Today started as usual – bread, croissant, juice and coffee. However, Jenn, Spencer, Liz, Kate, and Gail (a teacher from the Pennsylvania group) and I decided to catch the sunrise over the Mediterranean Sea. After breakfast we took a quick walk to the shoreline in Nice. It was amazing! The rain had stopped, and even though it was still cloudy, you could see the sun peeking just above the horizon. The water was a beautiful aquamarine color, and washed up on the shore in little waves. We all decided we wanted to touch the water, which was probably not that best idea as Liz and I managed to get soaked by a rogue wave. However, despite the wet pants and shoes, we were all happy we went.
Back on the bus once again, we wove along the coastline of France and Italy, taking in the beautiful vistas. Cliffs and mountains surrounded us, along with terraced gardens and houses built into the hillsides. We also caught glimpses of the Italian Alps with their snow-covered peaks poking above the clouds.
Our first stop of the day was a perfumerie. I am not totally sure what goes on in such a place because I decided to walk around the little town in which we were in rather than be sprayed with perfume. Liz, Daro and Corey decided to stick with me, and we walked across a bridge to snap more pictures of the scenery. I even found “Nietzsche’s Path”, which led me up a hill to another beautiful view.
We all met back at the bus about an hour later. During our ride to Pisa, we watched The Notebook. I fell asleep, which bummed me out a little bit because I wanted to see it, but I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. We arrived in Pisa about four hours later. The leaning tower exceeded my expectations! We also had time to explore the baptistery and cathedral. I was awed by the intricacy of the marble stonework. Jesus led us through the buildings and parts of the town, explaining the history and art along the way.
After a few hours, we boarded the bus once again, and headed to Florence! As we drove into the city, Jesus pointed out the original medieval walls and stone arch entrances. We dropped our bags off at the hotel and immediately headed to dinner in a small restaurant around the corner. The first course was lasagna – excellent!!! I thought that we’d get dessert next, but instead, they brought us chicken and green beans. By the time I finished the second plate I was stuffed. We all got nervous when they started handing out knives, but it turned out they were to cut up fresh fruit for dessert!
Jesus next led a small group of us on a night tour of Florence. It was almost as beautiful as I remembered it from the last time I was here – 16 years ago. We saw the Duomo, the Ufizi Galley, Ponte Vecchio, and a few more squares and sites. We even stopped at the boar statue, pet his nose, dropped in some coins and made some wishes!
When we came back to the hotel, we split once again. The boys went with Jenn and some of the Allentown kids to a Discotheque for teens. The girls stayed with Kendra and me, and we brought along Nick from A-town to come have Gelato with us. It was a beautiful night as we sat on the steps of the Duomo, chatted, and enjoyed the sweet ice cream. Yes folks, it’s that warm out! At almost 60 degrees at 10:30pm, it’s a nice change from yesterday’s rain.
The girls are now playing Uno with Kendra as I type this entry and prepare the photos. We are looking forward to our day in Florence tomorrow!