Roaming Around Rome

Join Kaela as she makes her way around the grand city of Rome during her fall break at Georgia Tech-Lorraine. Read on to hear about her experiences at landmarks she’s been dreaming of visiting as long as she could remember!

Monday, November 16, 2020 | Written by Kaela


Italy was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. When planning my trips before attending Georgia Tech-Lorraine, Rome was one of the cities I looked most forward to seeing, so we set aside more than enough days to enjoy this beautiful city as well as the Vatican.

DAY 1:

Santa Maria Maggiore
Santa Maria Maggiore

Since we arrived in Rome around midday, our itinerary was short. First, we headed to Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome’s four major basilicas. From floor to ceiling, it is adorned with mosaics, illustrations, engravings, figures, and looks like the whole basilica was dipped in gold.  Adornments filled every inch of the building. I could spend days admiring each and every detail, each one as beautifully crafted as the next. While at the beginning of my travels I spent time comparing all of the cathedrals, basilicas, and churches I have been fortunate enough to visit, I have come to realize they are all dazzling in their own ways – whether it be expansive displays of stained glass like the Cathédrale de Metz  or the gilded details of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore – and I simply cannot choose a favorite.

Enjoying the sunset at the Spanish StepsOur next stops were two famous tourist attractions: the Trevi Fountain and Spanish steps. One of the girls traveling with me had visited these locations before and showed us pictures she took which were filled with hordes of tourists taking their own snapshots. Without the typical swarm of people, we had the opportunity to view every angle of each of the attractions. As the sun set over the Spanish Steps, I couldn’t help but pinch myself to test I was really awake.

DAY 2:
We began our second day  in Rome at Mercato Centrale Roma. The delicious smells of fresh herbs wafted through the air, leaving our mouths watering. We all wandered amongst the many vendors until I finally decided to purchase truffle pasta that was to die for.
After we all finished enjoying our plates of heaven, we headed straight to the Colosseum.

QUICK TIP: Travel with all sorts of different people. It opens your perspective and you will learn a lot along the way.

Our group turned out to be the perfect team at the Colosseum. We all had knowledge in different areas which we could share with one another: one girl studied Latin and could translate various Roman texts, another knew a lot about Roman history, another is really knowledgeable about art and I have some knowledge of architectural history. It was sort of like having my own personal guides while traveling through Italy. It is more enjoyable to do more than just “sightseeing” and actually learn about what you are looking at. Which leads to my second–

QUICK TIP: I recommend doing a little bit of research before you visit somewhere, and take the extra time to read all of the informational signs. This will make your experience so more valuable.

We then walked through the Roman Forum and enjoyed the view from Palatine Hill. I found myself imagining the area filled with people and what it must have looked like when it was first built. We then walked to the Pantheon, enjoying the great weather and strolling along the cobblestone streets. At the top of the
dome of the Pantheon is a 9 meter (~30 feet) hole. which serves as the church’s main source of light. At first I was confused, isn’t the point of a roof to keep out the rain? I learned that rain does come through it but the floor is slightly sloped and has well
hidden drainage holes, which only left me even more in awe of the Pantheon than when staring at the 30 ft hole above my head.

We stopped for dinner nearby for a cheap four course meal at Taverna del Seminario. After having a tiramisu once or twice a day everyday while in Italy, I now consider myself a pseudo tiramisu aficionado. My rating is that the one from Taverna del Seminario was by far the best. In major cities, with the pandemic, many businesses close early, so we’ve gotten in the habit of heading back early to wherever we are staying to catch up on schoolwork. On the way to our airbnb, we stopped at Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola and a couple souvenir shops, making the perfect end to a perfect day.

Exploring an Everlasting City

Kaela is back on the blog with her latest adventure. Join her on her trip through time in Pompeii: the city encased in ash by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Thursday, November 5, 2020 | Written by Kaela


Prior to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, Pompeii was just another seaside Roman city. The explosion buried the city in ash, killing thousands of people, leaving it abandoned perfectly preserved until it was rediscovered by explorers in the 18th century. Pompeii is not a destination Georgia Tech-Lorraine students prioritize visiting as it’s a very long trip from Metz; however after my trip, I believe the amazingly preserved city should be on everyone’s bucket list. 

