The past month has been absolutely full of nuts and bolts. I feel like I have been going out of whack, mainly because thats how I feel. Currently, I have 20 days left in Rome, and it is making me feel all sorts of ways. I don't want to leave, but I miss my people like crazy so I want to go home and see them. I am going to miss wondering which new place I am going to go on a weekend and seeing all of the new friends that I met through studying abroad.
My recent travels have been to Madrid, back to Florence, and then a trip to Venice and Milan to celebrate my 22nd birthday. Those visits were breathtaking. I saw new parts of the world that I can't even believe that I saw.
In Madrid, we saw Plaza Mayor which was beautiful and colourful, and besides its history, very happy and lively. We also had tickets to go to the Museo Nacional del Prado where we split up to see the art that we wanted to see at our own paces. I loved that we did that because I like to analyze the paintings thoroughly. I like to look at streak marks, the globs of paint and the intricate details, in one of the paintings, I noticed that on one of the paintings, the artist painted six toes onto one foot. On the free walking tour we took, we also learned about the puertas all around the city. Specifically, in Puerto de Sol there is a plaque that marks the middle of the country. I stood by it and took a picture.
One strange fact that I learned is that you can tell if a person is a dog or cat person. Weird right?! That is what I thought too but the tour guide pointed out a person and said that you can tell by their demeanour. She said that the lady that walked by us is a cat person because of how she kept her posture. Supposedly, cat people are more poised than dog people, I say false accusations but that is just my opinion. :)
We didn't do any clubbing while we were in Madrid but that was just because we were always cold and tired. On our last night, we went to a nice dinner at Plaza Mayor and I got salmon tartare, yummy, and for dessert I had apple pie a la mode, yummier. That was at Restaurante D'Corazon. Then we went back to our Airbnb, slept and woke up refreshed to get on our flight back to Rome.
The following Friday, I went back to Florence with Alyssa, and our friends Bryn and Alex joined us. We had all been to Florence before so this trip was just to do the things we couldn't do before. We woke up early and took the train from Roma Termini Stazione to Firenze Santa Maria Novella which is about a two hour ride. When we arrived we had time to get a cappuccino and some baked goods before we split up to do our own things. Before we split up, we went back to the Bronze Boar to wish us luck to come back to the beautiful city.
After that, we got some great paninis from All'Antico Vinaio which is what they are famous for. Rome has a couple locations that have lines miles long. Alyssa and I split from Bryn and Alex and went to Galleria Academia to see the Statue of David. We walked into one of the rooms after that had a bunch of parts of sculptures. One of the areas was just of feet that were broken off of the art and I made a joke to Alyssa. I pointed at one of the feet and started to say, "This little piggy went to the market," I couldn't even finish saying I was laughing so much.
After the museum we went to the Duomo Dome where we had reservations to climb it. That was 463 steps that we did. It is not like you could just stop to take a breath either we had to keep going and going. So if you have asthma, I would not recommend it, I don't but I was finding it difficult to breathe afterwards. I will say that view from the top is worth it however, you could see the entirety of the city and even further. After the dome, we met up with Bryn and Alex who went to some gelaterias and the Gucci Garden Museum, and we jumped on a train to Pisa. We only spent about 2 hours in Pisa before we had to go back to Rome, but we got our pictures of us either holding up the tower or of me pushing it down, I like to be different sometimes, I think it is funny.
The weekend after that, Bryn, Alex and I took an early train to Venice on November 11 and spent the day there. It is a longish train ride, it was probably a four hour train ride, but we got to Roma Termini early enough to get Starbucks and food to tide us over until we got there.
We got lunch almost immediately, we took some pictures first in front of the water before heading to a small pinseria. We walked around the city for the remainder of the time we had then went back to the train station to take another longish ride to Milan for the rest of the trip, that was about three hours and forty-five minutes to get from Venice to Milan by train. When we reached Milan, we took an Uber to our Hotel, Hotel da Vinci Milano.
By the time we left the hotel to go to dinner, just about every kitchen in each restaurant was closed but we found a place that was only serving pizzas so we said "why not more pizza" and had pizza for lunch and dinner that day. After that, we stopped at the McDonald's next door to get some dessert and I grabbed some apple slices for the next morning. The next day, we got up and checked out of our hotel and went straight to the train station to store our bags while we walked around the city for my special day.
There were two things I wanted to do on my 22nd birthday abroad, either go to Milan or Paris on my birthday, and get myself a nice gift. I got to do both of them! After leaving the station, we went and had lunch at Ristorante Galleria. I had salmon tartare, again, as well as a cosmopolitan and an apple pie slide for dessert. After lunch, we walked through the Galleria and into what has become my favorite place to shop, Prada. I knew I wanted to buy myself a gift for my birthday and thankfully what I got was still in my budget. I bought myself a beautiful gold chainlink bracelet with the Prada symbols all over the links. I love it so much, thank you me!
After shopping there, we walked around for a little bit more before walking into the Tiffany and Co. where Bryn really contemplated buying a necklace for herself. She didn't buy it but it is on her list of wants. We did some more shopping before taking pictures and getting dinner at Rinascente Milano Piazza Duomo. When dinner was finished, we took our pictures in front of the Duomo and getting our train to go back to Rome. The train from Milano Centrale to Roma Termini was about four hours, but when you are as tired as we were, it was quick enough.
Let me leave you with this last bit. I already had a love for traveling which is partly the reason why I want to be a travel journalist, but since study abroad, I have found a greater love for traveling. It takes a lot to do it and I have become an expert at a lot since doing it. Train and transit systems should bow down to me because I own them. In my honest opinion, which I give a lot of, if you have the opportunity to study abroad or even take a trip abroad, do it. Even if it isn't abroad and you have a free weekend and want a change of scenery, take that chance, book a trip and go do it. As long as you do things you are going to enjoy doing, you will not regret it.
Come back next time! Arrivederci! Ciao! Adios!