Hello everyone, this is Pascual Jahuey coming to you live from Florence, Italy! I’ve been here for almost a complete week and my experience here has been going much better than expected. I originally thought that the climate here was going to be much hotter, and that it would be difficult to communicate with the locals here. So, I was very impressed when I could walk into almost any restaurant without any trouble, it seems that most people have learned enough English to communicate with tourist and non-Italian speakers. Although my Italian course had taught me a lot already, I am still not ready to fully converse and practice my Italian in public; although, I do use the fundamental terms to show respect, like grazie (thank you), and per favore (please).
Along with this, I have had the gracious opportunity to explore 4 different cities during my first week in Italy, and each experience has been unique. The 3 cities I have visited, excluding Florence, are Pisa, Lucca, and Orvieto! This, of course, is possible with the generous collaboration of some new friends I have made here. I met them in both my Italian and Organic Chemistry classes, which both have small class sizes. What we found was that the cheapest way to visit the nearby cities is through Italy’s remarkable railway system, so we found train rides to Pisa and Lucca for just 20 euros. Both locations were terrific with Pisa having it’s famous Leaning Tower and Lucca’s beautiful Roman ruins. We also traveled to Orvieto as a class to see the incredibly awe-inspiring Duomo (Cathedral) there and St. Patrick’s Well. Lastly, but not least, my new home way from home, Florence, is absolutely beautiful. The whole city is filled with impressive churches, especially the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, which I view everyday on my way to class. Another impressive view I come across everyday is the famous Ponte Vecchio, an absolutely gorgeous bridge over the Arno River. One tip I recommend is to take most of your pictures of the city early as there are few tourist and little traffic, along with this the lighting is ideal.