I cannot believe it is already November! I remember how I used to count down until my departure date for France arrived, and now the count towards home has begun. One more month, and I will be back in sunny Florida before departing for Semester at Sea.
Anywho… December 15th is not here yet, and I still have tons to share! So I hope you like the recap of my adventures in Italy:
When in Rome…..
First stop in Italy was Rome. Since I was coming to Rome from Greece, and I felt inspired by the free-spirited friends I met in Athens, I decided to try something new. Rome was the first city where I decided to literally go with the flow- no bucket list, no plans, no map, no check-list. When I arrived at the airport, I just took a train to the heart of Rome and ventured out without a map.
I was totally stoked!! I know it may seem silly, but at times it is the little things- the little steps we take towards personal growth that can just make us so excited. I know I am a very “agenda color coded, sticky notes everywhere, planning type of girl.” This is why Rome was so important to me. I decided to let go of that part of myself and see what the city had to offer me instead of arriving and asking the city to give me what I expected of it.
I fell in love with Rome because I let its ancient streets take me through time and into a different world…until it was time to check in to the hostel of course. At the hostel I met up with one of my best and most amazing friends! Another beautiful thing about studying abroad is being able to meet up and share experiences with friends. Although I am in France, and my friend is studying in Switzerland, we were able to meet in Italy! How cool right???
Before I carry on, I need to explain what this hostel experience was like.
Hostels are pretty amazing, they always have a story to go with them, but this one.. THIS ONE was something else. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. I honestly mean nowhere…. HostelWorld had said the hostel was “in the heart of Rome.” Yet, it felt more like the toe of Rome… far … far…away.
To get to the hostel- which turned out to actually be a beautiful camp site that was freezing cold, one had to take 2 trains, a bus, and then walk 30 minutes. Oh my, just thinking of the experiences in regards to this hostel makes me laugh so hard. I remember the second night, we started our way back to the hostel at 10:34 pm ( Do not ask why or how I know this exact time….) and did not arrive until 4:00AM. Turns out- Rome’s public transportation closes at 10PM, how did we make it back, I honestly have no clue.
Anyways, Rome was till great. The people I met with and survived a night of getting back to the mysterious hostel with were just amazing! The laughs and stories I have with those friends will last a life time. ❤
Rome taught me many things. It taught me that every city transforms itself at night- I literally think there were almost twice as many people out at night than in the day. It also- just simply- showed me real beauty. I am so happy!! I was so happy!! In Rome, and the rest of the Italian cities I visited, I was able to see what I learned in grade school come alive. I was able to see the paintings my AP Art History Teacher used to talk about for classes and classes. I remember sitting in my AP Art History class learning about the Renaissance masters, and I was finally able to see their work. I was finally able to see my art books come alive, and it was simply breathtaking. Breathtaking in a way that I will never be able to explain.
From the Basilica of St. Peter, to the Pieta of Michelangelo, to the Sistine Chapel, and finally the School of Athens… all I can say, my friends, is that Rome started my art tour that just made me so so happy!! It was through each one of the masterpieces I would see that I could actually feel the happiness and beauty of life. – Traveling is about going to places where you can just sense one of your hidden passions awaiting you. Italy was this place for me. It was through these paintings, sculptures, and buildings that I could just taste happiness. I was so happy to see so many masterpieces that I never ever thought I would be able to see. To think…. I did not have enough money to buy the AP Art History Exam study book during my senior year of high school, but now I was finally able to go and stand directly in front of Michelangelo’s Pieta and look at it for as long as I wanted. I won’t lie… I cried after being able to see so much beauty and art.
“School of Athens”- Raphael
Vatican City, Italy
Vatican City was just so beautiful I cannot explain it. All I can say is that the happy tears continued. 🙂
As you all can tell, Rome was more of an emotional, personal growth epiphany city for me haha but my awe of life continued in Florence where I saw the one and only…..
Florence was magical. Hands down, it was my favorite of the 3 Italian cities I visited. Everything was just so cute and movie-like! I apologize for the lack of better adjectives, but those who know me have come to accept that I classify most things as “just so cute.”
I will never forget getting to Florence, buying my first Gelato, and dropping it on the high way within 5 second of paying for it. It was a sad, sad moment as everyone just stared at my depressed face. Regardless of this moment, Florence certainly captured my heart. From the cute, little shops, to the cute, little streets, and to the AMAZING food… I fell in love.
After Florence came Venice!! Oh Venice…. note to my future self: I am not going back to Venice unless I am with more people. They say Venice is the city of love and now I know why… the whole time I was there, it was only couples everywhere and then Jacky with her selfie stick.. yes I have a selfie stick…. travel alone and you’ll learn how much it is needed.
Anyways, whether alone or still alone.. I had a great time in the city of romance. 🙂
Venice was such a cutie of a city ❤
Venice has 124 islands and every bridge crossed into a new one.
Lost in Venice…
P.S. Stay tuned for my posts about Spain and Sweden 🙂