My delicious margherita pizza!

We started our day in Pompeii at Alleria Pizzeria. I ordered my first Italian meal, a margherita pizza topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella. The flavor that emanates from three simple toppings is a classic and never ceases to amaze me. The buffalo mozzarella was both sprinkled on top and baked into the pizza, adding even more depth to the flavor. For dessert, we ordered deep fried dough balls topped with an abundant amount of Nutella and powdered sugar. As we left the restaurant full and happy, we strolled the streets under a light drizzle, making random pit stops at souvenir shops and street-side vendors. Luckily, the weather cleared up just as we approached the Pompeii ruins. While the city of Pompeii may be frozen in time, our time to explore the preserved city was limited. We initially passed the ruins of the amphitheatre. I found myself comparing it to the one I visited in Trier, which had crumbled more becoming engulfed in the surrounding terrain. By comparison, this amphitheater was astonishingly well-preserved. Afterwards, we followed the tourist carved path to viewing boxes filled with artifacts found throughout the city. The fascinating collection included food scraps burnt by falling soot, weathered gold jewelry, cracked mirrors, shining gems, bronzed coins, and many more commonplace items that have become relics. In the structures, some of the murals, mosaic flooring, and kitchen stoves still remain. Other artifacts such as clay vases, plates, and bowls remained placed throughout various rooms as if time had just stopped. 

Throughout the various buildings throughout the city were not only the everyday objects of life in Pompeii, but plaster casts of the people of Pompeii preserved in the volcanic ash. In 1860, an archaeologist named Guiseppe Fiorelli discovered he could make casts of the slowly decomposing bodies by touching up any holes with plaster. Fiorelli and the volcanic ash preserved the position they made upon their death. The haunting figures remained in fetal position or standing, all covering their face to keep from inhaling the ash; Pompeii’s fleeting last moments forever encased in stone.We wandered along the main street and went into buildings as we saw them and ended up finding stairs that led to a view overlooking the city surrounded by beautiful mountains. We ended our time in Pompeii with a view of what started it all, the now sleeping Mount Vesuvius. 

A Week of Attending Affairs Around Metz

Weekdays at Georgia Tech Lorraine are for more than just classes. There are lots of fun events by the GT-Lorraine staff as well as events throughout the city of Metz. Read on as Kaela details her time at two events she attended last week in Metz: a meeting with the Mayor of Metz and a National Orchestra of Metz rehearsal.

Wednesday, October 27, 2020 | Written by Kaela

In addition to giving students a chance to travel Europe, Georgia Tech-Lorraine hosts a lot of events for students during the week! With COVID-19 it makes organizing events a bit more tricky, but luckily, some are able to take place (with proper precautions: masks, social distancing, etc.) and last week, I was able to attend two of them! 

City Hall with the Mayor 

The mayor of Metz invited Georgia Tech-Lorraine students to a welcome reception in downtown metz. It took place at the Town Hall, an 18th century building with an ornate and elegant interior. It was absolutely beautiful inside. I personally love when buildings or their interiors are adorned in gold. Upon arrival, we had some time to mingle with other Georgia Tech-Lorraine students. This was a great opportunity, because this semester it has been difficult to meet graduate students since they live in another dorm. Soon after our arrival, the Mayor came to greet us. 

The town hall building in Metz

His speech was in French, but thanks to Sonia Serafin (a GTL professor) it was translated to English for us. He spoke about the history of Metz: how it has been German at some points and French at others, how it has acted as a battlefield and a fortress in the past, and in the 1950s it was chosen to be the capital of the Lorraine region. Currently, the mayor aims to move towards clean energy such as solar panels and windmills. Georgia Tech-Lorraine then gifted the mayor with Georgia Tech merchandise. Afterwards, we were given refreshments and a welcome bag (with a book, mask, pen, and a couple of other items). We once again had the chance to network with one another as well as professors who came to the event. 

