This weekend I went to Florence, Italy and got to stay in the Pepperdine house there and see tons of other Pepperdine people….very exciting!
(For the non-Pepp people reading this, we also have programs similar to the Heidelberg one in Florence, London, and Buenos Aires.)
The Florence house is totally different from ours, but cool. Their classrooms are in their house, as well as all their meals. And they have air hockey, ping-pong, and foosball tables, which I’m jealous of!
It was really cool though cuz like 25-30 of them stayed home last weekend, so I saw all kinds of people! I went to visit my good friend Angie Riches who I hadn’t seen since april, and she took me around town and stuff.
Several other people went and we all took a night train on Thursday. They all got beds, but I’m too cheap for that, so I ended up in a compartment with an Italian guy and a german guy. The train arrived in Florence 40 minutes late, but angie was there right when I got off, and it was so, so good to see her. It was also very cool to be able to immeadiately drop off my stuff at the house and take a shower!
Ok, so they only have a like 15 min. walk compared to our like 40 min. walk, and while our house has 3 showers for all 30+ girls, angie has 2 showers for her and her 2 roomates!
The cool thing about Florence is that like everything I saw is straight out of my Humanities class. Half the stuff that I just learned about in that class is in Florence!
First, we went to see the Duomo….an absolutely enormous church with a magnificent dome that is said to have inaugurated the Renaissance. When looking at a picture of the city, this church and dome towers over everything…that’s how big it is! And I swear you could almost fit a soccer field inside it!
Beside it is the Baptistery with the famous bronze doors by Michaelangelo.
On the way there, we had been talking about how Italian guys are so forward. They’ll openly stare at you and say Ciao Bella and other stuff. Totally opposite from german guys who won’t give you the time of day! Anyway, she was saying that they’ll even pinch your butt and stuff, when I sense someone right behind me and suddenly someone grabs my waist and I whip around thinking it’s some Italian guy and see my friend Marco! It was pretty funny.
After, the Duomo we went to the Boboli Gardens, which went on forever and were beautiful. They were so huge, one could easily get lost in there….it was like a different world, right in the middle of the city like that!
Then we went to the old Medici house. The Medici were a famous family that had all kinds of influence on the city.
For dinner, about 40 of us all went to this restaurant where I had some great ravioli stuff for like 5 bucks! I had a good talk with Kim Sherman who was visiting from the London program. Then I went out for gelato with Matt Koger and had a good time catching up with him. It was just cool to hang out with other Pepperdine people!
A word about the Gelato….i know I’ve talked about the ice cream before, but this was truly amazing. It’s not even like ice cream….it’s a totally different texture! I had it 4 times in my 2 days there!
Later that night, we went dancing at a club. In germany, the guys don’t even dance with girls, they just have a good time themselves or something….not so in italy. The guys would like circle around us, like they were moving in for the kill or something!
Saturday, Angie and I went to the Accademia to see David. On the way there, we stopped at a bakery for breakfast and got milk, cold milk. Cold milk is the only thing I really miss from the States, so it was so exciting to have it! (They just don’t really have milk over here, and what they have is boxed milk that isn’t even refridgerated).
David was truly spectacular…much more so than I expected. Yes, it is one of the most famous pieces of art in the world and attracts millions of tourists, so I figured I should probably see it, but wasn’t really expecting much. We walked through a couple other rooms of paintings and stuff then turned a corner, and there at the end of the hall, was David, in all his perfection. First of all, he’s huge…I think 9 feet tall (ironic huh!), and on top of a marble platform to add to the effect. It’s truly an amazing sculpture….every part is perfect….the stomach muscles are my favorite part. :)
Next, we took a bus to the top of a nearby hill that overlooked all of Florence and beyond…it was a beautiful view! And incredibly windy!
Then, it was on to the Uffizi Gallery to see the greatest collection of Italian art anywhere.
The neatest part about it was seeing several paintings that I had literally just taken a mid-term on last week, so I knew like everything to know about them! The 2 biggest ones were Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and Madonna Enthroned by Giotto. These had both just been on my mid-term! There were also many others that I recognized from my humanities book. It really did make learning come alive!
After that we just hung out at the house for a couple hours….I got to watch the Dawson’s Creek premeire as someone had sent a tape of it over there! It was fun to watch one of my shows after so long!
Later that night, Angie and I went out to dinner. On the way there, we heard music and went inside this other famous church where a concert was going on. We went in and listened for 20 minutes or so…it was really neat.
I left Sunday morning and had quite an adventure coming home. Everyone else had left early Saturday night, but I didn’t want to leave yet, so I decided I’d come back by myself. Angie walked me to the train station around 11AM. My train was already showing up 30min. late, so she left. I decided to take a different one, but apparently looked up at the sign, saw my train, then got on the one opposite it, so I ended up going totally the wrong direction and got back to Florence 4 hours later when I got on a train to Milan that was so crowded I ended up standing in the little space between the cars with like 10 or so other people for over an hour and a half! It was quite an experience….but fun in a way! A bunch of people got off in Bologna, so then I got to sit in the hallway for the other 2 ˝ hours! At Milan, I had an 1 ˝ layover, so I went to this train station café and met a girl from hong kong who had lived in Oregon for 10 years and was traveling by herself around Europe for 4 months. It was good to actually converse with someone after having been around just Italians all day. ( I speak no Italian!)
Then I got on my night train to Heidelberg and met a girl from Bulgaria who spoke great English and is studying in Frankfurt (like 1 ˝ hrs. from Heidelberg). I talked to her for like 2 hours and it was really cool!
I finally got to Heidelberg at 5:56AM (19 hours later) in time to walk back to the house and get ready for my 8:30 class! What an experience!