Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome

My big graduation trip came by rather unexpectedly.

I mean, I was hoping that I could travel a bit after my final examinations and before entering the workforce, but I never really planned for it.

So when the chance came for me to perform in a theatre festival in Italy, I jumped at it.

Arezzo Festival

Firstly, because of the opportunity to perform in Italy, and secondly, because I had never been to Europe.

The problem was, Italy’s not exactly very cheap, and I’m not exactly flushed with cash.

But after working out the sums, I figured that I could spare $2000 for the entire trip, including the airfare (this was quite some time ago and probably close to impossible now).

Piazza Grande, Arezzo

After paying for the air ticket, I was left with around $1100 to last me 14 days.

And that sum of money had to bring me around Rome, Florence, Paris and Arezzo in Italy, where the festival was held.

Granted that accommodation in Arezzo around the festival dates was free, but $1100 doesn’t stretch very far in Western Europe.

Trevi Fountain, Rome

So my friends and I scrimped and saved during the trip (they were on a tight budget too).

Some days, we survived on a slice of pizza for lunch.

Other days, we cooked instant noodles for dinner.

We also chose one of the cheapest dormitories we could find.

Getting around Rome on the subway

Despite what some might think is hardship, however, we saw some really amazing sights.

Rome, for instance, is one of the world’s top travel destinations, and it’s easy to see why.

Roman Forums

Roman Forums

I loved wandering around the Roman Forums, and imagining how it must have looked like in its heyday.

It was also pretty amazing to finally stand within the Colosseum, which has survived for almost 2,000 years.

Roman Colosseum

And how can I forget the Vatican City and its magnificent St Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums?

Vatican Museums

As for Paris, the only reason why we went there was because it was cheaper to fly back from Paris, than from Rome (even after including a budget flight from Rome to Paris).

Paris was our last stop, and by then, our wallets were running dry.

So dry, in fact, that two of us had to share one French Onion Soup for lunch on the very last day.

But once again, we saw some pretty amazing sights.

View from the Eiffel Tower

To cut costs, we climbed up the Eiffel Tower instead of taking the elevator.

But we enjoyed the same view as everyone else.

It’s also free to walk along the famed Champs de Elysee and the River Seine.

River Seine, Paris

But of course, travel is not just about sightseeing, and coming right after our final examinations, it was a good chance to spend time with friends before entering the workforce.

I still remember some of the hilarious antics we got up to.

Such as making one of our friends, who can’t read maps, bring us around Rome using a map.

Of course we got hopelessly lost.

But then again, travel’s all about having fun.

And it was fun.

So have you started planning for your graduation trip even if it’s months or even years away?

Wandering around Arezzo