10 May 2011

The Good Life

this song couldn't say it better
"The Good Life"

so I have been the worst blogger ever. I started off the semester strong, but I realized I havent blogged since before spring break. Since this is my last week in Florence, yes sad panda, I figured I could give you a brief run down of what the second half of the semester has been like. and when i say brief. i mean it (well brief for me haha). soo here is what you have missed:

Spring break - GREECE!!!! mary, kendall, aly and I set off for an 8 day Greecian adventure. This included spending the night in Athens where we saw all of the main sights (acropolis, zeus' temple, olympic stadium, and everything else to see in Athens) so cool! then we flew to Corfu where we spent the week at an interesting hotel called the Pink Palace. Lets just say, it reminded us of something MTV Spring break would be filmed at and not so much the resort we were thinking. Regardless, we rented ATVS every day and explored the ENTIRE island,  going to different beaches each day. Some of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Made some new friends, who in fact were old friends we had met earlier in the semester (funny story), and enjoyed playing President with everyone who worked at Pink Palace, including Emma and the bike master haha. Also got to enjoy a toga party and traditional greek music. classic. anyways. epic spring break

The next weekend our program, Accent, took all of the TCU kids to Rome for the weekend. Coliseum, forum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps - all the norm. Freya, our guide from austrailia, was brilliant! It was a fun, but super exhausting trip.

The following week we went to see the ballet - Swan Lake - yeah that was... interesting. That weekend was my 21st birthday weekend. wahooo. most of us stayed in Florence. It was so fun. We went shopping, ate at some delicious restaurants, and was able to go finally go to some places around town I hadn't been to yet. Also, Kelly's brother was in town that week. So we took him out to some classic discoteches (Space and FullUp). Kelly and I tried to redo our Summer Nights duet and failed miserably. We also stayed in Florence the next weekend. Another relaxing and productive weekend in Florence. I'm telling you, this city just gets better and better. The weather was just starting to get warm and it was amazing.

The last weekend in April, the 8 of us headed to paradise, aka the Amalfi Coast. It was unreal. We stayed in Sorrento but did day trips Pompeii (Mt Vesuvius and Naples). While in Naples, we ate at the restaurant Julia Roberts eats pizza in - when she unbuttons her jeans to go on an all carb diet - anyways...  delish. We also went to the island of Capri one day and went hiking, cliff jumping, took boat rides into the blue grotto. This one of my favorite places we have been so far. The last day we spent in Positano which was the cutest beach town. Great shopping and great way to end the long easter weekend. Oh which reminds me, one night in Sorrento, we saw this huge parade. It was part of the 3 day easter events the town held. However, the one we saw was the parade mourning His death so everyone in the parade was wearing what looked like black KKK robes. It was super creepy, and dark, and just different than any Easter event I had seen. Apparently they do it again the next day but all wearing white celebrating His resurrection, so I am sure that would have been happy, but the parade we saw was down right creepy, although cool and historical!

ok the next week was the opening of this club in Florence called Central Park. It is the COOLEST place I have ever been. It is this massive club/bar that is all outside with the coolest atmosphere. It had great lounge and VIP areas and tons of dance floors. Such a fun outing with the girls. Well then the best weekend ever happend: Munich

Munich was possibly my favorite trip all semester. It was a blast. Germany was absolutely gorgeous. breathtaking. stunning. pick your word. unbelievable. And everyone was surprisingly really friendly. I guess I just assumed they were mean because German is such an ugly language. It really sounds like your getting yelled at constantly and I just assumed germans were hostile. so false. All they wanna do is listen to polka music, drink some beer, and have a good time. They were awesome. We did a bike tour of Munich which was super fun. We got to see a ton of the city and a lot of historic sites. We also went to the 2nd largest beer garden in the world. The weekend we were in Munich, Furhlingfest (springfest aka spring version of oktoberfest - but a little smaller) was going on. So naturally we had to see waht that was about. Apparently the tents at springfest hold around 3,000 people. It was insanity. Luckily we found a table and camped out. There were numerous bands/djs playing throughout the night. Everyone was dancing on the tables. it was so fun. Best part of the night was the stag party we met. They were dressed up like the royal family (since it was the day of the royal wedding). HILARIOUS! anyways we literally shut down springfest (last ones leaving) and then went out to a couple places after that. The next day was more somber. We went to Dachau concentration camp which was very interesting to see in person. That night we decided to skip springfest and headed to the haufbrahaus (which was its own springfest) Live polka music in the massive place that holds up to 5000 people and it was packed! another fun night in munich. The next day we packed up and headed home. But we stopped in this town about 2 hours outside of music. This town is home to the castle that inspired the Disney Sleeping Beauty castle. Needless to say... it felt like home :) it really was gorgeous. Beautiful mountains and lakes all around. Again my stereotype of Germans in lederhosen drinking beer was proven true. In this town, there was a square where another huge polka band was playing (all in lederhosen)... even some of the townspeople were in lederhosen. The best part of it all is that when the band finished a song, instead of drinking water, the musicians would drink beer. They are crazy!!! So yeah Munich  = success.

