And I’m back! My weekend to Italy was wonderful, just what I needed before I began my next two weeks of finals and presentations. Can you believe they actually have you do school work while you study abroad? Weird, I know. I thought I signed up for the Study (sometimes) Abroad program. Anyways, on Friday I flew into Venice. Which is not at all near where Julie actually lives. So Friday was a long day of travel. But finally we got there in time for dinner. And let me just say, I ate fantastically this weekend. Julie and I differ in opinions, I like Italian food a bit more (fresh, simple) and prefer Italian cheese to French cheese (mon dieu!). Seriously, brie ain’t got nothing on mozzarella in my opinion…
Julie described Bologna as a tiny rural city and her apartment as, well there’s really no other way to put it, a shithole. However, I was pleasantly surprised because she was WRONG. Bologna is beautiful and big, it has lots of old churches, statues, stores, cute cafes, and great restaurants. And her apartment is great too, it’s just far away from her school and center of town. Oh and has no internet, so that is technically a problem. But besides that, all great stuff.
Afterwards we went to her friend’s place, who was having an ugly Christmas sweater party. What was so cool about visiting Julie and her friends is that they all are going to school at the University of Bologna, alongside other exchange students and Italian students. And they also all live in regular apartments with other Italian students. And their apartments are AMAZING! So much bigger than my tin can of a dorm room. I met Chinese, Finnish, and German exchange students. And they all speak Italian with each other, which was awesome to watch.
Saturday was spent by going to the Christmas markets (every single European country has a Christmas market, one of the many perks of living in Europe), the regular weekend market, on a café crawl, out to a delicious dinner (cheese, grilled veggies, pigeon, sun dried tomatoes, italian goodness). I got an ADORABLE pair of leather shoes, my new prized possession from Italy. I also may or may not have indulged in 3 cappuccinos, but I made sure the last one was decaf, as I don’t want to have a crazy caffeine addiction when I return home. As I have mentioned before, every city I go to, I tend to not blend in. Well, let’s just say I REALLY don’t blend in Italy. Everyone spoke english to me pretty much right away. Although if Jules spoke first, then they continued in Italian. There has to be some country where blond haired, brown eyed girls are in abundance…
On Saturday night, I met more of Julie’s friends and eventually we made our way over to an Irish pub which was totally packed. My dad told me when he was here that he enjoys going to a pub in each country that he visits to compare them. I personally head straight to the grocery store (in Italy, you have to put on plastic gloves to touch the produce), but now I understand where he was coming from. The pub was fun to check out and it was literally packed wall to wall, people spilling out onto the streets.
Sunday was a day filled with mostly travel once again, although I will say this was possibly one of the only trips where it went fairly smoothly and I navigated the train, bus and airport all by myself. Studying abroad has definitely made me a more attentive traveler and now feel pretty good about figuring out how to get where I need to go.
One last thing…the Venice airport. OHMYGODITWASSOCLASSY. Seriously, I felt like I was in an upscale boutique, that happened to have airplanes hanging around. There were all of these cafés, cute little restaurants, shops, two floors worth of shopping, and an Italian goods store. I was just amazed at how nice and beautiful it was. Especially compared to Charles de Gaulle airport. Have I mentioned that CDG airport is the most inefficient airport I have ever been to? The layout makes no sense whatsoever. I think regardless of the airline I use, I have to walk at least 3 miles to get to where I need to go. Oh and there are birds…BIRDS, flying around in the ceiling. I don’t even pay attention to them anymore and forget that birds chilling in the rafters is NOT NORMAL.
That’s it for my Italy trip, it really was just a pleasant little weekend getaway, where I got to see Julie’s life abroad. I’m so glad that I got to go to Italy, definitely a place I want to return and spend more time in.