An international Christmas

The temperature here in Sagunto, Spain ranges from forties to sixties Fahrenheit with normally sunny skies. It’s so much different from where I usually spend Christmas—Minnesota. But, when I look out my balcony over the campus and city, the thing I miss the most is the snow!

It doesn’t snow here in Sagunto. However, my plan for break is to travel to Italy and I have heard that it has snow in the northern regions. My holiday break is from Dec. 11 – Jan. 6 and on Dec. 24, while everyone else is sitting around their dinner tables, my brother Greg and I will be on a plane to Bologna, Italy.

From Bologna, we will travel to Venice and meet up with my mother and older brother, Jeff, who is currently in the PA program at Union. We’re spending two wonderful nights in Venice. This is the city with the likeliest chance of having snow, and I’ve heard that the canals get filled with ice! We rented an Airbnb apartment in the heart of Venice and will visit places like St. Mark’s Basilica, Doges Palace and Rialto’s Bridge.

After Venice we’re jumping on a train to Florence. I know my brothers are most excited about this location, so I scheduled three nights there. I found a nice and cheap Airbnb apartment in the city center and we will use this as our base to explore the historical city. To keep costs low, we’re planning to buy our food from the local San Lorenzo Market.

From Florence we’re going to Naples for two nights, Dec. 31 – Jan. 1, where we’re planning to see Palazza Reale, the Church of San Francesco di Paola and Castel Nuovo. I hope they have a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration, because that’s where you will find me. We also plan to take a day trip to Pompei (Pompeii with two i’s is the town, not the architectural site) and soak up the history.

Beginning the New Year, we will be in Syracuse, Sicily. Currently, we don’t know if we are taking the train, an airplane, or a ferry to this location, but I will figure it out soon. I threw Syracuse into our itinerary for purely selfish reasons. Number one, it will have the best weather we see during break. Number two, I’ve always been interested in the history. I plan to drag my family to the Piazza del Duomo and the Roman amphitheater.

On Jan. 3 we’ll travel back up Italy to Rome. Greg’s birthday is on the third and I figured he would love to spend it in Rome. We will walk through the Roman streets visiting the Foro Traiano, Pantheon, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel and much more.

I know, I know, at this point I’m just bragging. Well, you Unionnites have a reason to brag as well. You get to spend the holiday eating around a table with loved ones. You get to see the decorations and hear the music.

I’m glad I will be able to see my mom and older brother, and I’m excited to explore Italy. But I’m going to miss the decorations, food, and dark nights sitting around a warm fire. Before this year, I never realized how much I enjoyed those simple pleasures.

So as I adventure through Europe, be jealous—but also be thankful for the Christmas spirit and love surrounding you.

Missy is a senior english language arts education major studying abroad in Spain.