By Kim Hernandez, Duke University and Fall 2019 Umbra Rep
This semester break, I spent 4 days in Paris, 2 days in Lisbon, and another 4 days in Athens. I traveled with a good friend of mine, Helen. Oddly enough, we planned out our entire trip the first week of classes when we didn’t even know each other. We have no classes in common, and we live across town from each other, but we both knew we wanted to travel during our fall break. Planning early was the best option, as we were able to book hotels and flights at a reasonable price. Back in August, we both confirmed our class schedules/syllabi, and we spent hours searching through travel blogs, hotel reviews, and flight options.
All semester, we had been looking forward to our travels together. Being in the Food and Sustainability Studies Program, my weekends are filled with co-curricular trips connected to this enriching program, so I planned on dedicating the break to international travel. Traveling out of Perugia isn’t as difficult as you may think. Flights go out of the local Perugian airport, but they are generally less expensive and more frequent out of larger airports, such as the Fiumicino Airport in Rome or the Peretola Airport in Florence. Helen and I left immediately after our midterm exams, and we hopped on a FlixBus to Rome to catch our first flight. There’s nothing quite as liberating as fleeing the country after turning in an exam for a stressful class. We spent the whole week without any worry of homework assignments, and enjoyed our travels.
The key to stress-free travel is to allow yourself enough time to get between different destinations, and to research what you want to do ahead of time. Another good travel tip is to gauge your energy levels in order to be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. After all, traveling can be draining, so resting up is important so you can enjoy your time away to the fullest!
Coming back to Perugia, we both felt rejuvenated and more appreciative of our small hillside city. After spending several days of walking the streets of Athens and Paris, we appreciate the hills of Perugia for preparing our calves for walking so much! Our entire travel experience was smooth, and I am lucky to have traveled with someone I get along very well with. Helen loves to take photos—she’s incredibly talented—and I love getting to try new foods. We had amazing soufflés in France, pastries in Lisbon, and delicious brunches in Athens. Everywhere we went, we both had a blast. Together, we had a great time, and I’m very tempted to learn a few new languages once I finish mastering Italian here in Perugia!
Photo credits: Helen Nickerson