Back in the USA

There is a lot that I already miss about Australia. The kangaroos, the accents, the metro, however being home is somewhat refreshing. I readjusted to home faster than anticipated and did not experience reverse culture shock the way many people told me I would. I guess it is just very different for everyone.

My time abroad in Australia was amazing. So much planning went into it but with the help of Samantha it was made possible. I am a bit sad to be home since if I am being honest I have no idea if or when I will make it back to that end of the world. I saw amazing things from the Great ocean road to the Great Barrier reef. I realized really just how little of the world I have truly seen. Even in the U.S I have only been to a handful of states and now I am more inspired than ever to travel and explore!

Being home has been a little underwhelming but I am grateful for all the experiences and people I met while abroad. I look forward to hopefully visiting Australia again in the near future. While my big adventure has ended I am looking forward to next one!

The Land of Ice Chronicles: Maybe it isn’t that icy

Where was I? Ahh yes, my point of spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

So I found a meditation video on youtube and was shocked at how much of my jaw pain it relieved. The guided meditation took me travelling through galaxies, which allowed me to leave all my troubles and worries behind me. Here, in a space that my own mind created, I could see just how small my problems were in the grand scheme of things. I realized the power of my mind at that point. I could meditate any time I wanted to and go into this safe space. So that’s what I did. I meditated every single day and every day I began to learn new things about myself. I learned that all the sunlight I was in desperate need of was already inside me. Respectively, I learned that all the darkness that was keeping me from realizing this was also deep within me. I came to the realization that it was only I who could control what mood I am in; I, alone, decide the fate of my future and whether it is a positive one or a negative one.

Once I learned all of these lessons and became very in touch with my spirituality, amazing things began to happen. For one, I signed up for a weight-loss program and I’ve lost about 10 pounds since then. It doesn’t get any better than that people.

I also saw a Michael Jackson Impersonator show and GOT TO SING one of the lyrics into the microphone. I’m friends on Instagram with one of the dancers from the show. LIFE COULD NOT BE BETTER, my friends.

This ain’t even the best part, ya’ll.

I also started to feel and sense energies. I started to see in my mind’s eye the energy and its corresponding colour that people radiated out into the universe. The colours were so magnificent and mesmerizing. I started to think back on how I could’ve been friends with all these beautiful humans who gave the universe the light and energy that it requires to survive. I could’ve been hit with all these waves of yellow, blue, turquoise, pink, and green too. So I thought, “hey why not start now? It is never too late for friendships to bloom”. That’s the day I decided to approach the boy with the most beautiful energy I’d ever seen; the boy with the pink and green aura. But you’ll hear about that soon.

For now, you should just walk away learning the lesson that we are in charge of our own fate and destiny. We can either conjure up our worst fears or summon our wildest dreams.

The choice is yours.

If you’d like to read about the boy with the pink and green aura,

then read the next chapter of

“The land of Ice Chronicles”

The Land of Ice Chronicles: A little piece of home

I am aware that you are excited to see how I reached the state of enlightenment that I am now at. First, however, you need to know what happened just right before I reached my lowest point.

It was the beginning of Spring Break and my mom was flying in tomorrow morning. I was so excited I could barely sleep. On top of that, I mustered up enough of my courage to go to a meetup group that said a party was going on that night. You know me; I love parties so I was expecting a huge turn-out and a bunch of hotties to flirt with. Yet, the people that went to the meetup were not at all hotties. Everyone at this meetup was in their late 30s/early 40s. I legit wanted to cry; again the country had let me down. Not only that but because I was expecting to meet GUYS MY AGE, my outfit was showing my goodies. You know what that means, right?

Throughout the entire meetup, I burned to death in my thick ass coat.

