Florence Italy

For the past three weeks we have been living in Florence, Italy, and have had a great time walking through the countryside, around the museums, and admiring the incredible architecture and art everywhere.

My first impressions of Florence the first week we were here were how many Vespas there were (thousands, lining the streets!), the compactness of the roads and cars and stores, and how beautiful the countryside was. We went on lots of walks outside the city to take in the amazing Tuscan landscape. I love the greenness of it all, because in England in the wintertime, everything is grey, but here a lot of the foliage is evergreen. The contrasting earth-tone tuscan villas accent the surrounding countryside extremely well.  

Our second week we visited a lot of museums, and chilled at home some more. The Uffizi Gallery was really cool, my favorite paintings were the three Da Vinci’s even though one of them was unfinished. I also found a painting that looked like the pose Uncle Rico takes in Deb’s photo shoot from Napoleon Dynamite. Another museum that we visited that was really neat was the Galileo Museum. I thought the best exhibit was the one on Astrolabes. It didn’t really explain them or anything, but i had done some research before and it was really cool to see them up close and in person.

This was our last week here and we made the most of it by renting a car, driving to all the destinations we could on this side of the country. On Monday, we visited some hot springs called Terme Petriolo. It was 40 degrees fahrenheit outside when we got there but the water was nice and warm, almost hot. Tuesday we went into the Dome of Florence and climbed to the top with our friends the Collins. My favorite day was Wednesday when we went to the Ferrari Museum. The cars there were truly pieces of art, and I had a lot of fun looking at them and also trying to figure them out. Finally, on thursday, we went to the Piaggio Museum, and saw all the different models of Vespa, but my favorite part was the Ape exhibit. Apes are three-wheeled covered mopeds with a truck bed, and we nicknamed them Put-Puts, cuz they’re so tiny.

A day in Valencia

I had a lot of fun walking around Valencia with my family and friends, visiting the Torres de Quart, the carnival, and going out to eat. One thing I really dislike about being in Spain is the public transportation. Unfortunately, we don’t have a car, so we have to take the buses everywhere, but they are really unrelieable. We live in a suburb of Valencia, so we had to take a bus to get there, but the bus we were supposed to take didn’t arrive on time, and the ride was long, so that part of the day wasn’t fun, but once we got into the city, everyone had a great time. We walked from our bus stop to the towers in the heat of the afternoon. Luckily, there was a nice breeze that cooled us off once we got to the towers. The ticket to get in was only €2/person, and there were a few mentions of the history of the tower in the lobby, but other than that it was just looking at the architecture and climbing the stairs. My phone said we climbed 13 floors to the top (I don’t know how accurate it is, but that’s definitely what it felt like)! The arches and smoothness of the stone joints were really impressive. At the top of the tower, you can see a lot of Valencia. The openness of the skyline was nice after being in a crowded city. We descended the tower, and got to take a look at it from the outside. We learned from our walking tour the previous week that this was one of the four towers in between which there were walls that surrounded Valencia. The walls and two of the towers were taken down for more space in the city, but on the outside of the tower we went to, you could still see the cannonball holes and damage from battles. It looked really gnarly, the way the tower stood and the parts of the solid stone wall that looked like Swiss cheese. 

From the tower, we walked down some really rad narrow cobblestone streets to the Valencia Cathederal. It was huge! The ceilings were super high, and the architecture and paintings were incredible. We saw the “holy grail” and a few other catholic artifacts/old paintings that were pretty cool. 

We were going to go to another tower after the cathederal, but everyone was too tired, so we decided to just go to the Ferris wheel.