National Orchestra of Metz Rehearsal

We had the opportunity to sit in on the music rehearsal of the National Orchestra of Metz under the direction of David Reiland. Metz’s location between France and Germany has given it a colorful past including being a war city. This orchestra rehearsal took place at the Arsenal, a building that once housed weaponry and military equipment, which has now been converted to hold receptions, performances, conferences, galleries, seminars, ceremonies, and so much more. The conversion of old buildings into cultural hubs is a common occurrence in France. This trend often lowers the cost of construction because instead of tearing down a rebuilding, they will strengthen old structures. We were given a short tour of the building and I learned the bottom of the chairs are lined with carpet so that the acoustics are similar to if there was a full house, regardless of the size of the audience. 

The National Orchestra of Metz was rehearsing for an upcoming performance of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. It was amazing to hear some of the best musicians in the country play. I was taken back by the amount of skill sitting before me. I played flute for seven years and after starting college, I have been unable to find the time to play. Sitting before them gave me nostalgia and I left longing to play in an orchestra once again. Hopefully, I will have the chance to attend a concert in the future. 

Attending these events taught me more about the city of Metz. In my desire to go to different cities on the weekend, I often take for granted the beautiful one I am temporarily residing in. The Mayor said that he “hopes [we] will keep a small part in [our] heart for Metz” and I most definitely will.

Interloping through Interlaken

Join Kaela for her adventures in Interlaken, Switzerland – a weekend filled with mountains, canyons, and chocolate of course – in her latest blog post!

Monday, October 26, 2020 | Written by Kaela


As our train made its way through Switzerland, I felt more like a tourist than I ever had before. My phone was glued to the window trying to capture the scene true to life as we sped by snow capped mountains, dense forests, and turquoise water. I could barely contain my awe at such a breathtaking country, so much so I was taken aback by the people surrounding me on their electronics and asleep. How could they take their eyes off the window? Graced with good weather upon our arrival, we quickly dropped off our belongings at our airbnb and made our way to a popular hiking trail, Harder Kulm. 

cityI underestimated this hike. As we started the hike I was singing, running, and taking treacherous shortcuts, but soon enough, my singing became only the rhythm of my heavy breathing. As we made our way up the mountain, we took periodic stops to take in the view, catch our breath, and eat some snacks. I, naively, trusted google map’s 1.5 hour estimate for our hike. To compensate for the steep incline the trail goes up, the path zigzags, making the hike more manageable. There is a tram that takes people straight to the top of the mountain, we used it as a reference for how far we were from the top. As we neared the 1.5 hour mark we wondered why it seemed to go on for much longer, but we were convinced our multiple breaks and slow pace were the reason for this. As we neared the 2 hour mark, we started to get worried. We needed enough time to come back down the mountain before the sun set. After asking a fellow hiker, we came to find out that the hike actually takes about 2.5 hours: much longer than we had anticipated. 

mountainsOur main concern was our misunderstanding that you can only pay for the tram with cash, and neither of us had francs. We debated cutting the hike short and heading down prematurely, but we had worked hard to get to that point. We were so close to the top and despite the beautiful views on the way up, nothing could compare to the one waiting for us at the top. We made a call to some friends who intended to meet us and worked out a plan: they would take the tram up to meet us at the top, francs in hand, and we could use that cash to pay for a tram back down, allowing us to watch the sunset from the summit. (We found out later you can pay for the tram in cash, but I’m grateful this dilemma helped to motivate us to the summit.) 

We powered through the last of the hike and surely enough, we made it to the top. The mountain no longer blocking the wind, the sun setting in the distance, and the high altitude, made the temperature difference almost shocking. Nonetheless, the view overlooking Interlaken was more than worth the steep winding journey. No camera, on matter how good the technology, can accurately capture the magnificence my eye could see from the summit. Our friends ended up joining us soon after we got to the top and we spent hours taking photos, talking, and appreciating the landscape. After the sunset, we took the tram back down the mountain and headed to our airbnb. Needless to say, after all of the twists and turns of our day I had a great night of sleep. 

The view over Interlaken

canyoningThe weather the next day was rainy and cold, but we took advantage of this by doing an activity that ended up with us being cold and wet anyway: going canyoning. At least this way we would be rappelling, exploring, jumping, and sliding distracting us from how cold and wet we were. I felt so daring as I rappelled and swung around Interlaken. The final slide made me feel exhilarated but sad the day was almost over. We ended this experience the best way possible: with a warm cup of hot chocolate. We spent the rest of the day exploring the city, souvenir shopping, and of course, eating lots and lots of Swiss chocolate! (And I’d be remiss if I didn’t leave you with a picture of some delicious ice cream with Swiss chocolate in the background, one of my traveling staples.)

