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Monday, May 30, 2016

I can't believe I'm already in Geneva and that Erik is headed back to the United States right now. The past two days have gone by in a swirl.



Our last full day in Italy was amazing. Most the interesting parts were in Florence. We saw the David statue (which is enormous!) and various other works of art. Then we got one last pizza at a place called Mr. Pizza right near the Duomo. We also stopped by a grocery store so I could buy spice mixes to bring home... I have no idea if Italians actually use them, but they were a lot cheaper at the grocery than at the little tourist shops.






Unfortunately, we had to leave the beautiful city of Florence and take a train back to Rome. It was weird being back in Roma Termini... it felt like such a long time had passed. Then we took the train to the airport, and a shuttle to the hotel for the night. It was a nice hotel, but that meant everything was expensive. No one wants to pay 4 euros for less than a litre of water!

This morning, I got up at 4am and got to the airport by 5:15. It was rough. I then flew from Rome to Zurich, then Zurich to Geneva. The second flight was 1/2 an hour in the air, which I thought was a little silly. I then paid through the nose on a taxi to the program site, which wasn't fun. The good news is, the rest of the day was spent unpacking, grocery shopping, cooking, and exploring the neighbourhood.

I haven't taken pictures of Geneva yet but I will be doing so soon. It's a little weird because I'm a temporary international student rather than a tourist, so I'd like to pretend that life is normal here. There are so many things I'm already learning about Switzerland... like how expensive it is. I'm also learning that it's a country that focuses on freshness and closeness to nature. There is such respect here for ones' surroundings, it's really lovely.
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Saturday, May 28, 2016




I need to start out this post by saying that I 100% intend on returning to Florence some day in the future. There's something intoxicating about this city. I don't know exactly what it is... the food is outstanding, the gelato is delicious, and the city is old and enchanting. Today we went to to the two big things to do here-- the Duomo and the Uffizi.



We hiked up over 400 stairs to get to the top of the Duomo! The view is amazing-- you can see the entire city of Florence, the Tuscan countryside, and various neighbouring towns. We decided not to climb the bell tower, which is pictured above. We were inside the Duomo very briefly because apparently my shoulders were not covered enough to be let back in. Ugh, whatever. 


Then we stood in queue for the Uffizi for over an hour. The Uffizi is a museum that is definitely an acquired taste, though I think everyone should go there if possible. There are a TON of paintings of Jesus as a baby, on the cross, and getting taken down from the cross. If you're not a religious art person, it could probably get stale really quickly. But if you have any sense of appreciation for how significant the works there are, it's an amazing experience. It has sort of been a bucket list item for me since I was a child. 


This is by one of my favourite painters, Artemisia Gentileschi.


So, Florence has been great, even though we've been getting eaten alive by mosquitos.  We're going to try and see the David tomorrow and eat a few more of Erik's favourite things before heading back to Rome. It's hard to believe that this amazing trip is coming to a close! I already cannot wait to return to Italy someday. 











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Friday, May 27, 2016



We finally made it to Florence! Florence is sort of how I thought all of Italy was going to look. It's the most beautiful place. It seems like every corner has something to look at. It's been interesting being here with Erik because he knows this city. He studied abroad here with his university four years ago!


We didn't see anything major today because we got in around 3pm because there were no trains in for about forever today. We spent a long time in Venezia Mestre station at a coffee shop. It was not very fun. We did see outside  the Ufizza, where there are statues of the great artists. I only took pictures of the ones I recognised.


Here's a copy of David that stands outside. It's pretty cool, but I can't wait to see the original tomorrow. 


Based on the horses and the water-themed nymphs around this statue, I think this is Neptune/Poseidon. Still not sure though. 


Erik outside the FSU dorm where he lived for 6 weeks!


Me eating gelato. My aunt wanted me to eat the "most chocolately gelato possible", and since I was finally wearing a dark colour I went for it today. I balanced it out with some panna cotta flavour, which was smart because the chocolate was so rich. The gelato melts almost as thick as its frozen consistency, which is amazing. 


Tomorrow we'll see inside the major sites of Florence. In the meantime, I'm going to crash out. Sorry if this post is weird, we had wine with dinner and fancy shots by this guy nicknamed "the Einstein of shots". He made me some strawberry chocolate thing that was pretty delicious. 
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Thursday, May 26, 2016



Venice is the epitome of a place that you think it knows what it looks like, but pictures fail to do it justice. Even the ones I took walking around today don't quite capture the beautiful city. I should admit that I wasn't entirely certain what the international hype was all about... and I still don't entirely get it. This attitude is similar to the one I hold for New York City- I appreciate both places for what they are. The number of tourists in Venice were amazing considering it's not peak tourist season yet.

Anyways, we took the local bus from Piano di Sorrento (over an hour) to Naples, then a 5 1/2 hour train ride from Naples to outside of Venice proper. The Italian countryside is really beautiful so I found the train ride really fun. Erik bought the first Song of Ice and Fire (the books they turned into Game of Thrones) so he read that for a bit on the train. After getting into our hostel, we went into Venice. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's my Venice photos.








We had dinner in Venice before heading back. Apparently the restaurant we ended up going to was a hot spot, and while we didn't have to wait, other people did. We had a table on the corner by the stairs down to the water. It was a really wonderful evening.  I'm so excited for Florence tomorrow. 



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Wednesday, May 25, 2016



Today was probably the most laid back day Erik and I have had so far while on this holiday. We got a super late start out of our cute B&B, which had a nice breakfast laid out for us. Then we took the train to Erculano. It took about 45 minutes from Piano di Sorrento, which wasn't too bad because we were sitting.



 I've wanted to go to Herculaneum since I was little and read a book about how they found the skeletons there. Pompeii is larger and more famous, but they did not find much/any preserved organic material there. Herculaneum is smaller because only 1/4 to 1/3 of the site is excavated. The town was also richer than Pompeii, so the art is supposedly better. I've only been to one site so I can't say either way, but I'm glad we went to Herculaneum. There wasn't much of a queue for tickets at all, and the site was not overly crowded.

I took rather a lot of photos, so I compressed some into collages for ease of viewing.





Us! The rooms we are posing next to are actually next to each other, so imagine a thicker wall in between us and that's actually rather what this house looked like. 

To my parents, my aunt, Erik's mother and anyone else concerned... yes, we'll get more pictures together. Especially since our next city is Venice, though only for a night.



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