A father-daughter weekend

Ohhhh I looked so forward to this father-daughter weekend. A weekend full of wine, Italian food (well, that will not surprise you) and I let my dad taste the beest ice cream in town.

My dad arrived on Friday at the end of the morning and we went straight to my favourite bakery. We both had a cappuccino and shared some pastries (yes, we love that, too, ha-ha). The weather wasn´t that good and it was raining a lot. However, for us, it would be better if it would rain that Friday instead of the weekend. So, while it was raining very hard we had lunch again at one of my favourite restaurants: Zá Zá.

I also showed dad the Mercato Nazionale and after we went home to have some rest and sleep a little bit. Dad woke up at four that morning, so he could use some. Not that we kept the night short, because after we had an amazing dinner with lots of wine (yes, we left the restaurant a little tipsy) at Vetreria, we went to the Red Garter. The bar, my friends and I usually go to before we go to the club. I introduced dad to the Long Island Ice Tea. The favourite drink of several friends of mine and at that time, the favourite drink of my dad. For the ones not knowing, Long Island Ice Tea is an (obviously alcoholic) drink with four different alcohols and Coco cola. I know, it is called Long Island ICE TEA, but yeah, they put Coco cola in it. A mind f*ck.

On Saturday the roadtrip started and we continued our father-daughter weekend. Again, we used again Car2go, only now for two days. Because yes!! We did a road trip for two days, all in the Chianti region. We really wanted to do a wine tour together at a Castello and that we could also sleep in the Castello and eat there, and of course, I found one!

Wine tour at Castello di Fonterutoli

After we arrived at the Castello di Fonterutoli, we had to hurry a little bit to be one time for the wine tour at five o’clock. The place where we stayed was beautiful and super romantic. The wine tour was, by the way, also very nice. This was especially when the man started to talk about the history of the winery. It had taken them seven years to renovate (the winery is from 1435, the family Mazzei). This was because of different obstacles with the water system and hydration for the wine

Pitstop in Siena

On Sunday, we took it easy and after breakfast, we headed to Siena. A city which I would not spend the whole day, because there is not much to do, but it is very nice for some hours. And since we had the time, why not? ha-ha. We mainly relaxed on a terras in the sun and face-timed with mom. Because yes, the whole weekend was sunny and not raining at all. Lucky us!

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After we arrived back in Florence from our roadtrip to Greve in Chianti, I let experience dad the most delicious ice-cream in my opinion at Gelateria Dei Neri. Oh, and yes, he loved it! We finished the amazing weekend off with dinner at another favourite restaurant of mine (yes, actually all the restaurants where I come are my favourite ha-ha). This one is called: Napoleone. This father-daughter weekend was just lovely!

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Cultural differences between the Netherlands and Italy

Yes, this was it. My adventure in Italy. My study abroad in Florence. I dreamed about this for years. And now, is the time to look back at everything. Was it what I expected together with the study? Was I shocked by the cultural differences? How was this period compared to England and Chile? You will read it all!

Studying in Italy

I thought maybe good to start off with the reason why I went to Florence in the first place; to study. At the beginning of my Florence adventure, I wrote a blog about; Study as an exchange student in Florence, Italy. There you can read about my first weeks and the odd things that had already happened.

From the middle of November, student life really began. I followed five topics and since I never really paid attention during the lectures because most of them were too difficult and I was distracted by all the nice things we were doing besides university, I had to start from the beginning and needed to teach myself all the materials. I was actually very motivated and ready to do something. So, it all started. Five days a week we were in the library, most of the time, from nine in the morning to seven in the afternoon. To be there with everybody was quite fun, too. We always had a coffee break at eleven and then lunch break at two.

Another important thing to mention is of courseeeee the amount of intake of coffee. Well, I have never been a huge coffee lover, but I knew to be able to integrate a little I should at least try to drink cappucino. So, I started drinking it a few months before I went to Florence and apparently I liked it. So, every morning and afternoons, all coffee shops and bakeries are full, literally full! Espresso’s are the most famous one, but that one I still cannot drink. Far too strong. 🙂

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So, after a month of studying, my first exam was on Friday the 13th of December and the last one was the 17th. Most of those nights I only slept five to six hours in order to make sure that I was the best prepared. Because, although, I did not do something in the first two months, I am dedicated enough to change my mentality and work hard.

