Monday, December 14, 2015

Venice, Italy

Venice is the most unique place I have ever been. The hundreds of islands connected by bridges make up the cutest towns. While walking around we ran into the most inspiring bookstores ever. During high tide, every building in Venice floods every once in a while. When this happens, most businesses close, but this bookstore never closes. They have boats full of books inside; so when it floods the books will just float. However, some books were damaged in a recent high tide. With these books, the bookstore put them to good use and stacked them into stairs so you can see over the wall into the canal. Walking on these books was one of the coolest experiences. It is really inspiring to see these people to take a tragedy and still make something positive about it. While in Venice we went on a gondola ride (of course)! We got the gondola right in front of the hotel that my parents stayed at 21 years ago for their honeymoon. Unlike the rest of Italy, Venice is known for fish and meats, instead of pasta and pizza. It is fair to say that I ate the best filet minion I have ever had. And if you know me, you know I am very picky about filet minion! Overall, Venice was the perfect place to end my trip and I cannot wait to go back and visit Europe (soon, hopefully)!

Florence, Italy

Florence is somewhere I have always wanted to go because I heard it has some of the best shopping! While Rome offered pretty good shopping, Florence was a little better because it had adorable boutiques and the leather market. The leather market is a (sometimes overwhelming) street of leather purses, wallets, jackets, duffle bags, etc. that include some knock-offs. The reason I say it is overwhelming is because if you look at a purse for the slightest second, the owner will immediately try to bargain with you. My sisters and I ended up all getting purses from the market. I was really happy that I got one because it is a souvenir, but not an “I Love Florence” T-shirt. Florence has a bridge of colorful buildings that looks like a mini town and every store on the bridge is a jewelry store, which was really charming. We found a really good Panini place (that was playing Justin Bieber’s music), where you made your own Panini. For obvious reasons I enjoyed my time there. The best part of Florence was the Christmas decorations and how it looked like I was walking in a dream. It was so beautiful, even at night. We shopped as much as we could, but then made our way to our last stop: Venice!

Rome, Italy

For being the first European city I have ever been to Rome did not disappoint! Being someone who is fascinated by art history, I fell in love every time I turned a corner. The colorful buildings never ended and I felt the need to take pictures of everything. The first photo is the view from the Vatican Museum and though it is hard to believe the view looked even more breathtaking in person. The night we arrived in Rome my sisters and I threw Euro coins in the Trevi Fountain and made a wish. My older sister was studying abroad in Rome for the past three months, so she helped us get around. We went to Eatly, my favorite place to eat in NYC, except this time I got to pair my meal with a glass of wine.  We found secret bakeries that were underground with cookies with the Pope’s face and walked at least ten miles a day. We did not tour a lot which was nice because we got to simply enjoy the city. I drank from a fountain that gives good luck (I hope it kicks in for finals) and we toured the Vatican. Now being in Catholic school my whole life I have always known about “that place in Rome where the Pope lives,” but I have never tried to imagine it. I was blown away by how magnificent it truly is. I cannot use any other word to describe it. There are so many pieces of art that are so ancient and unbelievably stunning. I feel so privileged to be able to tour the Vatican. It was a once in a lifetime experience. After eating and drinking our way through Rome, our next stop was Florence!

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