What an amazing day! Once again it started off very early with my blasting alarm! My roommates Julia, Mary Alex, Elizabeth and I made our way to breakfast and to meet up with the rest of the group around 7:15am! The breakfast spread of eggs, bacon, cereal, coffee and so much more was delicious! Next we all headed to our charter bus which took us to the colosseum. It was just what I expected it to look like. With its high walls and exposed holding area (for the slaves and animals about to fight) it was as if I took a jump back in time and could hear the crowd roaring! I must say, I do wish I could have seen an actual fight in the colosseum!
Our group then headed to the Roman forum! Our wonderful tour guide Lorenzo made the tour so much fun and full of passion. This man definitely loves the history of his country!
Our day began at what seemed to be the crack of dawn! After a night of packing my alarm went off much earlier than desired, and it was time to meet up with our group to catch the bus to Rome! The bus ride went by quicker than expected, which I was more than happy about because bus rides usually make me feel so sick!
Ciao Roma! We finally arrived, put our bags in the hotel room, and headed to “snob”, a cute little restaurant near our hotel. We chowed down on pasta with pesto, salad and various other Italian dishes!
Next we were off to visit our first Roman monument, the Vatican! I don’t think I have ever seen such a beautiful religious place! Although it was extremely crowded we made our way through the Vatican museum. Our tour guide started off as fun and ended up as completely boring!!
However, after the Museum we made our way into the Sistine Chapel. I began to get a little teary eyed as I stood in amazement looking at the last Judgement! Then as I looked at the different biblical references on the ceiling based off Adam and Eve, light vs. park, and Noah, my faith seemed to grow!
I makes me so proud to be a Christian!
My religion runs some deeps roots and these amazing pieces of art only illuminated this.
We ended our day strolling the streets of Rome! What a beautiful city! Mary, Julia, Chandler, Sarah, Elizabeth, Catherine and I soon ducked into a tiny restaurant dawn a quite side street! I ate the best pasta I have had on the trip thus far and of course it didn’t go without my side o bread with olive oil!
Today was absolutely fantastic. I got my paper done on time so after we toured the lovely Uffizi Museum, Julia, Sarah Elizabeth, and I were able to enjoy the afternoon. First, the Uffizi. The museum was amazing and absolutely ginormous! It is so neat to see all of the art work we read about in the actual flesh. Seeing Botticelli’s Primavera was very cool, seeing as I had just completed my reaction paper on an article about the painting.
Wow, the Medici’s lived in lavish style. Gozzoli’s procession of the Magi was absolutely incredible. The colors that the fresco incorporates really caught my attention. Although the Renaissance aims for simplicity, the color variety and bold color choice can sometimes contrast that ideal. Interesting. We god dismissed from class early and returned home for a lazy afternoon. Our precious landlord just finished visiting us to finally fix our running toilet (yay!) and tonight 83BP plans on knocking out our reflection papers.
P.s. “How beautiful is youth, it is always slipping away! Whoever wants to be happy, let them be so” -Lorenzo De’Medici, the Magnificent
Today began with a wonderful trip to the Mercato Centrale!
I have been dying to go and get fresh fruits and veggies for the last three days! The Colors of the fruit are so bright and vibrant that they almost don't seem real! Alex purchased some bread while I got some gouda cheese and tomato to add on top! When we got back to the apartment we fired up the oven (after 10 minutes of trying to figure out how to turn it on) and made a delicious lunch. I can definitely tell my body will not be lacking on carbs or calcium anytime soon as the amount I've eaten in the last week is kind of absurd!
Slept in a little today and woke up to a rainy Monday. Can’t believe that we have already been here six days! Today we had our first day of class at one and toured the Florence Cathedral, the Duomo, the Orsanmichele church, and discussed the Florence Baptistery. The was beautiful inside! I loved the simplistic walls’ contrast with the detailed, artistic paintings...
Wow, what an amazing day at Cinque Terre! It was such an awesome first day in Italy and I’m so proud that our group made it there and back in one piece! We had an early start to our morning as our train left the train station at 7:45 am. I got breakfast at the McDonald’s across the street (weird eating Mickey D’s in Italy - it definitely isn’t the same!) and met the group by station 5. Getting tickets validated was a process but we all scrambled onto our train and departed for La Spezia Centrale. At 10_04 we successfully got off and purchased our hiking passes and train passes so we could travel beween the “Five Cities”: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
Corey, Alexis, SE, and I were dying to hike, so we jumped off at Riomaggiore, the first stop-Monterosso. It was sprinkling by this point but we trudged along anyway and it was well worth it! The scenic views were breathtaking and the fact we were hiking in a coastal cliff was just incredible! We signed our names to leave our mark, took lots of pics, and made it to Manarola in 20 minutes. From there, we caught the local traing to Vernazza since the trails were closed between Manarola/cornliglia and Corniglia/Vernazza. Vernazza was so cute. It was seated in a little harbor with all kinds of colorful buildings and a castle on a hill. Basically, I was obsessed. We were starving so we found this awesome restaurant on the cliff and ate there. The food and wine was delicious and our waiter Paul asked us out for drinks! He loved us. After we were drunk off a good time, we met the majority of our group and began the 2 mile trek to Monterosso. The rain held off on us, thank goodness!!
