Sunday, February 24, 2013
First sleepover weekend woo! We traveled to the lovely city of Florence after our final exam on Friday to celebrate! The exam went quite well and during the oral part of my exam, my professor told me that I had improved a lot during this month and that it was apparent that I studied a lot (I didn't tell her that I counted going to the karaoke bar with my Italian friends the night before as studying, but really, it is) and that made me so happy that my progress was so noticeable. Anyway back to Florence. Ten of us crashed in this hostel (first hostel experience) and all things considered, it was totally fine. Comfy beds, little chilly, noisy at night but whatever. Friday night consisted of dinner, joking around with the waiters because unlike lots of other people in Florence we actually speak Italian so you aren't gonna mess around with us, and hitting the bars and a dance club. After ample sleep time, we started our rainy Saturday in Florence because it just seems that whenever we go to an important city it has to rain. But that does not stop us. We climbed to the top of the Duomo (all 463 steps) for this excellent view of the city. We strolled through the pig market, which actually sells lots of leather, one of Florence's most famous industries. I love the smell of leather. We also hit up the David, which although I had already seen him when I went to Florence 7 years ago, was still an incredibly breathtaking sight. We then traveled to the Palazzo Vecchio, which I had never visited, which was the home (I think - I don't pay that much attention to historical things) of the Medici family which is the famous family of Florence. Afterwards we galavanted through some markets and streets and across the Ponte Vecchio (a bridge that was the only bridge to survive a bombing during some war, possibly a world one) to track down a restaurant for dinner. We decided to stay in and chill in the hostel for the evening due to the rainy dampness and exhaustion from the day. We got up at not the crack, but the entire ass, of dawn to head to the Uffizi which is the very famous art gallery. It was nice to visit again though it's definitely easier when you have a tour guide telling you all the important things because after a while the 235 baby Jesuses, 451 Mother Marys, and 627 crucified Jesuses, well they all look the same. Then the best part of the trip occurred. I went to the Boboli Gardens, to which I had never been. My friends didn't want to pay so I went by myself and it was a spectacular experience. 1. The gardens were absolutely gorgeous. 2. The gardens were so expansive that even though it was a tourist attraction there were multiple times when there no other people in sight among the lush green vegetation. 3. It was a mix of rain, clouds, and sun, but I definitely had that epic moment when I crested the top of the stairs of the highest point of the gardens and it stopped raining and the sun came out. After about an hour, I ran into my friends Nick and Marissa and we strolled together some more. It was then time to return to Padova. I had so much fun this weekend, but at the same time it made me appreciate Padova and my home stay so much. It's really annoying when you speak Italian to the business people and they automatically speak in English back to you. I'm proud of the progress that I've made with my Italian, and I know Padova was the right choice for me.