More Time in Munich

Some adventures are so long they have to be told in pieces, like Kaela’s latest trip. Join Kaela as she details the second half of her journey in Munich in her latest blog post!

Monday, October 19, 2020 | Written by Kaela


We started the second day of our adventure bright and early with a quick visit to Odeonsplatz: a square lined with ornate buildings. We then headed towards Kaisergarten: our breakfast spot of choice. On our way there were no turnstiles, workers, or barriers to ensure that you stamp the 10 trip pass, rather the German train system relies on the honor system, which felt quite novel. We did however encounter many multi directional escalators– a great space and money saving idea.

My avocado toast was absolutely delicious!
My avocado toast was absolutely delicious!

For breakfast, I had delicious avocado toast before we ran off to the next activity of our weekend. We made a quick stop by the BMW welt, but opted out of going to the museum. We then headed towards the English Garden, stopping for some cake on the way there. After finding a bench to eat on, enjoying the quick snack, and walking around, a surprise drizzle greeted us. The cold weather and rain did dampen the experience slightly but we happened upon a small shop, grabbed a cup of hot chocolate, and waited out the light sprinkle. 

We ended up back at Odeonsplatz while trying to visit the Kriegerdenkmal and ended up in the middle of a protest. The rain suddenly started to pour, so we waited it out under an arcade by Kriegerdenkmal. After freshening up at the hostel, we made a quick stop at Gute Nacht Wurst for currywurst, which was even better than the dish I had in Trier. I was tempted to order more, but this visit was meant to hold us over until dinner later that night. We made another stop in Marienplatz for pictures and visited some of the surrounding shops. We ended up running into a model whose pictures were displayed in an advertisement there.

Scrumptious Strudel!
Scrumptious Strudel!

Since it was a Saturday night, many places were full but we got lucky and ended up getting a table at Hofbräuhaus München once again. Luckily, thanks to the night before, we knew exactly what to get: chicken, schnitzel, and pretzels! Unfortunately, we ended up with a table outdoors in the cold so I spent a decent amount of time walking around looking for an empty table indoors. This gave me the chance to explore all three floors of the restaurant. We ended up finding a table inside! We celebrated by eating strudel, playing games, and hanging around. 


We went to Cotidiano for a less German-style breakfast. This place was amazing! I got an american style breakfast, an acai bowl, and a brownie with ice cream. This breakfast was similar to what I would eat at home, so it felt nostalgic after being away for so long. We spent some time in Gartensplatz taking photos and then went on a quest to find an open souvenir shop on a Sunday.

St. Peter's ChurchDuring this search, we ended up making a pit stop at St. Peter’s Church. Of all the churches I have seen so far, this might be my personal favorite. It was a bit different from the stone and stained glass I am used to seeing in cathedrals. It is mostly white with paintings covering the ceilings and walls. Golden figures line the sides leading up to the altar where a figure of Saint Peter lies. The smoke from incense filled the nave and caught the light beams streaming in through the windows.

We ended up finding souvenirs at Munich’s large train station and then boarded the train to head home.

A Minute in Munich

Join Kaela in Munich as she learns observes the traditions of Bavaria, halted by a modern dilemma. Read on to find out more about her delicious meals and the sights of the city!

Friday, October 16, 2020 | Written by Kaela


When people think of Germany, they might think of people dressed in lederhosen (leather breeches) or dirndls (traditional dresses) eating copious amounts of meat and pretzels. After my brief visit to Munich, I can confirm these assumptions have at least some truth. We decided to visit Munich because one, it is a beautiful city, two, Germany has great food, and three, we wanted to catch the end of the Oktoberfest “celebrations.” Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration more than two hundred years ago and soon became an annual event intertwined in German culture. While the Coronavirus pandemic halted what would have been the 187th Oktoberfest in Munich, the spirit of the celebration still continued on. People dressed in traditional outfits peppered the streets and many restaurants offered special “Oktoberfest” menu items. 

My delicious wurstlteller!
My delicious wurstlteller!

