Every night in Florence is a good night
Last Saturday, we went to Cinque Terre, which was one of the best days of this trip so far. It is a strip of coast with five (cinque) picturesque little towns spread across a few miles. Each town is set right on the beach, with little houses and shops rising up the cliffs. Their facades range from yellow to orange and red to pastel blue, so, from the ocean, each town looks like a mosaic. From the first town, Monterosso, we bought tickets for the boat, which could take us to and from all five towns. The boat ride was amazing. Each new city was an incredible sight. Of course, I took lots of pictures. We got off the boat on its last stop in a small town called Riomaggiore. Here, we went up the main street, a steep ascent upward from the sea. Among the town’s multicolored buildings were many restaurants, souvenir shops, bakeries, cheese stores, and even places to buy scuba diving equipment. After exploring for a while, we sat down for a nice lunch, as the next boat wasn’t coming for an hour or so. As we waited for the boat on the dock, I went for a quick swim. The water was very refreshing, after the heat of the day.
We took the boat back to Manarola, and then eventually Monterosso. At each town, we walked around, maybe had a snack, and just explored. At Manarola, I am proud to say that I dove off a cliff that was at least 30 feet high. My years of diving training back in middle school paid off. Back at Monterosso, my friends and I went swimming at the beach. It was actually a nice, sandy beach, and the water was just the right amount of cool. It was a nice swim, but unfortunately, the bus came to take us home all too soon.
Also notable this week was our day trip to Pisa. We wanted to go on Sunday, but a train strike prevented us. Instead, we went Tuesday afternoon. We had heard it all before: there’s nothing to do in Pisa except see the leaning tower. So, I wasn’t too surprised to see that Pisa is just a lot like Florence, except that it’s more desolate and less charming. However, the leaning tower didn’t disappoint. As we finished our walk across Pisa, and glimpsed the approaching tower, we all had the same obvious reaction: “Wow, it really is leaning.” There’s something about a leaning tower that really takes you by surprise. Anyway, of course, Rachel had to take the terribly cliché picture of her holding up the tower. Me and Nik, on the other hand, refused to conform, and instead just took a picture of us standing in front of the tower, arms crossed, and of course, not smiling. Probably the best picture that day wasn’t of us or the tower; it was of the grassy field in front of the tower, full of tourists striking ridiculous poses.
Really, in Italy, every day is a good day. We have our crazy nights in the discoteca. But even when we don’t, Nik and I just sit on the duomo steps and chill. We talk to each other, and to random people sitting next to us. We constantly meet new people this way, and sometimes even see these people we just met randomly again on the street. Florence has a remarkable characteristic that I’ve recognized, and so have many others I’ve talked to: it’s a big city, but, when you live there and walk through its streets, you constantly see people you know. I’ve met friends and classmates on the street by chance countless times. I even run into my identical twin brother, who is also studying in Florence, but with a different program. Our group mates didn’t know we were twins, and their looks of shock and disbelief at seeing double were priceless. Every night in Florence is a good night, because there’s always something to do, and there’s always people to meet, whether you knew them beforehand or not.