Deutschland and beyond

Living in Germany


Well, technically I’m no longer in Florence. Becky and I actually arrived in Rome today. Unfortunately it’s been raining pretty much since we got here so we’ve been stuck inside. But, Florence was a wonderful experience.

We took the train in Saturday and walked to our friends’ apartment building which is literally, down the street from the duomo and the David. It’s less than a five minute walk to either one. Talk about location. Our friend Amy was more than wonderful in letting us crash on her couches, showing us around, and being an unbelievable host given she came back from Venice late Saturday night. Sunday Becky and I spent walking around Florence since Amy had to do an assignment for school. We walked along the Arno river, across the Ponte Vecchio (painted bridge- the only one to survive after  WWII), past Dante’s grave, by the Santa Maria Novella basilica, and through various markets. Naturally we found ourselves unable to resist buying absolutely gorgeous scarves so I ended up with 3 pashminas for a total of 11 euros. But my favorite part, next to the Ponte Vecchio, was the Piazza della Republica. It has the old gates to the city and now also has a carousel and shops lining the edge.

piazza della republica at night

(piazza della republica at night)


(ponte vecchio)

Florence is just amazing to walk around and everything really can be covered in a few days by foot. Amy joined us for dinner at this cute little restaurant called El Gatto e la Volpe (the cat and the wolf) where they make their own raspberry balsamic that they serve with olive oil and warm foccacia bread. Needless to say, Italian food is magnificent. And, Dad will be proud to know I’m warming up quite a bit to red wine- we got the house chianti which is better than any house wine back in the states. It showed on all the train rides throughout the country that almost every spare inch of land in Northern Italy is used for growing grapes. Vineyards just spill over the land.

The next day, Amy had class. Becky and I had heard so much about their campus that we decided to accompany her there and look around. She’s attending NYU in Florence; so it’s not an Italian university but rather an American one stuck in their country. It was a nice 40 minute walk to campus, with the second half of it being uphill so we definitely got our workout for the day. Their campus is absolutely indescribable.

NYU campus

It’s on the grounds of former villas on rolling Tuscan hills with rows of olive trees in the middle. Becky and I just walked around and admired it while Amy went to class. On our walk back home, we stopped to take pictures along the way of various piazzas and just the beauty of the city. We walked around for the rest of the day, seeing the sights, and then went out to dinner again later. This time we were joined by my friend Sarah, who is also studying abroad in Florence but through a different program, and she actually goes to school at Northeastern (in Boston). Since the weather has been so nice for us this trip (probably in the 40s every day), Becky, Amy, and I decided to walk around after dinner and stopped at a gelato shop Becky and I had found earlier. The gelato is, in a word, amazing.


I got two flavors- chocolate (of course) and a vanilla/cream with wafers. It is unbelievable. We also sat by a fountain that apparently, if you touch, means you will come back to Florence. Well, guess I’m destined then. On the note of food though (which is great here, if you haven’t figured it out), I’ve been getting hot chocolate pretty often since Becky loves the coffee shops. Italian hot chocolate is literally melted chocolate. Like they melted a candy bar and put it in the cup. Chocolate pudding, but hot. It’s glorious. Well all that talk of food reminds me we haven’t eaten dinner yet. Hopefully the rain’s let up a bit and we’ll find a good place.

me and becky at the fountain


February 24, 2009 - Posted by | Travel


  1. Haha nice picture of the gelato. It looks amazing. Do they have any here in America? If they do we’re definitely getting some when you get back.

    Comment by Tyler | February 27, 2009

  2. Hi Col! Looks like you’re having a great time! You’re missing absolutely nothing back here other than Trevor getting injured in a basketball game – hard rebound – stitches – broken teeth – no foul called!!! I guess there wasn’t enough blood spilled for the ref! Other than that, he’s fine! He’s the “bean”! 🙂 That’s a story that can wait until you get back, though! In the mean time, make memories where ever you go – and take lots of pics! Love your blog!!

    Comment by Auntie Anne | February 27, 2009

  3. Greetings Colleen,

    Just wanted to wish you a Hoppy Hoppy Easter. Looks like Cala And Maura will have to suffer and eat all the Fannie May candy in your Easter basket. Guess you’ll have to substitute a few German pastries.

    Hope you can find some good SOLID food on Easter Sunday.

    We miss you. Love Always Omi

    Comment by Omi | April 9, 2009

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