After a long morning of travel, we headed to Augustine Keller for our first German meal (as well as our first meal of the day.) A friend and I shared a wurstlteller: a platter with an assortment of sausages. We took our time tasting each sausage and examining their flavors as though we were food critics. I tried some of a travel companion’s schnitzel and thoroughly enjoyed it (and highly recommend it). I left the restaurant wishing both my stomach and wallet were larger so I could order a schnitzel for myself. We played a few rounds of cars after our meal, but our fun was cut short by the menacing chestnuts hanging above our heads. Every time a strong gust of wind blew, a few would come flying down towards our table like hailstones.

Upon arrival at our hostel (Augustin), I immediately fell in love with our temporary housing. We had traveled with enough people to have our own hostel room and despite the bunk bed style sleeping, there were a lot of private spaces. We had our own large bathroom with two showers and the toilet was placed in a separate area. There were more than enough mirrors, sinks, lockers for storage, and couch space all placed strategically so it did not feel cramped. The room was modern, clean, and had an amazing view overlooking a small courtyard. German engineering is renowned for a reason. 

Our lovely traveling gorup!
Our lovely traveling group!

After freshening up for a bit, we headed to a famous Munich landmark, the Bavaria statue. Our hostel happened to be extremely close to the statue, which sits in the middle of the grounds where Oktoberfest would have been hosted, Theresienwiese, had it not been cancelled. The statue is meant to be a female personification of the Bavarian homeland. It reminded me of a piece of home, the Statue of Liberty. Both statues serve as monuments to their homeland, personifying patriotism through the depiction of nurturing and powerful women. It was fascinating to walk through the entirely empty fairground and imagine what would be there: food and drink tents, traditional music, dancing, horse races, temporary museums and crowds of people. I took a moment to try to imagine the fanfare and compare it to the somewhat empty large park before me. There were people wind skateboarding, biking, running, working out, or passing through like us. 

An image of the beautiful Marienplatz.
An image of the beautiful Marienplatz.

We passed through Marienplatz on the way to our next eatery: Hofbrauhaus. We admired the New Town Hall building and its gothic revival architecture. I admired the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, a tourist attraction in its own right, with 43 bells and 32 life sized figures. Unfortunately, we were not able to see the show while we were in Munich but I imagine it is quite a spectacle.

Our last stop of the night was at Hofbräuhaus München. This Bavarian restaurant dates back to the 16th century and is three floors high. Its aura was incredible: live music, bustling customers, the smell of great food, couples dancing, traditional clothing, and workers walking around selling pretzels. Our group opted for a family style meal allowing us the opportunity to try all of the restaurant’s popular dishes. My favorites? For sure the half chicken, schnitzel, and pretzel. After eating and playing more card games without the threat of chestnuts falling on us, we headed back to the hostel for the night. As I listened to the snoring of a travel companion in the bunk above me, still full from my traditional meal, I slowly drifted off, excited for what the next day would bring.

Twenty-Four Hours in Bruges

Join Kaela as she visits the sweet city of Brugge. Her tale of Belgian waffles, frites, and chocolate is sure to make you salivate!

Friday, October 9, 2020 | Written by Kaela


This weekend, we decided to travel to two countries: Luxembourg and Belgium. The bad weather and long day before lowered my spirits slightly so after our day trip to Luxembourg (from my last post), a part of me wanted to skip out on journeying to Belgium. After visiting Brugge, walking on its cobbled streets, looking over the meandering canals, and eating lots of sweets, I will say that I wish I had much more than just twenty four hours. 


3:00 PM 

A delicious waffle from Chez Albert with chocolate and strawberries
A delicious waffle from Chez Albert with chocolate and strawberries

On our way to Markt (the main market square in Brugge), we stopped at Burg Square to admire the grand gothic buildings including the Basilica of the Holy Blood. After gawking at the gorgeous square, only one thing was on our minds, you guessed it, food. Naturally when visiting Belgium, the first delicacy that popped into our minds was the one and only Belgium waffle. We visited Chez Albert, a popular spot for a quick and delicious waffle. The crispy waffle covered in chocolate and strawberries I ate made the long journey worthwhile and made the previously sour conditions nothing but sweet. As we walked further down, we stopped by a beautiful Christmas shop: Käthe Wohlfahrt. I am a Christmas lover and spent more time than reasonable perusing the aisles of ornaments, handmade clocks, snow globes, nutcrackers, and much more. 

