Watching the sunset on the Aventine.

The Beauty of the Staycation

Spring break is the week where we students get to take a break from academia and be free to sleep in, guiltlessly binge Netflix, and, of course, travel.

Ahh, yes, travel. There are so many chances for crossing borders and exploring during spring break — especially at Arcadia. First-years have the opportunity to get a taste of study abroad through the spring break Preview course. Other students have the chance to take part in community-service trips with alternative spring break, going to locations such as Florida and Louisiana. As for those of us already abroad, budget airlines, coaches, and trains turn international spring break dreams into realities (especially here in Europe, where the countries are so close to each other).

Though I would have loved to visit classic European dream cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and Barcelona this spring break, I decided to stay here in Rome — a dream destination in itself — with my roommate, Jasmyn. They say it takes a lifetime to see Rome … so we agreed to take these days off to get seeing!

During those 10, responsibility-free days, Jasmyn and I made the most of our Roman staycation with a healthy mix of playing tourist, playing explorers, and relaxing.

Hidden Fountain on the Aventine.

Hidden Fountain on the Aventine.

We took advantage of our free time to wander around touristy parts of the city we hadn’t had time to see before. In hindsight, I don’t think I would have made it to big touristy spots like Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, or Villa Borghese if it weren’t for all the free time I had. (We plan all these things to do while studying abroad, but quickly learn that time flies!)

We also had a pampering day where we did as the chic Romans do and got haircuts, and pedicures, and window-shopped (ok, fine, maybe did some shopping) in the cute boutiques at the Spanish Steps and Via Del Corso. Naturally, we started our day with decadent coffee and ended it with a glorious sunset from the Aventine, one of Rome’s seven hills.

Caffè Marocchino... Espresso plus chocolate? Yes please!

Caffè Marocchino… Espresso plus chocolate? Yes please!

Aimlessly exploring during this staycation was one of the best things I could have done this semester. Though we only explored a handful of the hundreds of nooks and crannies to be explored here in Rome, I was able to learn so much more about Rome’s personality. Rome is a playground of ruins and hills. Cobblestoned alley ways lead to fountains and hidden piazzas. Secret gardens are revealed by peeping through keyholes.

Flower market in Campo De' Fiori.

Flower market in Campo De’ Fiori.

You don’t have to be in a new country or new city to enjoy a vacation. If you read my previous article, “How to be a Hometown Tourist”, you know that I am an advocate for exploring your own hometown. You never know what you will find right in front of you.