Hey everyone! I hope you’re all having a FANTASTIC summer! I’d like to update you on what I’ve been up to!

The Viterbi Summer Overseas Program that I was doing in Madrid ended a couple of weeks ago. The last week of the program was full of mixed feelings: stress over our Writing 340 final projects and packing, excitement to be free from our academic responsibilities, and sadness to leave all of our great new friends. Viterbi was awesome in treating us to hamburgers from the Hard Rock Café to celebrate the 4th of July-American style. I personally couldn’t resist buying a Hard Rock Madrid t-shirt!

When the program ended, several of us travelled to Pamplona to experience San Fermin, the running with the bulls festival. Some of my guy friends from the program actually ran! All I can say about Pamplona was that it was craziness. Definitely one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had…nonstop celebration, 24 hours a day. We got all the traditional San Fermin gear, and even slept outside one night. That is, if you call warming ourselves outside the Kebab shop sleeping! We all had a blast in Pamplona, but we were a little bit tired the next day and wanted to get away from the masses of people. So, we took a 40 minute bus ride to beach it up in San Sebastian. San Sebastian was just beautiful. After spending a couple hours on the beach, we hiked up a mountain from which we could see the entire beach and the ocean on the other side of the cove. I definitely hope I will have a chance to spend more time there in the future.

The next day, a group of us started our trip through southern France and Italy.

Our first destination was Montpellier, a college town in France. We walked around the streets near the center of town, went in a modern art exhibit, saw a city landmark, and climbed a tree!

Next, we went to Nice. Our first day there, we went to the beach, and our second day, we went to Monaco, where we saw the MonteCarlo Casino. We didn’t actually go in because our beach attire wasn’t allowed! But it was still really fun just to walk around there anyway.

After Nice and Monaco, we went to Florence to meet up with some of the people from the Viterbi Overseas Program who were studying there. We were there for their last night. It was really cool to exchange stories with them about our different programs. The Florence group seemed to have had a great time, but I’m still super glad I picked Madrid! The next day, we climbed the famous Dome in Florence, saw Michelangelo’s David, and finished the night by watching the sunset from Piazza Michelangelo, which overlooks the entire city. I really enjoyed Florence and hope to visit again soon!

Finally, we reached my favorite city: Rome. I’ve been to Rome once before, during my senior year of high school. I really enjoyed getting another opportunity to check out the ancient Roman landmarks, especially now that I’ve had a chance to take some Classics classes (I’m a Classics minor.) We saw the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Vatican City, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Rome was definitely a great conclusion to our trip.

It was really hard to say goodbye to all my friends I was traveling with. This has been the greatest experience of my life. BUT!!! My dad met me in Rome, and we are now traveling through Switzerland!! Last night, we stayed in a really small town named Vrin, in which many of my ancestors are buried. We will be in Lauterbrunnen for the next three nights, and then we will make our way to Zermatt. I’ve always wanted to see Switzerland, so I’m having a great time! Next week, we’ll fly back to the U.S., and I’m going to spend a week on the East Coast before I come back to California.

Well, that’s it for now! I hope everyone else has been having a great summer! Until next time!