Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cappuccinos, Venus, and Pizza!

I am laying in our hotel room, sipping on a glass of smooth red wine as the bells of the Duomo ring in the distance. This is what heaven must be like. Florence is such a beautiful and peaceful place, and even though it's technically a larger city, it feels friendly and happy. I'm in love!

We decided last night that since we had both gotten such poor (or in Janece's case, no) sleep the previous night, we were going to just let ourselves wake up naturally this morning, which turned out to be around 8:30 or so. Then we took our time preparing for our day, and eating a fancy breakfast of random granola bars we had brought and the hotel's instant coffee!

Then, as we walked down the street, we decided that we needed to have a cappuccino so we stopped at a cute cafe on our way to the Uffizi gallery. We totally loved the place! The menu has pictures of the food, so you know exactly what you're ordering, and our waiter was such a sweet man and just made us smile! We ended up going back to the same place for a fantastic lunch of prosciutto and melon (which, by the way, was incredible!) and when we joked about coming to the same place again, he joked right back with us about how he was going to see us for breakfast. It was just a really fun interaction!

The Uffizi gallery was really good. I'll admit that after seeing twenty sculptures the amazement starts to wear off a bit, but the paintings were really incredible. Of course, one of the most celebrated paintings they have is the Venus, and I wanted to make sure that we saw that of course, but mostly just I felt it was necessary, not because I thought it was going to be spectacular. I was really wrong! Standing in front of the canvas, I was so struck by how amazing the artwork was, how pleasing the overall painting is, and also at how timelessly beautiful she is! I definitely found a new favorite piece of art today!

After our lunch stop, we made our way across the bridge to Pitti Palace. The journey from lunch to the palace took about four hours though, due to the seemingly endless shopping possibilities along the way! We found a place that makes ceramic dishes, and we spent an hour in there along just admiring all of the pieces! Some of these stores are like museums themselves!

But, we did eventually get to the palace, and were not disappointed once we got inside. We only had time to look through one gallery before they closed, and the rooms were so so fantastic! The ceilings were definitely the highlight. If you look at the picture below, only the four outside white lines are actually plaster, the rest of it is paint. All of the rooms were painted like that to add depth to them and make them appear larger, and wow did it work! We were so amazed at how small the rooms actually were compared to how enormous they seemed.

So we spent the next hour or so poking around, looking at the spectacular things the Medici family owned. Then Aunt Janece made a really good point. She just turned to me and said "but they still died." I didn't totally understand what she meant by that, but she explained that even though they had all of these crazy fancy possessions, they still died like everyone else, so we should focus on living instead of collecting things that are just going to be left behind. I thought that was a really interesting and good way of looking at things.

Gusta pizza, as recommended by a few different friends, was on the agenda for dinner, and it did not disappoint! The pizza here is so different from other pizzas I've had! It was really not greasy at all, wasn't smothered in cheese, and the crust was delicious but not very thick. So we didn't even feel guilty about eating it! Score! I think I may need to start making my own pizza from now on!

At the restaurant some girls who are studying abroad in Italy shared our table, and we started a little conversation with them. When one of the girls found out that I studied abroad in Scotland, she asked me if it was really hard to learn how to speak Scottish. I wasn't entirely sure how to respond to that, and just replied "They speak English in Scotland..." to which she looked confused and maybe a little disbelieving, so I informed her that Scotland is part of the UK. It was interesting, because I realized a little bit more how much I had learned about Scotland and how it had become my home despite only spending one semester there. Study abroad is worth it!

So overall, another very enjoyable day. We really had a nice time just enjoying the magical city of Florence and having fun together! I'm excited for more fun times tomorrow, and already dreading leaving! Can't I study abroad here too??

Until tomorrow!

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