I could not have asked for a better way to finish out my first month abroad–Venice and Milan with one of my greatest friends. That’s right… a little over ONE WHOLE MONTH has passed since I have moved here for the semester. This experience is flying by, I need the world to slow down a little bit. Italy was nothing less than a dream, especially Venice. I’ve been dying to visit the city forever and I still cannot believe how beautiful and surreal it was. A city built upon canals with some of the most amazing architecture I’ve ever seen.
I flew into Milan Friday morning and met Natalie for some coffee at her apartment before we departed for our bus to Venice. A 3 hour bus ride with lots of snacks and laughs. Shout out to The Morning Breathe podcasts (run by @girlwithnojob from Instagram, truly my favorite blogger/social media influencer) for providing the laughter and keeping us up to date on important things going on in America, (AKA the Kardashians/Jenners alleged pregnancies and all things Real Housewives related.) When we arrived in Venice, we took a water taxi to our hostel. They literally don’t have any cars, only boats to get around. It is amazing. Once we had settled in, it was dusk and all the buildings were being illuminated. Wandering around Venice at night was just as breathtaking as the upcoming day. Men were playing live, classical music in tuxedos on the Piazza de San Marco, the streets were lined with outdoor seating and bustling restaurants, gondoliers were taking people on evening rides, and the bridges were all lit up. It was wonderful. Nat and I had an INCREDIBLE seafood dinner on the Rialto strip. One of the best meals of my life. We had mussels and seafood pasta, and of course some yummy gelato to top off the night.
The hostel was definitely nice, however I definitely wish my grandmother had been there to save me with some ear plugs (as Nini always has a few pairs with her when she travels). We fell asleep quickly, however around 3am I swear a literal bear started snoring. From growing up with my sister Katie, a chronic snorer, I am generally used to the sound and can quickly fall back to sleep. THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THOSE TIMES. This human being was unreal. I literally got out of bed and pounded on their bed trying to wake them up. I scared the heeby jeebies out of some random girl and the bear did not awaken. Thankfully, I remembered I had my earbuds, so I threw some music on and fell asleep again about an hour later.
The next day in Venice was straight out of a dream. I felt like Alice in Wonderland in the little blue dress I was wearing as Natalie and I frolicked around Piazza de San Marco, the Rialto fish market and got lost throughout the canals and bridges. The highlight of the day was definitely the gondola ride. As touristy as it is, definitely was one of the most fun experiences of my life. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else, Nat! The best part was that some people one gondola ahead of us had paid a lot of extra money for a man to serenade them in Italian, so Natalie and I got the benefits of the added ambience for no extra fees! We had more gelato for lunch on the bridge of Sighs, and around 2pm we were off to Milan again.
Milan was definitely a different vibe than Venice. People are very high fashion there and definitely a bit more uptight. The duomo was really beautiful, especially at night. There was a street performing old woman who sang Mama Mia about 3 times that night and had strobe lights and everything, so cute! Since fashion week had just ended also, all the windows of the big designers’ stores were decorated lavishly. We treated ourselves to a traditional Italian dinner–some wine, pizza and pasta of course. We were way too full to eat any more gelato unfortunately, but we made up for it the next morning by eating some cannolis for breakfast. Definitely a quick trip, but I could not have asked for a more amazing weekend. Thank you to Natalie for joining me for so many memories, I can’t wait for Amsterdam in November!
Before I close, I want to share a few thoughts I had over the course of the weekend. It hadn’t really hit me until I got off the plane in Milan that I truly am studying abroad. I know it sounds silly, but since I’ve moved here it has felt a little like I was just falling into a new routine, similar to my old one but in a different place. It is hard to believe that life is still going on in the states without me, it almost has felt like the world was put on pause for a moment. Cheesy as it is, what resonated with me so much was as I was walking through the Milan airport I stumbled upon a panel on the floor that read, in Italian and English, “Every step I have taken in my life has led me here, now.” Applicable to all situations, but it really gave me a feeling that coming abroad was the best decision I’ve made for myself in a long time. Here I am, with the opportunity to live in another country halfway across the world, everything in my past left at home. A fresh start. I get to travel to so many amazing places, and come back to a city that I have come to love as my own home where I am building my life and am the happiest I have been in years. At this age, I have so much room to grow. To each their own, but for me leaving everything behind to figure things out a bit better find my individual self in full again is really an incredible experience and feeling. I am very excited to have a few more months to experience this world on my own.
This upcoming weekend I am so excited to be relaxing at home in San Sebastián! Can’t wait to explore my favorite place a little bit more 🙂
Until next Monday, Ciao!