First of all, I would like to say that I passed all my exams at one time, with good grades. But now, I would like to tell you some other very odd things about how the exams were taken at UNIFI. Because, although, I passed all my exams and I am very happy about that, did not it all go in a fairway. During several exams, professors gave us the answers, people were able to use their phones and it was even at one exam we were able to talk with each other and discussed the whole exam (I got a 30/30 there… Not really a surprise ha-ha). However, what surprised me the most is that those professors did not even care and let us communicate. Whereas, on the other hand, other professors were super strict. In the end, I passed everything, studied very hard, and am very proud of myself.

General differences

To be honest, was I surprised by the number of cultural differences. Some were annoying, others were funny. Throughout the four months, I wrote everything down. So, below a long list of the things that caught my eyes. I do want to say that this is all from my experience and perspective. By that, I mean that people may not agree which is okay of course and it is not that it would count for all citizens in Florence or Italy. Let’s start!

  • When cars are waiting in front of the traffic light and an ambulance is coming, they don’t drive through “red” to let the ambulance pass. They wait until the “green” light and then they make space for the ambulance to pass them. (Yes, this is the most annoying one. I thought we can better start with it.)
  • The pavements in Florence are pretty small. In the beginning, I felt very offended when people were the whole time bumping into me. I would stop, and let the other person pass, but in Florence, they just go both at the same time and do not mind that other people are in their personal space.
  • The people are extremely friendly and helpful.
  • All people do care very much about their looks. For example, never saw a woman leaving the gym without having showered and wearing make-up.
  • Drivers don’t stop for you when you want to cross the street and use the “zebra path”. It even happened to me, that the drivers got mad at me because I thought that I had “priority” with crossing the street. So, be careful. Don’t expect that they will stop for you because they won’t.
  • Life is outside your door.
  • You always have to take your receipt with you after buying something. From just one coffee to clothes, bus ticket, anything. There is this law that the police can ask for your receipt. If you don’t have it, the shop where you bought the product and you will both get a fine. In the beginning, especially when we bought coffee’s for only 1,50 we never took the receipts. The people got annoyed and sometimes we received the receipt boldly in our hands, and after we asked why they found it so important, we were like; “ahh okay, that’s why ha-ha”.
  • Italians like to wear glasses, even when the sun is not shining. They have their right though. They shine themselves ha-ha.
  • I have never seen so much rain in my life. We had weeks of rain, 24/7, especially in November. It was insane. Also lots of thunderstorms during the day, something that I never experienced in the Netherlands.
  • December is more of an “I am on winter sport” month. It is chilly, 13 degrees, the sun was always shining and most of the time a beautiful blue sky. I loved it!
  • Italians like to race on the street.
  • You can only get a taxi at three different fixed places around the city. This is to ensure safety for passengers. It is possible though to call a taxi and get picked up from your place. Calling a taxi from the street is a real no go!
  • People use plastic bags for everything and pretend like there is nothing wrong with that.
  • The green traffic light for pedestrians is very short, whereas, the orange one is super long.
  • The people tend to walk on the left side of the pavement. Hello, we are not in England, right?
  • The food, this won’t come as a surprise, is absolutely the best of the best. I have tried many restaurants, lunchrooms, ice creams, everything, and none of all, was able to disappoint me. I miss it most of everything.
  • Oh yeah the last one, besides bumping into each other on the street, do they also like to bump each other’s cars, especially while parking. Most Italians don’t tend to care about ant scratches on their car.

My first week in Florence, Italy

It was finally time to go to the country of my dreams; Italy. Not that I am obsessed with it but I would describe it as a sort of desire that I have had to life here. By the way, welcome back lovely readers. Ready for this four-month reading adventure about Florence and Tuscany? Cause I am super excited to write about it.

Arrival in Italy

I arrived last Thursday at my apartment together with my amazingly heavy two suitcases and backpack. I definitely did not look like a tourist or at least I hope not. It is sort of my goal for those four months to not look like a tourist. It may be hard to accomplish with light blue eyes, but you know, worth giving it a try ha-ha.

Friday was the introduction day of school. I will be studying at the Universita of Degli di Firenze, probably until Christmas. The University is a 30minute walk and I think I will keep it that way, so no bike or tram card. It is a nice walk, although, for now, I still have to get used to the warm climate. Wherever I go I arrive as if I just came from my spinning classes, not very convenient but also the way I am – not a slow walker.

