Padua, Venice, Rome, Florence, and Pisa. That was Italy. That was warm weather and sun, being surrounded by your favorite people on this earth, and seeing incredible things you never expected to see in such incredible circumstances. Did I enjoy my week in Italy? I most certainly did.
We arrived at the hostel in Padua, dropped our bags off, and headed into the city. The sun was just starting to set which made the perfect lighting for pictures. Plus the city center was beautiful so that helped a bit too;) We took a short tour and then broke off for dinner. I tried my first real Italian calzone (Ben Wyatt would be proud) and pizza that night. I wasn't disappointed. We ended the night with our music and typical dance circle in the open for all the Italians to see. My favorite way to end an evening.
The next day we drove to Venice which I would come to decide was my favorite city of tour. It might have just been my mentality that day but Venice was peaceful. Sure there were tons of people bustling around but I was in my own bubble seeing everything from my own perspective. I think half my photos from tour (2100 of them) were from Venice alone.
In Venice I bought pizza on focaccia bread (essential details here people) and ate it sitting with my friends on a dock with our legs dangling over the water watching the boats pass. After the pizza we bought gelato and I stumbled across a friend of mine from my district in the US who was also on a Europe tour. Kailey, my name twin, if you ever read this yesterday was your birthday so I'm wishing you a happy 17th and I'm glad we got to see each other in Venice. And yes the odds that I found someone I know who is also doing an exchange in Germany all the way in Venice is crazy but exchange students always have a way of finding each other <3 (This is bold because it's really relevant to my life and will forever make me nostalgic of my exchange year and the friendships I've made).
Anyways, back to Venice; pizza and gelato. Let's add beautiful architecture, streets, markets, and finally a gondola ride through the canals. It doesn't get much better. Take me back to Venice.
We only took a day trip to Venice because well you know it's a set of islands which are expensive to live on especially when you are 61 people. We drove back to Padua where our hostel was and the next day we were off to Rome. Before leaving Padua a couple friends and I bought strawberries from a day market plus cheese and a baguette and ate like fancy Europeans on our way to Rome. We live the high lifestyle.
We stayed in Rome for three days and walked approximately 20 kilometers (approx. 12 miles) per day. The walking was well worth the sights. I mean come on, I got to go inside the Roman Colosseum and for free might I add (perks of being under 18). I also went to mass...in the Vatican City...with the Pope. Like the Pope. The service was about three hours long and all in Italian but still an incredible experience. The music was my favorite part. You have to go to really experience it, videos don't do it justice.
Another important thing you need to know about Rome is that it's the city where I had the best gelato of my entire life. This wasn't just any gelato it was Italian gelato probably blessed by the Pope himself. It was three scoops (which were in total probably about the size of my head) of pure heaven. So thank you Rome, I can say I experienced some pretty crazy awesome things visiting you.
Bye Rome and hello Florence. I honestly can't say we did much in Florence. It was kind of a rest city. That's not to say it wasn't pretty or worth the while. My best friend (from Canada) Taylor and I found a Brandy Melville store in Florence and let's just say we took advantage of it. It was a funny experience to be back in something so American and even more funny because I walked out with a new shirt that I will continue to call my "typical German girl shirt" because I'm pretty sure every German girl owns one. Ask me about it sometime and maybe I'll pull it out of my closet for you.
Our two evenings and mornings in Florence we ate at a small mom & pop restaurant down the street from our hostel. This is Italy, all the food is supposed to be delicious right? Wrong. You know what spaghettios are right? Well imagine the "soup" of spaghettios as marinara sauce on your pasta. Yum yum. In the mornings we had the delicacy of American cheese. Who knew the Italians knew the magic of American cheese? Even though no one really liked the food at the restaurant we did a good job of hiding our dislike because the owner never found out and we were all best friends by the end of the second day. The owner was a weird guy. At one point during dinner he pretended to knock on my head with sound effects and then walked away laughing. Why? I could never tell you. I will forever have odd memories of Florence because of this experience. What a city, what a city.
From Florence we drove to Pisa for a short trip to see the tower. Our bus driver didn't know where he should park our bus so we spent quite a bit of extra time doing circles through Pisa. We hardly noticed because of the loud music and singing occurring throughout the bus. When we finally made it to the tower we had an hour to stage our cringy photos like the typical tourists that we are. But when in Pisa right? Or is it Rome?
So this was Italy. Next stop, France. Third and final installment coming soon.
*Roll the credits*