Ciao! A sEmester in Firenze

Still playing catch up here...

Just as I think I have all my ducks in a row, I find myself behind on everything and anything all over again. I'm trying to keep the days straight in my mind, but it is proving to be a little hard. The Monday after spring break was extremely low-key. I was pleasantly surprised when I remembered we had a gelato tasting in my food in culture class. We went around to about six different gelato shops, tasting flavors from each. We learned that there are two categories of gelato, fruits and nuts. The fruit flavors, like strawberry, lemon, ect, are made with water. The other flavors, like chocolate, hazelnut, and pistachios, are made with milk. There are a couple exceptions, however. Coconut, banana, and fig flavors are made with milk instead of the expected water because these specific flavors do not bind well with water. The other exception is dark chocolate, obviously, because it cannot be made with milk. If you are a professional gelato taster, the two flavors you would compare are strawberry and fior di latte (milk cream). My speculations held up, the gelateria on our street was indeed, the best. I'll miss you Gelateria dei Neri. The past 10 days of travel definitely caught up with me, so multiple naps were a big part of my day. I always feel a little guilty when I spent my days inside, but after ten days of non-stop walking, traveling, sight-seeing, and more, I felt a less guilty relaxing in my bed for the day.

During the day on Wednesday, we went over to our guy friends apartment and had a "Wisconsin Tailgate". The boys have a large, private garden off of their apartment, so it was the perfect day to wear our Wisconsin gear and spend a day in the sun.I 'm not sure who came up with the idea, but thankfully, no one was apposed. I didn't know any of the Wisconsin kids prior to arriving in Florence, so it's been extremely fun making new friends from my same school. It's sad to think that just as we are all really bonding, the semester is winding down. We are all trying to make the most of every single day that we have left abroad- the time has seriously FLOWN by.

My long-time friend, Kristin, came to Florence this weekend! She was my first guest and I was so excited to show her around MY city. When she arrived on Thursday, I immediately took her to the leather market. We walked through the market, taking a peak at various bags and jackets, before heading to famous Massimo Leather Shop. Massimo is where I bought my leather jacket from in the beginning of the semester, so I knew he had the best items on the market. Kristin ended up buying a purse and a jacket... big spender! I left empty handed, but I have my eyes on a brown, woven purse. After Kristin made her purchases, we hiked up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a gorgeous sunset taking in a panoramic view of my favorite city. After admiring the view, we went to a recommended restaurant for pear ravioli. It was one of the best dishes i've had since arriving in Florence! I'm drooling just thinking about it. We ended the night back at my apartment to play a card game, Monopoly Deal. The game wasn't my forte, but it was so fun and my roommates, Kristin, and I shared a lot of laughs. Overall, it was a 10/10 day!

On Friday, a large group of Wisconsin kids decided to find a beach. We budgeted our time a little poorly, so we ended up having to sprint onto our train. The day was off to an interesting start! After some wandering around the small city outside of Pisa, we eventually found a sandy-ish beach. It wasn't extremely warm, only about 65 degrees, but the sun felt great and we all ended up getting a little, or a lot, of color. It was such a relaxing day by the water. Kristin and I both agreed that it was much needed after busy previous weeks.

Morning came nice and quick on Saturday. We were at the train station ready to roll by 7am. After a couple transfers and hours later, we finally arrived in Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre! Cinque Terre consists of five different cities tucked away into the the northern cost of Italy and literally means five lands. We trained into the first city, explored for awhile, and then got information on which trails were open for hiking. We found out that only two of the hiking paths were open, so we jumped back on the train and headed to the third city to officially start our day. We hiked for a total of about four hours. The paths were surprisingly difficult and Kristin and I both wore the wrong apparel, but the views DEFINITELY made up for it. Each city looked like it was straight off of a post card. I can't believe that people actually live in places like this! I couldn't help but think how much my family would enjoy these hikes... at least I can come back with my mom in May! Not only were the views incredible, but the seafood was even better. In one of the cities, Kristin and I ate fried calamari out of a cone. It was DELICIOUS. It was an extremely tiring yet rewarding day and by the time our train got into Florence, it was 10pm. Kristin and I decided we needed to rally, especially because she hadn't "gone out" in Florence yet, so we quickly showered and got ready. I decided to take her to one of my favorite bars, Kikuya, home of the famous dragoon ( a dark beer that comes with suckers). Most of my friends from my program were there as well, so it was really fun introducing Kristin to all my new friends!

Kristin's flight didn't leave until later in the afternoon on Sunday, so I had some time to show her around Florence. We started at La Milkeria for some waffles topped with gelato and then hit up the Duomo Museum. I filled Kristin in on all the fun facts I learned in my Art and Architecture class about the pieces inside the museum and then let her explore on her own. It is by far my favorite museum in Florence, so I was excited to let her experience it for herself. After the museum, I played tour guide for a little longer, walking around the city pointing out all the most important parts. It was fun to show Kristin all my favorite spots in Florence and share some of my fun stories with her. Obviously, before Kristin left, I had to take her to my favorite sandwich shop, All' Antico Vinaio, located right on my street! I think i'll shed actual tears when I get back to the states and realize I wont be getting panini's as great as these anytime soon. Before I knew it, it was time for me to walk her to the train station. It was such a fun, yet busy weekend. I was so glad to be in Italy and spend the nights in Florence. It feels good to not have a long Sunday of travel, for once. Instead, I spent this rainy Sunday relaxing and watching a couple movies. It was the perfect end to a fun-filled weekend. See ya this summer, Kristin!

Created By
Morgan Collins

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