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By Madeleine Guiard, Illinois Wesleyan University

Semana Santa is a big travel weekend for Spaniards. A group of seven of my friends and I took advantage of the time off of school to go visit Italy and France. We had to do a lot of planning to make sure everyone was able to do what they wanted to do as well as stay on their budget.

Traveling to Italy, our flight left at 6:30 AM so some of us slept at the airport overnight (I would NOT recommend!) and the remaining girls met up with us at the airport at the crack of dawn. While waiting in line we had made a quick plan of the things we wanted to see while in Rome. Upon arriving at our hostel, our host gave us a map and basically an itinerary of everything we should see and in what order: it was completely unexpected and appreciated! We spent our time in Rome searching for the landmarks our host had circled on a map (we got around using this map, not our phones!!!).

The most challenging part of traveling in a big group was actually traveling: after our big adventures in Rome, we traveled to the Tuscan countryside by city bus, taxis, Flixbus, ANOTHER city bus, and another taxi! It’s safe to say we were sleepy when we arrived at our AirBnB! We spent our time in Tuscany relaxing (which was much needed after running around for the past 72 hours), playing games, and eating home cooked food.

I was lucky enough to be able to stay with family in France, so I did not have to do much planning for the second half of my trip which I was so thankful for! The only planning I had to do was how to get from Tuscany to the Paris airport, and then back to my homestay from the Barcelona airport. However, the planning was extensive! I left my group after Tuscany and had to get myself to the Paris airport. I had to take a taxi from the AirBnB to get to the Flixbus (which left at 7:00 AM!), then a train to get to the airport, then a plane to Paris, and then, finally, my family picked me up and drove me back to their house.
Overall, Semana Santa was SO tiring but absolutely incredible. I was able to see more of the world in one week than I ever had before in my whole life. I would recommend traveling over Semana Santa if you have the opportunity!

Madeleine Guiard

Madeleine is from Illinois Wesleyan University, and studied abroad through a Customized Program in Spring 2018.

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