I was looking forward to the introduction day, exciting as I would call it because who was I am going to meet? When I arrived we had to sign ourselves up and put a sticker with your name and country on your chest. I had already seen some Dutch people and, in the end, I was right about that. The management made groups for the day and I was in the group together with seven other Dutch people. It was fun, nice and comfortable to spend the day with them and to get to know them. The thing, I only found a little weird is that the management put all the people from the same country in the same group. Probably easier for them, but since everything was very international I would mix it up…

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Friday night, we went out for dinner together – The Dutchies “three boys, three girls” – but went back home early in the evening because Saturday we went to a beach party from ESN (Exchange Student Network – organisation that organises activities and trips for students) and had to be somewhere at 9:15. It was one and a half hour driving and we were with around 100 students. The beach was relaxed and lovely, although, according to the others, the sea was very cold ha-ha. Because 80% of the people at the beach party was Spanish they dominated the music genre, which was no problem for me, because, what many of you probably know is, that I love Spanish music and communicating in Spanish. So, the day went by, more people got drunk and/or sunburned, and at 18:30 we went back to Florence, although, the party day was not over for us yet. Everyone went back to their apartments and dressed up for a night out in Florence. For me, it was the first time and I was super exciting/sort of could not wait ha-ha. It was already so nice to see the people on the streets. Like the real mediterranean lifestyle.

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We went to two nightclubs; Babylon and Bamboo. I went with four other Dutchies, by the way, the three guys and Frederique. One night club was better than the other, just because of the number of people compared to the amount of space. By the way, the beach party was not the only party where the Spanish dominated. In both night clubs, there was a lot of Spanish music and, therefore, I was of course totally in my element. Here, in Italy, I am living my dream.

After a relaxing Sunday afternoon, Frederique and I met at, already one of our favourite restaurant called La Menagere before we went up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. It was again a sweaty walk, but more than worth it. Here some pictures below.

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Weekend away around Florence

Pizza and Gelato cooking tour

Oh guys this was so fun. Really, if you are ever around Florence and are interested in a tour like this, take this one. We also got it from a friend of my mother and booked it via Viator with the company Walkaboutflorence and it is called the “pizza and gelato cooking tour”. We did the evening one, from five o’clock and lasted for another four to five hours. In the beginning, we thought; “okay that is a little long”, but, in the end, you do need all that time to prepare, make and eat the food ha-ha.

There were three men teaching us everything, one who talked about the ice-cream and two about the pizza. Together, Christian, Luigi, and Luca. Luca was the funniest one and for the Dutch people reading this, whenever he was talking it felt like we were in Chateau Meiland and I guess by that you know what I mean. We laughed a lot with each other and learned how to make a pizza in an easy and understandable way. Making pizza and ice cream is not very difficult though, you should only make no mistakes in the grams you use for each component.

Lucca for a day

Although mom thought that the train to Lucca would only be 20 minutes, it was one hour and 45 minutes. After we got ourselves some breakfast from a local bakery we jumped into the train and relaxed. We all, besides Fabiënne because she was in mom’s belly at that time, had been to Lucca. However, my brother and I were young, so did not really remember anything. We were all so surprised by how quiet the city was and that there were not so many tourists walking around compared to Siena for example. We mainly walked around, did some shopping (yes shopping is great in Lucca, in my opinion, better than in Florence) and had a nice lunch at a cute restaurant.

Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Garden & Piazzale Michelangelo

Although the others hoped that this was going to be a relaxing day after the hike in Cinque Terre, it was not really going to be like that. After we had a great brunch at Santarosa Bistrot, we went to the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Garden. We liked it, walked around for some time and looked at all the wall paintings inside of Palazzo Pitti, however, in the end, it would be just a once in a lifetime thing for us. 

After that, I took them to Piazalle Michelangelo. One of my favourite spots in Florence. You have to walk up a “little” hill and then when we arrive, you have a very nice view over the whole city. There are also stairs, so what my friends and I usually do is just sit there, play cards, talk or just be quiet and enjoy the view. During the night the sunset can be really beautiful!

Roadtrip to Val D’orcia

Our last full day together. My parents rent a car before and after picking up our Fiat 500 XL we were ready to go. We decided to visit the Val D’orcia. It is a region in the south of Tuscany, a two hours drive from Florence. It was raining a lot that day, therefore, we were happy that we were in the car that day and not walking all around in the city. Since I have been already several times to Greve in Chianti, it was nice to go to another part of Tuscany.

