Study Abroad: Milan

The semester has come to an end and I keep thinking back to this time last year when I was getting ready for one of the most exciting and rewarding times in my life.  I miss London and I miss the traveling that we did.  Today, I’m sharing a small part of my spring break trip to Italy, beginning with our first stop: Milan.

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Elizabeth, Lizzie, Bre, me and Emily documenting our first stop in Italy!

We arrived in Milan a few hours later than planned due to a delayed flight.  Once in Milan, made it through customs and quickly realized we didn’t know how to get to our hotel from the airport.  The directions that the hotel had given us seemed easy enough, until we got outside and realized that getting a cab for 5 wasn’t simple.

Our cute Hotel Rossovino
Our cute Hotel Rossovino

Once we did get a cab big enough for all of us, our driver took us to what looked like an abandoned building.  It was obvious to everyone but him, that we were clearly not in the right spot.  After showing our driver the map for probably the third time, he finally understood and told us that we had given him the wrong address from the beginning.  Thankfully, we found the correct place, which was the cute little Hotel Rossovino.

Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano

Once we checked in, we decided to find some gelato and wander through the city.  We walked through the main part of the city and got to see the Duomo at night, which was beautiful.  The entire square in front of the Duomo was filled with tourists and street performers and peddlers.  We decided to call it an early night after flying and exploring the city all day and had a relaxing dinner in the hotel.

Views from the Duomo
Views from the Duomo

The next day we bought tickets to tour the Duomo and climb to the top.  The architecture was amazing.  There is so much detail in every inch.  The views of the city were also pretty incredible.

Because if you don't take a "groupie" (when there's more than one in a selfie), on the top of the Duomo in Milan, did it actually happen?
Because if you don’t take a “groupie” (when there’s more than one in a selfie), on the top of the Duomo in Milan, did it actually happen?

We may or may not have gotten a little carried away with the photos on the top of the Duomo, but it was so much fun.  After our tour, there was a festival going on.  We stopped for gelato, walked through the festival and did some shopping.

Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano

Our stay in Milan was short, only two days, but we packed a lot in within those two days.  Funny story, in an effort to save money, we thought we’d walk to the train station to get to our next city, Venice.  It was a three mile walk…I can only imagine what people thought as we wandered through the city with our backpacks and suitcases.  Looking back, it’s hilarious, but at the time, we were not laughing.  We were hungry, frustrated from frozen ATM cards and tired from all of our walking.

My recommendation, if you ever travel to Milan, stay close to the Duomo.  That’s where most of the attractions are.  We stayed farther away, about a 25 minute walk each day, to get to the part of the city that we wanted to be in.  The walk was beautiful and we got to see parts of the city that we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise, but for the sake of time, staying in a more central part of the city would have been best.

Taylor xo

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London Calling

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” — Samuel Johnson

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Big Ben and Parliament

Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic and have been reminiscing on all that happened in London.  It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was getting all of the last minute details together.  Worrying about how I would fit three months of winter clothing into one suitcase, how I would figure out the Tube, the friends I would make, the tasks I would have at my internship, all seem silly now.  Studying abroad for a semester in London was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I recommend that everyone do it, no matter the cost.  It will change your life in ways you could never imagine.

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Tower Bridge

I somehow managed to get everything over in one suitcase, a most likely over the size limit carry-on and an over-stuffed “purse” that was probably more like the size of legal carry-on bag.  Thanks for turning a blind eye to that Delta, it was much appreciated!   While in London, I interned at Wingfield PR, a fashion PR firm and I learned so much about the industry.  Interning at Wingfield helped to solidify the fact that I wanted a career in fashion.   It also pushed me into pursuing the industry further and in turn, helped me land my following internship at PR Consulting in NYC.

Neal's Yard
Neal’s Yard

Samford has a house in London called the Daniel House.  I was one of the “lucky” ones who got a room on the sixth floor.  All of the sixth floor girls complained about the hike to our rooms and had a running joke that once you left your room in the morning, you weren’t going back until bed time.  However, I loved the Daniel House and would make that hike up to the sixth floor all over again, if I could.  I’d even take back all of my complaints about the not so great wi-fi, if it meant I could get one more week in London with the friends I studied abroad with.

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View of The Shard and City Hall from the top of Tower Bridge

I took several classes while in London, all of which were taught in the parlor room of the house, aside from my internship which counted as a class.  For my art appreciation class, we would visit different museums.  For theatre appreciation we saw a play or musical each week and we took day trips to the University of Cambridge and Edward Jenner’s house for biology.

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Will and Kate’s house a.k.a. Kensington Palace

I absolutely loved everything about studying abroad in London.  I made wonderful friendships, traveled to so many beautiful places, laughed a lot and ate a lot, all of which created so many memories.  I miss it everyday and sometimes, I get sad thinking about the fact that I can always travel back to London, but it will never, ever be the same as my semester abroad.  I can’t recreate those laughs or late night Tube rides with leftover chicken in a bag from Nando’s or walk down the block to Caffe Forum with a friend, but I’ll carry the memories in my heart for a lifetime.

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Photo by Rachel Stanback — London Fam

Cheers London!

The Blanket Scarf

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Casually stopping by to say hello to Sir Paul McCartney

This past semester, from the end of January to the middle of May, I studied abroad in London.  As you can imagine, packing three and a half months worth of clothes into one 50 pound suitcase, is no easy task.  Especially if you’re an over packer, like I am.  I packed a lot of staple pieces, layering pieces and versatile pieces.  One item I always found myself wearing was this blanket scarf from Zara.

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Photo by Bailey Fuqua

It was wonderful!  It paired well with so many of my outfits, it kept me warm in chilly London and it was massive.  When I call it a blanket scarf, I mean it.  The picture above only shows about half of the scarf.  (Hey, doesn’t it look great against that red telephone booth?)

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Look guys, I found Nessie!

I took this scarf on so many of our weekend trips (like this one to Loch Ness in Scotland), because it was so lightweight and easy to pair with so many different pieces.  I kept the majority of my outfits neutral and let the scarf be the focal point.  Packing tip: Choose one item, like my scarf, to be your main piece.  Pair items that are neutral or in the same color family as that piece and just like that you’ve easily got several outfits for a fashionable weekend getaway!

The wonderful photographer for most of these shots and my lovely world traveling friend, Bailey and I at the University of Cambridge

Fun Fact: This scarf was so popular in London, it seemed like everyone had it. Some of my friends started a game to see who could spot “Taylor’s Scarf” throughout London.  Hey, those Londoners know a great blanket scarf when they see one!

What are some of your packing tips when planning a weekend getaway?

Scarf: Zara {old}, this season’s replacement here.  I’ve also seen my scarf and several that are almost identical listed on eBay!