The night was a nightmare; even the club we went to afterward was playing crappy music. I just kept looking up at the sky like “WHY ME?! I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG”. When I got back home, I just kept thinking about how my mom was coming. She always has a positive outlook on life so perhaps she’d help me shift my mindset back to a positive state. When she arrived I wrapped my arms around her tighter than I ever had before. I missed my mom so much; she was my best friend who I loved hanging out with. That same day we walked all the way to the movies and explored Limerick. I’d been to all the places we went already but everything seemed brighter. It was like my mom was a vessel for the sunlight I was in deep need of. I swear, I have never smiled so much since I’d come to Ireland. I was truly happy for the first time in months and I really didn’t want it to end…

Hence.. when it was coming to an end, I could feel myself slipping back into a depression. I felt like my only source of sunlight was leaving me and that all hope was gone. And that’s when it started; I couldn’t sleep. I’d wake up every hour because I felt this intense pain in my teeth and jaw. I felt like I was being stabbed repeatedly on the left side of my face and I couldn’t take it. I called my mom in tears yelling that I wanted to go back home. The pain was that unbearable. I even talked to all the professors here to see about leaving early. I was ready to get my ass back where the sun shines. But it turned out, that process would still take time. If I wanted to go home early, I probably couldn’t for another week until everything was sorted out. I just wanted to cry even more; I could not take another week in this hell-hole without my mom. I just wanted to be back home where everything is familiar and comfortable.

In the meantime, however, I went to the medical Centre to get myself checked out. He said he thought I might’ve popped a muscle in my jaw so he prescribed me anti-inflammatories. The hope was that doc was right and that I’d get better and make it through the rest of the semester. But the pain was so bad sometimes, I felt like I needed to be rushed to an emergency room.

That’s when I started looking for anything that could help temporarily kill my pain. Fortunately enough, I came across a meditation video that ended up changing my life. A meditation video that would finally make me into the bright joyful being I once was.

But you’ll hear about that next time…

Keep Reading “The Land of Ice Chronicles”¬†

Week:7 #TravelGoals

Australia. The great adventure. I came to Australia with many places in mind to visit. From iconic Sydney, to Uluru, to tropical Queensland and the Great barrier reef there is a lot Australia has on offer. What I didn’t expect however was how much there is to see in Victoria alone. From the moment I decided to study abroad in Australia (about a year ago) I knew I wanted to experience the nature in Australia. I would focus more on wildlife and natural scenery than I would the city.

Yesterday I accomplished one of my life goals and one of the reasons I chose to come here. I wanted to experience something completely unique to Australia… Kangaroos! It was just as amazing as I envisioned. I am sure that for natives of Australia they are not all that exciting but for a tourist like me they are incredible. I started the day by taking a 2 hr train ride to Ballarat. From there I took a bus and eventually arrived at Ballarat Wildlife Park. What I really loved about this place is that unlike some places where you pay to pet kangaroos within an enclosure all the kangaroos here were roaming free!

Over the past week I have seen some beautiful parts of Australia I never thought I would be able to see. I spend the first half of the last week in Sydney! I stood in a nice neighborhood called Surry Hills (Airbnb is the way to go). It was absolutely incredible. Finally seeing the Opera house in person was unreal. I walked the harbor bridge where just a few months ago they had the most amazing firework show I have ever seen… needless to say it was surreal. If you plan on traveling while abroad (which you should!) I recommend you plan things in advance because it will save you tons of money. While in Sydney a few friends and I hiked for about 2 hrs to go see the Figure 8 pools (picture below). Sydney was by far the closest to New York City I have gotten since getting here and I could honestly see myself living there. If you do make it out to Sydney do yourself a favor and go to Bondi Beach!

Later that same week I had the trip of a lifetime… the reason I chose Australia over every other program. I went up to Cairns and scuba dived in the Great Barrier Reef! It was incredible! As a child I always knew I wanted to see the reef in person but never ever thought it would be possible. When I decided to go to Australia I knew I would have to visit Cairns which is about 3.5 hours north of Melbourne. It was worth every penny and again the earlier you plan the better! I planned my trip to Cairns about a month and a half before hand. I have been making it a point to do things differently here than I do back home.. to be adventurous. This trip was by far the highlight of my experience. I got there Wednesday night and on Thursday morning took a ferry 2 hours out to sea until we arrived at our first dive spot. Keep in mind I cannot swim (AT ALL) but I had come to far to not try it. I jumped in the water and while scary at first it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. Facing that fear in such a beautiful place was amazing. I saw fish swimming all around me and did my best to get some footage (see below).