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In the evening, after some serious traffic on the road, we arrived back from our trip around Florence and since it was already late, it was time for dinner. We went straight to the restaurant where I booked a reservation, Fuoco Matto. One of the best pizzas in town!

A day trip to Cinque Terre

We started the day trip to Cinque Terre with a bus ride for around two hours, ended up at La Spezia. From there we took the train to Manarola. The weather was amazing with a high temperature so we were lucky, especially because they said it had been pouring rain the day before. To give you some extra information, Cinque Terre means 5 villages in English (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore). We only visited four of them and left Corniglia behind.

Vernazza

We also did a hike. So instead of taking the train you can also hike. You hike from Manarola to Vernazza. The hike was around 4,4 km and we finished it in one hour and fifteen minutes. Since it was so warm, the sweat was definitely around and also since we were off-road we had to pay good attention to where we walked. When we wanted to enjoy the view, we stopped and just looked at the beautiful landscape. When we arrived in Vernazza, we all really craved for an ice-cream. It was the best we ever had. I don’t know if it because we had such a heavy hike or just because it was the best ha-ha.

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An Italian roadtrip from Florence to Sorrento

Let’s start with the Italian roadtrip from Florence to Sorrento! Florence, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, The Amalfi Coast. The Italian roadtrip is around three weeks and we will try to life all the Italian experiences and most that we can.

Starting our roadtrip in Florence

We were in Florence for four whole days. It was the place of our start of the roadtrip from Florence to Sorrento. For Tuesday we already had fixed plans because we booked a Vespa Tour for 4 hours with a lunch included. When we arrived on Sunday we were very tired and laid in bed the whole day until it was time for dinner. Our first ‘real’ pasta and oh gosh, it was delicious. Not even my favourite Italian restaurants from the Netherlands can beat up to this.

During this Italian roadtrip one of my biggest dreams came true.

On Monday, I showed Julie the city by walking around and explaining what Florence is famous for. Because I had visited most of the churches already last year with Renato I let Julie made the decision. She did not mind not going inside, so we just relaxed and went for some shopping before we were going back to the hotel to change ourselves and get ready for dinner. We ate at Zoe, which has a kind of tapas buffet that changes every time. You can eat how much you want for just 10 euro with the drinks included. It was delicious!

Tuesday was the day, finally, I was able to fulfill one of my biggest dreams!! A Vespa tour through Tuscany. Almost fulfilling.. because I still do not have my driving license yet I was not allowed to ride the Vespa, I was the passenger, which to be honest was not bad at all. I was able to make lots of pictures and videos while Julie was riding. It was definitely one of the best days of my life, I was a very happy person. Julie had never ridden a Vespa before but she did pretty well, we really enjoyed and laughed a lot. The lunch we had was amazing, especially the view. Unfortunately, there were lots of tiger musquitos and Julie got bitten 43 times (yes, she counted them).

When we arrived back in Florence, we did not expect that we would be so tired. We just went back to the hotel, took a shower and relaxed a bit. This evening we ate at Da Garibardi. The pizza’s there are a m a z  i n g !

From Florence to Rome

Thursday morning we checked out and went to the train station, our train was leaving around 11 and we were ready to go to Rome! It was 1,5 hour I think, but the time past so fast. I was watching a movie and Julie read her book. When we arrived in Rome, we first needed to walk half an hour to the hotel. We stayed at Orange Inn, however, I would not recommend you this hotel. I will tell you later why…

So, Rome! We loved it, every bit of it. Rome has so much flair. I went to Rome when I was around 12 years old with my parents, brother, and sister, and surprisingly I still really could remind some things. When Julie and I had arranged everything for the room, Tina called us that she was almost at the hotel, a friend from Germany who I also met in England, Julie and I went downstairs and there she was. Seeing her again after 2 years felt so great. Honestly, it did not really feel like that and that is what friendship is all about for me. It does not matter for how long you have not spoken to someone or seen someone, while you are back together again, it feels and is the same like it always was, it is good enough.

Now we were with the three of us and it was extremely hot in Rome, we thought it was clever to have a plan for every day because we were staying in Rome for also four whole days. On Thursday, we did not do much because before we were ready to do something it was already almost time for dinner. This time we went to Focacceria Pugi which is famous for their focaccia’s, obviously. There were so big that we were not able to finish them, but it was all worth it.

