17 February 2011

whirlwind week

Hello everyone!

It has been a while since my last post so we have A LOT to catch up on. Yes that means that this is going to be a rather lengthy blog. Here are the events that I will be covering:

1. morgan's birthday
2. day trip to pisa and lucca
3. day trip to bologna and verona and chocolate fair
4. valentine's day - italian speed dating
5. karaoke night  ****if you read anything.... read this section***

                                                       *first train ride*

1. Ok so starting with Morgan's birthday. Last wednesday, one of the girls turned 21. Naturally we had to go out to celebrate. We had a fabulous dinner at this little restaurant called Dante. After dinner, we all decided to try out some of the other bars/pubs/clubs we havent been too yet. Well we meet some people and they tell us that YAB (you are beautiful) is the place to be on wednesday nights. YAB is a typical italian discotheque. Well we arrive and there are these italians getting in this huge fight right at the door. So we are awkwardly hovering around trying to figure out what is going on. While we are standing outside waiting, we look over and see this guy. Not just any guy... JOHNNY DEPP!!!! ok it wasnt really Johnny Depp, but they were IDENTICAL TWINS! im serious, the resemblance was uncanny. So fake johnny hears us talking about him and comes up to us and makes jokes about how he looks like Johnny Depp then asks if we want to go inside. We said yes, and he knew some people and anyways, got us inside the club. This place was insane. Im talking strobe lights, techno music, lots of creepy italians, you know... the norm. Well we danced all night and had a blast. One of the girls even found herself an italian stallion named Gabriele (we call him gabby at the house)... Well the next morning we wake up to find out that not only has he friend requested her on facebook... he has written her a facebook message (all in horrible english of course) it was an epic moment. You probably had to be there... but we found it quite humerous. She still talks to him occasionally on facebook too hahaha. So morale of the story = Morgan's birthday celebration was a definite success!
                                              *Morgan's birthday dinner*

2. since we didn't plan anything for the weekend, we decided thursday night that we would just wake up on friday, go to the train station, and pick somewhere to go for the day. We were very proud of how spontaneous we were! So Friday we went to the train station and got on a train to Pisa. *side note: Rick Steves = the man. we would not be able to survive without his tour books. he has all the info about every city, walking tours, hotels, places to eat, etc, and thats how we get around other cities* Once we got to Pisa, Rick led us all over the city, hitting all the main highlights, and finally ending up at the leaning tower of Pisa. I was unbelievable UNDERwhelmed. It was a lot shorter than i expected. I don't know why, but I had pictured something much larger. However, it is kind of insane how much it is actually leaning. I believe its 5 degrees off the vertical axis... dont quote me though. Anyways, we took the classic pictures of us "supporting" the tower, and after about 2 hours in Pisa, decided it was time to move on. Rick recommends taking a bus to Lucca ("the walled city"), which is only like 30-45 min away from Pisa. So that is what we did.  Lucca is the cutest little town. It was quaint, pretty, not crowded, and just a fun place to walk around in. After a couple more hours in Lucca, we headed to the train station and made our way back home to Florence.

