Hello from Florence! This post has been a few days in the making. Thankfully we have some downtime in between adventuring through the city and eating so I can finally share about my first few days.
Day 1: After a few hard goodbyes, I was off on my journey across the pond. Anyone that knows me is well aware I do not pack light. I can fill up a huge suitcase for just a week let alone four months with two different seasons. Miraculously I managed to only bring two gigantic suitcases, the size that could easily fit a human, a carry on weekender bag, and my backpack. It was going to be a hilarious adventure trying to maneuver those through Florence to find my apartment. It was a blessing in disguise that my bags didn’t arrive on time so I could help Haley with her bags and then get help with mine when they came the next day. I wish there would have been a video of me trying to roll the blue duffel down the cobblestone roads. My apartment is located in the middle of the mercato centrale (central market) and all of the men working the booths were getting a good laugh. There are a lot of small hole in the wall restaurants steps from our front door. Haley and I went to one after we were all settled in. I got homemade fettuccine in a light white sauce with shrimp and zucchini. It was interesting to find out that water and bread are not free. Water is even more expensive than wine!
Day 2: We had an orientation for our school at 9:30 AM. Needless to say, that alarm clock was not a welcomed noise after having jet lag. Trying to find the building was an adventure. The roads and numbers here are super complicated. Residential addresses are red numbers and businesses are blue or black so you could have a 2 red beside a 75 black. After hours of listening to people speak at us, we were free to go wonder around. It is amazing how beautiful all of the buildings and architecture is. It still feels so surreal that I am living here for four months.
This is the Duomo. It is in the center of the city. We can see the top of the dome from our windows. One of these days we are going to climb to the top of it. The picture doesn’t do it justice by any means. There is so much intricate detail that had to have taken years to finish.
Last night, we were provided dinner by the school at our advisor’s favorite restaurant, Acqua 2. There are two back in the states in DC and San Diego. I highly recommend going if you ever get the chance. It seemed like the food was never ending. As soon as we finished trying one type of pasta, the waiter was back with another. My personal favorites were a spinach pesto pasta and a bow-tie pasta with a squash pumpkin sauce. After dinner, we went back to the boys apartment and played some games before going to the “American” bar. The Red Garter was filled with students from all over the US studying abroad in Florence. We heard that there are around 6,000 of us every semester. They had karaoke and a lot of music we hear on the radio. We stayed out dancing until 1:30AM when the secret bakery opened. All around Florence, bakeries will open their backdoors and give you any freshly made pastry for 1 euro. We all got a nutella croissant that melted in your mouth.
Day 3: Our apartment has shutters that keeps our room blackout while we sleep. We all slept in until noon which was probably a bad thing since we are attempting to adjust to the time here. After eating a light breakfast and getting ready, we went walking all around the city. We ventured across the river to find a pizza place we had all heard was amazing. Gusta Pizzeria exceeded our expectations. It was a quant cozy place with some of the best pizza I have ever had. The majority of us ordered Calabrese which is salami, tomato, mozzarella, and basil. Here are a few other pictures we took during the day: ^^^this was taken from a rooftop cafe where I got a hot chocolate. Italian hot chocolate is literally melted chocolate. Needless to say I didn’t even put a dent in it.