Well, it is safe to say that after this weekend, I think I have walked 37 miles total from Thursday to today. A lot of those miles were circles from getting lost here but I am learning so much. Thursday and Friday we had orientation but they were early in the morning so we were able to do some more walking. I walked on Thursday to find where all of my classes are because I have to keep reminding myself that classes start tomorrow. (Oh brother)!
After the orientation and the tour of our classes, we stopped at the market again and picked up a couple things. You have to pay for grocery bags so I bought a reusable one. We came home and made some lunch at home and then decided that we wanted to go roam and waste all our energy because we did not want to go out later that night. We found H&M and it was insane. 4 stories and their clothes were adorable. Different than the U.S. but also had a few similar things.
As we continued to walk up and down streets and not really having an end destination, we decided to try and find out way back since we weren’t sure. We ran into the Basilica di Santa Croce di Firenze, which was huge. There is a large concrete courtyard right in front of it so all of the attention is brought right to its enormity. We didn’t stay there long because the areas with focal points of Florence are known for pickpocketers. At the time, I had no idea what I was looking at but I knew it was something important. I decided once I got home to educate myself by looking at a Google map so I could know exactly what I had seen.
Another thing that we happened to run into was the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze or simply, the Florence National Library. The building has rounded corners and huge trees that lined it. Anything with trees near it in Florence is spectacular because there aren’t may trees on the streets since there are just sidewalks and concrete streets. We rounded one more corner and ran right into the Arno, what an amazing view.
I can not get over all of the different people, shops, restaurants, and views. Every day we are finding new things that we want to go explore. There was also this really cute gelato place that is right down the street from us called Carapina. The gelato was amazing. I had hazelnut and dark chocolate. Had to follow in my Grandma Harrigan’s footsteps with my choice of flavor.
Friday we decided to book a few trips so I have my trip to Oktoberfest and Interlaken scheduled. I am extremely excited for both since they were on my “Places to Go” list. I did some more shopping around this day and found this store called Coin. It is basically Nordstrom of Florence so this will be a huge problem for my wallet…(uh ohhhh). When night came, we decided to experience the nightlife. We went to this cool place called Kikuya, which was a suggestion from my cousin Andrew and it was a great place to start the night. The one thing that we are all getting used to is having to pay 5 euros or more for drinks so we didn’t end up staying out too late because you just end up spending a lot of money.
Saturday we ate at this amazing place called Gusta. They have brick oven pizzas and are famous for their heart shaped crust. Then after dinner, we went and sat on the Ponte Santa Trinita, which is one of the bridges right next to the Ponte Vecchio and also a block from my apartment. I sat there for hours with my friends as the night slipped away from us.
It is finally Sunday and the weekend is over. I am lucky enough to have a Catholic mass that is in all English right below my apartment. The church is called Santi Apostoli. I woke up at 10:30 and made it to mass then the day started with a lot more walking. My friends and I walked up and down both sides of the Arno and ended our night at Borgo Antico. This had been the greatest meal we had eaten in our time being here. I ordered Panzanella and risotto, and had more than enough for leftovers so I know what I am having for lunch tomorrow. Sorry Mom, the Panzanella was so much better than yours.
Tonight, I was able to relax at home since classes are starting tomorrow. I am a little anxious because I couldn’t tell you the last time I was in class from 9 am – 2:30 pm and then again from 6-7:40 pm. It will be a very long day in hot classrooms. Wish me the best and I’ll be back soon to give you the update of how it went.