[Originally posted by Kevin Heil, a Hospitality Management major here at CSU. He is studying abroad in Seville, Spain for the Spring of 2015. You can find his blog directly here]
Look up pictures of Tuscany and you’ll see sun drenched hills filled with vineyards at sunset. I wish I could tell you that’s what I saw but instead I got rain the entire time. Don’t get me wrong though it was an amazing trip and after all, I was in Italy so that right there is an unforgettable experience! Plus I got to see where Hailey will be spending her semester and the new place she calls home.
My first experience of Italy consisted of a disgruntled, old taxi driver who knew zero English or Spanish so I pointed to the general area I needed to be and we were off. He took me straight to my destination in once piece but then I’m pretty sure he charged me double. I wanted to say something but then again I’ve heard stories from people who mess with foreign cab drivers and it does not end well, plus it was pretty late at night. I paid the man and decided I was not going to take another cab in Florence, ever.
The next day came and just as the forecast said; it was 100% chance of rain. Despite the rain I wanted to see Florence. We did a ton of sightseeing this day and it was very cool! We started just by wandering, and found the replica statue of David. The real David is in the Galleria dell’Accademia, but that cost about 10 euro so the replica was just fine with me.
Next, we saw the Arno River and the famous Ponte Vecchio. Also tried some of that Italian Gelato they all talk about and it might just be because I was in Italy, but it is A+!
Then it was time for the Duomo. For only 10 euro we were able to climb the bell tower, go inside the cathedral, visit the underground tombs, and climb the actual dome. The views are amazing and by the time we got to the dome, the sun decided to come out for sunset!
When we got down we went out to dinner at a small, local place next-door to Hailey’s flat. I had pasta with bacon, sausage, mushrooms and tomato sauce and it was very yummy. Oh and wine of course! (I added the Parmesan but I was told that wasn’t very Italian of me). Friday, Hailey wasn’t feeling well so her roommate took me out to experience some of the nightlife.
Saturday we were all a bit sleepy so it was a late start to the day, but it was raining again and very cold so being outside in the morning did not seem too appealing. The rain cleared in the afternoon and we decided to walk to Piazzale Michelangelo to see views of the city. Also we needed to celebrate Hailey’s roommate’s birthday so we got some Prosecco and OJ to have when the sun went down. The views are amazing and the city is pretty amazing going into the night. That night, we made dinner we had bought from the local market pasta lady. It was handmade ravioli with spinach and ricotta and they were BOMB! Completely stuffed, Hailey and I went out and met some really cool Aussies who we spent the rest of the night with. After a few hours at the bar we wanted to visit the “secret bakery”. Hailey went the first week and here’s what you do:
1. Drink at the bar until about 1:30am
2. Navigate the alleyways until you find the door to the ‘secret bakery’
3. Knock on the secret door and wait
4. Suddenly a baker appears at the back door with Nutella croissants
5. Pay one euro and enjoy!
The only problem now is that the ‘secret bakery’ was no longer a secret. Herds of drunken Americans (and angry local Italians) filled the street surrounding the bakery begging for croissants. We were told the cops were on their way but the stubborn (mostly girl) study abroad students would not budge. After no further progress we left to go home, said bye to our Aussie friends and went to bed…croissantless.
Sunday was another full day of adventuring and it was my first train trip because we went to Pisa! We were all so tired and besides the leaning tower of Pisa, there is not much to do there at all, especially on a Sunday. We had an excellent lunch though and it was finally a nice sunny day so walks by the river were nice and relaxing. The tower is cool to see in person and it was fun acting touristy to get the typical Pisa pictures!
Now exhausted from the weekend I’m sitting in Florence airport trying to kill 4 hours as the Barcelona flight is the last flight of the day from this small airport. I’m excited to get back to Barcelona and I have another week of school then it’s off to Seville with my program! I can’t wait to explore more of Spain!