A 4 day weekend, 5 cities, 4 trains + a taxi to get back to campus has me exhausted. The memories made over the past 5 days completely make up for it though. We have 2 long weekends and a travel week built into our program and this was our first long weekend!
I got out of class on Wednesday afternoon and 7 of us took the train immediately following our last class down to Florence. Let me just say, high speed trains in Italy are magical. It’s like flying but 10x times better without the stress. I wish we could take high speed trains everywhere. (Start following me on snapchat to see more behind the scenes! shannon.hessen)
We got down to Florence by dinner time and my good friend Kayla and I met up with my friend Ashley, from History in High Heels for pizza and a stroll around the magical city of Florence! Even though I was just back in Florence and Cinque Terre back in May I definitely wasn’t complaining about taking another trip to the Tuscan region!
On our first full day in Florence we had to make sure we hit all the tourists hot spots since a few of the kids in our group had never been to Florence! We started off the day having an American breakfast at an American diner in the city. I know you’re probably hard core judging us right now, but after 4 weeks in Italy eating just bread for breakfast we were all craving a taste of home. With our bellies full of eggs, bacon, bagels, and hash browns, we headed to the Duomo. We went inside the Baptistery, the main cathedral, and then decided that we wanted to climb all the way up. A good idea in theory, there were so many people and if you get claustrophobic I wouldn’t suggest it. The view at the top was spectacular though.
Next, we headed over and did some other small sites and a little bit of exploring before climbing up to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo to take some pictures of the view and watch the sunset. After all the stairs up to the top of the Duomo and then climbing up all the steps for the view, I am convinced I am going to have calves of steel when I return. After the sunset, we ended the night back in the center of town and had Florentine steaks for dinner!
Friday morning we checked out the leather market and had a quick lunch before making our way to Cinque Terre. Along the way we made a quick pit stop in Pisa so we could take the classic tourist picture. We were in Pisa for only about an hour, but I’m glad I got to see the tower, even it if it was just for a quick trip!
We made it to Cinque Terre by Friday night just in time to get dinner and take in the gorgeous view! We stayed in the first town (there’s 5!!) in Cinque Terre and I thought it turned out perfectly! We spent all day Saturday in the 4th and 5th towns! Hiking in between the two towns was one of my favorite things I’ve done so far. The views were absolutely breathtaking. The hike included lots and lots of stairs but I thought it was worth every second.
We did a bit of wandering around the towns and even made our way down to the beach (even though it was way too cold to thoroughly enjoy!) and then made it back to our town just in time for dinner and to watch the sun set on the rocks! The sky was a mix of pink and orange and we couldn’t get over how perfect it was.