Spring Break in Mitteleuropa

Ahh, spring break.

The name itself brings with it thoughts of beaches, warm weather, and scarily intense party scenes from corny teen movies.

However, for my spring break trip while abroad, I wanted to take the opportunity to see as much of Europe as I could without bringing myself to the point of exhaustion. As much as I desperately wanted to escape the cold of Berlin and fly to some gorgeously warm place, I knew that I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t take advantage of my ten days off from school.

So, last week, with backpacks overstuffed and purses filled with granola and cashews, a friend and I set out for a quick round of some Central European cities: Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, intersected with a (blessedly) brief stint in Bratislava, Slovakia.

While we were in these cities, we did and saw a great deal: we saw the Hungarian Parliament, viewed Budapest from the top of Saint Stephan’s Cathedral, went to the opera in Vienna, and let our inner Sound of Music geeks stroll through the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg. We made new friends in our hostels, didn’t miss a single train or bus, and somehow managed to make it back to Berlin with parts of our hearts left in other places.

Certainly, having the opportunity to see these cities from a tourist perspective gave us a glimpse into their history and cultural mindset. However, some of my favorite moments from our travels were in the moments when we stopped moving as quickly, and simply enjoyed our time there.

They were feeling the inherent bliss and awe of the Danube River in the early springtime.

Danube River Image

They were a picnic on the grass between two world-renowned museums in Vienna while a man played the accordion in the background.

Spring Break Vienna Image

They were drinking a melange while walking through Salzburg’s old town, the city and nearby mountains aglow in the momentary beauty of the snowfall.

Spring Break Image 3

These small moments are the closest thing to magic that I have ever witnessed.

Jenna Kersten is a student at Siena College and an official API student blogger.  Jenna is currently studying abroad with API in Berlin, Germany.

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