If you know me, then you know that I have dreamed of traveling to Italy my entire life. Hearing my grandparents’ stories of their times abroad in Italy is what sparked my interest in des cultures étrangères (foreign cultures) in the first place. With this in mind, when I realized that I would have a week long break from classes for Toussaints (All Saints Day), booking an extended trip to la mère patrie (the mother country) with a few friends was a no brainer. Once booked, it finally dawned on me that I would finally be completing one of the top goals of my study abroad experience, and of my life in general, which caused major excitement to commence.
The first stop on our tour was Venice, a city that was unlike anything I had ever seen before. There is no other place in the world that I can compare it to. Its one thing to see pictures of des ponts (the bridges) and the gondolas, but to actually walk along the pavements of the city with water next to me instead of paved roads was truly a captivating experience. Although we went during tourist low season, the small city pathways were still crowded with people. I couldn’t imagine visiting during the peak summer months when its even more jam packed. Néanmoins (nonetheless), Venice’s unique way of living and scenic views truly lived up to my expectations, which causes me to firmly attest the fact that Venice is a city that every person must see in their lifetime.
Next on the list was Florence. Florence was the quintessential Italian experience that I had always dreamed of. The pasta was to die for, the people talked with les mains (their hands), and there were old men playing accordions on the streets. The first thing on our to do list while in the Tuscan region was to travel to Pisa for obvious reasons. After somewhat of an underwhelming trip,
the leaning tower of Pisa is much smaller and not as tilted as you would expect, we went back to the birthplace of the Renaissance to be cultured by des musées d’art (some art museums). Walking into Academia and seeing the statue of David was actually breathtaking. I have never had a real reaction from seeing art before, but the statue of David actually took my breath away. In this singular masterpiece of a sculpture, I came to understand the rebirth of culture that came about during the Renaissance and gained a much deeper respect for artists of the day, especially after our great tourguide (Stasie) told us that David was meant to represent Florence battling the Goliath, who represented Rome. After soaking up as much culture as humanly possible, my friends and I met up with some of the Holy Cross kids who are currently studying in Florence. I was beyond jealous of them for being able to live in such an amazing city, but it was clear that their lives in such a famous city had some cons as well. English could be heard almost as much as Italian in the city due to the immense American study abroad population. After a few amazing nights in Florence, my friends and I had to trek across the city to the bus station in the pouring rain in order to catch our bus at 5am, which turned out to be an hour late.
After finally reaching Rome, we headed straight to the Vatican where we were able to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis celebrating All Saints Day Mass. The Vatican was yet another place that I’ve always wanted to visit, and the grandiose church that is St. Peters Basilica definitely did not disappoint. Then, after une longe sieste ( a long nap), the group and I did some sight seeing of the rest of the city. Seeing the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon all lit up at night was magical to say the least. Being able to put a face to the name of what was the capital city of one of the most dominant empires in history was incredible to say the least. Its crazy to think how rich in culture and history just one country is. By the last few days of the trip I was épuisé (exhausted), and I sadly found myself not appreciating as much of Rome as I should have. Luckily, I have another semester to go back and revisit!
Au total (All in all), I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Italy. It was amazing to experience all the sights and sounds that I have dreamed about for so long. In the past, when asked for my life long ambitions, my answer would always be “to travel to Italy,” and I am so grateful that studying abroad has given me the opportunity to achieve this goal. The only problem is, now I need to find new goal in life to set. So, I’ll let you know as soon as I think of one.
À plus tard!
Leçon du jour: faites ce que les romains font “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”- a saying that I find myself repeating a lot while trying to assimilate to life in Europe