Walking to the trail I ran into Grace McCord - talk about blast from the good ole days of high school past! It was nuts. The hike was INCREDIBLE. Hard, but incredibly breathtaking and an awesome experience. I was worn out because the trek was super steep, but th esites and pics we took pushed us on. Al-in-all, the trip took about 2 hours but we all did it! When we got to Monterosso, I went straight to the sea and put my feet in before heading to a beach café for a celebratory beer with the girls. By now it was pouring and freezing cold so the train back to La Spezia Centrale was much needed.
We had a few little mishaps (SE, Alli, and Olivia getting on the wrong one and holding everyone up “is this going to La Spezia?” ... “um, no&rdquo it was hilarious! But the train ride went smoothly. After switching trains at Pisa, we arrived back in Florence around 9:30. The walk back home was the worst part of the day as it was freezing and pouring rain. After taking a hot shower, I passed out warm and content. Today was AMAZING and I’m so looking forward to my first day of class! So happy to be here with good friends and good times.
Of course the jet lag continued and I only received 5 hours of sleep last night as we literally had to be up at the crack of dawn for the Chianti field trip. Our group met up in front of Santa Reparata School and we took a short walk to our private bus. The first stop on the winding out-skirts of Florence was the town called Greve in Chianti.
Here our group roamed the streets of the market and all took in the sights a sounds of the quaint town! Julia, Mary and I stopped in a cute coffee shop to grab a much needed iced latte! It definitely wasn’t complete without a croissant so we each got different ones to share.
My croissant hearly melted inmy mouth and left my stomach more than satisfied.
Of course it seems I can’t go anywhere on my trip and not get a good laugh... Julia was so eager to find stamps for her post card that once she obtained them she rushed to the nearest postal box.
So, totally overslept this morning I definitely woke up at 11:30... feeling a tad bit guilty but it is only day three. I’m going to try to avoid sleeping that late at all times for the rest of the trip. After showering and moving everyone out of the apartment, we all met at the Duomo for lunch and got coffee and coffee/chocolate merengues at this quaint cholotatier store. Delizioso!
At 3 pm we met at Santa Reparata for a walking tour with Lorenzo. Again, the guy is great. He is so passionate forthe city! He showed us all these tricks of the trade, including: a personal sculpting of Michelangelo, Dante’s house and church (where he met Beatrice), a first century marble slab at the base of the Florence Baptistery, a memorial olive tree, and the Miracle of st. Zanobi (just to name a few!). I feel more acquainted with the city every day. I really will eventually fill my heart like home! After the tour I made the journey to the Duomo where I met up with Alli and her family! It was so great to see them and seeing Alli half way around the world was so exciting and bizarre. She is so knowledgeable and comfortable with the city.
I was very impressed at my friend turned tour guide! We got Grom and it was scrumptious! Definitely going to miss it at home. She showed me all of her favorite places and little tricks of the city. Such a help and so good to see her. I walked back home around 6:30, quickly changed, and joined the group for dinner at a greek restaurant with Ms. Jenny and several others. The meal was pretty good but I’m looking forward to sticking with Florence Favorites and traditional meals. We proceeded to walk off the meal because Lord knows we needed it, and wourd up wallking to the most serene eventing view of the Ponte Vecchio imaginable. So beautiful and all aglow, the view screams romantic. Sigh. A photoshop ensued where several pics for great memories were made. Anna, Emily, Corey, and I walked across the river to explore and then returned home. There’s still so much to explore but I’m so excited to visit all of the neat restaurants full of character and charm.
Still hans’t hit me that I’M IN ITALY yet!! Ahh! I suppose after our wine tasting tomorrow it will finally sink in smile. So excited!
Almost forgot to mention my first trip to the historic Mercato Centrale and boy was that a fantastic experience. Never have I seen fresh fruits, meats, veggies, and cheeses I aid out in such an attractive way. The sight is so appealing to the eye and the smells are heavenly. Can’t wait to make a genuine purchase there.
Until tomorrow: Chianti and a Castle... can it get any better?! Ciao Bella!
Ps. “You may have the Universe, i I can have Italy”. -Giuseppe Verdi
It has always been a dream of mine to travel internationally and the time has finally came! My journey began with taking two planes just to get to Atlanta! I don’t think I have ever been more stressed yet excited for something at the same time. After finally arriving at the Atlanta airport, I met up with 17 other girls who will accompany me on every step of the way on my journey! I can already tell I am making friendships that will last a life time!
Never flying internationally caused the butterflies to consume my stomach! However I was very excited I got to sit next to one of my new roommates, Alex The plane boarded quite quickly and it was CIAO AMERICA!