The End of Florence &One Last Week of Traveling

Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
Trip End Apr 28, 2008

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Flag of Hungary  , Budapest,
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It' s been awhile since I' ve put anything into the blog, but that' s because I wasn' t doing any other traveling besides doing things in Florence.  I decided not to go on my trip to London that I had planned, and decided that losing the money on the plane ticket would end up still saving me money in the long run.
Being able to stay in Florence for the rest of the month was great!  It really gave me the chance to get to know the city I was living in and get to do some fun things there on the weekends.  My roommates and I found nice markets, restaurants, clubs, and so much more to keep up occupied.  We had lot of pot luck style dinner gathering and everyone would bring some food and wine.  The weather also helped because everyone was always happy and we were able to take some music to the parks with us and just hang out there.
In the middle of the month my mom decided that she wanted to come and visit.  It was really great to have a spontaneous trip for her planned and it made the waiting easier because I only had to wait about a week to see her.  We had so much fun together.  I really loved being able to show her around and tell her about all the things that I knew about Florence.  We went to some of my favorite spots including the Pitti Palace, the Bobli Gardens, Piazza Michaelenglo, the Duomo, and our personal favorite activity was sitting in Piazza Signoria with our coffees, people watching, and chatting!  We had fun going out for dinner to my favorite spots like La Giostra, and up to the small hill town Fiesole.  We went to some of my neighborhood places as well, and my mom soon found out how much she loved pizza and gelato in Italy!
Later in the week we decided to take a trip to Rome for a couple of days!  It only took about an hour and a half on the EuroStar to get there so it was worth it to go there.  I had already been to Rome once before in February, so I was excited to show her some of Rome too.  We did a night tour to see everything all lite up, and   took tours of the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. 
The last week of school we just had finals in our classes and also had a good-bye dinner.  It was really fun to get to be able to be with everyone from school one last time.  After that we went to our favorite pub, Michael Collins, for the last time.  It was really hard to say bye to people because it felt like just when we were really getting to know everyone, we had to leave. 
I spent an extra week in Europe after the program was over.  I met my aunt, Eva, and her friend Tiffany in Budapest, Hungary.  We spent a couple of days there and my aunt set up for her brother ' s girlfriend ' s kids to show us around town.  It was really fun to have Tomas and Sylvie to show Tiffany and I show us around while Eva went to visit some family.  Budapest is a beautiful city and the buildings there are amazing.  The Danube River runs between the Buda and Pest sides of town and makes it even more amazing.
Then we took a short little plane ride to Munich, Germany and took a car (down the Autobon) to a smaller town in the Alps.  The Alps were beautiful and we even went to the top of the Zugspitze mountain which is the highest of the mountains in Germany at 3000 meters.  We took a cable car up and it was a little scary, but really fun to be at the top and see the views.  We spent a day in Munich as well and there were lots of different things to do there and it was fun to get to walk around there because Eva had friends that still lived there and they showed us around.  The town that we stayed in was very charming and a lot of people still wore the typical wardrobe of Germany. 
Another day we took the car to Salzburg, Austria to see the town and take a Sound Of Music tour because that ' s where a lot of the movie was filmed.  Salzburg is also the home of Mozart, so there was a lot of musical history things there.  The town itself was small, but filled with amazing buildings, fortresses, and stores.  The Sound of Music tour was really fun because we got to see all the buildings they used and hear the stories and secrets of the story.  We also learned about the real VonTrapp Family. 
We flew back to Budapest for a couple more days.  We took a boat trip down the Danube River and the views from the river were very  cool and up close.  The Royal Palace, Gellert Hill and the Parliament building where beautiful from the river.  Eva ' s family invited us over for a dinner on our last night.  It was fun to see some homemade Hungarian food and to meet some of her family.  Everyone there was so nice and even though they couldn ' t speak English, they were very friendly and welcoming.  Hungarian is a hard language and Tiffany and I weren ' t able to pick up on too much of it while we were there, but we did learn a few words!!
This last Sunday I flew home.  It was a long day of traveling but all went well.  My luggage didn ' t show up, but they say they are going to Fed Ex it to me, and it should be here today.  I ' m keeping my fingers crossed!  It ' s nice to be home now and see family and friends!  It ' s hard to believe that my time in Europe is over, but hopefully someday I ' ll get to go back and see more!!
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