World Travelers: Two students experience new countries, cultures, cuisines on European tours

By: Hannah Sanderman

Two lucky students explored Italy, France, Switzerland and England over spring break.

Junior Miranda Rokes stayed in Italy for her entire trip.

“I went to four different cities,” Rokes said. “Rome was our first city. Then we went to Florence, and then from Florence we went to Cinque Terre, then to Venice.”

Senior Maddy Wright however had a mini European tour and traveled to Zurich, Switzerland; Strasbourg, France and London, England.

England is where Wright experienced the biggest culture shock.

“The roads and how the drive on the opposite side, it was so confusing,” Wright said. “It turned my life around for a couple days.”

Like Wright, Rokes had some difficulties with the roads in Europe.

“Just not knowing any directions because their streets are so different than ours, that was a challenge,” Rokes said.

Rokes didn’t really experience any extreme culture shock but noticed how the language barrier became big issue.

“When we went to the not so touristy places, it was really hard to communicate with people,” Rokes said.

Despite the obstacles of being in European countries, both Wright and Rokes discovered new favorite places and some interesting but tasty food.

For Wright, Switzerland’s mountains were a standout from her trip. However, the trip up to the top won’t be remembered so fondly.

“We rode a gondola lift up, and I just cried the whole time,” Wright said. “I was so scared of heights, and we were so far up. I thought that was going to be it for me.”

“Once we got to the top of the mountain, we saw all of Switzerland from there, including all the mountains surrounding us,” Wright said. “It was the most beautiful and surreal thing I’ve ever experienced.”

In France Wright was surprised how popular seafood was, and it quickly became her favorite meal she had on her trip.

“They had this dish that was always incorporated with sauerkraut, and I thought it was going to be absolutely disgusting, but I’m craving it right now. It was so good,” Wright said. “It’s called something different, but it’s comparable to sauerkraut in America, except 10 times better.”

Rokes also tried fish in Italy, but her experience wasn’t so great. “When I was in Cinque Terre, since it’s on the water, I ordered this fried fish, but it came with little anchovies,” Rokes said. “The heads were on the fish, and it was really gross.”

However, her favorite was the coffee.

“I was really big into the coffee there. It’s so different than American coffee,” said Rokes.

“The cappuccinos were so rich and I really like the croissants too.”

Rokes enjoyed her cappuccinos and croissants in hidden coffee shops scattered throughout a big park in Rome that was her second favorite spot from the trip.

“It was almost like Central Park in a way,” Rokes said. “I love New York City, and it definitely reminded me of that. There were hidden coffee shops in there, and it was just so awesome.”

Rokes’ first pick for favorite spot from her week in Italy was the Vatican.

“I really like art, and seeing all the literal art in front of me was pretty sweet,” Rokes said.

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