Tag Archives: Italy

Italy, you have stolen my heart… But there is no place like home.

Where do I even begin on this incredible week? I guess I’m still in pure awe from the culture and way of life in Florence and in Italy in general. It is so different than of the Dutch culture here. I wish I could explain it easily and put it into actual words. The city itself is absolutely gorgeous. It’s completely picturesque and sometimes felt unreal to walk through the streets. Everyone is very friendly and social; things are kind of slow in Florence. My week was full of wandering and adventure but at the same time I also had a lot of relaxing moments and downright silly fun.

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The food in Florence was absolutely amazing. I think I’m going to have a hard time going back to eating American “Italian” food. My favorite was the spaghetti alle scoglio, or seafood spaghetti and tiramisu. We ate it as one of my first meals, came full circle and also ate it my last. Aperitivos, paninis, pasta, and pizza… Yum! With all the good food and gelato I had, my stomach was definitely satisfied. All week long.

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Sometimes when Sara would have class, I would go with her into the city and just wander around the streets of Florence. The first time, I went shopping and just walking everywhere. I actually ended up finding the Arno River on accident. It was a beautiful sight to take in, alone with my thoughts. I found myself sitting outside in this city a lot.  I’ve come to realize that some of my best and favorite moments of adventure are when I am alone. You really get the time to take it all in and reflect. I absolutely hate taking tours and doing all the really touristy things, so it was really nice to have someone show me around all week.

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We planned to go see so many cities within Italy but only managed to visit half of them. We only explored Pisa and Bologna, so I’ll have to come back for Venice, Rome, and many others! In Pisa, we went to go see the Leaning Tower, of course. We went after Sara’s class so we were racing the clock for the sunset. Luckily, we managed to make it there just in time. It was also a Thursday, so there weren’t many tourists around. On Friday, we took the train up to Bologna, to see my good childhood friend, Connie! This girl hasn’t been home in such a long time, I couldn’t even remember the last time I saw her. It was nice to see yet another good friend of mine! Even though we were only in town for 4 hours, she was a great tour guide. Connie knew so much about the city and its history that it turned all the old buildings into rich, historical spots.

All in all, Italy was absolutely breathtaking. I am so glad I got to enjoy a whole week there and also spend it with one of my best friends too! From visiting the shot art master Einstein, the good ole sleepovers, to the secret bakery and more, I feel like I definitely got the whole Florence experience.

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I know I’m a week late on posting this, but it’s been incredibly difficult articulating my thoughts on my time in Italy. I think it’s mostly because I had such an amazing, amazing time (thanks Sara and friends!) that I am at a loss for words, so I apologize for that. My week in Italy will always be one of my favorites!

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P.S. Italian street art is actually the best.

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Country #2 and #3 – Belgium and Italy

As I have mentioned before, this is my absolute first time in Europe! Thus, anywhere and everywhere I go is going to be an awesome experience for me. This weekend, we took on Belgium!

Brussels, Belgium
After some unfortunate complications (make sure your dates are right or else you will have to pay more!), we were able to get a bus through Euroline all the way to Brussels on Friday night. After getting lost and not understanding a word of French, we finally made it to our hostel. I also got yelled at by a lady on the bus for accidentally dirtying her bag with my shoe because my legs were crossed after she bumped into me. All I could say was sorry and she just continued to spew out things in French, mocking my apology and gesturing that she was going to step on my bag. Soooo, my first experience in Belgium wasn’t the greatest. We ended up venturing out into the city and finally found a nice restaurant to eat in and we feasted on some liege meatballs. They were delicious! We hung out for the rest of the night and planned out our next days.

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The next day, we took a tour of the city with Sandmans and ended up making friends with some U.S. military surgeons. We feasted on some amazing waffles together and then went our separate ways. Everyone was drained so we headed back to the hostel to rest up before our pub crawl that night. We ended up going to five different pubs and got either a beer or a shot at each one. At the end, we thought they were going to leave us at a club, but instead we ended up at another pub with a dance floor. The people there were a tad creepy and we weren’t feeling it so we left around 2:00AM.

16616320371_983e93ee9f_zOur last day, we were supposed to go to the Atomium and see Mini Europe but we didn’t realize that Mini Europe is actually closed until mid-March. So, we ended up taking some photos of the Atomium and then headed back to the city for more waffles, fries, and chocolate!
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Overall, I am glad I went. We wanted to start off small and go to a country super close by and we were lucky Belgium is just south of us. Many people were saying that Bruges is a better city to see, so maybe we should have done some more research! Also, taking the bus wasn’t so fun either. We were only on the bus for 3 hours average each way so I can’t imagine what a longer bus ride would be like (Prague, that’s you). I kept comparing Brussels to Amsterdam and I just couldn’t help that Amsterdam always won. I am so lucky to be in such a beautiful city. That is something I want to talk about, but that’ll get saved for another blog post some other day!

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Florence, Italy
The day after I got back from Belgium, I flew out to Florence to see one of my best friends, Sara. There was some weird break from my classes, I think because I didn’t have any midterms… But I randomly had a week off of school, even though I just started three weeks ago! Sara and I took advantage of this right away and I was able to book my flight out to see her really early in the block. My flight got delayed and half our plane was on a layover, about to miss our next flight out. Luckily, the airline did a very good job of making sure we all got on and even bussed us to our next plane! We actually were able to board the plane first, before all the other passengers. It was a short ride over to Italy; thankfully, I didn’t have any other troubles other than that! I ended up taking the bus from the airport to the train station, where I literally jumped into Sara’s arms. Just when I needed a piece of home, I am reunited with one of my favorite people in the world. She is the greatest host and has the cutest apartment. I’m in for a great time this week, exploring the whole country with her. I absolutely cannot wait!

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