May 21, 2014

On Hiatus

I wanted to write a blog post that summed up my whole semester abroad. That named all my favorite things (the ones I spent my last week savoring) and express how fortunate I felt to have such great friends in Italy (and now, around the world). But I don't really have the words to express the entirety of my semester. It was too great, too unreal, and went by too fast. I can only say, ciao Firenze (for now-I may even come back with a reminiscent Italy blog in a few months, we all know I have the photo number to do it). 

May 18, 2014


On Jewel's to-do list in Italy was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. She was a little more than disappointed when I told her we didn't have a whole day to waste in Pisa. I had heard there's not much to do in the little town, other than the Tower, and this information proved true. Nevertheless, Pisa is a perfect pitstop on a train route from Castiglioncello to Florence. 

We made all Jewel's bucket list dreams come true. 

Checking our bags into left luggage at the train station (the benefits of traveling light), we made the jaunt to the Piazza dei Miracoli. 

May 16, 2014

A peculiar destination

Mom, Jewel, and I set out on a new adventure after our luxury trip to Santa Margherita Ligure for something a little different. In case you were wondering, yes, we spent a lot of time on trains that last weekend. On the bright side, train travel in Europe is the bomb-diggity. 

May 13, 2014

The Italian Riviera

We stepped off our train (the second time, since we may or may not have originally got off at the wrong stop) into the cool Mediterranean sea air. We weaved through brightly colored buildings down the slope to Santa Margherita Ligure, where the bright mare blu awaited. 

May 7, 2014

Sharing "La Dolce Vita"

The first weekend I was in Florence I found myself living la dolce vita (the sweet life). With Mom & Jewel in my city, I wanted to show them that same perfect day I had; that first day when I found all my favorite things in Florence. 

We started with what is the essential kick off to any great venture: gelato. Not just any gelato, but the sweet creamy delight that is Gelateria Vivaldi

May 5, 2014

Seeing Siena

Just a short (though perilous) bus ride away from Florence is the medieval town of Siena. After reading the book, Juliet, by Anne Fortier, a conceptualized story based on the history behind Romeo & Juliet, set in Siena, Jewel and I were both dying to visit the historic municipality. 

We arrived in the late afternoon, giving us the perfect amount of time to stroll the sloping streets. 

May 2, 2014

Buona Notte Firenze

It could be argued whether my Mom came to visit just me or just Italy, and the generous answer would probably be a combo of the two. But really, if we're honest, she came for the carousel. 

In Piazza della Repubblica there is a restored early 20th century carousel ran by the Picci family (see story here). From what I have been told it only runs from November to May, but since I arrived in January, it has been present for my every jaunt through the city center. Though I was many times tempted to jump upon the 20 horse parade, I continued to hold out hope that my mama (and Jewel) would cross the Atlantic and be with me for that first ride. 

I was not let down. 

A Return to Venezia

Oh Venezia. When Mom, Jewel, and I decided to go to Venice after Verona, I somehow thought that I would be a perfect tour guide. I had been a few months earlier to the sinking city for Carnivale, and thought I had sort of got the hang of it. Turns out, other then gaining the aptitude for finding "Rialto" and "San Marco" signs, Venice was as stupefying the second time as it had been the first.  

Still, you can only experience something for the first time once, and I had some idea of what to expect. Jewel & Mama, however, did not; it was nearly as enjoyable to watch them see Venice for the first time as it had been to experience it. 

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