The rest of the Spring break trip and a little about this past week!

23 Apr

So after a great time in Rome we left early Wednesday in order to get to Florence as soon as possible.  We wanted to leave earlier than we did but the train ticket for the train had been sold out.  There were a bunch of Italians trying to get us to buy different tickets but we went to the counter and got the correct ones.  The trains in Italy are pretty nice.  You have your own assigned seats which are pretty comfortable.  When we got to Florence we walked out of the train station to look for taxis but couldn’t find any.  The reason was that we went out of the wrong exit, the other one had the taxis.  It ended up being fine because we just walked to our hotel with our luggage.  It wasn’t that far away and we saved money.  When we got to Florence we wanted to walk around the city.  The first place we walked was south toward the river.  We saw the Duomo Catherdral which was really close to our hotel then the Palaxxo Vecchio and the Uffizi Musuem.  The Uffizi museum is really famous but because we went to many  museums in Rome we didn’t go in.  Instead we walked to the river where we got a beautiful view Florence and the surrounding area.  To our right was the Ponte Vecchio Bridge which is the famous bridge where all they sell is jewelery.  Yes ladies get excited. When taking pictures of the bridge one of the girls from my program was just standing right next to me! It was so crazy so we just talked to her and her mom.  When we were talking to them Brandon then saw a girl from Maastricht that he knew.  It was crazy and what a small world.  We then walked up a really steep hill hoping to get a good view of the city and the area and to see what was up there.  We ended up not being able to see a lot because of there were fences everywhere.  Brandon and I wanted to climb over them or on top of them but our mom didn’t let us.  It was probably good that we didn’t because it wouldn’t be good if we went to jail.  We did see the Fort of Belvedere but sadly we couldn’t get in as well.  Afterwards we went down the hill and went through the Ponte Vecchio Bridge.  We then went to the Piazza Pitti and saw the Palazzo Pitti which was pretty nice.  Our hotel told us that from the top level of our hotel we had a very good view of the city so we decided to get some food from a grocery store by the Palazzo Pitti and went back to our hotel to eat.  We got food for sandwiches and a bottle of wine.  We had to buy a cheap wine opener so we could drink wine for the week. (Brandon tried to bring it on the carry on the plane but it got taken away.   He thought it might work and also wanted to see if he could get it through).  We had a beautiful view of the Duomo Cathedral and a lot of Florence.   By the end of dinner it started to get a little cold but it was still really nice to be up there and relax.  After dinner we walked around a little more of the city and went to bed really early cause were really tired from the long day.

The next day we got up early and went to Pisa.  It took and hour and half to get there by train.  All there really is to do in Pisa is see the leaning tower and go in a nice church right next to it.  Otherwise there is really nothing to do.  We took some picture at the leaning tower and attempted to get into the church.  The church was suppose to be free entry until 12:30 and we had gotten in line at 11:45.   They stopped letting people in right before we were about to get in.  At first we thought the reason was because it was too crowded in the church.  We waited in line until 12:00 when they started to let people in again except for some reason you needed a ticket in order to get in.  An Italian guy in line started yelling at the people to let us in for free since we were supposed to be able to but they didn’t let him in so we were like if a guy that speaks Italian can’t get in then we definitely will not be able to get in.  It was funny to watch all of the people yelling in Italian though.  We decided we were done with Pisa and we went back to Florence.  When we got back to Florence we walked around the city some more.  We had decided the day before that we were going to do a bike tour of Tuscany the following day so we went to the office of the bike tour and reserved spots for the tour.  We told our hotel to reserve us spots but they didn’t so we just went ourselves.  The rest of the day we just walked around.  We went to bed earlier that night as well because we had to get up early for the bike tour the next day.

