Saturday, April 9, 2011

26 days until my diet no longer consists of grilled cheese and pasta!

Men, women and children of all ages! You read the title right I come home in 26 days. So roll out the carpets and sound the horns for my return, it's going to be epic. I keep on making all of these elaborate plans for when I return, but in all honesty I just want to be home again with my family and friends, and my families friends. The time here has flown by it is almost unreal, I promise it was yesterday that I said "a little less than 90 days until I go home" and now it is a little more than 3 weeks away. I have learned so much from being here about myself and others, and would not trade that for anything.

The following are the things I still have to do before I leave Europe.

1- gain 5 more pounds just from eating gelato
2- attend a soccer game
3- continue to annoy everyone at home by how much I try and talk to them
4- visit Germany/London with Ashlee
5- take part in the festivities for the Royal Wedding, (mom hows the Access Hollywood countdown                    coming???)

I am sure there are many more things that I want to do before I come home but these are the most important.

This past Thursday and Friday we took a school trip to Venice. I thought that after I visited Rome I found my favorite place in Italy, boy was I wrong. When you first walked out of the train station and down the steps you are placed upon a canal with boats screaming past each other. We boarded a "bus boat" and headed toward our hotel. I have been in some crazy modes of transportation since I have arrived here but that was by far the craziest. It stopped every 200 yards or so for the designated stops to let people off and gather more passengers on. We finally arrived at our stop outside of our hotel and went to drop off our bags because it was too early to check in. After the hotel we walked down the road a little to find somewhere to eat and picked a sandwich shop, which was really cheap and very tasty. After lunch we met back at the hotel and walked to the Accademia Gallery for a tour. There was a british professor who met us there to guide the tour, her field was Venetian Art. This lady although very knowledgeable in her area was totally lacking in the personalty department. I am not a huge fan of art to begin with so it made it even harder to pay attention to what she was saying and it was hard to appreciate the history that I was amongst. We walked through countless rooms filled with paintings hung from the wall as she described what she thought to be the most important. After this visit we went to a few other monumental places such as the Church of the Frari and Scuola di San Rocco. Both of the places were extremely historical and great places to say I have visited.

After the tours we had a few hours of free time before we all met up for dinner. Myself and a large part of the group decided to walk to San Marco square which is the place to be in Venice. However on the way we were stopped by two gondola owners and asked if we wanted rides. Usually we hate being accosted by people trying to sell us stuff, but this was an offer we could not pass up. There were 12 of us who wanted to go which was perfect considering each gondola held 6 people. It was the best 15 euro's I spent while in Venice. The ride lasted about 30 minuets and took us down the main canal and then looped back around to where we started. It was like a scene from a movie, the "driver" sang, let us take pictures, and tried to topple our boat over. We raced the other boat full of our friends and had a great time. If I ever return to Venice I will have to do this again, it was awesome!

When we met back at the hotel we were off to dinner that was prearranged by our school at a restaurant near by. These are always nice because the menu is planned out and you don't have to pay for the food which is always a bonus. The menu this time was very interesting considering our location, of course it was seafood. The appetizer was fantastic, it was fried vegetables that had zucchini, peppers, olives and eggplant. The first course was pasta with mussels and clams on top. It was fantastic at first but after a while it was a lot to take it. The seafood got to you. I preferred the clams to the mussels because they were smaller and easier to stomach. The second course was a very mild friend fish that was good, however at this point I was so full it was hard to enjoy it. After that we of course were served dessert, gelato! It was a mix of berry and lemon, it was so refreshing! When dinner was over we went back to the hotel for some much needed sleep before the next long day ahead of us.

The first stop on our second day of Venice was Basilica of San Marco. This church is in a close second to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome when it comes to beauty. It was all made of marble and gold, I could have spent all day inside looking at all it had to offer. It was once again amazing to be standing in such a big part of history. After the church we went to Palazzo Ducale which was a museum of Venetian history. This also was very interesting and we had a much more enthusiastic tour guide that was great to listen too. After the school sponsored visits we had about 4 hours of free time to explore before our train departed back to Florence. I was dead set on finding the Hard Rock I heard existed there too eat a BBQ pulled pork sandwich. We found it with no problem and it was like walking into heaven. I was able to eat at the Hard Rock in Rome with my family and this time was just as tasty. At a table of 6 people 5 of us ordered BBQ pulled pork sandwiches the only reason the 6th one didn't is because she is a vegetarian. After lunch we looked around Venice for a while and bought some souvenirs before returning back to the hotel for departure. After meeting up with everyone again we headed to the train station to come back to Florence.

It is always great to come "home" after being away for even a night. Florence is the city I know the best and love being in. I get so excited to walk up my two steep flights of killer, cement stairs to my room and bed. The rest of this weekend we are just hanging out and going to a soccer game Sunday night with everyone. It is nice to be able to hang out and not travel for a whole weekend. Next week is all the same thing, I have no where to go next weekend, just hanging out and getting to know Florence better.

Look for an update at the end of the week! CIAO!!