Bike tour through Rome

On Friday we had already planned something very cool. I had booked an E-bike tour for the three of us with Roman Guy. The tour lasted for 4 hours and because we were the only one who booked a tour with Roman Guy, we had a free private tour. The tour guide was a woman who had lived already in Rome for more than 7 years and showed us all the ins and outs of Rome. It was more than amazing and I really would recommend you the company.

Saturday was kind of an unexpected hectic day. Tina and I went to visit the Sint Pieters in the morning, which was beautiful!

From Rome to Naples

It was Monday morning when Tina and I took the Flixbus to Naples. Our first thought of Naples was dirty and poor. I booked an Airbnb for us in Naples and everything of the arrangement went fine. The apartment was close to the metro station and the main street, with a bakery and a restaurant. Before we went to Florence and Rome we did some research for those cities, but with Naples, we did not really know what to do. So, when we arrived there, we just walked around to have a look how the city “works”. We found a theatre, booked a tour and I am honestly still impressed. It was so beautiful! The rest of the day we just walked around, trying to find some hotspots… but it was kind of hard.

Because Naples was not really what we expected, we went to Pompeii for a day. Although the warmth was becoming too much for us sometimes, it was very impressive. We needed to stand in line for around half an hour, however, when we came in, it was so quiet and calm. This made the place even more peaceful.

Gladly that Tina and I had a lot of fun together because Naples was a once in a lifetime thing. We could have left it out of the roadtrip from Florence to Sorrento.

From Naples to Sorrento

Thursday morning, we took the boat from Naples to Sorrento. The owner of the Airbnb was so kind to pick us up at the harbour. Carmen’s arrival was at 6 o’clock in the evening and she arranged a taxi to drive her to Sorrento from Naples Airport because otherwise, it would have taken too long. She arrived at 8 o’clock, Tina and I made sure that dinner was ready so that we could eat directly. There was no perfect timing because from our terras we had an amazing view over the sea and every night we saw the dawn. I could not be happier than sitting there enjoying the view with two good friends.

Because Sorrento is mainly surrounded by rocks, there are not a lot of sandy beaches. There are mainly beach clubs with beds, where you have to pay for, on a platform. Here beneath some hotspots we went to:

  • Antico Bagno Di Seiano
  • Spiaggia La Marinella
  • Bagni Salvatore
  • Bagni Regina Giovanna

It was so nice to finally lay down for a day after travelling around for 2 weeks. I love to go for a swim and because it was also very warm in Sorrento, I did not have to worry about taking one. After laying down for 15 minutes, there was always one of us who said, girls, someone coming with me into the water?

Tour through Amalfi and Capri

We booked an Amalfi Drive, passed Salerno, Positano, another small town (I forgot the name…) and Ravello, it was breathtaking. It was so romantic and everything was so nice, we even did a small boat trip along the coast.

The day was so perfect that I do not know what to write.

In addition, to Capri, we went by boat. When we arrived in Capri, around 12:00, we decided to go on another boat tour which took us arrived the whole island in 1,5 hour. After the boat tour, we went for some shopping and walked around, because we were a bit tired we just relaxed and took the boat back at 17:35.

The last part of our roadtrip from Florence to Sorrento

The other days, we went to a sandy beach and to a place where there were only rocks. I think I am going to call it the rocky beach to make it a bit easier. We went to the rocky beach on our last day and it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The view was amazing and the water was so clear and clean. Besides that, it reminded me so much of my childhood when I was trying to get into the water from the rocks. We all finished our books that day, the one happier than the other, but we had a great day. We ended the holiday with a dinner in the centre of Sorrento, because Wednesday we were going home.

I am still overwhelmed by the Italian nature, culture and its inhabitants. This roadtrip from Florence to Sorrento was amazing. I would recommend it to everybody.

Good bye my love.
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Study as an exchange student in Florence, Italy

“We find studying very important here in Italy” is what the vice president of the University said on our introduction day, which is already almost three weeks ago. I must say, a lot of things have happened. For me as an exchange student in Florence , unusual things…

First of all, unfortunately, we don’t have so many classes with Italian students. Most of the classes that I have are with a high percentage of Erasmus students, what, by the way, not every teacher likes.