The next morning I headed out on a trip to the Daintree Rainforest and had a 12 hour day in the rainforest. It was so much fun and I got to see some crazy Australian wildlife such as the spider pictured below. Our tour guide was as Australian as they get and i truly felt at times as if I was in the movie ‘Crocodile Dundee”.This trip is by far the most exciting thing I have done and I recommend it if you are ever in Australia. I have added photos below:).

 

Reef Snorkeling

Huge spider in Rain Forest!

Sydney Opera House <3

Fitzroy Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 5:

Australia has been amazing so far! From seeing Kangaroos, to crazy spiders, to exploring Melbourne my experience has been great. However, that does not mean there have not been down sides. During my time here I’ve noticed that many Americans who study abroad do so with tight budgets while many Europeans and people from other places spend money a lot more freely. I have often found my self jealous of my friends who are skydiving in New Zealand, or sailing the Whitsunday isles. Now you may or may not feel this way when you study abroad but if you do just remember it is a blessing to be abroad and you are one of very few students who take the opportunity to do so. Embrace it. Embrace your local area, embrace the culture, and honestly just take it all in.

Now heres how I did spring break on a budget. First I looked at all the stuff within Melbourne that I had wanted to do while I was here and then I crammed it into one week. I went to the Melbourne Sealife Aquarium and did a glass bottom boat tour from the top of the tank! I went to the shrine of remembrance (one of the best sites to see the sunset). I went to the Marvels Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N in anticipation of the new avengers movie! I checked out the royal botanical gardens where I heard some strange birds. I went to the National gallery of Victoria and the Bunjilka museum where I learned about aboriginal culture. I did a tour of the parliament building and got to sit in the seats within the lower chamber! To top it all off I saw my favorite artist in person got her autograph and she called me her love. Needless to say my life is complete. While I didn’t get to do anything necessarily exotic I still visited many things unique to Melbourne and actually managed to have a great week!

I started out this trip with 144 days worth of time in Australia. Suddenly I am down to 92. Time really does fly. Next thing I know I will be on a flight back home and I intend on making every second count until then.

Feel free to view the photos below:)

 

 

Parliament

SeaLife Aquarium

 

I GOT TO MEET LANA DEL REY

Made some new Friends at the Lana Del Rey Concert

Week 1: The Adventure Begins

G’day Mates!

Greetings from down Under! 22 Hours on plane… 22! I was lucky enough to have not one.. but two crying children on my flight! Boy it was quite an experience. But when I landed at Melbourne International I was beyond excited. After waiting almost two hours to be taken to my accommodation ( Thanks Victoria University) I finally arrived at Unilodge. Of course the first thing I noticed was how all the cars were driving on the left side which made crossing the street a lot more difficult than I am used to. I got to Unilodge and was introduced to my five roommates since I had signed up for a six bedroom suite (not my brightest moment). The suite was A MESS. But I told my self I am in a new country over 10,000 miles away from home I wasn’t going to let that disastrous apartment set the mood for my time abroad.

Reflecting back it was probably a good thing that the suite was they way it was as it pushed me to leave Unilodge and explore my very first day. With absolutely no sense of direction in my newfound environment I just picked a direction and started walking. I saw many southeast Asians and many signs in Chinese. A lot of businesses have signs in Chinese which was one of the first things that surprised me. Also if you come to Australia don’t be surprised if people stop you to ask “how ya going”? Being from New York City I always have my guard up and of course you should do the same abroad but it was surprising to me that people would take the time to ask how I am doing without wanting anything in return! The people here truly are incredibly friendly.

It was an interesting feeling to wander around in a completely new environment. I found a Kmart which was essential in buying essentials (Ha! see what I did there?) . Anyways if you do stay at Unilodge you should expect some differences. Like you need to pretty much pay for everything other than oxygen. But if you budget your money and spend wisely you should be fine:). My first two weeks were nice but I was counting down the days to the Great Ocean Road Orientation trip. I wanted to get away from the city and head out towards the bush and explore the parts of Australia I read so much about.

