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Nutella, Breadsticks, and 230 Steps

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by Sivan W. After what felt like days of travel we finally made it to this beautiful city. Florence. Wow. First off, we were all amazed at how the GIANT bus that took us from the airport back to the residence navigated the crowded, narrow streets that were lined with pedestrians, Vespas and bikers. Nobody could even say any words on the bus (partly because we were half asleep) because everyone was in awe of this amazing city. We settled in to our gorgeous apartments, raided the Nutella and breadsticks that were waiting there for us and finally felt like we had arrived. The first outing was a mini walking tour of Florence–trying to navigate the streets and memorize the route back to our apartments. The amazing Duomo was pointed out as well as some of the best markets and shops. There was a huge air of hunger looming over us that was quickly satisfied with our first of many group dinners. Of course the best part and the thing EVERYONE was looking forward to most came after dinner. GELATO. Also the first of many, we got to have our first taste of the delicious gelato here in Italy. After two days of traveling and half a day of Florence, there was no hesitation to plop down on our beds when we got back to the apartments. Refreshed, recharged and ready for our adventure we all gathered for our first full day. After extensive orientation we got ready to go to Fiesole! We took a public bus up to the beautiful town of Fiesole right above Florence. The two boys of the group raced up the steep hill while the rest of us girls got our leg workouts for the day. At the top, everyone’s cameras came out to capture the amazing panorama of Florence. We kept walking up to explore an old monastery on the top of the hill. Day two started early with a long train ride to the town of Lucca. It was a very quiet, calm town surrounded by an old built up wall. We wandered and had lunch, and then we climbed 230 steps to the top of a tower. At the top there was a little garden and the BEST view of the city in the whole world (we all appreciated the heavy breeze after we walked so many stairs). After we made the trek down we rented bikes and rode them in circles around the outskirts of the town on top of the wall that encloses it. After some more gelato, we took the train back home. Tomorrow starts the first day of classes, grocery shopping and more to come…

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