Every day I am in Europe, I love Europe just a bit more. Everyday I learn something new about Florence or stumble upon a new beautiful street and it just makes me realize how lucky I am to be having this opportunity. This weekend was especially wonderful.
I will start off with Valentines day because I have always liked Valentines day. I have never been the kind of person to get bitter over the fact that I am single on Valentines day because to me, it’s not that important of a holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a great excuse to show someone how much you love and appreciate them, but I don’t think we should need a day for that because that is something you should be doing all throughout a relationship. That being said, I love the idea of the holiday and I love valentines day-ified snacks and decorations. I don’t know if any of that made sense.
Valentines DAY we didn’t do much, me and all my roommates got up on the later side and just took it easy for the most part but around 1ish I readied myself and went to meet up with my friend Rachel from high school. She is studying abroad in Padova, Italy but was here in Florence for the weekend with 2 of her friends so I met up with them and we got Gelato and just caught up, which was really nice because I honestly do not know the last time I saw her (if you are reading this, HI RACHEL). After zig–zagging my way through the pushy valentines day visitors on the Ponte Vecchio, I made it back to my apartment and started getting ready. Me and my roommates ended up going to this pasta bar restaurant that is directly across from our apartment. All of us had seen it so many times but knew it was a bit on the pricier side but since it was Valentines day we decided to treat ourselves and have a nice family dinner. I am in the process of making myself try new things so me and both my Megan roommates got this meal called, “Culurgiones olgiastrini con pancetta, crema di piselli e gamberi” and MAN was it yummy.
As you can see from the picture, they look almost like dumplings and they were filled with potatoes, mint and cheese. It was topped with bacon and shrimp and it was absolutely amazing. We got desert as well and just hung around and talked for a while because in Italy it seems to be very common to just hang out after a meal for a while. After that we went next door to a small, local bar and just hung out and talked and met up with some friends. Overall, it was such a perfect way to spend my Valentines day.
On Sunday, we boarded a bus at approx. 9:00am and made our way to Siena, Italy.
Siena was a beautiful, classic Italian town with a very interesting history to it. I am not going to go into it all but something that was super interesting to all of us was that the town is divided into “contrade” that seem almost like the districts in the Hunger Games. Siena has 17 contrade that were developed during the middle ages. The 17 contrade are: Eagle, Caterpillar, snail, little owl, dragon, giraffe, crested porcupine, unicorn, she-wolf, seashell, goose, wave, panther, forest, tortoise, tower, and valley of the ram. We got a nice walking tour of a part of the city and then we were brought to the Piazza del Campo which is the city center and where the Palio, a horse race that is held twice a year, takes place.
This Piazza is neutral territory for the citizens of Siena regardless of their contrade. Here we got to try their famous almond cookies which I really enjoyed but the majority of my friends did not. We then made our way to get lunch. We went to this restaurant and I KNEW I wanted pizza, after being very indecisive, I decided to go for a personal pizza with tomato, mozzarella, and potatoes on it because I was imaging the pizza that they have in Amherst with the thin slivers of potato on top.
My pizza had french fries on it…
It was still a very yummy pizza but made me feel kind of gross because I knew how bad it was for me. When we left dinner it was down pouring so we just walked around a bit and then made our way back to the bus when we were told to.
Then, we made out way to San Gimignano, which I am kind of in love with. Unfortunately, we only got 1 hour to explore this quaint town but we used our time wisely. San Gimignano is on a hill surrounded by beautiful vineyards. From far away you can see the town approaching because of the 14 towers in the town. I forget the exact history of it, but I know they were telling us how the towers literally got chopped off if the family that owned it, was having financial problems, how embarassing.
The first thing we did was go to the city center and get gelato from “Gelateria Dondoli” or the Gelato world champion. This gelato is said to be the best gelato in the world so even though I was stuffed to the brim, I had to get some…. and it was heavenly. Me and my roommate Megan were pretty much savoring every lick of the gelato.
After trying to take some artsy #Foodintheair #FITA pics,
(….but I obviously have zero self-control…)
we found a small look out point that gave you a view of EVERYTHING. It was breathe-takingly beautiful even on such a cloudy day. We made out way back to the city center and played around with the confetti all over the ground before heading back to the bus. I wish I had more time to take in the beauty of this town/city but I was lucky enough to see it even for an hour, so I can’t complain too much.
When we got back to Florence, we walked past a chocolate festival (yeah, I know. I love Italy) so we walked through and it was actually painful how much will-power it took not to buy… everything.
So, that were some of the highlights of my weekend! I had an amazing time with pretty much everything I did and cannot wait for more adventures to come. I have classes until thursday morning and then me and my roommates (minus one) are heading off to Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg!!!!!
Thank you for reading my rambling:)
Until next time,