The time I’ve been dreading is finally here: I officially have only ONE week left in Florence. People said these six weeks would go by fast, and they were definitely not kidding.
This week, like every week, FLEW by but I did so many things! In my Food, Wine, and Culture class we cooked the most amazing meal of pasta with marinara sauce, fried eggplant, and ravioli. The ravioli was so cool because we made the dough from scratch. The only ravioli I’d ever eaten before coming to Florence was from the freezer aisle at Walmart, so needless to say I’ve been enjoying eating the real thing here.
Wednesday was a school holiday, so I woke up bright and early to get in line for the Uffizi Gallery. I knew that I couldn’t leave Florence without visiting the Uffizi, and it was totally worth the three hours it took to see (almost) everything inside the museum. Although I don’t know much about art or art history, I still felt chills looking at all the beautiful, world-famous paintings and sculptures and knowing that they were the originals. That’s one thing I just haven’t been able to get used to here: how old everything is and the fact that despite how much the world has changed, they have remained through it all. It’s how I feel every time I look at the Duomo, standing there among all the tourists and restaurants and stores. It’s surreal. I’ve learned that even if I don’t understand the exact history behind everything I see, I can still appreciate its beauty. At the Uffizi, I saw the Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli, Medusa by Caravaggio, and the Tribuna room, among many other famous works of art. It was a rainy day in Florence, so this was the perfect way to spend it.
I finally climbed to the Piazzale Michelangelo, a square that overlooks the entire city of Florence. It’s a little far from my apartment, but I kept hearing about the amazing view so I had to see it for myself. Wow, is all I can say. After, I got dinner at Gusta Pizza, one of the best pizza places in Florence and watched the sunset while eating gelato (what else?). It was a perfect evening.
On Thursday, I set off on a 12 hour bus ride for my last weekend adventure: Croatia. Choosing to go to Croatia was a sort of spur-of-the-moment decision and I had never really considered going there before. In fact, I didn’t even know what Croatia looked like. But like all the spontaneous things I’ve done here, it turned out to be an amazing experience. I stayed in the city of Split on the Dalmatian Coast. When we arrived at about 8 in the morning, we dropped off our bags, ate breakfast, and immediately went on a walking tour of Split. I hadn’t felt so sick and exhausted in a very long time, but after witnessing the beauty and excitement of the city, I soon forgot about how tired I was. In the afternoon, we went white water rafting which was so exciting! The rapids weren’t too crazy, but I still almost fell out of the raft a few times. It was such an adventure. For dinner I had the most AMAZING plate of shrimp scampi pasta I’ve ever had in my life. Our waiter was so nice and he taught us how to say certain words and phrases in Croatian (I kept accidentally saying “ciao” and “grazie” to people, which was pretty embarrassing). “Hvala Lipa” means “thank you” in Dalmatia (but not everywhere in Croatia. It’s a little confusing).
On Saturday, we went on a boat tour of the different islands on the coast and at one point we stopped and I got to jump off the boat into the water (which is something I’ve always wanted to do). The water was crystal clear and I even found a starfish near one of the beaches!
On Sunday, we headed to the Krka National Park. Krka has the most gorgeous waterfalls I’ve ever seen, and I got to swim near them. The water was pretty cold and the rocks were super slippery, but that didn’t stop me from swimming.
I’m excited to see what my final week brings! Ciao!