Last weekend I flew to Florence to surprise my aunt, who was on a surprise birthday trip, where she was surprised to find her daughter and son in law. Lots of surprises, I know.
Anyway, we stayed in this wonderful hotel next to the Duomo, and Day 1 was a full day excursion to Cinque Terre. Starting off the trip right, we missed our bus by 15 minutes, so we had to rush to buy train tickets (think: next train leaves in 10 minutes type of rush) to go across Italy to hopefully meet up with our tour group. I think we probably transferred like three trains before we found them! Anyhow, we visited all five towns, taking a mix of trains and a surprise 3-mile long hike between two of them. Now, I'm not a complete novice when it comes to hiking. Last summer my first-ever hike was 12 miles in Norway! But this... this was its own beast. It was like 90º. And to not be expecting it either... It's kind of like picking up an opaque glass thinking it has water in it but it's actually milk. That kind of surprise. But, I will say that it was sooooo worth it. The views were incredible, I got to hang out with my family, and midway through there was a very pleasant pit-stop for lemonade slushees. And then, upon arrival, I had a refreshing sorbet-like gelato at one of the prettiest coastal towns I have ever seen! Laundry in the breeze draped from colorful windows, giant striped umbrellas shading the cafes, crystal blue water on the beach... etc. Nothing can quite describe it.
Back in Florence on Day 2 we just shopped and ate. Quite literally. I spent more money than I should have, and ate DEFINITELY more than I should have. I'm talking, two gelato's, one eclair, a full pizza for lunch, and a multi-course pasta experience for dinner. Whatttttttt. I promised myself I would try to tail it back once I got back to Paris but I physically cannot. For example, there is a baguette at literally every meal. Not to mention, all the surprise desserts that pop up along my different routes to school. Oops. Today I ate a Paris Brest after my Galette, and yesterday I had a Macaron after my Gratin. And the day before A Merveilleux meringue cake. But I digress.
Here are only a few of the incredible things I saw. I will definitely be returning to Florence!