My first week as an exchange student in Florence

This week has been the first week of the three where I am hopefully sure of what courses I am going to follow as an exchange student in Florence. The last two weeks there have been a lot of changes in my schedule. This was because I decided that a course was not interesting or that, on the other hand, the teacher or coordinator just decided that they were not going to provide this course anymore for this semester which was very much by our surprise that they are able to do that…

Some courses that I follow are Master courses, which is very much by my surprise, too, when looking at the level of the course, but I will come to that later. First, I really want to tell you something else.

The campus in Florence

So, the campus of the university is called: Novoli and has different buildings (D15, D6, D4 etc.). There are different types of classrooms, ones for 40 students others for 80 students. However, since our first class, we have experienced something quite unusual as I would call it. I will give an example; A lesson starts at 16:15, whereas the lesson before finishes at 16:00. So, I go from one building to the other, open the door of the classroom and the whole room is full. No seats anymore. Yes, you read that right. No seats. So, what happens then or either you go and sit on the ground or you keep standing for the upcoming one and a half hour (or sometimes four hours) or you try to find a chair in another room and just place it somewhere in the classroom. I actually should have taken pictures of this, because really, it looked hilarious. The first time, when this happened I had class with my Dutch friends and to be honest, we were shocked. There was even an Italian girl coming in a little late and said: “No worries, I am used to sit on the ground during class”. You should have seen our faces at that moment…

Level of education and available subjects

To come back to the level of the (Master) courses, I will start with telling you what I have chosen. As most of you probably know do I study International Business and Management Studies in the Netherlands. I am not able to choose my courses freely, which I find unfortunate, which if I would have been, I had chosen ones that I would find more interesting. For now, if nothing changes again are this the courses that I will follow further:

  • Topics in Marketing and Management
  • Destination Management (My favorite)
  • International Trade
  • Topics in Human Resources (non-attending)
  • Public Economics and International Cooperation

What you need to know about attendence

At the university students can decide themselves if they want to attend a course or not. This may sound a little weird to you now, but I will explain that. So, there are attending and non-attending students. You have to decide which one you want to be per course. As you can see, do I follow one non-attending course. The teacher just decided not to give class anymore and, therefore, only non-attending was left. Besides the difference of attending (you have to be present 70% or 80%) the course or not, do the exams also differ.

Exams as an exchange student in Florence

The exams for the attending students are, in my case, research reports (of ONLY 15 pages together with five other students) + 30 minutes presentation or a written exam about powerpoint slides. Whereas, on the other hand, for the non-attending students, it is always a written exam from literature/books.

You know what also does get my attention is the fact that when we do have Italian students in the lesson, that they are most of the time, the ones who are typing everything on their laptop, asking the questions, etc. I am the one who is more distracted by looking out of the window. Drawing stars on my notebook or, like now, finishing my blog during class (oepsie…). Maybe an excuse, maybe not.. I am so not used to sit in a big classroom and just listen for one and a half hour. This is not exaggerating, because sometimes it is even four hours without almost any interaction. I sort of get bored.

Studying

Yes, the time is there. In three weeks and one day (So, I fly home the 21of December), I will be going home which means several things. One, we are enjoying everything more and more, and two that the exams are around the corner. I have five exams in three days (13th December, 16th & 17th December). When I fail an exam, what hopefully will not happen, but of course, can happen, I can resit it in January. I am most likely going back from the 13th of January to the 17th, also to arrange the last things with the re-enrolment of the university. However, during those days are also two resits, incase I need to do them.

The subjects I have chosen differ very much from difficulty. Some are very easy, a lot of papers, but easy, and others are a lot and more difficult. Because of this, my friends and I spend a lot of hours in the library at school. Although the library has many seats, it is already full around ten o’clock in the morning. Yes, a great motivation to wake up early and be there at around nine. Sometimes, staying in the library to study has more value than going to the lesson, so that is then also, what happens often.

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After a day of studying and I usually went for a lesson at the gym and after met my friends. On the picture beneath we were at the Christmas market at Santa Croce in the city centre. Doing this sorts of outdoor activities besides studying, wasn’t always possible. In the months October en November it was raining so much. Really I have never seen so much rain in my life. Not that it was cold though (15 to 17 degrees), still sometimes I got soaked three times a day.

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The best lunch and wine in Greve in Chianti

Last week one of my friends, who I met here, Frederique and I decided that we would like to rent a car and explore Tuscany a little more. A lunch and wine in Greve in Chianti seemed like a good idea to us. We decided to do this with Car2go, a car sharing company of Smarts. After driving for a while, we thought it would be nice to just stop at a random place and have breakfast. It was so calm and peaceful. A great start of the day!