The next day we went on our bike tour of Tuscany!!  It was so beautiful and a lot of fun.  We went about 18 miles in total with a stop in the middle at a winery and olive oil making place.  We also ate a delicious lunch there.  The ride at times was kind of difficult but my mom did a really good job keeping up with people half her age.  She never fell behind and we all had a great time!  The first hill was the most difficult so it was good to get it out of the way in the beginning.  There were vineyards and olive groves everywhere and it was nice and sunny almost the entire time.  We were lucky with the weather.  Our tour guides name was Bill and he was originally from Washington state but was living in Florence for the past 15 years with his wife who is from Venice.  He brought his really little dog Jack along with us.  We had a group of 10 people who all kept up pretty well.  It was really nice to be out in the countryside for a while after being in cities for a week.  Halfway through our bike ride we stopped at the vineyard like I said earlier.  We got a tour of winery and olive oil making which was cool to learn about.  They then fed us a two course meal where we got to try their really good olive oil and also two different types of wine they have.  Both types were good and it was a delicious meal.  After that we started our trip again.  At one point we went down this really steep hill which was so fun.  I had to slow down my bike so I would lose control it was so steep.  I loved going down it!  After the hill we stopped at gelateria which was delicious and we got a lot of gelato for really cheap.  When our bike ride was over we went back to Florence and walked around the city again.  We got back sometime around like 5 I think.  Bill told us to go and see the statue of David in the museum at like 6 because then there wouldn’t be a line and we could see the statue.  We decided to do this and I am really glad we did!  The statue was absolutely amazing and I can see why once you see it you never need to see another statue because none will be as good.  We were the last ones to enter the museum (they closed the doors after we entered).  We pretty much saw the David statue and then walked quickly around the museum and left.  We then went to a coffee shop and each had some coffee.  Brandon got an espresso with a shot of liquor and when I put it in the espresso it tasted really bad.  I got hot chocolate which was delicious and my mom also got espresso but without liquor.  There was a street that went around a church that was pretty close to our hotel that had the most outside street vendors I have seen that go there everyday.  There was any type of purse, wallet, scarf, Florence t-shirts/sweatshirts, leather jackets, and other things that you could think of.  The night before we walked around that street and saw all of them packing up their stuff.  It was sweet to see them close their stuff up and how it all folded up and they were able to cart it away.  It seemed as though the -Italians sold everything that I explained above and then the African Americans sold paintings, trains formed from letters to make peoples names, sunglasses, watches which they held in their hands, and purses.  They all had bags they carried their stuff in or cardboard containers.  It was interesting to see them all work together.  We think someone runs the entire show and they all share the profits somehow.

The next day we went to Fiesole. Fiesole is the city directly northeast of Florence.  It is up on a hill so when you are there you can see all of Florence and the surrounding area.  The bus ride up the large hill/mountain was beautiful as well.  When we got Fiesole we decided to go into the museum there which had some Roman ruins.  There  was a museum, an archeological park, and also the Roman theater which was cool to see.  When we were in the small museum which was really boring and didn’t have a lot of stuff in it the museum guard followed us around for the majority of the time that we were in it.  Whenever we went to another room he followed and just stayed in the rooms we were in.  I wanted to touch something or break something just to make him mad.  After the museum we saw the Roman theater.  The only problem was they had this large steel statue of a hand right in the middle of the theater so I thought that took away from it.  They had random statues of faces and weird things throughout the entire park which was annoying but oh well.  In the park there were baths where you could see the clay pipers surrounding the bath that were used to heat up the water and sides of the bath.  That was cool to see.  It was another beautiful day.  After the park/museum we walked around the city for a little while.  We were able to find a really beautiful view of Florence and the surrounding area.  We then had a quick lunch and decided to go back to Florence.  We walked around another part of the city that we had not been to yet.  We made it back by our hotel and the Duomo where ended up seeing Kim Loconsole who is a girl from our high school!!  It was so cool to see her in Florence.  She is also studying in Verona, Italy this semester but I was crazy to see her.  We then walked around some more and then had one of the best dinners of the trip.  We got a liter of wine, Brandon and I shared a pizza as an appetizer, my mom got salad and we all got some great pasta dishes for dinner.  The waiter moved really fast like they do in the US.  Every other restaurant we went to they were very slow but at this restaurant they moved the tables as fast as possible.  We took our time though and had a great dinner.  The place was called Le Botteghe di Donatello.  We then got some Gelato and went to bed because our mom had to leave at 7:30 in the morning to make her flight.  Brandon and I went back to sleep quick after she left because our train ride to Milan that day did not leave until like 12:00.  Our train ride from Florence to Milan took over 5 hours because of the train we took.  To save money we took the longer train instead of the short one that only took 2 hours.  We had to transfer in Pisa and then go to Milan.  It was really raining and bad outside but I am pretty sure we went through Cinque Terre so that was really sweet to see.  Brandon and I wrote almost this entire blog while we were on the train.  We switched off from playing cards to writing the blog.  In Milan we met up with four of my friends who had the same flight as I did the following morning. It was a lot of fun because we all just hung out at the airport and played some funny games. I pretty much stayed up the whole night.

So my life since then has not been too crazy. I have been writing papers for some classes and as everyone knows the Volcano decided to erupt! I still can not believe that of all of the events that to occur that a volcano would erupt and shut down all of Europe. I feel bad for Europe though because so much money has been lost.  This volcano messed up so many peoples plans this past weekend but it all worked out because since everyone was in town we all hung out together and had a great weekend. I was suppose to see Brandon this past weekend but my flight got canceled so it all go for today! I also had a huge German test but think I did pretty well. It is still amazing to see how much German I have already learned! You should see the stack of notecards with all of the verbs and vocab I know. But wish me luck and I am so excited to see how Brandon has been living and meet all of his friends! More stories to come for my next post! Hope everyone and keep your fingers crossed that this volcano or another one decides to not erupt again! The next weekend after this is Amsterdam and I get to see Brandon and his friends again! Time to get ready to leave!


One Response to “The rest of the Spring break trip and a little about this past week!”

  1. PIF 300 April 27, 2010 at 6:58 am #

    Sounds like you have some great memories. Ever try visiting Asian countries?

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