland, never mind the whole world! At times it can seem very overwhelming. So I am here to help break it down for you. This week's post will focus on eight facts which explain why tourists come form all over to bask in Switzerland's natural beauty.

Sidenote: I am no professional, all of these photos were just taken by me with my iPhone. In truth they don't even begin to properly showcase the real life beauty of these places! But I hope they can at least give you a feeling of the place. 
Fun Fact #1: Switzerland has 48 peaks above 13’000 feet

#2: You may know that Switzerland is world renowned for its hiking. But what you probably didn't know is that Switzerland is home to an astonishing 1 kilometer of hiking trails for every 2 kilometers of area. That is 60,000+ Km (or 38,525 miles) of hiking in a …

Vietri Sul Mare

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" A traveler without observation is a bird without wings" - Moslih Eddin Saadi (Persian poet) 
Welcome to the costal town of Vietri Sul Mare in Southern Italy. Our original plan for the day was to drive down the Amalfi coast stopping at beaches and tiny iconic fishing villages perched on the cliffside. Unfortunately our first week in Southern Italy happened to host some of the coldest and rainiest March weather this region has ever seen.  Mudslide warnings (due to those heavy rains) kept us from driving down the Amalfi Coast that day. But fortunately, before returning inland, we got to visit this charming (and stable) town. I wasn't too happy about missing out on the Amalfi Coast. But when I stepped off the bus and I stopped in my tracks, I became mesmerized with this gorgeous view.  As the sun finally broke out from behind the rain clouds, I looked out across the sea and I knew that I was going to enjoy my morning. 
Vietri Sul Mare is situated near the city of Salerno …

Vatican City

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Academic Travel Update: We packed so much into everyday during travel that I didn't get a chance to blog as much as I would've liked. So even though travel is over now I will continue to update the blog with the multitude of adventures and countless memories made over the last two weeks! So in the upcoming weeks keep checking back for lots of new posts and stories :) Moving on to today's post... Vatican City!  Vatican City is officially country #7 I have visited during my first year at Franklin. That's right, Vatican City is not only home to the Holy See (the seat of the Roman Catholic church) but it is also the smallest country in the world! A fascinating area about 100acres big with a population of just over 800 people. One day was certainly not enough to absorb the centuries of history in this miniature county, but here are some interesting tidbits I did gather during my day there.  
(#1) If you go to Vatican City you must see the Vatican Museums. The line is typic…

Rome Day Two

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I am in love with this city, I don't know how to say it any other way. Rome has the charm of a big city like Washington D.C. or even New York City, yet the historic backbone of Pompeii. I feel like every time I turn the corner I inadvertently spot another beautiful monument or otherwise historically significant sight. Yesterday alone we visited the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Capitoline museum + Capitol Hill, along with all the Roman Forums. Not only did we get to spend the day wandering around monuments but for lunch we all had delicious panini and then a traditional five-course Italian dinner. Everyday I spend here I fall in love a little more. I feel like I understand a little more the history of Rome and how that influences their current culture. And this is precisely why I LOVE Academic Travel. It allows you to experience things I never would have along with spend time and get to know people you might never have otherwise.

Ancient Pompeii

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It is only Day Two of Academic Travel and I already am already dreading its end! Today was perfect. Yes, it was pouring rain most of the day. But it wasn't too terribly cold and there was something magical about the patter of rain on the cobblestone streets of ancient Pompeii. I am still pinching myself that I was able to visit. Pompeii has been on my "bucket list" for a very long time. The whole place is just unfathomable to me. (1) I  can't believe that this entire city more than 20 acres was buried underneath 32 feet of volcanic ash after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvis in 79 AD. (2) I can't believe that archeologists have been able to uncover 20acres worth of this massive city! What a feat. And (3) I can't believe that it is so open, today I meandered through the same streets that ancient Romans did 2,000 years ago. I ran my hands along mosaics that were installed in 15 AD. I climbed the same steps that the Romans did going from their homes to the shops, or …

Paestum + Herculaneum

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Day One of Academic Travel Spring 2013 and I am beyond excited!! It is a busy time so I won't be doing a full blog post about my travels until after my return but everyday I will try and post a few of my favorite pictures along with a short explanation for each one. So here goes!
#1: The view from above of modern day Herculaneum in the background and the ruins of ancient Herculaneum in the foreground. I loved exploring the 2,000 year old city that was once buried beneath feet of mud and ash following the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. I am still in shock at how much was preserved despite that traumatic end to the cities as a harbor town and retreat for the rich and elite of Southern Italy. 
#2: A colorful mosaic found in the ruins of Herculaneum. Everything about it is original to the site. It is incredibly detailed and beautiful. The more I explored this ancient Roman city the more I realized how brilliant and resourceful these architects and artists of long ago must have bee…

Academic Travel

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This week is beyond busy!! I have work + five midterms + packing + cleaning to do! But the good news is that I can survive this week because I know that next week I am headed to Rome and Southern Italy!! 
Let the countdown begin! 

Prague, Czech Republic

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Do you ever wonder what having a day off of school at Franklin College look like? 
Well, a few weeks ago class was canceled on Friday for February Break. So after czech-ing my pack twice, I left my dorm room at 4am and embarked on a weekend adventure to Prague in the Czech Republic! I was absolutely blown away by the beautiful architecture, rich culture and deep history, which more than qualify Prague for a spot on my "top European destinations" list! That being said, keep reading if you want to Czech out the astonishing amount of ground I was able to explore during my 48 hours in Prague!  The view from the top of the St Nicholas Church can't be beat! Travel Tip: take the time to hike up the clock towers/churches in whichever European city you are visiting! They often are free or cost very little and offer some of the best views!   Fun Facts about the famous Astronomical Clock Tower!  Built in 1410 it is the 3rd oldest Astronomical Clock in the world and the oldest one that …