I've been so busy seeing Italy that I didn't get to blog as much as I planned, but at least I kept myself busy throughout!
Reflecting back on my trip, I realized how much I love language and culture. Knowing a little bit of Spanish made picking up Italian much easier, and seeing the Natives giggle at my attempt to communicate with them always brightened up my mood.
Anyways, here's a long post of a short summary of an amazing two weeks in Italy.
Shortly after making it to Florence, we took a day trip back to Rome to go to a Ludovico Einaudi piano concert. Under the moonlight, classy musical lovers gathered in an outdoor auditorium to hear the live music of this great musician. During one of his pieces, rain began to gently drizzle over the audience. I closed my eyes as I felt the raindrops dance to the sound of each key tapping on the strings of the grand piano. Even thought I'm usually not a fan of this genre of music, the magical ambience convinced me to fall in love.
The concert ended around 11 p.m. and our bus back to Florence wasn't until 6 a.m. so we waited outside the bus terminal and it was cold and miserable. Hehe.
I've mentioned earlier that the food in Italy is nothing to rave about, but there was one place that stood out to me. We found an expensive, organic/vegan bar and restaurant that we went into just to get wifi for directions. The smoothies we ordered made me feel very at home because it was definitely a treat for California tastebuds. And by that I mean it tasted way too healthy. But I loved it. My friends not so much haha.
I've also made it a goal to eat McDonalds every time I visit a new country and order something from the menu that they only offer there. They give beer with their meals here!
The road signs in Florence all have cute designs like this. So creative. =]
One of my favorite Renaissance paintings: Botticelli's The Birth of Venus. It's really all the Renaissance art that made me most excited to visit Italy. That being said, while I was at the Uffizi Gallery, a young boy walked up to Giotto's Madonna Enthroned and ran his fingers across the 700 year old painting. A piece of my heart broke that day.
At Mercato Centrale with my fellow small eyes.
The only graffiti art I enjoyed in Italy. This artist put a whole bunch of famous paintings like the Mona Lisa and the Girl with a Pearl Earring, portrayed them under the sea, and hid them all over Florence.
The amazing Duomo designed by the even more amazing Brunelleschi, seen from Giotto's Campanile. The 414 steps to climb this tower was hell after the 463 steps we climbed in the duomo. And although that sounds bearable, with the uneven stone steps and tourists crammed like sardines, it was quite horrifying. (But still worth it!)
VESPA VESPA VESPA. I love the colorful scooters that fill the adorable streets. I can never take the smart cars seriously, so I'm glad they have the Vespas to make up for the embarrassment.
More than just a leaning tower; it's a hat!
Boboli Garden. Absolutely beautiful.
The small, beautiful town of San Gimignano, about an hour and a half away from Florence. This photo REALLY does not do this place justice. But that's kind of my fault for bringing a prime lens to this day trip. This city has one of the best views of endless green fields and the homes that decorate the hills are adorable. San Gimignano is kind of the picture perfect place you imagine when you think of Europe. That being said, I don't have any picture perfect photos. LOL
Ravioli and Italian white wine by the beach. <3
Of course the best is saved for last. My visit to Cinque Terre was the most anticipated trip. Costal views will win my heart any day, and the colorful houses on the cliff make you instantly fall in love. We were able to visit all five towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso) in one day, and even squeezed in Pisa right before.
We ended up leaving so late, the train back was only running once an hour. When we finally got to the next train station around 11:30 p.m, there weren't any more trains running back to Florence until 4:43 a.m. We waited sort of miserably in the cold, dirty streets in the middle of nowhere, and when we finally got on the train back, we got caught for not having a ticket. (From our experiences, we never had our tickets checked before. Since it was our last day in Italy and we were pretty much broke, we decided to just hop on.) It sucked to pay a fine but that's okay we kind of deserved it haha.
We finally made it back to our home in Florence around 8 a.m.
Had to leave our home by 11 a.m.
Then wait for our bus back to Rome which was delayed from 2 to 2:30 p.m.
Made it to the airport around 7:30 p.m.
It is now 6:40 a.m. and I am waiting for my 4 hour flight which leaves at 12:40 p.m. and arrives in Moscow.
AND FINALLY: a 9 hour flight to Seoul.
So I'm pretty exhausted right now, but the thrill of traveling makes it all worth it.
That's it for now! My time in Italy is coming to a close and as much as I loved it here, my heart is ready to move on to the next country!
Gratzie, Italia. Arrivederci!