5:00 PM 

Kaela at the MarktAccording to my travel group, I spent “too much time” in Markt, but how could I not? I am obsessed with the bustling plaza: historic buildings, horse-drawn carriages, and plenty of eateries. After soaking in all the Markt had to offer, we headed towards one of many chocolate shops: The Chocolate Line. I have a dangerous sweet tooth; I look for desserts after every meal, in between meals, hungry or not, day and night. This chocolate shop was everything from my dreams. I ended up deciding to restrain myself and only purchased some gifts for family and friends and dark chocolate almond bark for myself. 

6:30 PM 

For dinner, we stopped at House of Waffles to get a more savory waffle. Mine had an egg, chicken, lettuce, tomato, and barbecue sauce all placed between two perfectly made waffles. We ended up meeting the owner of the store, who talked with us about school and the store. He kindly gave us tea. It was just what we needed after spending the day in the cold. 

8:00 PM 

We walked around town for a little bit before heading to our hostel to rest and meet other weary and enthusiastic travelers. 


10:00 AM 

Pulled chicken Fries from Chez Vincent

On Sundays in Europe, many restaurants and stores have reduced hours or are completely closed. Add the current pandemic in the mix, and it makes an unpleasant pair for travelers; so many places have shortened hours. We spent some time in Käthe Wohlfahrt yet again and then headed to Chez Vincent. Here, we kicked off our last day with a culinary home run: pulled chicken fries! The weather was finally on our side; the only time it rained was while we were enjoying our warm frites indoors. 

12:00 PM 

After being drawn in by a “family owned sign”, we made a pit stop in a local chocolate shop, Verheecke. The chocolates at the Chocolate Line cost around €4 for 3 so there is, of course, no sampling. I assumed it was the same for other shops, but while I was trying to choose the owner of the shop kindly insisted I sample some chocolate. Even after I purchased a box of chocolates, she gave us cuberdons telling us, “It is a popular candy here, so you have to try it.” She wanted to make sure we did not feel pressured into buying something from her shop. After all of our group made our purchases she gave us a couple more free chocolates. Her genuine desire for us to have a positive experience brightened my whole weekend (and the free chocolates were a definite bonus). 

1:00 PM 

an image of Belgian waffles with ice cream
Ice cream, waffles, do I ever need anything else?

As a dessert lover, I of course had to convince the group to make one more food stop: Oyya. A perfect place to get a belgium waffle with chocolate. After scrutinizing over the plethora of delicious and unique flavors including ferrero rocher, kinder, and speculoos, I chose to top my waffle with kinder ice cream. We spent the next hour indulging in decadence and then headed to the train station. It was a sweet way to end the weekend. 

An Afternoon of Good Eats

Kaela is back on the blog and her latest adventure will make your mouth water. Join her as she eats her way around Luxembourg on a blustery day trip.

Monday, October 5, 2020 | Written by Kaela


My mood is easily affected by the weather and my comfort in said weather. The past few days, Metz and the surrounding area has gotten extremely cold and rainy, seemingly out of nowhere: a stark contrast from my sunny beach trip a week prior. When dressing for my day trip in Luxembourg, I underestimated the weather. My outfit of choice: leggings, a t-shirt, and a blazer. Since we were up before the sun, I expected it would be cold and warm up throughout the day but I was definitely wrong. The forecast for Luxembourg was windy and cold with on and off rain.

PRO TIP: Trust the forecast and always pack rain gear and an extra layer when traveling.

Don’t get me wrong: Luxembourg is a beautiful country. My personal experience was just clouded by the temperamental weather (no pun intended). I fully plan on revisiting Luxembourg to give this country the credit it deserves. Despite the weather, the trip to this small country just above Metz was all made worth it by the food. 


