Ciao! A Semester in Firenze

Last trip best trip!!! This was my motto going into my very last trip of the semester. We booked Greece way back in February, so I kinda forgot about this 5 day vacation until it was nearly time to leave. It was an Italian national holiday the following Tuesday, so we planned to use our allotted skip and ditch our only Monday class- making it a 5 night get away. After class on Thursday, we got our last minute items together and made our way to the train station. A large group of 12 of us were FINALLY on our way to Greece!

Six of us decided we wanted to visit Athens for a day, so the large group of twelve split up into two smaller groups. Myself, along with my three roommates and two other friends, arrived at our airbnb in Athens around 1:45am (keep in mind the hour time difference between Italy and Greece). We gawked for a few minutes at the cute decorations throughout the apartment, then went straight to bed.

The next morning, we all showered and headed out the door for a packed day of sight seeing. One of my roommates, Maddie, is obsessed with all things Greek history, so she was in absolute heaven. First, we made our way to the Pantheon, scoring free entrance thanks to our Florence student IDs. It would have been nice to have a tour guide to give us some history, but nevertheless, we still marveled at the large marble buildings in front of us. Next, we grabbed a quick lunch of gyros, saganaki, and red wine. To cap off the day, we toured the first olympic stadium of modern times. This ended up to be my favorite parts of the day because we received a radio tour guide that gave us the history of the amazing stadium. We even were allowed entrance into the room where every single one of the torches from the Olympics are held- it was pretty cool to say the least. Before going to bed, we grabbed a light dinner consisting of a greek salad, bread, and tzatziki sauce. The other six girls who decided they did not want to visit Athens, ended up staying over night in the Athens airport waiting for their flight to Santorini the following morning. To say the least, I was very happy with my decision.

Our shuttle to the airport arrived at 5am on Saturday morning, so we were up and at it early. When we arrived in Santorini (!!!!) it was raining (sad). After a short drive from the airport to Oia, we were greeted by a donkey that carried our bags to our airbnb. I felt a little bad for the animals; however, I tried not to think about it for too long. This city was STUNNING. It looked like it was right off of a postcard. We decided to grab a breakfast to get out of the rain and then we walked around the city bopping into various jewelry store to look at every last item. After a couple hours of shopping, our airbnb was finally ready for us. It was WELL worth the wait as we were living in luxury for the next couple of days. The place was two stories, two bathrooms, six beds with gorgeous tiles throughout. The best part... our front door looked right out to the water. Just when we thought our day couldn't get any better... it did. The rain broke right when the sun was setting making for a gorgeous sunset. The light beaming off of all the white houses was incredible. The whole city cheered and clapped as the sun disappeared; it was magical. The large group of 12 of us went to dinner at a unique restaurant tucked away on a small, quiet side street. I split a mushroom and pork dish along with a seafood linguini with my friend, Kalyn. The meal was scrumptious! It was a blast having all twelve of us together; however, everyone agreed that for the rest of the meals, we would settle on cheaper gyros. Again, we left laughing at the fact that every single on of us were wearing jean jackets. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out. I fell asleep thanking God for this vacation from my four month study abroad vacation.

Sunday brought another unreal day... honestly, our time in Greece continuously improved as the days went on. I wasn't kidding when I said last trip best trip. One of the girls I was with organized a day on a catamaran so when we arrived at the port and saw the boat we were about to spend the whole day on, all of our mouths hung open in awe. Our itinerary included: swimming beneath a volcano in its hot-spring, the white beach and read beaches of Santorini, a delicious cook out on the catamaran, and basking in the sun. WOW, am I lucky or what?! The water was so unbelievably clear that you could see 16 feet to the bottom without a problem. One of my favorite memories from the day was sitting on the nets in the front of the boat, letting the salty water soak us head to toe as we sailed through the water. I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. When the catamaran ended (ugh) the sun was still high, and hot. We made our way back to our perfect patio and sat under the intense sun. As we were sitting, a wedding photo shoot made its way to the apartment next door. It was odd though, the bride was wearing a puffy, light blue dress and the groom a crisp white tux. It was painfully awkward but it gave us all a good laugh. For dinner, we grabbed a gyro from a place recommended by our airbnb owner. It was probably the best thing i've ate all semester. The best part was dirt cheap! We were all in heaven. Another gorgeous sunset later, we were on our way to a nearby town, Fira. The island of Santorini itself is small, only taking an hour to drive from tip-to-tip. We jumped from bar to bar and even ran into a couple of friends that we went to Prague with, brothers, Rob and Chris. I had a blast dancing with all my newly formed friends and had to stop and look around more than once to remind myself that this wasn't a dream.

Monday was our last full day in Santorini. To see as much as possible, we decided the best use of our time was to rent ATV's for the day and ride around the Island. We spent hours parading around, stopping at the black beach and a look out point to see the entire island. We even managed to make it back to Oia just in time for our last sunset. We hiked down to the port getting as close to the water as possible and watched as the sun disappeared. I was sad to see it go though, I wanted more hours in the day to enjoy this amazing city. I'll be back Greece, I'll be back.

Sunday was a very, very, very, long travel day. We got up at 5am for our flight to Athens, where he had a several hour layover, flew to Rome, and FINALLY trained back to Florence. I went to bed dreaming of Greece...

Created By
Morgan Collins

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