This past weekend mary and I decided to end our semester overseas with a trip to a european landmark: London!!! I had never been so I was super pumped. we left wednesday night and spent it in Dublin. such a fun city. we pub hopped and as mary said.... met our own leprachaun (or however you spell that) named Pauly. We listened to celtic music and soaked up the city. The next morning we hit the ground running by visiting all of the landmarks Dublin has to offer. This included some beautiful cathedrals and castles and even dublin's oldest university (Trinity college). Awesome. We then left for London, where we spent thursday - sunday. Since I had never been there, I wanted to everything, and we tried to do just that. We went on the London eye, saw buckingham palace and teh cahnging of the guard, went to wesminster abby and walked down THE aisle that princess Kate walked down. so presh. we also went to big ben, tower of london, crown jewels (hey dad... you want christmas present ideas... take a look at those haha), london bridge, and even saw 2 plays at west end. We saw Billy Elliot which was funny and had amazing dancing. The next night we saw Legally Blonde which was a fun, upbeat, girly show and just what we needed. im probably leaving some stuff out but it was an amazing weekend. Lets just say after my outings with Prince Harry, another royal wedding should be just aroudn the corner. HA i wish. but it was super fun and Mary was a great tour guide haha :)

So thats what has been going on in my life. Sad news though, its all coming to an end. I am headed back to the motherland in 3 days. I am super excited and being over here has truly made me realize how fortunate I am to live where I do and how lucky I am to have to friends and family that I have. We really do live in the greatest country so don't take it for granted. You'd be surprised how much you miss it once its gone. Dont get me wrong, I have loved every single moment of my time over here, and I wouldn't trade it for a second, but there is something to be said for the little comforts of home. Anyways, we are soaking up every last minute here while trying to study for finals (cruel and unusual punishment) so as much as I have enjoyed this study break.... its back to paper writing for me.  I know this was long... but lets be real, I covered half of a semester. I think I did good :) until next time (which will be back in the states!!!!!)


16 April 2011

Devoto's Take Florence

 mom came to visit!!!!!

Holy moly do we have a lot to catch up on. Last time I left you was the day before spring break hahaha. so lucky for you im going to make probably 3 posts in order to catch you up. Oh geez.

this post will focus on the week my mom came to visit and spring break. Where to even begin.... Spring break was epic. beyond epic. it was unbelievable. ok I am getting ahead of myself. Let's go to the beginning.

So I returned from France on Monday and on Tuesday I was skipping with my dad when he asked if I wanted mom to come visit. Obviously I wanted her too. He responded saying "good. she will be there on Thursday!" hahaha I was in shock....  "are you kidding me?".  nope. he was dead serious. Leave it to my family to not plan a vacation to Italy until about 2 days before. They are crazy. So I talk to my mom and sure enough she and her sister, aunt mary alice, decided to come to Florence to visit me for a week. I was beyond excited. I am super close with my mom so ive missed her a lot being over here. And the timing could not have been better. I had been here for about half of the semester and I was ready for some quality momma devoto time :). Anyways it was a whirlwind week once they arrived. When they got here, I met up with them as soon as I got out of class. I went to their hotel to meet them. Hahah long story but we couldn't find each other in the hotel. A couple could tell I was lost and so they asked if I was looking for 2 women. I said yes and they pointed me in the right direction. I was walking to the terrace, where the couple said they were, but ran into my mom in aunt in a room on the way. I saw my mom and lost it hahaha crying uncontrollably. it was embarrassing but it was just so great to see her. I couldn't help it! So that day, thrusday, we walked all over florence, hitting all the major landmarks and basically a layout of the city.
in front of the Duomo!

Gilli for dessert

Pitti Palace

The Friday they were here, we went with all of the girls on a horseback riding tour through tuscany/vineyards. Then we went to this castle/old city for a wine tasting and dinner. It was so fun and so beautiful!

all the girls before horseback riding

mommy :)

literally riding through the vineyards at sunset

love these girls

wine tasting

The next day, the 3 of us took a day trip to Cinque Terre. It was absolutely beautiful! We went to all of the towns, shopped, walked around, and then made our way back to Florence that night. too fun.

via dell'Amor (walk of love) 

The last couple of days they were here we tore up Florence haha. One night we went to this enoteca right across from the Pitti Palace and had the most amazing dinner/wine tasting. Our waiter was unbelievable and knew everything possible about the wines he served. It was amazing. We must have been there for atleast 4 hours. The food they served was cooked fresh by this precious woman who ended up giving my mom and aunt a private cooking lesson the following day. The hotel they stayed at was unbelievable. We would end each night relaxing on the rooftop terrace overlooking Florence. We went to mass one night at the Duomo. We went shopping. One night we took the girls to Spera's pizza... it was an interesting experience haha but the food was pretty good. Also, my mom and I had dinner together one night at La Giostra, which is known for their pear ravioli. It was delish. We did so much I can barely remember everything but it was one of the best weeks. I loved having my mom here and showing my aunt around Florence. They left on Wednesday and Thursday was the start of spring break. But i think thats going to have to be another post.... so check back soon to read all about our epic week in Greece.

dinner at La Giostra

dinner at enoteca pitti

ciao! xoxo