Lesson #13: Always be the first to act. Also, you need to live in Florence.
I single-handedly organized a week-long trip to Italy with a group of friends for fall break. I mean, sorry to toot my own horn for a minute, but it was a pretty incredible trip (minus a few minor setbacks, like the dangers of long island ice tea and being indefinitely banned from a hostel after the humiliation of getting caught sneaking one extra person into our room, etc.). I ate enough pizzas over the course of the vacation to…well, I don’t even really want to think about that. New Year’s resolution: DIET.
Here is a sparknote’s list of the highlights:
Leaning tower (equipped with the ultimate tourist picture)
Cemetery (where members of the Medicci family were/are buried)
Strolling through the Bobili gardens
Galleria Uffizi – “Birth of Venus”
Duomo (the 13th century Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the historical center of Florence, known for its impressive architecture and elaborate facade. I was too broke to climb to the top, though)
Academia - Michelangelo’s “David” (illegaly snuck a picture)
Secret bakery and an impromptu slumber party…at Danny Kahle’s host mother’s house?
Gelato (I learned what real gelato is here, thanks to GROM)
Champagne at sunset on the top steps of Piazzale Michelangelo
(*Note - this makes the list of top 5 abroad moments, trailing just behind riding bikes in Amsterdam and climbing the top of the Arc de Triomphe at night with Anton, followed by the above secret bakery/slumber party and the last three hours of the Oktoberfest weekend huddled at a table outside Hofbrau with the Maples crew + Michaela).
Throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain (Alex, get ready for half of your gift :)
Spanish steps and the Berlin wall exposition
St. Peter’s Basilica
Vatican and the Sistine Chapel (where a guard caught Divya sneaking a picture of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” on the ceiling, which was breathtaking, I might add)
Pantheon (where I listened to a beautiful choir and learned the history behind the red, green, and white of Margherita pizza)
Coliseum and the Ancient city (one word: awesome)
Did I mention gelato?