Atrium Vibes (New Paltz is that you?)

I love doing work here! (Victoria State Library)

Unilodge @ Vu

 

Hosier Lane

Traveling Anywhere and Everywhere

So far I have been in England a month and have gone to many places. I have been into Central London 7 times seeing a bunch of different tourist destinations and museums. I have been to Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, the National Gallery, took a tour of Buckingham Palace and took a tour of the famous Shakespeare‚Äôs Globe Theatre. I have seen the London Eye, Big Ben/Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Leister Square, and explored the South side of the River Thames. I have taken every chance I have to go into Central London. Central London is like New York City, but it is also completely different. Everyone is a tourist there so you don‚Äôt feel weird or feel like you are bothering anyone by stopping to take pictures. Everyone is very nice as well! I have had to asked directions or questions to the police or workers of the tube. If you ask nicely they will be nice to you. Also, travel where you want to go! It’s okay to go see things by yourself. I have seen many things by myself because my friends aren’t interested in seeing it or our schedules clash.
I have also gotten to go out of the UK once. This past weekend I went with a tour group to Ireland. It was a lot of fun! If there are tour groups that your school supports then I would highly suggest that you go! I saw so much more than I would have on my own. I saw small things that most people just pass by. I wish the trip was a little longer, but there is only so much you can do while classes are in session. I highly recommend traveling as much as possible because it is very cheap once you are in Europe to get to a different country.

American Feet on Belgian Streets

Bienvenue! Welcome to Belgium, the land of chocolate. If I had known how many chocolate shops we would have seen today, I would have started counting at the beginning of todays journey!¬†And it’s only our second day in Brussels. Yesterday, we arrived in Belgium in the afternoon, we met our host mom, Judith (also known as Maman), and her daughter Ang√©lique. Both are wonderful! Ema and I live together in Judith’s house with two other girls: Erica (of Washington) and Domenica (of Ecudor). This morning, we scouted out the grocery stores of our area: fresh fruit, muesli, and chocolate spreads galore! Later, after lunch, Becca (our third European adventurer whom is living with another host mom) found her way to our house and we “headed into town.” We set out around 2pm with the goals of finding our school campus (check), finding our internship locations (no check), and finding the city center — or what is actually known as Grand Place or Market Square (check). By the end of the day, we had found our specific campus building, learned how to use public transportation, and saw the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula and Market Square — so much beautiful architecture!

flowers

The above orange trees caught our eyes.

bike

Tigger, the bicycle.

stmichelcathedral

St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, much larger than its luxurious front entrance.

market square

Not sure about this building yet, but it’s green! We will be given tours later this week.

market square 3

Another beautiful building, not sure again, but we will soon find out!

That’s all for now, there will be more to come from these already sore feet!

Katie

PS. Below are some photos of beautiful Ireland flying above:

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TAMsterdam

I AMsterdam

I AMsterdam

Hello all!

I have returned from my most recent adventure, Amsterdam, or as I have been referring to it as: TAMsterdam.  Amsterdam was very pretty, I must say that.  There was a ton of water, there are canals everywhere.  Our tour guide assured us that it was the Venice away from Venice.  There were also a ton of bikes.  Our tour guide told us that there are more bikes than people in Amsterdam.  Although this fact sounds crazy, I must believe it to be true.  There were bikes everywhere!  You had to make sure not to get struck by one, while crossing the busy streets.  Amsterdam is relatively small as well.  You can take busses, or trams around, but walking is just as simple.  Plus with walking, you really can take in all of the sights!

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11208675_10153329129773921_6733189024393518330_nWe arrived late Thursday night, and just hung out. ¬†But we awoke extra early Friday morning in order to visit Anne Frank House. ¬†I tried to book tickets in advanced online, however the first available tickets were for July 4th!! ¬†Needless to say that would’t work. ¬†I will be back in the US then! ¬†Luckily for me, my friends are troopers. ¬†So Friday morning Heidi, MK, and I headed off to the long line that would await us. ¬†We rose early enough though, so the line really wasn’t too bad! ¬†I was very pleased that we got to the museum, and still had plenty of the day left to explore Amsterdam.

