Erasmus Year in Siena | My First Week

Hey ladies and gents! 

Here is a little (or perhaps large- lets see) slice of what’s been going on in my life over the past week! This is my first proper post from Siena, Italy, where I am going to be spending the next 10 months or so for my Erasmus year abroad. I’ve only been here for a week yet it is already crazy and living up to my expectations! 

Il Duomo

A bit about how I got here, and how bloody awkward it is to get to Siena. 

Seeing as Siena is way too cool to have an airport, I had to fly into Pisa with three bags, weighing in at about 45kg in total. The journey from Pisa meant that I had to lug aforementioned bags up and down many flights of stairs and onto a few different modes of public transport, including a bus, two trains and a taxi.  Choosing to wear my thickest items of clothing (to save room in the bags) was the worst decision I made that day. Also, there I was, busting a gut and almost haemorrhaging from every orifice underneath a tonne of wooly jumper, as I tried to lift my cases up the train station platform steps- when I realised halfway up that there was a lift. I of course, struggling, sweating and hating life, missed my train. And possibly slipped a disk. (Seriously, I really hurt my back and could hardly stand up straight for days!)

My dear friend Sion from my university is also in Siena, and very kindly met me at the station. He lives in the same apartment block as me so I fortunately had his assistance with carrying my bags up to my top-floor flat. If it weren’t for him, I think I would still be stood panting at the bottom of the stairs drenched in sweat from carrying the bags 10ft from the taxi. After battling with my keys in the old wooden doors, I met two of my flatmates who seemed lovely from the get-go. Ada is from Poland, and she was cooking pasta when I walked through the door so I knew we’d get on instantly. Olga is from Germany and has a cheeky sense of humour so I also knew we’d get on just fine! My third roomie, Emma arrived a few days later and she’s a complete babe, so I’m having some housemate luck (for the first time ever)! 

Girl band moment (and Sion)
*I don't actually know the name of this building*..... and PDC
I was absolutely knackered after travelling and having a little look around beautiful Siena with Sion, that I just couldn’t face going out that night with other new arrivals. I stayed in my lovely and spacious new room and rested my poor, poor aching body. Sion, however, went out and put in some groundwork with a good bunch of Erasmus students. This meant that the next day, I had some ready-made friends lined up which I really appreciated, especially after arriving a bit later than the others.

My roomies and I, plus Mia and Amy
So, since that next day when I shook the hands of my new friends in front of the fountain in Piazza del Campo, (or PDC as we now call it) we’ve been having a whale of a time together! We have almost daily pizza meetings, lunch outings, gelato sessions, too many nights out, and of course, the ‘squad’ FB chats have been well established. We’ve even had angry neighbours threatening to shut down our pre-drink parties with the police already! It’s a bit like freshers all over again! There is a solid group of ten of us, and that number is rapidly growing every day. *A really helpful tool for us guys out here on Erasmus, is the FB group(s) that are created so we can meet and arrange things. (Definitely look out for these groups if you are going/currently on Erasmus!)*
"I'm not drinking tonight"
I think I’ll leave it here for now before I ramble on about the amount of pasta and pizza I’ve eaten, or how truly incredible the view from my kitchen window is….

Until next time!
Olivia x

Life Update | Thai Travels and Moving to Italy

Sawasdee ka! Hello! Ciao!

Wowzaaaaa. What a crazy couple of weeks! The last time I posted I was preparing to leave my placement in Thailand to go on a two-week holiday around the south. It is now a few weeks on and I am in Italy on my year abroad! I left Thailand on the 13th September and had a short yet sweet time at home before departing again for Italy on the 19th.  So much has happened and I’m really upset I was unable to blog during my travels- but it really was impossible to do so when staying in hostels, keeping up with a huge group of friends and planning (and living) adventures every second of the day. And that’s not even including the amount of time spent downing dodgy Thai cocktail buckets!

So seeing as travel blogging is supposedly my thing, I have clearly been doing a pretty crap job of it recently. During my short 6 days at home between countries, I had a mountain of unpacking, washing and re-packing to do, as well as catching up with family and friends, and celebrating my 22nd birthday on the 16th! And now I find myself in a beautiful Italian apartment in Siena, struggling to decide what amazing experiences to tell you about first. After deliberating over this issue whilst drinking a €1.50 bottle of red (#studentlife), I have decided to fill you in on my Italian year-abroad journey whilst it’s still a hot topic- much like the men all around me. During this time, I will also prepare the tales of the tens of Thai sunsets and cocktails that I endured, all with the hope to inspire you to take the journey to beautiful Koh Tao, advise you to not get pickpocketed at the full moon party in Koh Phangan (like I did), and not to stay in certain dodgy hostels in Bangkok.

I promise to get my backside into gear ASAP because I hate not having documented certain things for my own records, and not only to tell my nearest and dearest readers about my unfortunate encounters and incredible confronts. Until then, you can gawp at some of my favourite sights from my journeys.

**Oh, and to those of you who followed my daily posts during my teaching placement, thank you for reading and giving your support because it was definitely more time consuming and difficult than I initially expected daily blogging would be. However, I did come runner up in the British Council blogging competition which made my efforts worthwhile. Especially the prize of a fake BOSE speaker from the market which speaks in a hilarious voice every time "the bluetooth dewiz is connect-edd successfullayy" and makes my day every time I hear it.

Ciao, a presto!
Olivia x