Valerie and I arrived in Florence on Saturday afternoon after a confusing and stressful experience. It was our first time with taking the train in Italy, so we didn’t really know how things worked (I mean, we were used to BART). Basically, after enjoying a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin (blasphemy, I know, but it was our first non-Italian meal), we got on the wrong train at first and realized it when we were confused as to why people were sitting in our seat numbers. Thankfully, we were able to get on the correct train with time to spare (after running down the platform with all my luggage). We were drenched in sweat, but we made it. The train ride was fine… it was nice watching the Tuscan countryside out the window. Except for the Cyprus trees and the hilltop villas, it seriously looked close to Northern California.
Our hostel was nice, and very close to my apartment, which was useful when I had to move in so that I didn’t have to take a taxi and we could just walk one block up and one block over. The two days that Valerie was here, we crossed Ponte Vecchio and went to the Palazzo Pitti, where the Medici family used to live. There are beautiful gardens there called the Boboli Gardens that are terraced on a hill so that by the time you get to the top, you have a pretty good view of Firenze. We also toured the Medici apartments and saw some of the museums in the Palazzo Pitti. Though I never thought I would EVER say this, I was kind of tired of pasta and pizza (I mean, I had been eating one or both every day for the past 2 weeks!) and so was Valerie, so we found a nice Greek restaurant to eat dinner at after not being able to locate a Mexican place recommended by the Lonely Planet book. It was a nice change of pace.
Inside the Boboli Gardens at Palazzo Pitti & view of the Tuscan hills.
A view of Firenze.
As for my apartment… there is so much space! I would never have imagined that I would be living in an apartment this huge! Especially in Italy! We have an enormous living room, a dining room, a good-sized kitchen, two bathrooms, and two bedrooms that aren’t huge, but they are big enough and there is a whole wall of closet space! The only thing that really sucks about it is that it looks onto the street and there is SO MUCH noise ALL of the time.
Here is my part of the room. The other bed is on the wall to the left.
Monday and Tuesday we had orientation at 9am. Yikes! It sucked having to sit still for an extended period of time, especially because I have spent the last two weeks walking literally all day. I haven’t done very much sightseeing in Firenze because I have had so much stuff to do with my program and I’ve been trying to get my bearings, but since I have four months here, I am not too concerned that I won’t see everything. Plus, I will be taking trips to the museums for my art history classes.
The Arno River and Ponte Vecchio.
View of Firenze from the Boboli Gardens.
I begin classes this afternoon. I only have one class on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30pm to 2pm, but Tuesdays and Thursdays I have class all day from 9am to 2pm (with two 15 minute breaks). Yikes! Fridays are free, but some of them will be used for class trips (like going to Vinci for my Leonardo daVinci class). This Friday, we are going on a day trip to Siena and having dinner a winery/medieval castle called Castello di Verrazzano. Sounds like my kind of thing, no? Well time for class to start!