I just completed my last week, and it was a crazy, action-packed, nonstop-movement kind of week. I went to Pisa in the beginning of the week, which was great, it’s a college town (full of Italian students), but very quiet/ peaceful. Pisa is like a calm version of Florence, and I love it—even though I was only there for a second to take a cheesy photo in front of the Leaning Tower. Towards the end of the week I visited the fashion capital of the world, Milano. Milan is a high-end city. The train/metro station was insanely crowded, but once I was actually in the city it wasn’t bad. There were a lot of amazing window displays, designers were walking all down the streets—so for people who love fashion like me, it was pretty cool. However, I strongly recommend that you do NOT eat in the heart of the shopping/fashion district. The restaurants, as expected, are ridiculously overpriced, and you can get food that’s a million times better for less than half the price you’d pay within the city. Out of the 4 cities I visited, Valencia (where the beach was) Rome, Pisa, and Milan, none of the train rides were over 2 hours. Each city has its own perks depending on your personal preference, but are all worth seeing at least once just to be able to experience it for yourself.
Class time this past week mainly consisted of a lot of walking and finishing our final projects. (Here’s a few pics of the end result of the collaborative project I mentioned in my previous blog.)
We went to both the Boboli and Rose Gardens during class, which was quite a hike, up a lot of steep hills—it’s a great workout (but drivable as well) and a great view.
The farewell dinner, although a far walk from my apartment was well worth the walk. The restaurant, located next to Santa Croce church, no doubt “wined-and-dined” us—starting with a buffet, followed by a three-course meal, and finishing it off with tiramisu for dessert. (I was full halfway through.) I think food is one thing you should not cheap out on in Florence though. Pay the extra couple Euros to sit down at a restaurant, trust me, it’s worth to sit down to a fresh Italian meal. Most takeaway restaurants or delis were not satisfactory, since they only give the cold food that has been sitting in front all day. If you do go to delis make sure you go to the fresh ones where they make the sandwiches right in front of you, those are amazing!
I was fortunate enough to have my parents with me the last few days (they are who I went to Pisa and Milan with), and on the plane rides back— but not before Italy tried to keep us there. Our original flight got cancelled and we were forced to reschedule for the next day. We ended up having an overnight layover in Paris; I got to see Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. (I think they turn the light of the tower off after midnight, but it was still cool to be there.)
I have to give a big thanks to my smart phone, if it wasn’t for Wi-Fi and GPS, I wouldn’t have known my flight got cancelled—which would have made the rebooking process even more grueling— navigating through Paris would have been impossible, and overall getting from place to place, even in Florence, would’ve been a bit more confusing to figure out. I used both my phone and paper maps— paper maps to orient myself, and the phone for when I got lost. If you have the ability to use your cell phone overseas, I think it can come in handy sometimes for navigation, flight or train info., and Uber on those days when you just can’t walk. (Florence does not have Uber though— walking city, remember.)
I hope my blogs were helpful to people planning to study abroad in the future. Best of luck to everyone; I hope your experiences are [positively] unforgettable.