Hanging around Europe.

Ciao everyone!

Mi dispiace per la mancanza di aggiornamenti!

We’ve been doing so much lately that I’ve barely had time for insignificant things like sleeping and breathing, let alone blogging! It’s all been really exciting though, and we’re trying to do as much as we possibly can over the next month before we have to, unfortunately……*sniffle*…*tear*…..leave.

I’m looking forward to coming home for a few reasons involving family, friends, church and Christmas! Besides those things, I would much rather live here all the days of my life. It just feels so much like my home away from home now. I’ve never felt so connected to a place before…it’s the craziest thing! I get really sad about leaving every time I think about it. So I have to stop. Basta. Enough.

Unfortunately, I don’t think my posts about all of our travels are going to be quite as detailed as they have been, because I have so much catching up to do! But I’ll try to fill you in on as much as I can.  It’s hard to even know where to begin.

Milan was one of the places I was really excited about visiting, because of The Last Supper and the fact that it’s one of the fashion capitals of the world.  But.. it was actually not that great! I don’t know if it was because we only stayed for 2 days, so we didn’t get a chance to experience it as fully as we could have, but it just didn’t seem to be as exciting as it originally sounded on the internet and in books. There was definitely some good shopping, and I got a couple of cute, new dresses at a hip store called Bershka! Obviously, The Last Supper and the Duomo were both amazing. Other than that, there wasn’t much to do and the people seemed kind of….boring and robotic. It was a lot more modern than Florence. It actually reminded me a lot of New York City without all the hustle and bustle and excitement.

I thought I would enjoy the more modern atmosphere of the city because it would remind me of home, but I actually found myself missing the historical quaintness of Firenze. A. Lot. Italy makes me smile though, because even in the middle of all the tall, glass buildings and modern architecture, there would be little glimpses of frescos or ancient statues here and there that just proved even though you try to cover them up with new, fashionable things, the history and culture that basically encompass Italy still shine through…which I think is amazing.

Rome, on the other hand, was absolutely amazing! I fell in love with Roma! In preparation, ovviamente, my roommates and I watched the Lizzie Mcguire movie the night before, and it was really fun watching it while we’re actually in Italy!

While we were there, we visited the Roman Forum – ruins of the ancient city of Rome – Caesar’s grave, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and tons of museums, churches and palazzos, as well as a fun park! It’s so amazing how there are just ancient ruins everywhere in Rome. We were eating lunch on the first day, and there were some dilapidated pillars from hundreds of years ago chilling next to our chairs.

Like, “Oh, just typical, daily Roman life. No big deal.”

The longer I’m here, the more annoyed I am by the lack of history in America. Although it’s not really our fault because we haven’t been around for as long. So I GUESS I’ll have to accept it.

Anyway, Roma was so beautiful! I definitely would have loved to spend more time there, but three days was good enough….for now. We were also there during a student protest, so that was very interesting! We tried to steer clear of that area, because if the police decided to arrest anyone, they could arrest you for just being in the area and not necessarily participating in the protest. Crazy!

Then….there’s Paris! aaaahhhh. This wasn’t a field trip for school; it was just a weekend trip we decided to take on our own.

I think the entire time we were there, I didn’t stop smiling! I really think I was just walking down the sidewalks with a huge smile on my face. It’s not creepy. Don’t worry.

I just couldn’t get rid of the feeling that we were in a movie or something, because it didn’t feel real that we were in France! It was definitely one of the places I was most excited about seeing, and it didn’t disappoint me. It was actually a lot like how I pictured it.

We flew to Paris with a local airline called RyanAir, which my friend Vince likes to nickname ‘ghetto air’ because it’s really cheap and apparently, also really sketchy. It’s for people who are traveling on a budget, but everything actually went really smoothly for us! Woo! We didn’t have any problems. The only part that concerned me was that when we landed and the plane stopped on the runway, the pilot blew a trumpet sound and everyone applauded…..ummmm…call me crazy, but that makes me think they were a little too excited about the plane landing safely….which is slightly concerning. So, we’ll try to limit the amount of times we fly with RyanAir….to that one time.

It rained pretty much the entire time we were in Paris, which normally would annoy me, but I think it added to the atmosphere of the city. It was just a gentle rain, not a downpour, and it was a little chilly and the leaves were changing, so it made it so beautiful!

We sang songs from Beauty and the Beast, of course, the entire weekend. Also, being a ballerina and all, France was especially exciting for me! There were posters for ballet concerts everywhere, and it made me really happy. I wanted to pique turn down all the sidewalks! But…I refrained.

Side note: Nutella crepes. That’s all I have to say.

Besides the overall classiness of the city, Starbucks on every corner (finally!), and the giant cups of coffee rather than teeny italian cups of espresso, I think what I loved most about Paris is that it felt so inspiring! I could definitely feel my creativity flowing. I think I could easily do some awesome writing in Paris, and if I spent a year there, I would probably be a famous novelist by now, let’s be honest. We even had the chance to see the cafe where Ernest Hemingway used to write a lot of his work. Maybe that’s only exciting for a journalism major…..but still….so cool!

We also visited The Louvre and took pictures by Mona Lisa (her eyes are extra creepy in the real painting. it feels like she’s staring directly into your soul), the Arc De Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower at night (it SPARKLES!), Moulin Rouge, the palace of Versailles (we had tea and eclairs there too!), Notre Dame (we went there for a beautiful French Mass on Sunday), the art district and the Jewish ghetto. The Jewish ghetto was super cool! We went to the best cafe there, which had 90 cent, huge baguettes! Fun fact: ‘ghetto’ in Europe just means neighborhood…so it doesn’t have the creepy, thug-life connotation like it does in the U.S. No worries.

One of my favorite moments was on the last night we were there, because it was just so funny!

My friend Sarah was asking where the train station is, and my friend Maggie said, “I think it’s on the next street just past this palace.”

I definitely had one of those moments where you’re just like “I can’t believe I’m here! aahhh!”

I mean, how often do you get to say that sentence??! And we just throw it around so non-chalently.

“Hey do you happen to know where Home Depot is?”
“Yeah, it’s on the next street, right past this enormous, ancient, golden French palace.”
“Okay cool, thanks. I need to pick up some gas for my lawnmower.”

I think after being here for a while, you just get used to things like that, and it becomes sort of normal. You have to frequently stop and remind yourself that it’s not actually normal to be surrounded by ancient palaces, and sculptures by Michelangelo and buildings from the 1200s and 1300s! Even in Florence, every time I’m walking past the Duomo on my way to class or the train station, I have to stop and remind myself that it was designed by Brunelleschi in the 15th century, so don’t take walking by it every day for granted. It’s the craziest thing and definitely something I’ll never be able to forget or adjust back from.

Well…I’ll have to fill you in on the crazy experience in Venice next time! I can definitely understand why it’s called the city of water. I’ll also tell you about some of the fun things we’ve been doing around Florence! I miss everyone so much! Just a little over a month until I’m home. 😦 🙂 << There’s a sad face and a happy face because it’ll be bittersweet.

Lots of love!!

xoxo Elizabeth xoxo

Writing Playlist:

Relient K – Christmas Album (Let it Snow, Let it Reindeer)