Interim in Italy

Interim in Italy

Interim has come and gone and with that have the memories that go with it. I could easily write an article about everyone’s interim and how it was but I’m not going to because that requires talking to people and frankly I’m just too lazy to find out. But Italy was an interesting time as it was anyway so it’s fine.

I suppose I’ll start at the beginning.

It was a long harrowing journey. We traveled countless miles, trekked through treacherous terrain, and that’s when we finally arrived: Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. After that, it was really just a waiting game, especially in check in when it took the staff 4-5 business days to figure out how to let all of us on the plane.

The plane ride was not interesting, except for the fact that William Pitteliko, Tina Chen, and myself sat together. You can imagine how annoying it would be to sit next to three very overtired idiots for hours on end would be, and if you can’t, just know the guy next to us pretty much sprinted off the plane as soon as we landed.

Soon after a short layover in Amsterdam and an equally short flight, we finally made it to Venice. There we met our fantastic tour guide, Chris, an honest to god legend as far tourism goes.

So, after traveling for 17 years, one would probably want to lie down and maybe take a nap right? Wrong it was like 3 in the afternoon in Venice and to beat the jet lag, we had to go do stuff. But honestly, at that point time had lost all meaning anyway.

The first couple days we spent in Venice, which is a nice city. However, if you ever go, BRING WATERPROOF SHOES. The city is just…wet…all the time. Also, bring someone who is good at knowing where they’re going. Getting back to our hotel was comparable to Theseus’ adventures in the labyrinth.

After a tour and some sight seeing, we said ciao to the city that absolutely destroyed my feet and got on a water taxi and then a bus to Florence. Along the way, we stopped at a rest stop  where we saw Pringles cans that were legitimately like 3 and a half feet (sorry I still don’t know meters) long. Naturally, 4 people bought them.

After a long, harrowing journey and some bus knowledge bowling (plug), we arrived in Florence, objectively the best city we went to. That day was sort of wild. First we went up a big hill to Michaelangelo Square and got a fantastic view of city. We visited the bridge because that’s just what you do when you you’re in Florence and soon after, the Galileo Museum. Nothing like paying €12 to see Galileo’s finger.

That night, I had one of the best dinner’s I’ve ever had in my life. The first course was spaghetti and I know what you’re thinking “Sami, isn’t that a straight up stereotype?” Well, a lot of times there’s some truth in stereotypes and honestly NOBODY makes spaghetti like Italians. The people at my table had the pleasure of seeing me eat it like it was my last meal. When I thought it couldn’t get any better, they bring out STEAK. Honestly, it was incredible.

The next worked glutes and calves like you wouldn’t believe. We started the morning off with a nice tour around the city (ugh Florence is great). We visited the Ufizzi and saw the Birth of Venus as well as some works by Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Rafael and soon after a nice lunch, we walked to the Academy to see the statue of David (stay jealous, art history nerds). Afterwards, we (myself, Will, Tina, Claire, Sam, Joel, Henry Chen, Cooper, and Ms. Daiker) decided to take an adventure: we were going to climb the bell tower and the Duomo.

If you don’t know, both of these structures are tall and both have 400+ stairs. By the time we made it to the top of the bell tower, we were on the verge of death. But the view was outstanding and beyond worth it. Afterwards, we had some time to kill before our Duomo appointment, so naturally we got gelato. Another note to people looking to go to Italy: get gelato whenever and where you can. It’s always worth it.

After a few hours, we climbed up the Duomo and saw one of the greatest views I have ever seen. The sun was setting and the combination of that, the mountains, and the city lights made it something truly spectacular.

Sadly, our adventures in Florence came to an end the next day. Early in the morning, we got on a bus to Rome. Along we way, we made a stop in Assisi and saw the Basilica of Saint Francis, which is insane and beautiful. Of course, we had places to be and after a chicken sandwich and a little shopping, we had to be on our merry way to Rome.

Our first night in Rome was a weird one. We arrived and of course, we were out and about again. That night, we saw the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. Finally it was dinner time and we were walking to our restaurant. Along the way, I passed by this nut vendor. I looked over at him and he looked at me and said “Can I help you?” but I didn’t want nor need nuts so I said no. Then he looks at me again dead in the eyes and says “Actually, I can.” Honestly, someone teach me to have this man’s confidence.

The next day was time for some real Rome tourism.  With the help of our local guide, Stuart, we saw the Colosseum and the Forum. Then after a quick lunch, we took the metro to the Vatican. Honestly, the Vatican is a really cool place. Popes throughout history have this tendency to try and show off how powerful they are and the result? Amazingly decorated EVERYTHING. You look up at the ceiling, yeah that’s just Pope Gregory spending money and putting amazing art work there.

One of these example, a very famous one in fact, is the Sistine Chapel. It is amazing. But photography of any kind is also not allowed and you’ll definitely hear some dude scream “NO PHOTO” every few minutes.

One of the most amazing places to see is St Peter’s Basilica. It’s absolutely insane. There’s art everywhere and it’s done in tiny mosaic. The basilica itself is giant and I cannot imagine the man hours it took to build it.

Though that day was great, it soon came to an end. The next day, we took a quick field trip down to Pompeii. It’s really cool to see something like that- an entire town, preserved in ash. But Mount Vesuvius was about to blow again and we soon had to skedaddle out of there too. Of course I’m kidding, but honestly I swear there was smoke coming out of the top and the bus driver seemed to be in a hurry to get out of there.

When we finally made it back to Rome, it was time for our final dinner. We ate in these Roman ruins and there was live entertainment. By that I mean two dudes singing so gorgeously I forgot I was sad about leaving the next day.

Like all good things, Italy had to come to an end. The next morning AT 3 AM we drove to the airport to start the long journey home.

Overall, Italy was fantastic and if you haven’t been, go at some point in your life. It’s definitely worth seeing.