Ciao, ITALIA!
 

While most people ate turkey and argued with their uncles over the election results in their respective home, I took a road trip across Italy with a bunch of my cool new friends. 

Though I loved every minute and regret nothing, it definitely ended up hurting my bank account (and work schedule) juuuust a tad. However, like I said, NO RAGRETS. 

So in true bulleted fashion, this week I:

  • arrived in Italy! Venice was our first stop from Split, a short six hour drive away. When we got there though, it was already getting dark.
 So happy togetherrrrr!

So happy togetherrrrr!

 Of course the weather cleared up right as the sun is setting..

Of course the weather cleared up right as the sun is setting..

  • only had one night here, so we hopped into a water taxi as fast as we could (at 10 euro per person, mind you) and rode into the sunset to our AirBnB, aka, THIS YACHT. 
 AirBoatnBreakfast

AirBoatnBreakfast

  • watched the sunset and finally made it into town, where we set out for a place to eat. However, we were in the super touristy area and were starving. So we ended up at this meh Italian place. Whatever. 
 St. Mark's Square

St. Mark's Square

  • didn't really see much before it got dark. But walking around was almost enough; I had no idea how many people flock to Venice and how little of it is under water. AKA people everywhere - not my idea of a great place to be for more than a night. But can't say I'm complaining. It was still cool to see. 
  • found an Irish pub and did whiskey pickle back shots with the bartender, where we also met two lovely Irish men (go figure) who convinced me to visit Dublin. 
  • woke up from our #yachtlife and obviously wore the slippers that they gave us while sipping on coffee in the living room
 casual

casual

  • jet off to our next stop, but not before another water taxi ride with some pretty cool views
  • Stopped for an AWESOME lunch in Verona, while also seeing some other beautiful stuff. This little town was amazing, wish we had more time there. 
  • Headed to Cinque Terre (a? e?) and saw some of the most breathtaking views I've ever seen.

View from outside of our AirBnB

  • took the train to as far down as we could (Vernazza and Monte Rosso) because parts were closed due to bad weather. 
  • ALMOST got on a train to PISA (a good 5 hours away) because we didn't care to check which train we were on. Would have probably ruined our entire day because you can't exactly hop off an express train - it doesn't stop. Somehow we met this couple that was visiting with their grandchild who ended up being from Dallas. We talked a bit and mentioned where we were going, they said it was incredible. As we are on the train, looking out the window, thinking to ourselves, "wow this is a really nice train for just going town to town", the couple bangs on the window and tells us to get off. They were smarter than us and asked the guy working. CLOSE CALL. Thanks, strangers!
 Train ride was a gorg view. This was after we got off (in the right spot).

Train ride was a gorg view. This was after we got off (in the right spot).

  • hiked in Vans. In the pouring rain, for most of the time. Because when you forget that you're hiking Cinque Terra, you're not about to NOT GO. 
 Gelato stop, obviously. (Didn't order any of these but I can't pass up dessert photos.)

Gelato stop, obviously. (Didn't order any of these but I can't pass up dessert photos.)

 Really enjoying nature.

Really enjoying nature.

  • struggled with ALL the wifi issues here. This was where work and play did not mix. We all had to work, and we couldn't. Some people ended up tethering to iPhone's (for those who actually bought a SIM card) and others went downstairs to the pizza place below. It was rough but like I said, you really can't complain. 
  • left and headed to the next stop, that block was dead yo, so I continued to 818...BEACH FRONT AVENUE! Just kidding. But we did head to the next stop, which was Pisa. Because you can't leave Italy when you're so close to a leaning tower photo op.
 Ya gotta pyramid.

Ya gotta pyramid.

 Pisa had more than just leaning towers. This one stood up on its own.

Pisa had more than just leaning towers. This one stood up on its own.

 castles errwhere

castles errwhere

  • made moves. To Florence! Which is now one of my favorite cities. 
 Groggy day but so pretty. 

Groggy day but so pretty. 

  • explored the city and met up with Melissa and her friend molly (who instantly became my friend) and walked around, got a wine flight, and just did Florency things. Then, we rushed to Melissa's favorite spot in the city (she used to live there) to watch the sunset. And it was incredible. 
  • went to this bar, where this guy's name was Robby also, so awake Robby had to get a photo with passed out Robby. 

smiles!

  • drank out of really long straws.
  • stumbled upon this beaut on our walk home.
  • I guess Aaron found this?
  • went to sleep. Woke up. Went to Tuscany for our Thanksgiving extravaganza. 
  • couldn't find our AirBnb, so we stopped at this vineyard/winery where we lucked out - we stayed for hours, tasted 15 wines, and only paid 15 euro each. Also, the whole thing was family owned and so we met their entire family. 
  • finally made it to our AirBnB, an amazing little villa in the Tuscan countryside. This was our backyard. (summer would be great here)
  • picked up a bunch of food, started cooking some things, drank wine, and went to bed. But the next day is when things got interesting...
  • somehow, all of us cooked something amazing. And delicious. AND LOOK WHAT WE GOT:

It was anything but traditional, and it was everything I'd ever hoped for.

We had swordfish and octopus instead of turkey. We drank wine and gave thanks and made each other cry at the damn dinner table. We told stories of our past and how much we've changed and grown and aren't able to fathom how our lives have completely turned upside down in a matter of four months. It forced us all to reflect. To take a single moment and think about what's happened to us. To our group. To our friends. Our families. This journey affects everyone differently, and it was such a joy to share it with these people who, four months ago, I didn't even know existed. This is what Thanksgiving should be about. The things that happened this week will be forever engrained in my mind (and obviously, this blog, because the internet is forever.)

 

Professional writer, designer, and do-it-aller. Remote Year citizen/alum. Currently living in San Francisco and probably trying to avoid the terrifying amounts of pigeons.