Arriving in Florence!

Trip Start Jun 03, 2012
Trip End Jun 14, 2012

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Flag of Italy  , Toscana,
Monday, June 4, 2012

Ciao! We finally made it to our destination, Firenze or Florence! After the 3-hour layover in Paris, we finally boarded a small jet that would transport us to Florence. Upon boarding the plane, we all immediately fell asleep (considering our lack of sleep from the previous 8-hour flight). The ride to Florence provided a much needed 1.5 hour nap; unfortunately, I missed the panoramic view of the Swiss Alps due to the nap. A fellow professor and additional chaperone, Ms. Ornella Santee, informed me that she and her husband had a good laugh out of my nap. Apparently they recorded and filmed me drooling on my lap; she told me that it took me a good 15 seconds to recognize where I was when the flight attendant woke me up for food preferences. She stated that I curiously contemplated my location as I looked around the plane, eyes half shut. Pretty embarrassing but good times nonetheless...

After reaching the airport, we met with our Casterbridge 24/7 tour guide and bus driver. Elena is an American native from Wisconsin and has lived in Bologna for more than 15 years. After loading our luggage onto the bus, we toured Florence, half-asleep. Most of us had been awake for more than 24 hours with exception to the flight's nap. As we circled around Florence's beautiful piazzas and rustic streets, I felt the motion-sickness and jet lag effects creeping up on me; I nearly vomited, but we then approached our destination for the day.

We visited Piazza Michelangelo, an area at the top of Florence that allows the viewer to experience a panoramic view of the city. It was breathtaking; the sight was unbelievably beautiful. It provided a symmetric view of the city's cathedral, Piazza Del Duomo. After taking photos of the Piazza, we explored the surrounding areas, which later offered even better views of the city. There were lockets with handwritten names attached to the metal gate/fence in the area, symbolizing a "forever love" among couples.

We then traveled to our hotel, Hotel Leonardo Da Vinci. After settling in, a group of us walked around the area, embracing the culture and observing the midday norms. It felt liberating to immerse myself in a completely different culture, an appreciated change of routine. Dinner was served at the hotel- pasta; tomato basil pork with mashed potatoes (heavy on the butter- an Italian norm); and my favorite, gelato.

Tomorrow's agenda will include the Uffizi Museum and Pitti Palace, great walking distances. Until tomorrow, Buonanotte!
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