Last Friday the 1st of October, myself and 5 other kids from my study abroad program left Alicante, Spain at 8am for Italy. We flew into Bologna since it was cheaper and arrived around 10 am. Our train down to Florence left at 1:20 pm so we had a few hours to explore the city before we needed to be at the train station. All of us were very excited to have our first piece of Italian pizza and look at the markets that the city had to offer. We hopped on our train around 1 and found our seats; it was kind of like a harry-potter ride with a separate cabin for 6 people, a cool experience. It only took an hour to get there and we departed our train at the station. However, we happened to get off one stop early in the suburbs of Florence, and had to walk about anhour to make our way in to the city center! My feet were not too happy with me after that. Our hostel was right in the center of everything, and was actually very nice with 2 private bathrooms/showers and our own room for all us girls. Fortunately one
of the girls on the trip, Meaghan, has a friend studying in Florence so we met up with her and she acted as our tour guide for the rest of the day, which was very helpful as she was able to show us how not to get lost and all the cool places to see. We visited the Duomo (I paid the extra fee to climb to the top and it was well worth it- such a great view), the baptistery, Santa Maria novella church, and many other museum and old architecture. Aftersome time we decided we had to try gelato, and it was such a treat! I could eat it every day (I tried many flavorsover the weekend such as honey, blueberry, dark chocolate, hazelnut and black cherry). Around 8 or 9 we found a small restaurant to get dinner at and all shared our different pasta selections so we could try them all, I could eat authentic Italian everyday, it was so delicious.
The next morning was our planned trip to Cinque Terre, or 5 towns, which is about two and a half hours from Florence by train on the northern coast of Italy. Our train departed at 6:30 am and our plan was to get up at 5:30 to make it there on time. Unfortunately things did not go as planned and I woke up at 6:20 realizing we had to leave! Myself and the two other girls literally ran in 3 minutes to the train station and miraculously made it there on time. Upon arrival, we started from the northern-most town and hiked south, what a breathtaking walk! I took so many pictures to share with friends and family but those can hardly compared to the actual view. We got back that night at 8:30 and had a late dinner, which was amazing yet
again, and passed out by 11.
(Vernaza – Italy, On top of the Duomo, Pesto pizza and Sunrise over the river)
Our final day in Italy I wanted to get up early so I could see the Uffizi museum, which holds many famous and important renaissance and 17th – 18th century art, and ancient statues. Since I got there so early, I took a stroll along the river and the streets, one of the only people up, and saw the sun rise along the river. It was such a peaceful and relaxing morning, one of the best I have had. I was one of the first in the museum for the day so I got to see the exhibits mainly by myself, which was quite the experience, I could have spent hours looking! I met up with the rest of the group later and we just browsed the stores and markets for the rest of the day enjoyingbeing in Italy.
Our train was delayed 35 minutes heading back to bologna to catch our flight, and we almost missed it! Fortunately luck was on our side and we just make boarding. Overall it was a great weekend and I am very excited at all the trips I have planned for the coming weekends.
This weekend I have fall break and I embark on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in northern Spain with my class, it should be quite the experience. At the end of the month I am traveling to Barcelona, then a weekend trip with my class to Seville, then Milan, Italy with a friend, and the next weekend to Paris! So many exciting things to come; and I am so happy to be living abroad and thank myself every day that I chose to challenge myself and come here. It is such a rewarding experience every day.
I will admit that after my visit to Italy and seeing the leaves changing and the cooler weather, I miss campus and how beautiful it is in the fall. And to top it off it is homecoming week! It is one of my most favorite times of the year when alumni return to campus and there is so much to do, it’s always hard to focus on school work as everyone wants to hang out with friends and visit.
Time to get some studying and homework done…hasta luego!