I wish I could tell you I've been off honeymooning in Fiji for 10 days with Italian pop star Paolo. Or Italian sandwich star Pino.
There would be coconuts! Turquoise water tip-toeing! Exclamation points! And palm fronds gently fanning.
Reality check: no palm fronds. Unless you count the tree branches that decided to assault my face during the last 7 days of unrelenting rain in Nantes.
Not funny, Mother Nature.
Italy? Let's talk about these dang adventures already.
Along with friends K & E, I spent 5ish days in Italy for our Fall break. The break was the longest of the semester, and we booked our tickets for Italy pronto within the first week of arriving in September. Italy was a done deal for us. We had roughly no idea we wanted to do in Italy, except just about everything. Yes, gelato was a big part of "everything."
Totally not kidding. With a little
veritable truckload of help from our friends (new and old), we managed to make organized chaos look nothing short of awesome. After a night's layover in Bologna, it was off to Florence!
It would probably be an A+ idea to tell ya'll that our fantastic time in Florence is deserving of a special shoutout. Longtime pal and Stanford grad M, who previously studied abroad in Florence, sent me the most ridiculously thorough declassified guide to Florence. Monuments, gelato, spectacular sights, tourist traps, declarations of love (and hate), gelato, local gems, and warnings (of fake gelato) were all scrupulously detailed on a Google map. And because he's a gold-medal doofus, there was also a
warning command that read, "If you go here, I'll kill you. Go somewhere that is less like a Nightclub version of Applebees."
Clearly, he's a keeper.
After around 8.56 bajillion miles of walking, we managed to see just about all of Firenze as guided. Including...
Piazza Michelangelo, home of the best view in all of Florence. Beautiful view, meet my best friend 'bottle of wine' and good company too.
Not one, but two melt-your-face-off amazing trips to Salumeria Verdi -- or more fondly, "Pino's". This man makes the best frick frackin' sandwich that will ever meet your lips. For 3,50 euro, you receive a mindblowing lunch AND a new best friend; Pino is the bomb.com and a Firenze legend.
Classy sights like the museum housing the famous David sculpture and a surprise meeting with friend AC.
Followed by a trip to Fiesole, with a sweeping view of all of Tuscany.
Excuse me while I make my way down from Cloud Nine. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to have gelato.
Jokes on jokes. Zero gelato? Meatballs are more likely to rain from the sky (that would be cool?).
This was a trip to Vivoli Gelato, which we decided was the best gelato in central Florence. Tiramisu for this kid. Like the gods of Italy decided to throw a double dessert whammy all up in this shabang.
Badiani Gelato. Which must be pronounced with sweeping hand gestures and a boisterous Italian accent that is rolling in the deep. You were right (again), M.
(You're still a goober though.)
Kickin' it with the Medicis in Fiesole.
We're super casual bros.
Hey ho, ya spiffy Duomo. (center of Florence)
Florence was heavenly. The perfect blend of culture, Pino, history, accidental penthouse apartments, adventure, janky buses, toils of getting pooped on by a bird, beautiful views, carbscarbscarbs, students of all sorts, Tuscan sun, and gelato as a first language.
Like palm fronds and Fiji.
Only much, much better.
p.s. Rome to come!