Patatje Oorlog with Heidi & MK

Patatje Oorlog with Heidi & MK

Ok I know I always go on and on about food in my blogs.  But hey can you blame me?  Food is a big part of travel!  Amsterdam was no exception.  I found it similar to London, in the sense that it had such a mixed bag culinarily, something I did not expect.  First off we had to have the fries.  Why oh why must sauce cost extra?  Of course I am going to buy sauce, because what are fries without it?  So why must I be charged extra for this necessity?  I must say I prefer Belgian fries from Brussels to Amsterdam fries (mostly because the ones I had in Amsterdam were frozen), but the sauce is better in Amsterdam.  It may sound weird but the Patatje Oorlog is a must try!  This concoction consists of peanut sauce, mayonnaise, and onions.  It is super unique and super yummy!

Red Velvet cake twinning with MK

Red Velvet cake twinning with MK

Beyond fries, one must have Stroopwafel, cheese, Indonesian food, and Poffertjes.  Stroopwafel is incredible, not only do we need it in the United States, I am also kicking myself for not bringing some back to Milan.  We bought a package of these thin wafer like waffles, sandwiched with caramel in the middle.  The bag was surprisingly heavy!  They are sweet, but not too sweet, and just an overall satisfying snack.  Indonesian food is very popular in Amsterdam.  Although I spent more on it then I would have preferred, it truly was one of the best meals I have had abroad.  We all shared a bunch of small dishes, with a big bowl of rice.  This is one of my favorite ways to eat, so you can try everything.  As for the Poffertjes, they are tiny dutch pancakes.  We dipped them in butter and mugs of hot chocolate.  There were other culinary gems, including my fave RED VELVET CAKE.  But that is not as exotic.

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum

We ventured to the I amsterdam sign to take some touristy pictures, and then we were off to the Van Gogh museum.  These tickets we had booked online in advanced, so we got them for less money, which is always a good thing!  The museum was actually really big.  I was quite tired, so I felt I could not take it in, to the best of my ability.  But I powered through as best I could.  Not being a huge art, or museum fan, I liked how interactive the museum was.

Skinny Bridge with MK & Heidi

Skinny Bridge with MK & Heidi

The next day we decided to sleep in, and walk around.  We went to the Skinny bride, because I had heard a lot about it.  Amsterdam was one of the places where I really just compiled tips from everywhere.  We got some food tips from Buzzfeed, some tips from Kara (who visited during spring break), as well as some tips from a guy named Alex we met at a club in Milan a few weeks prior.  Fun fact, Alex too is a SUNY student, a Binghamton Bearcat studying abroad in Amsterdam.  The world is a tiny place!

The big flaw I must point out has to be the amount I spent on bathrooms.  I should not have to pay to pee.  But Amsterdam was after my pockets, more so than any other destination.  So make sure to carry extra change with you!

We embarked on a lengthy but entertaining walking tour. ¬†Our night ended shortly after dinner. ¬†And we woke up the next day to head back to Milan. ¬†Lucky for me, our bus was running behind schedule so I could get my touristy I amsterdam photo, alone. ¬†This was the greatest pro of flying so early in the morning. ¬†Although after how early we flew from Dublin to Milan, any flight after 8pm seems like a piece of cake, mmmmm like that red velvet cake I had in Amsterdam ūüėČ ¬†Till next time readers!

Tamara

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Under the Tuscan Sun

Boboli Gardens!

Boboli Gardens!

Study abroad changes you in ways you can never begin to imagine. ¬†This is something that my sorority sister Kimberly instilled in me before I left for Italy. ¬†Kim had the life altering experience of doing a summer study abroad program in London. ¬†At first I wasn’t really sure if Kim’s hypothesis would prove to be correct. ¬†However, I must say after three months abroad I truly feel like a new person. ¬†One way I have changed is my adventurous spirit. ¬†I have always been independent, the truth being that in originating from New York City, it is pretty much a character trait instilled at birth. ¬†I needed to be independent in order to get around my humble home. ¬†However, I learned quickly while abroad what a difference there was between being independent and truly having an adventurous spirit. ¬†Sometimes I tend to doubt myself, my capabilities, and abilities to succeed in difficult obstacles. ¬†Time and time again I have wanted to reach for the phone to call my parents and have them fix the obstacles in my path, but time and time again I have amazed myself with my resourceful attitude in order to fix any problem that comes my way. ¬†I don’t think I realized how many problems I would need to fix abroad, things that I had never had experience with in the United States. ¬†Plus I have the added challenge of a language barrier making it even more difficult to get things fixed.

