Postcards from Prato

Samantha Higgins

Photo by Samantha Higgins
Photo by Samantha Higgins

With Spring Break come and gone, the students at the University of New Haven Prato campus are worn out and probably a little low on cash, but they have seen the world.

Last week the students took off and explored London, Ireland, Paris, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, and some even stayed to explore more cities in Italy that we won’t see with the school. Some students had friends and family come to Italy to visit them and got a tour of all the places we know, while students got to show off all the language and history skills we have already learned.

I know that after the tough midterm week, I myself needed Spring Break to relax and forget about everything. A lot of students got caught in a TrenItalia strike on Friday when break started and had to take really early trains to ensure that they would make their flights. The Prato campus staff helped everybody figure it out so no one would get stuck. I wasn’t supposed to leave until Saturday, so I had Friday to pack and unwind. Saturday morning I took off with anther UNH student to Florence, caught a bus to Pisa and got on a much delayed flight to London. I have always wanted to go to London, and it is extremely cheaper to go from Italy than it is to go from the U.S., so this was my golden opportunity.

In London we stayed at a nice hostel that reminded me of being in a dorm back at UNH. We did a night tour of London on one of the iconic two-tier buses where we saw St. Alberts Hall, Big Ben, The London Eye, the Tower of London, drove over the London Bridge, drove under the London bridge, went to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Picadilly Circus as well as the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum of London, saw Shakespeare’s Globe, went to the Tower of London during the day, went on the London Eye and did the 4D experience, went to Madame Tussauds in London and did the 4D experience, ate fish and chips, and saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. We did so much, but we had two-for-one coupons, so we didn’t pay that much for a lot of it, and I was able to buy so many souvenirs for people I hadn’t yet bought anything for.

After London, we spent a day in Paris and saw the Eiffel Tower on our way back to Italy. But I wasn’t in Prato 12 hours before I was back on a train to a different airport with a different UNH student on my way to Athens for the remainder of the break. We saw the Acropolis, the south slope and the ancient agora plus spent a lot of time looking at all the different Greek shops around— it was beautiful everywhere we went.

There is so much history around Italy, London, and Greece. When I walked up to the Acropolis I felt like I was in one of my old history textbooks. It’s amazing how much still exists in these places.

I still have one more trip planned for Easter weekend, which will be even bigger, and other students have some trips planned too. However, after London I don’t know what I could ever do that would compare. When I was leaving Italy, I realized I didn’t want to ever leave, even for the day, but then in London I felt so at home. London is now my second favorite place I have seen, Italy being the first. So everyone who comes to Prato should definitely look into visiting while they are here!