So I'm sorry this is so late! We got back from Florence Sunday night and I have been busy non-stop since then! Florence was absolutely amazing and I know I say it about every city I visit but Florence was one of my top 3 cities for sure! We really haven't been to many Italian cities so far besides Venice (which I consider a fairytale land, not really a city) and Cinque Terre so it was great to get to a REAL Italian city- it was exactly what I expected an Italian city to look like and I loved it so much!
We arrived late Friday night after taking a bus and found our way to our hostel which was a block from the Duomo which was great! There were about 20 or so other kids from my program staying in the same hostel so it was a lot of fun. We met up with those who were staying at other hostels and all went out together that night!
Saturday morning we woke up and went to see my friend Kelly who is studying abroad in Florence for the semester. We got to see her apartment which was so big! Then she took us to get the BEST pizza I've ever had- it was pesto pizza with the best dough in the world. SO YUMMY! We really haven't had great Italian pizza yet so that was wonderful. After that we just strolled along and stopped at a few markets- we walked across the Pontevecchio which I'm sure you've seen pictures of- it's the bridge that looks like there's little houses along the side of it. It's really cool- there's a bunch of jewelery in the windows along the bridge and you actually window shop- you only go inside the store to buy what you see in the window! From there we went to the Duomo- which is the really big church you've definitely seen pictures of! We first went inside and saw the actual church which is actually pretty big and empty- the altar and seating area for mass don't take up much room at all. But nonetheless it's beautiful and there's an amazing painting on the inside of the dome (see pics). Then we got in line to climb to the top of the dome- I did NOT know what I was getting myself into. Everyone had said you NEED to go to the top- it's best view you'll ever have. So we started climbing up the stairs which quickly turned into a very small spiraling staircase which I and my claustrophobic self did not handle too well. HAHA But I was fine, minus a few muttered curse words. First, you walk around the inside of the dome so you are right near the painting I talked about earlier. The only thing between you and a long fall to the floor of the church was a clear plastic wall so I literally walked around that part with my whole body glued to the wall. It was very cool but my knees were a little weak HAHA Then more and more and more steps, very steep steps in fact, to the the very top of the dome where you go outside and have the most amazing view in the world. We went as the sun was going down so it was absolutely beautiful. And here's the weirdest thing- at the very top while we were outside, Mandy and I ran into a girl we graduated with in high school! It was so bizarre! haha So despite my minor freakout on the way up the stairs, it was definitely worth it! Once we trekked back down the stairs, we went to get some gelato (delicious!) then headed back to our hostel. We got ready then all went out to a nice dinner together which was a lot of fun! I got a delicious lasagna- yum! After dinner we went to meet up with the other kids from our program and went to this really fun club together! We had such a great time and it was so fun being all together!
The next morning we woke up and went to a restaurant with American breakfast- I've REALLY been missing eggs and pancakes. Even though they weren't very good (haha) it was nice to have some normal American food! After breakfast, we went to see the famous David statue in the Accademia gallery. I've seen pictures before but I never realized how HUGE it is! ( You can look at my illegal picture of it, I wasn't supposed to take pics in there!) From there we did some souvenir shopping and just walked along the streets. That's what I loved about Florence- it was so enjoyable to just walk through the streets. There's no metro like the other cities and you can pretty much walk everywhere which I love!
As usual, we had to rush to get to the train that took us to our bus home but we made it on time- we've really lucked out with that! (knock on wood!) The weekend was so much fun and Florence was great- I would love to get back there.
In other news, I found out Sunday night that I was elected President of my sorority which is super exciting! It's just so weird that I'm not there! Haha But I will start once next semester once I get back to Delaware!
Tomorrow I leave for my second travel week where I will be going to Amsterdam, Dublin, Berlin, then Prague. It will definitely be a long week (actually 10 days!) but I'm very excited! It's a very different itinerary from our last travel week but I think it should be really cool. I will write some time in two weeks after I get back to campus! Ciao! And Happy Halloween! XOXO