Ciao! A semester in firenze

Another week has come and gone and now I can officially say I've been living in Florence for an entire month! WOAH! The time is seriously flying by and I can't even begin to wrap my brain around how much i've already seen and done.

Before I share my weekend in Prague, I want to fill you in on my recent trip to see The David! My Art and Architecture professor warned us that Florence is home to some of the most stunning and famous pieces of art, but the museums that hold them are straight trash. I've found this to be pretty true. Most of the museums i've visited have gorgeous artwork and sculptures but are hung on dry wall with awful florescent lighting aimed at the pieces. Nevertheless, when I turned a corner in the Galleria dell' Accademia to see The David, my mouth dropped. It was absolutely stunning. It's incredible to think that one man sculpted the 17 foot statue that stood in front of me. Pictures don't do it justice but here's one just for kicks..

We did it! With the help of my two of my roommates, Molly and Maddie, I survived a weekend planned entirely on my own. Friday called for a very early wake up time as we had to catch our train leaving for Rome at 7:30am. Our plane to Prague was completely booked, making it a loud and sweaty hour and a half flight; however, we safely touched down in the Czech Republic around 2:00pm. Instant regrets on not bringing my winter hat and gloves on this trip when I looked out the window and saw snow on the ground. After a short car ride through the city, we finally found our airbnb. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, people. Based on the exterior of our apartment building, I was a little skeptical of what the inside had in store for us. Much to our surprise, it was perfect! As soon as we set down our bags, we realized how hungry we were. 60 minutes later, we finally found the restaurant we had in mind only to realize it was around the corner. New cities are hard. Cafe Louvre was a cute little dinner known for their desserts and tea. We all got a drink (hot chocolate and rum for me yummy) and some food. After seeing the waiters bring out everyones delicious desserts we finally decided we needed to see what all the hype was about. I got a slice of the chocolate cake and it was to DIE FOR. As I sat at the cute cafe, I felt a little homesick knowing I am the one that gets to travel the world even though the rest of my family would enjoy it just as much. Gracie mille mom and dad!!

With full bellies and happy hearts, we decided to wander around the city. After meandering through the streets for awhile, we finally stumbled into Old Town Square. This city is breathtaking! Prague has a very gothic, dark, medieval vibe. I could have stood in the center of the square all night taking in my surroundings; however, my hands and feet started to go numb after a couple minutes so I knew it was time to head back home. A couple of Maddie's high school friends arrived around 10pm and shortly after we headed back out for a night of dancing and fun. We ended up at a music bar, Nebe, which was packed with local students and young adults. It was a nice change of pace from the usual abroad student scene.

Since arriving in Europe, I've realized waking up early isn't so bad when you have a whole new country to explore! All five of us were up and ready to go around 8am and walked straight to the Charles Bridge and up to the Prague Castle. We explored St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica, and Golden Lane. The Cathedral was definitely my favorite because of the sky scrapper high ceilings, amazing stain glass windows, and beautiful statues throughout. Sadly, none of the buildings were heated so by the time our tours ended I was on the brink of losing a couple fingers to the bitter cold. However, we still had so much to see and do that not even hypothermia could deter us.

Next stop: John Lennon Wall. The wall was located in an odd place in the city and was a lot smaller than I expected. It was cool to see all the phrases of peace and joy but honestly, it was a tad underwhelming. I'm still happy we saw the wall though, another item checked off our Prague to-do list. After taking in the scenery, we FINALLY found shelter for warmth and food. We were seated in the basement of the restaurant- a running joke for us since being abroad because it always rings true that restaurants seat the americans in the basement. All five of us got the same meal: a traditional Czech bread bowl soup and a side of sausage. Delicious. Just as we full de-thawed, it was time to bundle back up and venter back outside to climb the bell tower.

Quick side note: the exchange rate in the Czech Republic really messed with my mind. 1 USD equaled about 26 Czk. The bills came in large amounts like 500 czks but really, they weren't worth that much. For example, I took out 1000 czk but that only equaled about 40 dollars. As I explain it now, it doesn't seem very confusing but trust me, I struggled the whole weekend.

This was my favorite part of our trip to Prague. Even on a gloomy, cold day, the sights from the top of the bell tower were to die for. Before heading home for a quick nap, we decided to finally try a famous Czech dessert. A Trdelnik is a warm cinnamon chimney filled with nutella and was absolutely amazing. Couldn't help but thinking how much my brother would love this dessert. After 7 ish hours of sight seeing, we made it home for a little down time before heading to a five story club called Karlovy Lazne. From the music to the decorations, each floor had a completely different theme. We spent significant time on each floor but my favorite was definitely the oldies themed floor. To cap off the night, the five of us decided to split of shot of absinth. When in Prague, Right? Even just a little taste was more than enough, it burned all the way down. Don't worry mom and dad, it won't happen again.

Sunday morning came early as we only had a couple hours to explore more of the city before we had to leave for the airport. Overall, Prague was amazing but I realized how much I love my home away from home in Florence. Many times throughout the weekend I found myself thinking about getting back to Italy- I think thats a good sign that I picked the perfect place for me.

Another country down! This weekend I'm headed to Rome and I'm over the moon with excitement. Coming for you Pope Francis!

Wish you were here

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Morgan Collins

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