As you see from my blogs, I have certainly been traveling the world.  This past weekend (despite being opening weekend of the expo in Milan) I decided to explore once again.  Unfortunately for me, my friends abroad did not have the same desire as I had to visit Florence.  I felt, how could I come to Italy and not see Florence?  So despite a lack of travel companions, I decided I would venture to Florence regardless.  Many people take solo trips abroad, however I was not sure I could succeed in this daunting task.  I delayed every step of the planning process.  I enjoy doing abroad research, so I was happy to find hostels, food, transportation, and activities.  But when it came time to book these things, I did not find motivation to do so.  I think I just kept waiting for someone to change their mind and want to come with me.  Finally right before my Ireland trip, I figured I want to book my hostel.  I needed something to be set in stone before I leave for Ireland.  So of course, since the trip was in one week, most of the marvelous hostels I found (one including a pool & sauna) were booked.  I had no choice but to settle.  I did go off to Ireland though with the satisfaction that I had managed to book something.

When I returned from Ireland I booked a day trip to the Chianti region, and a day trip to Pisa. ¬†I felt I had to go to Pisa while in Florence, because they are so close. ¬†How could I visit Italy, without seeing the Leaning Tower? ¬†But I still hadn’t booked transportation. ¬†I figured a train would have better availability by going to the station itself. ¬†So the day before my trip I went to Central station in Milan to find a ticket. ¬†Sure enough to my disappointment the only remaining tickets for Thursday were 116 euro one way. ¬†There was NO way I wanted to pay this. ¬†So after hesitation I dove into the world of bla bla car. ¬†Two girls from my program had used it to get to Florence. ¬†It is so cheap that I wanted to use it to go to Florence as well. ¬†But once I discovered I was going alone to Florence, I wasn’t quite as comfortable with the idea. ¬†Until of course that is, it seemed my only option. ¬†I had to arrive Thursday, since I had a hostel reservation that night, as well as a trip to Chianti the next day. ¬†So after lots of nerves I was able to find both a bla bla car to take me there, and another to take me back.

My next obstacle was waking up the day of my trip, to receive an email that not enough people signed up for Chianti, so they were canceling the trip.  Luckily, I decided to wake up early that morning, so I had time to deal with this situation.  I was given a refund for the trip & was able to sign up for a different trip with a different company.  Phew dodged a bullet there!

Chianti olive trees

Chianti olive trees

I was off to Florence without a hitch.  My trip was truly incredible.  There was something something so illuminating about traveling on my own, but more importantly accomplishing so much in a foreign place alone.  I was able to go where I wanted to go, eat what I wanted to eat, see what I wanted to see, sleep when I wanted to sleep, etc.  Every morning I found myself waking up early and by choice as opposed to feeling forced.  I wanted to get up and explore.  I never created strict itineraries, more like possible ideas of places I wanted to go each day.  It was such a fantastic voyage.

bought myself a little treat in San Lorenzo leather market ;)

bought myself a little treat in San Lorenzo leather market ūüėČ

All'antico Vinaio!

All’antico Vinaio!

Friday I awoke and headed straight to the Boboli Gardens. ¬†I took a bus although I certainly could have walked. ¬†I walked ALL OVER Florence that weekend. ¬†It is small, and yet every turn there is something new to see. ¬†The view at Boboli was impeccable. ¬†I’m so glad it was recommended to me by friend Sarah, studying abroad in Florence. ¬†After Boboli I headed off to All’antico Vinaio for a quick lunch. ¬†Florence had a ton of amazing looking sandwich shops, but I must say I was glad this was recommended to me by both Sarah & my Unicatt friend Kim. ¬†The line is a little crazy, but it really is worth it. ¬†I had no idea what to order, I just kept looking at what others had. ¬†I do wish in retrospect I asked the men working behind the counter what they would recommend, so I could have gotten the best of the best. ¬†However, I was quite satisfied with my sandwich. ¬†Yum, Yum! ¬†After the sandwich, I was off to Chianti. ¬†Chianti was so beautiful & green. ¬†I went with Caf tours, and I would certainly recommend that. ¬†I booked Caf tours for Pisa as well.

Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Leaning Tower of Pisa!

The next morning I was off to San Lorenzo for a leather shopping spree. ¬†My oh my did I drop some euros on leather! ¬†I bought two purses & a wallet. ¬†I tried on a jacket and liked it but anytime I feel rushed I don’t like to shop. ¬†So I didn’t buy the jacket then & there. ¬†I figured if I really wanted it I would go back. ¬† ¬†I then headed to Pizzeria O’Vesuvio for a ricotta stuffed pie. ¬†This was another place Sarah recommended, but it is also where the cast of the Jersey Shore once worked as well! ¬†The pizza was delicious. ¬†So it was pizza before Pisa. ¬†I am very glad I got to Pisa but to be honest, if I could do it again I would go independently without a trip organizer. ¬†I feel like I could have saved money & stayed longer. ¬†But hey you live and you learn. ¬†I am glad I got my picture with the Leaning Tower, because after all isn’t that the main reason to go to Pisa? ¬†I did make sure to get some gelato in Pisa because I had some free time and that’s the perfect way to pass time.

Gusta Pizza @ Gusta Pizza

Gusta Pizza @ Gusta Pizza

That evening upon my return to Florence I ate dinner at Gusta Pizza, a place both my roommate and Kim had told me about.  I ordered the Gusta Pizza and it certainly was one of the greatest pizzas of my life!  Both of the pizzas I had in Florence were Napoli style, so I must fit Naples into my future travel plans for sure!  Gusta Pizza did have a line but it was so worth it to wait!  All good things are worth waiting for.

NUTELLA ICE CREAM!

NUTELLA ICE CREAM!

After eating my meal I hiked up¬†Piazzale Michelangelo. ¬†I do mean hiked! ¬†That is quite the hill. ¬†But upon arriving at the top you can find one of the most magnificent views overlooking Florence. ¬†But of course my reasoning for the trek was for the 2015 Gelato Festival. ¬†It was so cheap and I ate a ton of gelato. ¬†Every flavor was something I had never tried before. ¬†To be honest, after the hike & pizza I was unable to complete all of my gelato, but don’t fret I certainly made a dent.

Michelangelo's the David

Michelangelo’s the David

Sunday morning I woke up earlier then ever in order to check out of my hostel and wait on line for the Academia.  I am really not a big museum fan, and despite being a New Paltz Hawk, I am not super into art.  But my father recommended seeing the David, so I figured why not?  I waited on line for only thirty minutes!  Then even better was getting into the museum for free!  Since it was the first Sunday of the month.  So this made the visit even more worth it.  The David really is pretty magnificent!

Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village alums in Florence

Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village alums in Florence

After seeing the David I grabbed a Subway sandwich and headed to San Lorenzo to buy a leather jacket! ¬†Then I was between a free walking tour & the Galileo museum (another place Sarah recommended). ¬†Unfortunately for me I decided upon the museum despite breaking one of my cardinal rules. ¬†I neglected to look up the museum beforehand, so I got there and it was closed. ¬†Bummer! ¬†I should have picked the walking tour! ¬†I started walking to the tour, even though I was late. ¬†But all of a sudden I heard “T-Litt, Tamara?” ¬†It was my ex co counselor from camp, Sandra. ¬†Perfect timing! ¬†I didn’t even realize she was abroad in Florence, because so many camp friends are abroad there. ¬†I knew she was abroad but didn’t know it was in Florence. ¬†It was perfectly timed for me! ¬†I spent the next two hours with her before heading home to Milan. ¬†Safe to say this was another successful trip!

Till next time readers!

Tamara

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