What a day.
Saying goodbye to my family is never easy, but this time was especially filled with a lot of mixed emotions: fear, nervousness, anticipation, and excitement. Nonetheless, I packed my bags (finishing at the very last minute), cried a few more times, got in the car, headed to JFK, and got on that plane.
A few hours and a switched gate later, our group boarded our Swiss Air flight and flew to Zurich, Switzerland. Overall, the accommodations were wonderful. Dinner that most importantly contained a stick of cheddar cheese, a personal TV that most importantly contained an episode of Friends and How I Met Your Mother on demand, free wine, breakfast, a hot rag to clean our hands, Swiss chocolate, and an early arrival that almost made me forget about the crying baby ... what could be better? Well, probably all of that minus the crying baby.
At 10:00 am local time, we landed in Zurich and made our way through a very entertaining airport that featured an animated "moving picture" of a Swiss woman winking and a cow moo sound effect on the train.
Then, to Florence we went, via a plane covered in goats. This plane ride was a little less smooth. My ears were already bothering me from the first flight and this time around it became painful. Nonetheless, with an amazing view over the Swiss alps and a safe landing, there's not much more I could ask for.
At this point I just had to take a moment to let it sink in. I am in Italy. I am in Italy. I am in Italy. I had to think it and say it aloud a few times because it still just didn't feel real.
Our bus ride to the hotel provided a scenic view of the extremely narrow streets, lack of street lights, and Italian graffiti. We arrived at the Hotel Meditteraneo, a beautiful spot located right along side L'Arno. I got set up in my room with my awesome hotel-mate Liz and we went downstairs to leave for a walking tour of the city.
"Do you know you look like the girl from Modern Family?" I was asked while waiting to leave on the tour. Not even an hour in the country and I'm already hearing this. Let's hope the freshman year nickname, "modern family girl," doesn't stick here.
The walking tour was great, but tiring since they were purposely trying to keep us awake to adjust to the time difference. We went from Basilica di Santa Croce, to Il Duomo di Firenze, to Piazza della Repubblica, to Il Ponte Vecchio – all sights I had been anxiously waiting to see for months. The architecture is all so beautiful that the buildings almost look fake, and some in fact were since they print photos of bricks on the tarp that covers up construction. It really felt like I was walking through an exhibit at Disney World, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting to know this city better.
We finished off the trip with some gelato, making a rich chocolate flavor my first of many in Italy. I'm definitely going to gain my freshman fifty while I'm here and will have absolutely no ragrats.
Back to the hotel, dinner, excessively long meetings, and then finally time for a shower and sleep ... after, of course, posting my first photo from abroad.
Advice from today: pack more than one outfit in your carryon, you will be sweaty and gross from being on the plane and will then be expected to go do things; bring enough clothing to feel comfortable and not disgusting like I did; get a good night's sleep and try your best to sleep on the plane.
Buona Notte! A domani xox