My Trip to Italy
This past winter, I had the privilege of going on my senior trip to Italy. I can wholeheartedly say it was the trip of a lifetime. We left in late January and came back in early February. I was so disappointed to be back home! It was a fun-filled adventure packed with amazing memories. My experience in Italy was more than pleasing. The people were loving, the food was exquisite, and the places were beautiful. Let me begin to tell you all about it!
January 26th (Departure): Flight to Rome
The excitement on this day was irrepressible. You see, my senior class and I have been raising money through fundraisers (candy-selling, dinners, etc.) since 9th grade for this trip. Everyone’s hard work finally paid off. All of us brought our luggage to school and eagerly awaited our departure at noon. Our Spanish teacher was kind enough to give a test right before we left… but nothing could rain on our parade! After we completed all the last minute school work, it was time to leave! We placed all of our luggage in the van and drove to JFK airport. There, we went through security, ate, and patiently waited until it was time to board the plane…. Finally, the time came. We boarded the plane and were on our way to Germany, from which we took a connecting flight to Italy. It was a long trip but the music, shows, and movies on the plane were enough to make the time pass by!
January 27th (Arrival): First Day in Rome
We arrived in Rome! To be honest, it was not that different from New York City; it had the same sense of vitality. Though we left in the afternoon in New York, we arrived at around 9 a.m. in Rome. The time difference in Italy is six hours ahead, so you can imagine how weary we were. We reached our hotel, set down all the bags, and unwound for a few hours. When we woke up we ate lunch at a nice, small Italian restaurant. I don’t remember exactly what we ordered, but it smelled amazing! The aroma was incredibly spicy. We also had pasta that could last us for days! After we ate, we strolled around Rome and really got the chance to take in the beauty of the city.
January 28th: Ancient Rome
There is nothing better than waking up to the sound of an Italian ambulance; if you've heard this before, you know where I’m coming from. To put it simply, It sounds like bagpipes: "Wee-oh-wee-oh, Wee-oh-wee-oh, Wee-oh-wee-oh". Even though it was exceedingly loud and bothersome, I have to say I miss it. We prepared for the day and proceeded into Ancient Rome. We visited places such as: Caesar’s house and the Coliseum. Standing in the Coliseum really had me in awe; the structure was amazing! How it has managed to stay fortified (for the most part) is mind boggling. Furthermore, I was fascinated by the number of cats we spotted living there. We snapped some photographs and took the subway back into Rome.
January 29th: Modern Rome
Most people are aware that every Sunday, the Vatican is open for free to all who want to visit. So, consequently, we did just that! Everything in the Vatican was just breathtaking; the art, the statues, the. In addition, we went to visit St. Peter’s Basilica; the view of Rome was astounding from atop. The climb up was not easy too easy; for there were many steps, as well as tiny passage ways to squeeze through, but it was certainly worth our while. Soon thereafter, we visited the Sistine Chapel. After visiting, I can't fail to mention the beauty of the artwork in the chapel; Michelangelo portrayed God and man divinely. We ended our day by further exploring Rome. We bought souvenirs, made wishes at the Trevi Fountain, and even got to try our first authentic gelato! I must also add that the gelato in Rome is unlike any other, easily the best. Personally I ordered Fior di Latte(which I think is the most basic gelato); it was so rich and creamy in taste and much more satisfying(and less fattening) than ice cream! Since it was still late winter, we decided to buy several cups of hot chocolate to warm us right up. The hot chocolate was very thick, as if it was just melted a few minutes ago! We've never had hot chocolate with that much flavor and consistency to it. This was another thing to love about Rome.
January 30th: Mom’s birthday/Last day in Rome
My mom, as well as other parents, was a chaperon on this trip. Not only did she get to experience Italy with me, but she had her birthday on the trip as well! On this day, we took a bus to the Appian Way, which was one of the earliest & strategic roadways of Ancient Rome.. When we got off the bus, we were surprised by some animals. Far off into the distance, we saw a herd of sheep coming our way! It was a definite multitude. After that parade, we quickly walked down the Appian Way and made our way back to Rome. We wanted to make this day special for my mom. We went out to eat at another Italian restaurant, but… this one was memorably different. By different, I'm saying we were the only ones there! We had all the service and attention we needed. We ordered dinner and discussed our favorite things about Rome. After we finished eating, we sang happy birthday, and surprised her with a tiramisu cake. It was a night to remember.
January 31st: Florence
We packed up everything, hopped into the van, and headed for Scandicci. We had previously planned to head to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, but a snow storm was on the way. We thought it would be best to drive straight through. We came close to getting caught in the storm, but we made it to our villa! The villa had a very comfortable aspect and the owners were native Italians. They made us a complimentary breakfast every morning and became like a second family to us! We asked them many questions about Florence, so that we could visit the best places and gain the best cultural experience. After settling in, we went into Florence for dinner. We ate at a Chinese restaurant, which was shockingly not that different from one in America. The only difference I noted was that their first language was Italian, so it was difficult to place our orders. Nonetheless, it was still pleasant. We headed back to our villa and rested up for the next day.
February 1st: Lucca/Pisa
The plan for Lucca was simple: we were going to bike around the entire town. Along with the snow, we didn't plan for the rain. Since it was raining, all of the bike shops were closed. We decided just to walk around the town. After about an hour of walking, we scurried back to the van and drove to Pisa. Pisa was beautiful! I was so taken aback by the leaning tower; I couldn't believe I was actually standing by it. After taking an abundance of pictures next to it, buying more souvenirs, and paying to use the bathroom(something I was definitely not used to), we headed back to Florence.
February 2nd: Last day in Florence/ Venice
For the last day in Florence, we decided to take it easy and get some more shopping done. We made a visit to the Gates of Paradise as well, which was a sight to see. Afterwards, we skipped Verona and departed to Venice. After all, Venice was the place that everyone was looking forward to. I would unquestionably say, that out of all the places we've travelled to on this trip, Venice was the most frigid. The hardest part about arriving in Venice was dragging the luggage over the first bridge; it happened to be the largest bridge there, so once we crossed it, the worst was over with. We finally found our hotel, set down our luggage, and ventured into the town.
February 3rd-5th: Venice/Departure home
There is honestly too much to say about Venice; I could talk about it for hours, maybe even days! Venice was single-handedly the most beautiful place on this trip. Some of the highlights we had here were: riding the gondolas, buying masks for Carnival, and feeding the pigeons in St. Marco’s Square. Oddly enough, the best pizza I had in Italy was in Venice. That wasn’t the odd part; the pizza wasn’t made by Italians, despite what you would expect, but was made by Bangladeshi’s! It was hard for me to wrap my head around that one. When the time came to leave, it was a sad day; no one was ready to depart. Venice, as well as the country of Italy itself, was such a stunning place. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to travel here for my senior trip. I really hope I get the chance to visit once more, so I can experience the excitement all over again.