I found out about a week before I left for Italy that our spring break was for two weeks, and not one. Originally, our schedule said that spring break was from March 30-April 9. Instead, my spring break lasted from March 29 until today, April 16. I was so excited to find this out because it meant that I could spend more time traveling and see more places. I went to six different cities in the past two weeks. This post is a short recap of every place that I went. Pictures are in the previous posts.
We left for Rome at 5:55 on March 30. There was a huge strike in Barcelona the day before, and while we were taking the taxi to the airport we could see many broken windows and trash cans that looked as though they had been set on fire. It was very sad to see the destruction that was caused during the strike, and I was a little relieved to be leaving Barcelona after such a drastic event. I slept for most of the plane ride to Rome because I didn't have the opportunity to sleep the night before, but I woke up just in time to look out the window as we were landing. Rome is a beautiful city, and I could tell by looking down on it that I was going to love spending time there. From the plane, I could see bright green beautiful hills and famous buildings, such as the Coliseum, which I recognized from movies and pictures. When we landed, we took a bus from the airport to the hostel, but it was too early to check in, so we decided to go see the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. They were incredible, and I was so glad to see them even though I was exhausted. We ate delicious spaghetti for lunch, and then we went back to the hostel to take a nap and shower. Later that night, after we had rested, we all hung out in the bar for a little bit, and then we went out to dinner. I knew just from the first day that Italy would be food heaven. Everywhere I looked there was wine, pizza, pasta, and gelato. If you know me, then you know that these are all some of my favorite things in the world. Clearly, I was content.
The next day in Rome, we went on a tour of the Vatican. We had a very nice tour guide from Canada named David, and he was able to give us a lot of information of the art inside of the building. To this day, I still can't believe that I actually saw the Sistine Chapel. I remember my mom telling me all about Michaelangelo and his beautiful ceiling when I was a child. She had gone to Rome after she graduated college, and she told me that it was the most beautiful place she has ever been. She told me that I couldn't pass the Vatican City up, even if it was the most expensive thing that I have ever paid for. She was very right. The Vatican is beautiful and worth the time and money to see.
We went to the Coliseum and Roman Forum the next day. These buildings were also gorgeous. I thought of Russel Crow in Gladiator as I walked around the Coliseum. The Roman Forum is an area with lots of Roman ruins. I felt at peace as I walked around the area because there is a lot of grass, many flowers, and also a few very beautiful fountains.
Our last day in Rome, we went to the Pantheon and to a market to look around. I bought Jason's parents a painting with my favorite things in Rome on it. They have always been very nice to me and bought me a cosmetics bag before I left, so I wanted to buy them something to show my appreciation. After the market, we went back to the hostel to check out, get our stuff, and make our way to the train station. We were heading to Florence for the next few days.
We got to Florence at around 8:00, and I met up with Marie at the train station. We walked to her apartment, so that I could drop off all of my stuff, and then she showed my friends and me a great place to order pizza. We ate pizza and gelato for much less money than we payed in Rome, and then Marie and I went back to her apartment to sleep.
The next day, I woke up at around the same time Marie was coming home from class. We walked around the city and she showed me some of her favorite spots, such as a pizza place called Gustas. At this pizza place, if the waiter likes you, he will tell the cooks to make your pizza in the shape of a heart. Marie and I both got heart pizzas. Then, we went to the grocery store to buy fruit for dinner because we were so full from delicious pizza. After the grocery store, I used her computer to sign up for classes, and then we went to the Duomo to climb up the steps. We might have counted incorrectly, but we both counted 457. We counted on the way up to make it easier and more fun. We saw a beautiful view of the city from the top, and we were both glad that we had decided to pay the money to climb. After that, we went to a restaurant to order margaritas. Then, we went back to her apartment to watch a movie and fall asleep.
The next day, we woke up and went to a market. Then, she had to go to class and I had plans to meet with my friend Blair and her parents for lunch. We went to Gusta's again, but we didn't get heart shaped pizzas this time. Even though it wasn't in a heart shape, it was just as tasty as the day before. After lunch, I went back to the Duomo to meet with Marie. Then, we walked up a big hill to a monastery which also had beautiful views of the city. We talked about life and enjoyed each others company. I was glad to be able to spend some time with Marie in Italy because she is such a happy, kind person. Spending time with her made me feel better about missing home. After we left the monastery, it was time for me to go to the train station and head to Venice. She walked me back to her apartment to pick up my stuff and then walked me to the train station to say goodbye until summer.
Lauren Swanson and I sat next to each other on the train ride to Venice. When we got there, we waited for Danni so that we could get to our hotel. The hotel was a little bit far away, and when we got there we were a little bit uneasy. It was raining, pitch dark, and we were in an unfamiliar area. When we got to the reception desk at the hotel, a large man with a uni-brow who didn't speak any English greeted us. Then, he got in the elevator with us to take us to our room. We were all a little bit nervous when he got in the elevator with us, but we didn't say anything. When we got in the room, we locked the door and all went to sleep immediately.
The next day when we woke up, the hotel didn't seem as scary. We ate breakfast and then walked to the bus stop to head to the actual city of Venice because our hotel was about twenty minutes away. The area our hotel was in didn't seem as scary either when we were walking to the bus stop. When we got to Venice, we ate lunch, and then Lauren and I looked around at all of the shops. Then, we met Alejandra and Lauren Benne at the train station. We went back to the hotel so Alejandra could drop off her stuff, and then we went back to the city. We tried to find a bar that a man working at our hotel had suggested, and it took us about three hours to get there. When we finally found the place, we ordered a drink, and the bartender let me make and IU sign to match all of the other university signs that were hanging on the wall. After we were done drinking, we decided to head back to the bus. It only took us five minutes to get back. We went back to the hotel and fell asleep.
The next day, we decided we wanted to see the Basilica. We walked there, and then we met up with Lauren Benne and her friend Lauren for lunch. After that, we took a gondola ride and then went to the Jewish ghetto in Venice. We walked for about eight hours straight that day. After we had dinner, we decided to go back and get some sleep. The next day, we left Venice and headed back to Barcelona.
This is a long enough post already. I will write about the second part of spring break in a few days. Ciao!