Fruity Coconut Pancakes at Gruppetto
Fruity Coconut Pancakes at Gruppetto

I am usually not a fruit on pancakes type of person. I am more of a nutella, chocolate chips, or syrup kinda gal. A person sitting near us in the restaurant, however, had the most beautiful stack of pancakes so I decided to branch out for once. Fruity coconut pancakes are, according to the restaurant’s menu: four fluffy pancakes with white chocolate, coconut spread and fruits layered in between, sprinkled with coconut shreds. These fruits include, but are not limited to, blueberries, strawberries and cranberries. When you take a bite of all three layers with the spread in between, you are overwhelmed by the sweetness and richness of it all but met by a burst when biting into a berry placed perfectly within the folds. The freshness and slightly sour taste of the berries offsets the thick and creaminess of the pancakes. I have no idea why I admired these pancakes so much, but I was taken back by how well the flavors worked together. If you visit Luxembourg, make sure to go to Gruppetto and get them. (It is just an hour train ride from Metz. )


The Obama Burger
The Obama Burger

While nearing the end of our visit at The National Museum of Art and History, we started to look up places to eat. We found Lux’Burgers: a burger restaurant with FIVE stars and almost 700 reviews on trip advisor. ( As a self proclaimed restraunt finding expert, this good of a rating is unheard of.) It seems there is always that one person who decides to give an undeserving restaurant a bad rating, but in this case it seems even that person decided this restaurant was too good for that. We were on the other side of town an hour before they closed, but we had to see what magic these burgers possessed. We sped walked, through rain and sun, down to the lower area of Luxembourg and back up. We made it with just enough time to sit and eat before they stopped serving for the day. In the wake of COVID-19, many restaurants and stores close early making it difficult for travelers to find places to eat. After careful consideration of each burger on the menu, with the help of a french speaking travel companion, we all decided, to get the Obama burger. It consists of a natural bun, a beef patty, sauce, iceberg lettuce, bacon, cheddar, and red onion. On the side, they give a small (and I mean SMALL) salad and crispy fries. In my opinion, the best part of eating the Obama burger was the way the bun held up to the juiciness of the meat and sauce. My GTL blog review is similar to the ones on trip advisor – five stars and a “would come again”.

A Nice time in Nice

Kaela is back on the blog, detailing her experiences on the beaches of Nice. Read on for her description of pebble beaches and moments to remember.

Friday, October 2, 2020 | Written by Kaela


I had been looking forward to this trip since the beginning of my time at GTL. It was the first weekend trip I had independently planned of the semester. What started out as a six person trip with fellow INTA 2221 classmates, ended up being a twenty-two person excursion with half the undergraduate program. As John Heywood said, “the more, the merrier!” When making reservations with an eurail pass, the seats are, unfortunately, assigned at random. However, since a large group of us were journeying together, it was easy to find a friendly face no matter what coach you were placed in, making the thirteen hour travel much more enjoyable. We played cards, watched movies, attempted to study, and of course as one does on a long train, napped. After the long voyage, we were greeted by with great weather and beautifully colorful buildings. The buildings in Nice differed greatly from my previous experiences in France: the ornamental style of Paris, the timbered style of Strasbourg, and the limestone style of Metz. 

A view of Nice at sunset
A view of Nice at sunset

With twenty-two of us journeying to Nice, there wasn’t an airbnb large enough to house all of us. So, when we finally reached Nice, we said “au revoir” to our companions and the original six of us headed to our airbnb, with multiple stops for pictures and videos of course. After dropping our bags off, we headed straight to the beach to meet up with the others.  I spent the next few hours traipsing across the beach, feeling like I was stuck in a dream (omitting the difficulty of walking on the large, uncomfortable pebbles). I was surrounded by a breathtaking landscape– immersed in crystal clear water gazing at the sunset painting the sky– laughing with new friends. After a stressful week and lengthy travel, I took a breath of relief in this moment. I, a pisces star sign and lover of all water activities, felt an indescribable amount of peace. As I began to float in the Mediterranean so did the stresses of my journey here. While in a meditative state, floating and relaxing, I began to hear plopping noises to my left. I looked over my shoulder to inquire the source of this noise and found my friends had decided to start skipping rocks (or shall I say throwing rocks). I joined in and made multiple futile attempts to skip one adding to the chorus of plops echoing across the beach.

