The Weekend Traveler

Now don’t get me wrong I love my new home in the Netherlands and all the amazing people I am getting to meet, but perhaps one of my favorite things is getting to travel to a different country every weekend. It is absolutely insane to explore these unique cities and see and try everything they have to offer. With each new city comes a new adventure.


One of my personal favorite memories happened two weeks ago in Paris, France. Now I know this may sound strange, but I was initially skeptical of Paris. I had some friends who went there and said it was over hyped, but let me tell you they were WRONG. Paris was magical. One day my friends and I got a bottle of wine, some bread, cheese, and macaroons and just sat under the Eiffel Tower. It was such a simple thing to do, but it was perfect.


Already a few friends have asked me what my favorite place is so far and I honestly can’t answer them. Each weekend brings a new city and country that is different, but equally as amazing to the others. I guess this is a good problem to have.


My Weekend Trip to Rome

I have been in Torino, Italy for two weeks now and I am absolutely loving it!  There is so much to share about my experience, but last weekend I went to Rome and it was an experience that completely changed my life.

For one thing it was my 20th birthday and it will be a hard birthday to beat! I went and saw all of the tourist attractions like the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Sistine Chapel. Personally I was so excited to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain. I was a little disappointed that there was a huge gate around the fountain and you couldn’t get very close, but I am proud to say that my coin still made it in the water, I  just had to use a little extra force to get it there.


The most exciting part of the weekend though was definitely on Sunday. We woke up early in hopes of finally being able to see St. Peter’s Basilica. It had been closed the two previous days of our trip and this was our last chance to see it. Around 7am we started to wait in line with about a hundred other people. By 8 the line had tripled in size and someone around us told us that in fact the line was not to get in to see the Basilica. The Pope had decided to hold a special mass that morning at 10 and the people in line had tickets and were waiting to attend. We were frustrated that we had been waiting and weren’t even going to get to see the Basilica on our one trip to Rome.

By some miracle though a man came to the side of the line and had extra tickets he wasn’t going to use and gave them to us. We were shocked and beyond excited! Shortly after we were let into the Basilica and since we had arrived so early we had a nice view up front. St. Peter’s Basilica is absolutely gorgeous and is a must see in Rome! Everywhere I looked there was something to marvel at. After another hour wait and a round of saying the rosary in Latin, Mass began. It is hard to even describe how incredible it was to attend a Mass all in Latin that was given by the Pope himself. I was one of the couple hundred people in the Basilica who had the honor to attend while thousands more stood in the square watching on a big screen. I have grown up a Catholic and attend Catholic schools up until college and having the opportunity to attend Mass with the leader of the church is something I will NEVER forget. IMG_1806

I can’t wait for the many more adventures sure to come in the next few weeks!

Lauren Schwarz