Note: This post was written last Thursday – I did not get a chance to post it over the weekend.
As I sit at my gate, waiting to board my flight to Stockholm, I realize it’s been quite some time since my last post.
The weekend before last, I traveled to Florence and Pisa with my roommates and some other friends. Despite having already visited both of these cities before, I was eager to rediscover the beauty and history both cities had to offer.
Florence was quite fun. The leather market was sprawling with 10 versions of roughly the same 100 purses and scarves, mostly being sold by men who thought the line, “discount for the beautiful girl” would work. Nevertheless, my friends and I have some fun bartering for gifts and goodies to bring home. I walked away empty handed for a few reasons. The first being that nothing really stuck out to me. There were many beautiful bags and wallets, but nothing that I felt was worth the money. The second, I refuse to give any vender the satisfaction of turning a profit after being disrespectful (which sadly, most were). And third, I’m fairly certain that 99% of the purses were stolen, and as someone who feels too guilty to even download music illegally, I just couldn’t do it. So yes, (Mario Pompili), I did not spend a single Euro shopping in Florence. Miracles really do happen.
Of course we also went to see the inspiring pieces of art, sculptures, and churches that Florence has to offer. Similar to almost every other person who has ever visited the city, both David and the Duomo were two of my favorites.
While in the leather market on the second day of our trip, we met some people from Georgetown. They had arrived a few days before, and were studying in Florence for the semester. One thing led to another, and we ended up relaxing at John D. Rockefeller’s (where these kids live/go to school) villa later that night before going out. To say the place was unbelievably beautiful, is quite an understatement. Cheers to Standard Oil!
Later that night we had a little too much fun, and then hoped on a 4:30 a.m. train from Florence to Pisa. Oh, I probably should mention that my roommates and I decided to break away from the pack (the other 6 girls we were traveling with), and stayed in Florence for an extra night. We feel as though we hadn’t quite experienced enough of the city yet. OK, I lied. We didn’t get a chance the go a specific bar the night before, and we really, REALLY, wanted to. When in Florence, right?
We arrived in Pisa at around 6 a.m. and sleepily made our way to our B&B to sleep for about 3 hours before having to wake up, and check out. A few hours later we (unwillingly) got up to start what would be a peculiar day. If you ask any Italian, you don’t go to Pisa. You just don’t. All that’s there is the leaning tower. You can see that in about .5 seconds. Add that to the 15 seconds it takes to snap an embarrassing and cliche photo of you “holding” the tower up, and you’ve conquered Pisa. With that said, as someone who had already seen the tower before, I could’ve done without going back. It was POURING rain all day, everything was over priced, the food was lousy, and I was nursing one bad hangover. I am very aware of how much of a brat I sound like, complaining about getting to travel all over Italy. However, I cannot lie. It just was not the most exciting thing I’ll experience this semester. Side note: I sincerely apologize if anyone reading this is from Pisa and if I offended them. Despite being Pisa’s biggest critic, the roomies and I were so sleep deprived that just about every single thing was hilarious and we were in fits of laughter nonstop. Albeit, mostly at the expense of Pisa, but smiles nonetheless. I am a horrible, overly privileged, snot…I know.
The day (Sunday) felt like it was dragging on, taking forever for our 3:45 p.m. train tome to roll around. Again, I’m very aware of how dramatic I sound. We happily hopped on our 4 hour train back to Rome, sleeping for almost all of it.
All in all, Florence was a trip that I will always look back on with even more admiration for Rockefeller. And Michaelagelo, I guess. (I’m totally kidding, Mom&Dad). Pisa will most likely be that story that every parent tries to avoid sharing with their child, because then they have to explain why they felt like a boulder was sitting on their head.
All joking aside, I had a wonderful weekend and continue to be amazed by how very lucky I am to be having these experiences!
Facade of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Meggy and I looking insignificant at the doors of the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella.
David – or as I call this one, “Davy got back”.
My special intentions (inside the Duomo).
Inside the villa.