Italy

This is What Dreams are Made of

Traveling to Pisa, Florence and Rome in a matter of four days is surprisingly a fairly easy process. In honor of visiting Rome, ‘The Lizzie McGuire Movie’ was a theme of the weekend, we even watched it while in Florence (hence the title of this post). Audrey, Madison and I decided to do it this way because flying into Pisa was extremely cheap (just 30 euros!) and there isn’t an international airport in Florence. We stayed in Pisa for a night so that we could see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, of course, and the following day we took a train to Florence. While boarding the train, we came across two girls that looked a bit younger than us and they were distracting because they wouldn’t walk up the steps to the seats on the train and I was very confused what the issue was. All of a sudden one was standing in front of me with the other behind me and they were blocking me in on the steps. They must not have noticed that Audrey was with me and standing right behind them because I looked down at my purse to find it unzipped and my wallet missing. I immediately said something and Audrey pointed to the girl behind me and goes “she has your wallet I saw her grab it”, after which I proceeded to grab the girls arm and yank it from her while she dropped my wallet onto the floor and ran off with her little friend. Clearly they were trying to distract me for a reason, I’ve been told to watch out for that but I was very caught off guard in the situation. Thank God Audrey had been there to see it go down because they could’ve easily gotten away with it otherwise. This was the closest I’ve come to getting pick-pocketed (knock on wood) and I am even more cautious and paranoid about it now…

I easily ate pizza from six different restaurants while in Italy, specifically margarita pizza. Safe to say I probably gained a few pounds this weekend but the incredible wine, pasta, pizza and gelato was too good to pass up. Right outside where we were staying there was an outdoor marketplace set up with all kinds of trinkets, leather goods and clothes. I bought way too many things and knocked out a good number of presents. Our last day in Florence was rainy but that didn’t stop us from climbing over 400 steps to the top of the Duomo for an amazing view of the entire city. The next day we took a BlaBla car, which is a carpool service where you can ride with people that are going to the same places as you, to Rome with a nice man named Federico and his girlfriend. The three of us squeezed in the tiny back seat and were asleep for the majority of the three hour car ride. Since we only had a day in Rome, we tried our best to fit in as much sight-seeing as we could. We saw the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Vatican all in a matter of one afternoon. We ate the best calzone of my life at Sepori e Delizie and made a few more gelato stops. That night, we stayed in my first ever hostel which was a good experience because we are staying in hotels in Amsterdam as well as Dublin. All three of us were in separate rooms and mine was a “mixed dorm” but ended up being me and seven other guys. We went out with our hostel group along with three other hostels that night and they took us to a couple of bars and a club. This was nice because I was able to get to know all of my roommates a little more. The hostel is a great experience if you’re trying to meet people, but next time I’ll be sure to invest in some earplugs to block out everyone’s snoring.

I love how small Florence is, it was a nice change of pace to be able to walk everywhere and not rely on the metro like I do so much in Madrid. I would’ve liked to spend more time in Rome because there is so much more to see. The food was by far the best I’ve had so far, but I’m thankful I don’t study there because I would easily come home 20 pounds heavier. Once again it’s always nice settling back into Madrid after a long weekend away and I did have time to go on my second run of the semester through Retiro Park the other day. That place still seizes to amaze me and it is even more beautiful now as the leaves are starting to change colors and Madrid is finally starting to get chilly. It is crazy to me that it’s already halfway through November and I’ll be coming home in about a month’s time now. It’ll be bittersweet leaving here to head back home but I can’t help but look forward to my king-sized bed, Dad’s cooking, Mom’s back rubs and just hanging out on the back porch with my family. This weekend we go to Grenada with our program so I’m excited to explore a little more of Spain!

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Margarita Pizza

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Leaning Tower of Pisa

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Vatican

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Trevi Fountain

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