After we finished our breakfast, we continued and ended up at Montefioralle, a (very) small town where no souvenirs shop can be found. As many of you know, have I been collecting magnets for already a long time. I told Fre that we shouldn’t forget that I buy them. In the end, none of the villages where we went to had a souvenir shop. I guess, this says already enough of how “not” touristic it all was.

Lunch in Montefioralle

After a little walk through Montefioralle, we found a hidden restaurant, Il Guerrino, with a beautiful view over the wine yards.

Wine at the Vignamaggio Villa

Since I was the driver that day, which I liked very much, and Fre mainly took charge of the music in the car. We enjoyed it so much to talk, sing along with the songs (or you could also call it screaming ha-ha), and look out of the windows. At last, we went to a wine farm, Vignamaggio Villa. Besides that they produce their own wines, they also have hotel rooms and organize events, like weddings. Yes, here you can have your real Tuscan wedding! Maybe, in the end, I do want to get married one day…

The lunch and wine in Greve in Chianti was amazing and of course, we couldn’t leave without buying a bottle. Oh, and the mosquitos couldn’t leave us both, too. Only because I’m a little allergic, I ended up with huge circles on my both legs which wasn’t very convenient since I walk so much everyday (average of 13km a day).

My favorite hotspots around Florence

My first visitor arrived! One of the best friends since we are young, Claire. We did a day trip through Tuscany from Florence. We packed our bags, rent a car, bought two cappucino´s and bread for on the way. We were so excited! The other days, we took many walks and chewed a lot on food. Eventually, we went to all my favorite hotspots around Florence! 🙂 Happy woman.

Claire and Ies on the road to Greve in Chianti

On Saturday we rent a car with car2go and drove to Greve in Chianti to start of with one my favorite hotspots around Florence It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the sky was blue with just some little clouds. And yeah, we had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the day. Below some pictures and explanations about what we did.

  • Monteriggioni

This cutie little town is definitely one I will go back to. The city is between a wall and to have a better view of the surroundings you can walk on the wall all around the city. We had some coffee there, me my first cappuccino in Italy, only after ten (I am sorry), but I liked it.

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  • Montefioralle

If you paid a little attention in my last blog, you know that it was not my first time here. Montefioralle is a little town where l also went with Fre the last time. This is an example of a town where no souvenir shop can be found, but where we did find that amazing restaurant Il Guerrino on the hill with a view over the wine yards. Of course, I showed Claire and did we enjoy an amazing and again, delicious lunch. I had gnocchi for the first time in my life. It never really attracted me because of the way it looks but by eating this gnocchi pesto I learned that the way something looks can be different than the way it tastes (sort of cliché, I know). Oh, it was so goooood.

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At this castle, we did a wine tour. The landscape around the castle was beautiful and it took us a while before we arrived there. It was only one road if I could call it a proper road because it was more like an unpaved road with little rocks. Yes, we were a little scared of a flat tire, in the end, everything was alright, gladly!

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Because we just like fooood

Before Claire came to Florence I already tried some different restaurants, so that when she would come, I would know where to take her. We usually had breakfast at my place or otherwise bought something along the way in the supermarket. For lunch and dinner we went to the restaurants.

The first picture is from Obicá, the mozzarella bar. We both had a delicious Buffola and shared the rest.

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Indeed, loves goes through the stomach. Below the delicious heart pizza’s from Napoli 1955 

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At last, Trattoria Zà Zà. We went there for dinner the first time and lunch the second. Even though, I made a reservation for dinner we needed to wait half an hour before we could have a table. No worries, because while we waited we could enjoy the Italian chaos that was happening over there.

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Yes, I know, we can just continue eating here. Everything looks delicious and is delicious. There is no way you can go around that. Between the meals, we liked to play some cards and asked each other questions. Because we thought that even after knowing each other for so long, there would still be some things that we wouldn’t know about each other. It was great to have some time together and embrace our friendship.

Oh yes, last thing. We also went out on Saturday night. Slept for three hours and as diehards enjoyed, walked around in the city (walked 25km that day), came back home at 21:00 and were obviously very tired afterwards, but with a satisfied feeling. I still look back at this weekend with a big smile, because great and hilarious memories were made!

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