Sunday, June 18, 2017

Upcoming Adventure: Florence and Siena

Hi all,

The countdown is here!  Well, two countdowns really.  The one to which I am referring is my upcoming trip to Italy with Judith, one of my very best friends here in Germany.  The two of us will fly on July 2 to Florence and Siena, staying through to July 6

A short but what I have no doubt will be a super sweet adventure.

(Then the other countdown to which I am referring: moving to the US/New England in just 7 weeks time!!!  US Politics aside, I am getting SO pumped :-D.  For the past year, my heart has been whispering towards heading to New England.  I have little doubt that this will be a thrilling, awe inspiring new chapter in my life).

So, back to Italy.  Chosen for two reasons.  Judith hasn't been to either of these two cities.  And because Florence is the first European city I ever spent time in.  So it seemed a rather fitting "ending" to this awesome chapter of my life, if you will. 

Back during 2008 when I studied abroad there for six weeks, I have no doubt that this experience was a huge contributor in leading to my having lived in Europe now for the last four years.  Interesting, isn't it?  The small seeds that get planted in our minds and hearts.  Often not realized fully that they were even being planted until years down the road when they bloom and actualize.

Florence felt like a fitting wrap up to this hugely awesome, life changing, heart filling period of my life.  Because in a way, Florence is where it all began.

(And having never been to Siena but hearing how gorgeous it is, I am psyched to experience and explore it!)

However, before I fill you in on mine and Judith's potential explorations of and plans for our visit to these two cities, I thought it might be fun instead to rewind for just a moment.  Sharing with you some of the photos from my experience of studying abroad in Florence back during 2008, as a mere 22 year old.  The ball that got it all rolling if you will ;-). 

Elated, nearly dizzy with thrill in this photo.  Having just arrived in Florence :-D.  My first time in Europe.  In awe and just tittering with excitement in this very moment.

View of Florence from the Boboli Gardens

The flat I stayed in, with three other girls, for the six weeks I was studying there.

My bedroom.  With a pretty but totally out of place, strange Japanese motif on the wall...

Wandering the Boboli Gardens with a few of my new friends/fellow classmates.

With one of my roommates.  Supposedly in rubbing the boars nose, one will undoubtedly return to Florence someday.  Interestingly, I have ;-).  Several times since.

Learning to make authentic Italian food.  DELISH.

In asking for "a bit of ice with my water," this is what I got.

How gorgeous is that Duomo dome from the inside? 

Florence at sunset from the vantage point of Piazza Michelangelo.

With Johanna, who was probably my closest buddy and travel partner in crime while in Florence.  We spent almost every day together, as well as traveled to Venice and the Cinque Terre together.

Inside the Florence Duomo.  Apparently if ones shorts are too short, or one is wearing a tank top, this is what they give you to wear while inside ;-).  Sexy, eh?

Venice <3


God this was a cool moment.  Feeding the pigeons in the famous Piazza Saint Marco when, upon standing up, a cloud of them surrounded me.  Several landing on my hands and arms.  This was pretty magical.

Venice, by gondola.

The narrow, crumbling alleys of Venice.

Tough guys in the Colosseum of Rome ;-)

Drinks at JJs Cathedral in Florence.

Cinque Terre with Johanna.

Cinque Terre.

Piazza della Signoria in Florence.  I was SO thrilled for these entire six weeks.  Just filled with joy and excitement.

Annnnnnnd, at the tail end of my studying, my mom flew over to visit!!  Her first time in Europe as well :-D

Grand Canal in Venice.

Mom and me in Piazza Saint Marco of Venice.

Mom and I, also out with my friend Johanna and her friend, Georgio that evening.  (Georgio later texted while my mom and I were in Rome the next week, professing his love and asking that I move there.  That was interesting :-O). 

This photo was taken on our last night in Florence before my mom and I would take off for Paris <3

So this is a funny story. 

The guy behind me on the right, in the purple shirt?  I had the most monstrous crush on him throughout my entire time studying in Florence.  He worked at the restaurant situated at the end of my street.  I took to going there several times a week, to gaze, trying not to drool as I ate my pumpkin ravioli (which by the way, was also drool worthy).  When my mom arrived, I assured her she needed to see this beautiful man.  We had dinner there one evening, upon which she agreed he was gorgeous. 

Come my last night in Florence, she grabbed my arm playfully, marching us down the street to get a photo of me with this guy I had so desired and crushed on from afar.  She asked the restaurant staff if they might pose for a photo, as I had loved their food during my stay.  God, my face was so flushed, feeling so silly.  As though he totally knew was I was up to ;-)


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