International Academic Programs, University of Wisconsin Madison
[Warning: This is a long one]
I am referring to Florence and Vienna. Two cities with all the red rooftops you could imagine. I went to Florence for a day trip on Friday and then Vienna Saturday through Monday.
Ohhhhhhh the shopping in Florence. It was just fabulous. I don’t have too many exciting pictures to show you because I was a little preoccupied with the endless shops of amazing leather. I bought a fancy leather backpack, some leather bracelets, an adorable scarf and some presents for people back home…get excited!
I went to Florence with our school, so the whole day was planned out for us. Since we were just there for the day, we crammed in all of the sight-seeing in a tour right away in the morning:
We learned a bit of history from our tour guide and then ate some lunch…..some not so good lunch unfortunately. We started off with three slices of bread, each with a different spread. One was some okay bruschetta, another olive flavored spread, and the last was liver spread….icky:
After that, we endured some bad meat pasta, purple veal, and lastly, mushy pudding-like dessert that looked like pure fat. Sadly, Florence was not impressing us with their food. However, I did have some delicious mango gelato later in the day and they were having a chocolate festival!
After lunch we had free time until we had to meet to go back to Rome. Emily and I took full advantage of this free time to go shopping, of course. We put our bargaining skills to work and laid down our money at shop after shop. We found the good deals and made some good deals of our own. I got my leather backpack price reduced by 15 euro and a turquoise pendant down a few euro. Yay me! We both ended up spending a lot less money for a whole lot of things.
The market was full of Italians doing anything they could to sell their products. We received a bunch of interesting comments:
Emily, Kelly and I were referred to the Charlie’s Angels several times.
One guy told me he liked my jacket and then went on to say I reminded him of his grandmother.
One guy told the man next to him that he needed to make me his girlfriend.
I was told I have the perfect body for an Italian leather jacket..haha.
It was tough, but we were able to disregard these so very kind “compliments” and only purchased things we wanted.
All in all it was a very successful trip!
Here I finally got to be reunited with family! I was staying with my cousin, Nathan, who is studying in Vienna and I got to see my dad for a day! It was a fun and relaxing weekend of sight-seeing and catching up. Thank you dad for the flight and all of my meals! I finally got a good steak dinner!
My adventure to Vienna started with an attempt at traveling all by myself..yikes. But no worries, I did it all without any problems! I did have a few “firsts” on my departure flight, though. I got the “Is there a doctor on the plane?” movie line and we got off the plane onto the ground.
It was also the first time I noticed an airline with a mascot. I’m not sure why they thought a talking fly was a suitable animation to tell us the emergency exit information. I flew Air Berlin.
Lastly, it was also the first time everyone on the flight clapped when we landed…which made me think getting there safely was some sort of miracle.
Besides the yummy steak, I tried a lot of new foods, all of which I really enjoyed. I had Weiner Schnitzel, Kaisekrainer, Autrian beer, Sachertorte and more:
Appetizer: garlic buttered toast with meats
Kasekrainer: Steaming sausage with cheese in a fresh bun.
Steak, with a few other things I was not brave enough to try.
Here are a few fun things I experienced in Vienna:
1. We had a nice dinner at the oldest restaurant in Vienna, Griechenbeisl (opened in 1447). We ate in the Mark Twain room which had signatures all over the walls of famous people like Mark Twain, Johnny Cash, Beethoven, Mozart, and more. Also while we were there, the couple next to us got engaged! He got down on one knee and proposed! I couldn’t understand anything he was saying because he was whispering…oh and speaking German, but we do know she said yes!
2. We had a celebrity spotting! We saw Brigitte Nielsen at the Hilton. Okay maybe not an A-list celebrity, but it was a little exciting, I mean she did date Flava Flav. I couldn’t get a good picture without being super creepy, but I did manage one. While in Vienna my dad also saw Rosario Dawson. And days before that my cousin, Faith, saw Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in London!
3. I got to see the caffe where Hitler and Stalin had buddy buddy lunches and drank their coffee.
Some interesting facts about Vienna:
1. It is one of the only places left in the world where you are still allowed to smoke in public places. Smoking is pretty big here and they have trash cans with special cigarette dispensers.
2. Vienna is a very safe place. Pickpocketing doesn’t really happen here and little kids roam around all by themselves.
3. They have insanely big dogs.
5. It seems Vienna must have had people running from mass at some point…