Five Things I love about Nantes, France

Five Things I love about Nantes, France  

 

  1. Lunch

There are many things I love about lunch in France. First, you have an hour and a half to eat which is really nice. You can actually enjoy your food. Second, French baguettes are simple but delicious and you can get them fresh from the bakery each day. French pastries top off a good lunch, they are second to none. My favorite is pain au chocolat which is basically a chocolate filled croissant.

  1. City center shopping

In the city center of Nantes, there are all sorts of boutiques in the midst of historic old buildings and fountains. Designer brands on every corner give you a feel for how important fashion is in France. They love their skinny jeans, jean jackets and Levi’s t-shirts.

  1. River time

In Nantes, there is a little river that runs through the city. In the evening, the French meet their friends and enjoy time together by the river along with great French beer and wine. It is a simple habit that makes for a peaceful lifestyle.

  1. Crepes

I mentioned pastries but crepes are on a different level. My favorite is Nutella but there are so many options. If you are ever in France, you must get a crepe. Creperies are on every corner so they are easy to find!

  1. Gardens

The Japanese Gardens and Jardin des Plantes are amazing places to visit in Nantes! The Japanese gardens neighbors the river so it is a nice place to see little water falls and picnic with friends. Jardin des Plantes has a goat petting zoo, birds, ducks, ponds and beautiful walking trails. The goats are so cute!

4 Tips for Weekend Travel Abroad

Ciao! It’s Savannah from Rome again. This is my final week abroad and I am so excited to come home but also so sad to leave. Since this is the end, I have finally been on all my bonus weekend trips: Madrid, Paris, Florence, and London! All of that travel was exhausting, but I saw so much beauty and learned lots of knowledge. So here are my four tips for traveling on weekends while abroad:

1) Book in advance: The earlier you book, the better you will be. This goes for not just availability but also price. When I booked my Madrid trip, we waited until the Monday before to book anything. As soon as the clock changed from 11:59 to noon, our original morning flight doubled in price! We had to change to fly out awkwardly in the middle of the afternoon to save money, so we lost a half day. You will also make sure you get on the flight or in the hotel you want. Book as soon as you decide to go and don’t wait!

2) Plan to be delayed: Disclaimer: I am not condoning getting to the airport late. PLEASE always get to the airport in enough time to check your bag and get through security. However, once on the other side of security, plan to see you flight delayed once you look at a departures board. I flew on six flights while abroad (not including my flights here and back home), and only one of them was not delayed. My flights To Madrid were delayed 30 minutes there and two hours back, my Paris flight was delayed an hour there and 30 minutes back, and my London flight was delayed 45 minutes there. My only on time flight was my flight home from London. The main thing to take away from this: do not plan any timed events the day you arrive, because you may miss them.

*** Small bonus tip: print your boarding pass at home. You will have to wait in the checked bag line to print you boarding pass and it could cost you over 40 euros! Just print your pass at home and have it on your phone, because it will save you time and money.

3) Prepare for different standards: Europe and America are two completely different places, with two completely different set of normal happenings and standards. Since you won’t need a full checked bag for a weekend away (trust me, you won’t), you can go straight to security. Security (in Rome at least) requires you to take out your liquid bag and laptops, but that’s it. The longest I ever waited for security from beginning to end was four minutes. So that’s security, but now onto the reason you’r at the airport: flying. Your planes will be smaller in all aspects. Your food and drink (including water) will not be free. You will probably experience more turbulence. Your ticket is much cheaper than home, so you get what you pay for.

4) Sleep is for the weak: I want to preface this with I always plan to sleep at least eight hours a night. Sometimes, however, you have to make sacrifices for the greater good of yourself. You can sleep when you get back to America. Plan that early flight there and late flight back, and wake up early to sight-see and get back late to enjoy your dinner. You may be exhausted on that flight home, but those memories will last a lifetime. We’re young, we can survive on four hours of sleep. THAT BEING SAID: Sleep and rest up before your class, because the main goal of study abroad is to learn and study.

