Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This past weekend was great! Got to see some friends from back at school and from home, so it was fun to show them around the city and of course enjoy a weekends worth of going out to eat. We also did some touristy activities such as climbing the Duomo which is the large church in the middle of Florence. You have to take winding staircases to the top until you reach the dome in which you have to climb steep stairs until you arrive on the roof with the most amazing view! Even though I was a little scared...I managed to get a picture to show you exactly what I saw!

This is really the view of one of the most beautiful places I've ever been that I am proud to call my home for now! Right now is midterm week so i actually have been studying a lot because this is when teachers here actually load on the work. This weekend though is the start of mid semester break! So I'm actually starting first in Sicily in a beach side villa with my roommate from back at St.Mikes, Fallon from here and her friend from England as well as her family! I'm so excited to catch up and enjoy Sicily. After that, we're flying to Malta (Which was a 7 Euro Plane ticket) for the remainder of the week to meet up with our friends from here. Malta is an island south of Sicily and East of Africa. It's one of the oldest civilized places so it should be really neat. I might not have internet access for a while but I will fill you in as soon as I am back! Hope your semester's going great (:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So Verona was beautiful. We got to see Romeo and Juliet's houses and her balcony which was neat and it is a very historical city so we saw churches built soo long ago! Here's a picture of the balcony below. The wall you walk past to get to the balcony is also covered with writing from people who visit with their names and the name of who they love. We also learned that they repaint the wall every six months because that's how fast it fills up and it is quickly filled once again! 

Then we went to Venice which was honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Gondolas are exactly what you picture and the rowers of them really do wear striped sweaters and little hats! It was such a cultural experience. It was also interesting to see a city traveling strictly through water, there are no cars! It's an island so we had to take a boat to get there and when we arrived it looked almost fake because of how beautiful it is and surprisingly the water is actually very clean! We even got to see a parade in the city center which was very exciting

The trip was amazing but I was sitting in a restaurant last night getting dinner for my friends 21st birthday and I realized how different restaurants are here. Here are so major differences

1. You don't tip, you're not expected to however a lot of places can include a service fee. And because you're not tipping them waiters can take their time serving you and you're not their first priority like in the U.S.
2. It's very rare to find tap water here. You have to buy bottled water at every meal
3. There is a fee for sitting, so a lot of places each person has to pay to use their tables so take away or to go is very popular here
4. Multiple courses are very popular, therefore the serving sizes are really small, but like i said before, the food here is AMAZING!

I'll keep you updated with more, one of my friends from Saint Michaels who's studying in Grenada, Spain is coming to visit for the weekend so I'm very excited to show her around the city!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sorry it's been so long since my last post! A lot of exploring of Florence took place this past week and we truly saw a lot of the main tourist points and really experienced even more  beauty. One place i went with my roommates was the Uffizi which is an art museum in Florence separated into numerous rooms based on artist as well as the time the works are from it was magnificent to see all the different artwork. It definitely could have taken a whole day to see and appreciate all the work but we just walked through it and took in as much as we could. This weekend we're headed to Venice and Verona with API, the program I'm in, and they provide transportation and hotel as well as dinner and breakfast so it's definitely going to be a great trip. I'm so excited to see all that the two cities has to offer from Juliet's balcony to the gondolas. I'll put some pictures up and let you know all about it as soon as I'm back, hope you're all enjoying your semester (: