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Florence, Italy June 14, 2011

Posted by katehyder in Travel Log.
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We have been in Florence (Firenze) for 4 days now! It is absolutely beautiful. June 1st, we arrived at the airport in Rome at 8:45AM (2:25 GA time.. eek!). Exhausted, hot and excited, we trekked through the baggage claim and out to the bus with our 50 lb luggage (I did it!!!) and equally heavy carry on. This is the first time the girls discovered that we packed too much.

Our bus driver, Jean-Pierre, drove us into Florence where we got our first hotel rooms, and had to carry our bags around. This was the second time we realized that we packed way too much! The Embassy Hotel is precious. The beds are 3 inches away from one another and the bathroom is teeny tiny. I’m living with Jessica this summer and we just happen to have the ‘party room’. Why? Because we have an awesome terrace! If you ever stay in this hotel, request room 806.

Night one, we went to a cute little pub that played Ben Harper and Dave Matthews (a nice little taste of the USA). We met a middle aged couple from Ireland who bought us all drinks! They loved my red hair and my mom’s maiden name (McEachern) and thought I was just sooo Irish. Next we went to a club called Space.

So this trip sounds like non-stop fun.. but where’s the “study” in this study abroad? We actually have class in each hotel. The first day of class was Thursday the 2nd. Jessica and I got locked in a staircase–typical– and were 5 minutes late to art. Professor Pearsall took us all over Florence visiting churches and museums. We walked what felt like a thousand miles in cute sandals rather than the oh-so-touristy tennis shoe. Our feet were then/are now/will be killing us… but beauty is pain, right?

That night, we all went to dinner together at a restaurant in the city. The owner LOVED America. He was wearing an Alabama pin and had a Texas flag in the restaurant. He seemed to be so hospitable by bringing us tons of appetizers, wine and pasta. The waiters were funny and nice, too. But by the end of the dinner, we were €25 in the hole– oops!

After a little party on the terrace, we roamed the city streets and hung out on some awesome stairs. A random Italian offered to take us to his club and not charge us a cover, so naturally we said yes! We met some other American students, some Italians, and had a blast.

Yesterday, we visited the Bargello and the Uffizi. Both were beautiful, but the Uffizi was sweltering hot! Europeans definitely don’t believe in the A/C like us spoiled Americans!

We had a couple of hours of free time around lunch, so Jessica, Kelsey,Jordan, Lauren and myself went to grab some food and hit up the stores around the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio. Kelsey, Lauren and I were innocently walking along when all of a sudden, I stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the busy street! I was looking straight at DJ Pauly D and Ronnie from the Jersey Shore! It took me a minute to realize that it was them, and I finally said something. He spoke with us for a little while, trying to get us to go to the pizza place where the cast works. We said we didn’t have time and he turned mean… but we still got a few pictures!

After our long day, we had a two hour music class. Dr. Ulrich is so awesome and taught us about ballet, Tchaikovsky and Swan Lake. (We’re going to see it tonight!) Then we all climbed to the highest view of Florence, and it was breathtaking! We ate dinner in a little pizzeria overlooking the city.

This morning we went to the Medici family’s chapel, which was amazing. We have free time from 11 until 7:30! We went to eat lunch at the Jersey Shore cast’s restaurant. I am the worst at directions in Europe, and it took us forever to get there (sorry guys). We saw Sammi Sweetheart, Vinny and Pauly D this time… but it wasn’t as exciting. More bizarre than anything else. Now everyone is napping while I blog! We will be getting ready soon to go to the Swan Lake ballet tonight. I can’t WAIT to see it!


Tomorrow morning we’ll be heading to Rome for our next tour. I hate to say goodbye to Florence, because it’s great! I feel like we’ve learned the city in every way only to leave it… but I’m not complaining. I mean, we get to do this fall in love with a city thing 8 times before we even get to Oxford! I’m having a great time and making some new great friends (how could I not, group 2 is the best group of all time), and I can’t wait to write about Rome in a few days!

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