Growing up, we were never one of those families who took a massive trip during Spring Break. Sure, maybe we’d drive up to the Michigan Dunes for a day trip or go to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee for an afternoon, but we never did anything too extravagant. Someone would always have something they couldn’t miss—required practices, work, upcoming tests, important meetings, etc. Up until arriving at college, Spring Break to me meant sleeping in late, reading, watching a bunch of TV, and going out to eat. Personally, I enjoyed it, but a part of me had always wondered what a week at an all-inclusive resort might look like.
Last year was the first time in a long time that I’d actually traveled during the break. Along with my roommates and several other friends, we rented a house on the Gulf Shore and spent the weekend relaxing. When I returned to Tuscaloosa on Sunday before classes resumed, I felt refreshed and ready to take on the second half of the semester. We came back with plenty of stories, inside jokes, and memories that I won’t soon forget.
Being abroad this semester, I wanted to plan something special for Spring Break. So, with three good friends and one very full backpack, I hopped on a plane from Ciampino Airport to Prague. From there, we would fly to Athens for three days and later to Santorini for two more. It was a 10 a.m. flight, but I was wide awake by 4. My girlfriend was safely on a flight home from her weeklong visit and I knew I had nothing to fear, but I also knew I wouldn’t stop worrying until she landed in Atlanta. Between concerns about missing my flight and something happening to hers, sleep ranked relatively low on my list of priorities.
In hindsight, there was no reason to worry. Chloe made it home in one piece, I made it to Prague, and everything worked out perfectly. After landing in Prague and settling into our hostel, my friends and I had an amazing time experiencing the city and everything that it had to offer. We visited castles and churches, drank the best beer I’ve ever tasted, and took plenty of pictures. Each of the bars we visited was unique and different, bustling with their own special type of energy and excitement.
Naturally, Athens and Santorini were equally as spectacular. I had dreamed about visiting Athens since I was in elementary school, so being able to visit the Acropolis and taste authentic Greek cuisine was life-changing. While in Santorini, we thrived among the cliffside restaurants and shops.
After watching a Santorini sunset, I don’t know if my life will ever be the same. When I returned to Rome and began unpacking, I couldn’t help but smile to myself—it was time to call my family.
Zachary Smith is an ISA Featured Blogger at University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. He studied with ISA in Rome, Italy Spring 2019.
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.