Pebble Beach

When the sun had completely set, I unwillingly got out of the water and headed to our temporary home to get ready for dinner. Since we were near the sea, everyone was in the mood for seafood. So, we headed to Le Kobe for sushi. I ate a sushi platter and, unfortunately, was a bit underwhelmed by it. To compensate, we indulged in ice cream at Fenocchio– a store one of the girls on the trip had been raving about on the train ride– and it did not disappoint! I had two flavors: tiramisu and salted caramel. ( At the time of writing this, it has only been one week from this trip and I am already looking forward to going back for more ice cream in the future.) The rest of the night was spent perusing around Nice: going to the I love Nice sign and lounging at the beach. My group decided to head back a bit early and call it a night. 

After an amazing petit dejeuner at Marinette, we headed to Cannes for sandy beaches. Although Cannes is gorgeous and I truly enjoyed my time there, I enjoyed the Nice beach more (although it hurt a bit to walk on the pebbles). We had pizza at La Maison, visited souvenir shops and markets, then headed back to Nice. When we arrived, we rushed to the top of castle hill to catch the sunset. It was easily one of the most beautiful moments in my life. Not so much for the sunset itself (as it was a bit cloudy) but more so for the overall experience. It was a moment for me to reflect and remember despite how tough 2020 has been, how truly fortunate I am to be studying abroad. 

Cueillette de Peltre

There is nothing better than going to the market to get fresh produce, except for picking it yourself. Read about Kaela’s experience visiting Cueillette de Peltre, where she spent a couple hours roaming strawberry fields, apple orchards, and even made a new friend!

Monday, September 28, 2020 | Written by Kaela

Fresh produce is abundant in France, but in order to get the best produce, you have to pick it yourself. Luckily, the Leonardo Program at Georgia Tech-Lorraine gave us an opportunity to do just that in Metz. After the end of classes one afternoon, a group of us loaded onto the provided bus to head to the local farm in Peltre. On my arrival, I was overwhelmed on arrival by how many areas of the grounds I had to explore in the one and a half hour period we were visiting for.

I grabbed one of the provided bags and, along with many others, headed straight towards the strawberries. We were told they were the last of the season and soon to go, so of course I had to get some. The rainstorm in the distance made the trip a bit ominous. I thought, “Will it head towards us and cut our short trip even shorter?” and hoped it would move further into the distance.

We started our strawberry expedition at the front rows of bushes, a rookie move. After perusing the picked over bushes near the front we discovered as we moved further in and further away, the strawberries got larger and more plentiful. I guess few are willing to walk through the enormous strawberry patch to the back. The strawberry bushes sat in troughs raised above ground, which put them at eye level and made for easy picking. Once we had stuffed our bags with ruby red strawberries, we headed to the nearby apple orchard, grabbing some beautiful tomatoes on our way. 

Pink lady, fuji, gala, honey crisp, granny smith, red delicious, golden delicious: To me, an apple is an apple. This may be a controversial statement, but I honestly don’t eat them enough to tell the difference. I find the variety of apples to be overwhelming enough when there are between three to five to choose from at the grocery store; to say I felt in awe when walking towards what seemed like an acre of apple trees is an understatement. There were endless rows with an uncountable number of apple varieties, most of which I had never heard of. My solution: pick a random row of trees and begin picking. The twisted trees towered above me and below my feet lay fallen fruit in various stages of rot. I was surprised and initially felt disappointed by how many apples laid on ground: seemingly all gone to waste. Luckily, they can be turned to compost and the nutrients will return to the ground to further the growth of more apples, a nice reminder of the beauty of the circle of life. 

After leaving the apples we walked past a multitude of in-ground veggies which naturally I turned into a fun guessing game. What was it we were passing now? Would it be a carrot? A radish? A beet?

As we continued on we happened upon a large variety of leafy greens. I was excited at the prospects of the dishes I could create with them, but unfortunately, I was leaving for Nice the coming weekend so I only picked a small bunch. My group decided we would eventually make a trip back and make dinner with the freshly picked food. We made our way towards hoop houses filled with peppers, eggplants, and more but we ran out of time quickly. As we walked towards the exit, we ended our trip by making friends with a couple of goats.  

This short trip was a good way to take a break from the business of school work and travel. I was grateful for the quiet and peacefulness of it as getting out in nature is always a great way to destress. I think the weather knew how much we needed the break, because the once ominous rain clouds at the beginning of our trip became a light drizzle as we drove away.