                                                             *leaning tower of pisa*

3. The next day we essentially did the same thing. Headed to the train station, decided to go to Bologna. We had heard, and saw online, that there was a big festival (with food, clothing, what not) going on so we figured it would be a good day to go. Well unfortunately, Rick doesnt talk about Bologna in his book, so we got there with no maps, no idea whats going on, or where to go. Bad planning on our part. We stopped in several stores and asked about this festival... well apparently no one knew what we were talking about and looked at us like were crazy. Major fail. So we decided just explore anyways. Bologna definitely lost the competition of cool places to see for the weekend. and to make it worse..... as we were making our way to the train station to leave for verona... waht do we run into... A MASSIVE MARKET/FESTIVAL! bologna people were either really dumb and didnt know what was happening, or the just didnt like us and lied to us. either way... rude! so we left bologna and headed to Verona. Verona was amazing. One of the favorite places we went. it was amazing. and to top it off.. we went the weekend before valentine's day... and being the city of love... there was a festival going on called "Verona in Love". All of the streets had hearts painted on it, all of the towers were lit up with red lights, balloons, live bands, vendors, you get the point. it was precious! Also, it is the fake home of Romeo and Juliet. They even have a house that falsely claims to be the famed balcony Juliet talks to Romeo from. its a major tourist attraction (see picture below). We had Rick guide us all over the city. and then for dinner, we found this amazing place and had one of the best dinners i've had so far (pumpkin filled tortellini)... amazing! well dinner was so good, we actually missed the train we had thought about taking. so we sprint to the train station, luckily there was one more train back to florence. We get on the train and it is straight up Harry Potter style train... we all piled in one of the rooms, closed the door, and enjoyed our 2 hour ride back. Unlike Harry Potter, we didn't go back to Hogwarts, but back to Florence... but who can complain about that. So overall it was a very successful weekend :)

                                    *Juliet's balcony(top) and Roman arena in Verona(below)*

oh and then sunday, Florence was having this chocolate fair, so we decided to go check it out. amazing. I bought some treats and will be sending it back home. get excited. However, the same day as the fair, there were protests going on. We literally got stuck in them trying to go back to our flat. Apparently people arent too happy with the Italian prime minister. We found out later this week that now he is going under trial (again) for prostitution. drama mamma i tell you. But like i said, it was a great weekend here in florence!

4. Valentine's day in Florence was not that exciting. However I did receive a rather large bouquet of lilies and iris. They must have been the size of half my body and I had to talk across town with them, and everyone commented and stared. It was somewhat embarrassing having all the italians comment on them as I walked by but they were absolutely beautiful :). Well that night we decided to go out to a local bar just to see if anything was going on. Little did we know what we were walking into. They were doing speed dating (in honor of valentines day)? A couple of girls did it, and met some rather interesting italians and english men. I did not partake in the speed dating, but had fun laughing at the whole situation. it was priceless!

5. Tuesday night was epic. We have been booking trips through this travel agency/student travel group (euroadventures). They are awesome. Anyways, they had karaoke night at this pub called old stove. So we all decided why not go and sing some karaoke because that is always a good time. When we arrive, we talked with one of the guys from euroadventures. He said they would be giving away a free trip for the best karaoke performance. My roomie, kelly, had previously won a free trip with them last week to the french riviera for carnival (mardi gras of europe but better), so we told him to give away another trip there. Obviously we started off the night being the first group to sing. All of the girls we went with sang "Girls just want to have fun". Then my roomie and I sang the duet "summer lovin" from Grease (see picture below) apparently our dancing was in synch. Everyone loved it. We rocked it. Well after our awesome performance, another one of the euroadventure guys came up to me and said just fyi we will be giving a trip away to the person who sings a solo, because no one was singing solos. Of course everyone told me to go up and sing a solo, and I wasnt about to say no to a free trip. So I went up on stage, and belted out "summer of 69" and rocked it. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of the life, but so fun. Everyone was singing with me. Well some other people there sang some solos, but at the end of the night, I was declared winner. hahahaha obviously because I was the best performer right? thats what I like to tell myself. Anyways, it was a blast and we had a great time singing songs all night!

                                                     *roomie duet of "Summer Loving"*

This week we also made serious progress planning trips. We are going to amsterdam next weekend, we booked a trip to Munich for strongfest (spring version of october fest), and amalfi coast for easter weekend! Tomorrow we have a day trip to Sienna, and then Friday we are doing a day trip to Venice. I'll be posting pictures at some point on facebook (well once I get an external hard drive... cough cough parents i need that fedexed please :) but ill keep yall updated

but thats all for now! until next time.... Ciao!!


  1. I love reading about your fun, Italian adventures! Keep up the blogging! Alissa

  2. Dan, when I was in Florence, YAB was THE place to be!! hahah That's hilarious ya'll went there! I have many good memories there!