Today, I woke up to my alarm, grabbed my running shorts, and shoes and left my Italian apartment to go running around the Fiume Arno river. The cool breeze brushed my sleepy face as I tried to take it all in. It was then, even after the fourth morning doing so, that I realized I was running not too far away from Cathedrals built during the turn of the Renaissance and in a country housing famous art pieces such as Michelangelo’s David, and the Pope. I managed to make it back to my apartment and headed for the shower, but several seconds after I shut the door I heard the water coming from the other side of my bathroom entrance. Read the rest of this page »
While Studying Abroad
I’m leaving America for the first time (crossing the border to Mexico for a taco doesn’t count) and traveling abroad to Europe for a month. I’m taking a film class this summer so, while I’m there, I have to watch Italian films and document my travels on camera and via blog posts as well. I plan on taking lots of pictures as well as making a quick entry each week of my time while I’m there.
I walked a ways to the train station in Florence, took the train to Bologna, took a cab to the airport, to a plane with fellow study abroad students to Spain and then a bus to a hostel we all stayed at in Barcelona. We all, understandably, passed out on top of the thin sheets they gave us on our bunk beds.
We spent the next two days visiting famous sites such as La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, La Catedral de Barcelona, one of Barcelona’s amazing beaches. We tried Sangria from Spain and had tons of tapas. The weather was cool, the city was great and, to be honest, I kind of liked it more than Italy. Read the rest of this page »
I had jumped on a train with scores of other students throughout the entirety of the Study Abroad program and squeezed my way onto an Italian subway next to a man who was playing saxophone with his daughter asking for change. I had to run to keep up with our tour guide, who had to be an Olympic sprinter bent on losing us in the city of Rome, because when I made it to the top of the steps past the smelly metro, I had only a brief second to snap a picture of the Roman Coliseum.
The glaring spots from street lights flew past me at a momentous speed. I was barreling into the darkness with a concerned look on my face. “Had I gotten on the wrong midnight train to the Pisa airport for my flight to Paris?” I had seen no one that I was supposed to be traveling with and, I was traveling to a foreign country alone, again.
I sat there in my dimly lit coach holding my backpack tight and my purse even tighter. I felt my eyelids droop a bit and was about to fall asleep when I heard a man shuffling down the aisle and into the seat facing mine. All I could thing of was, “not again.” Read the rest of this page »
My last weekend abroad ended with me traveling by myself on a train to Pisa that Friday, on a train to Venice on Saturday with a group of fellow students, and by bus and train to Cinque Terre with a cheap tour guide group. I snapped a lot of pictures, got soaked to the bone standing in the rain waiting for a gondola ride in Venice, and hiked from the town of Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare.
In Vernazza I “cliff jumped” off a small rock into the Italian sea and befriended five girls from Florida who were also studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Together, four of us hiked up steep mountain cliffs under the Ligurian sun and swam in Monterosso’s salty ocean for hours before traveling back to Florence.
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” Pico Iyer
I dragged my large suitcase off of the airport’s baggage claim conveyer belt and rolled it out of the Italian airport in Florence and into a cab. I spent the next several minutes looking out of the taxi’s window as everything sped by. It was the first time that I had ever really left the country, and had no clue what to expect.
It took a while, by my new roommates and I started to understand the ways of the Italians. At times we would tell ourselves that we loved everything about the country that we were currently residing in, and at other times we felt homesick for familiar things waiting for us back in the United States.Read the rest of this page »