*** Bonus tip #2: Always drink water when you can! You will be walking a lot, and being dehydrated is the easiest and fastest way to slow yourself down. I got so dehydrated in London we had to skip our after-dinner plans because I was so sick. Drink water and it will save you physically and mentally.

Thanks for reading!

 

2 Days in Vienna

This past weekend I traveled to Vienna, Austria. It is my favorite European city I have seen so far!

The city is on the opposite end of Austria from where I am studying in Bregenz. The train ride there was broken up by a quick stop in Innsbruck, Austria, but neither ride to Vienna felt too long.

I stayed in an Airbnb, right next to a metro stop. The metro was very easy to navigate with Google Maps and made exploring as much of the city as we could possible!

The first morning, I ate at Café Central, where many intellectuals and authors used to gather. I had Viennese square noodles for lunch and tried some authentic apple strudel. I definitely recommend the restaurant, although it was a little pricy.

Apple strudel at Café Central

I then saw Freud’s home and a statue that was just unveiled of him at a local university.

Volksgarten in the city center near museums

Following this, I explored as much of the city and its center as I could! I stumbled upon a beautiful church and then on a small park. While wandering, I also discovered the city’s museum center that had multiple beautiful gardens surrounding it.

That night, I ate at Mozart’s Restaurant. There were many local options there for a cheap price!

Mozart’s restaurant

 

 

 

The next day, I saw Schönbrunn Palace, where Franz Joseph once lived. The palace, its gardens, and the land surrounding it was beautiful. If I return to Vienna, I would likely want to go back!

View from the gardens toward the back of Schönbrunn Palace

Front of Schönbrunn Palace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I later checked out a local market and then happened to find a large amusement park with a ferris wheel that featured a city view.

Amusement park in Vienna

There was a lot more I could have done in Vienna, such as the Belvedere or the Albertina. I recommend spending time there though to anyone who is able to do so!

Thanks for reading! -Peggy S.

5 Study Abroad Apps You Must Have

Hello! It’s Savannah again – I am still in Rome. While here, I have downloaded some apps on my phone that I feel have helped me in some cases, and saved my experience in others! Here, in no order, are my favorite study abroad apps:

1) Units Converter FREE by Alan Mrvica -This converter app is not just for currency (which saved me form overpaying for so many things my first week here!), but also for length, speed, temperature, and volume. This is helpful because so many things are different here in Europe like liters and millimeters, so being able to easily figure out what everything exactly is gives me a peace of mind I did not think I needed.

2) Hostelworld by Web Reservations International – If you are planning weekend travel , you will probably be staying in a Hostel. The SAFEST way to find a hostel is through Hostelworld; they have ratings for not just safety but also location, cleanliness, facilities, and value for money. If you want to safe lots of money but also stay somewhere not sketchy, book your hostel through Hostelworld.

3) Citymapper by Citymapper Limited – This might be the most important app on my phone. This app is like google maps with so many extra features. Not only does it tell you how to walk and drive places, but it also tells you how to get to your destination using public transportation such as train, bus, tram, or metro. When trying to save money and not get a taxi everywhere, this app is one of the best ways to figure out public transport in a new city. If you only downaload one app on this list, download this one.

4) Google Translate by Google – There is some controversy with this app as sometimes it does not translate correctly, but the offline part is a lifesaver. When you’re international, phone data is sacred. By using this app in offline mode, you never have to worry about not being able to get somewhere or find necessities.

5) mytaxi by Intelligent Apps GmbH – This is a Rome / Italy exclusive, but a MUST if you study abroad here. Uber is illegal (yah, crazy right?), and if you get caught in an uber you could get a fine or worst of all, you could possible go to jail. There is an easy solution: use mytaxi instead! It is just like Uber, but for taxis. You can pre-book taxis for multiple days in advance, and are usually early rather than late. You can also chose to pay with Euros or your card, so you don’t have to worry about having exact change if you don’t have it. Plus if you’re eco-friendly as I am, you can chose to order a taxi that is electric rather than gas! It’s a cool app to use that won’t get you arrested, which is hopefully something you’re trying to avoid.