Last week I took the first trip alone since I have been abroad. I visited a few of my closest friends who are also studying abroad in Florence, Italy. It was such an amazing trip and just reflecting back upon the time I spent in Italy, brings a smile to my face.
When I arrived Wednesday evening I was able to see the nightlife because it was one of my friend’s 21st birthday. On Thursday we went to the Duomo, the famous church. It is a close walk to their apartment and the architecture is absolutely stunning. We took some pictures on the outside and I must have passed the Church at least 10 times throughout the weekend because of its central and visible location. For the rest of the day I shopped my way through the leather market. Because their apartment is directly upstairs from this market that is filled with soft and beautiful leather, it would be a dangerous thing for me to live there since I am a bit of a shopaholic. After making a few too many purchases (sorry mom) we finished our day at the Mercato Centrale and I was able to satiate my hunger with a delicious homemade pizza.
On Friday we woke up early to head over to the other side of the city. We walked across the Ponte Vecchio, the famous bridge in Florence. Doing this, we were able to take our time, take pictures and see all the beautiful jewelry that was sold on stores all along the bridge. After, I was able to go to the Gucci Museum, which was really exciting for me since I have a strong passion for high-end designer brands. The museum was interesting, however, I do not know if it was a “must do” if I return to Florence, but because it was starting to rain, it was nice to have some time indoors. For lunch we went to a place that many friends recommended and I had to try something called “Gusta Pizza”. I enjoyed another margarita and the waitress even treated me to a heart shaped pie. Even though I love American food that was probably the best pizza I will ever have in my lifetime.
As we made our way back to their apartment, we stopped at Piazza della Repubblica, a large square in the center of Florence surrounded by cafes and nice restaurants. It even had an adorable carousel in the center. My friends explained to me that on Sundays the square is always full of children and families who enjoy listening to street artists and play with men who blow bubbles all over the square.
Saturday, we woke up early to catch a bus that drove us to Venice, Italy for Carnival. The first time I had visited Venice, it was during Carnival as well and I still believe that Venice is absolutely stunning and I would always be willing to return. Besides the cold, it was a perfect day that ended with a romantic gondola ride that my friends and I took all around the canals.
On the last day we woke up early to climb Michael Angelo which, to my surprise, turned into a beautiful day. I must admit, the 50 steps or so were well worth the effort. The city view was breathtaking. I was able to appreciate things that I never was able to when I was younger. Even the architecture on the buildings was remarkable. Italy offers art in so many ways, that cannot be seen elsewhere. We treated ourselves to some mouthwatering gelato. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.
Before coming abroad I was nervous about traveling alone and studying in a different city from my best friends. This trip made me appreciate our friendships much more and the benefits of traveling and visiting friends in different cities. This trip reassured me that I made the right decision and that no matter where my travels take me, there is no better place for me to be studying than Barcelona.