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LAX to JFK to Milan

September 29, 2011

OMG, whew…it’s been crazy, and it all started at the airport from the moment I boarded the plane at LAX.  I flew to Italy on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and my flight was followed by US military fighter jets, because of three suspicious passengers.  The FBI came in and took them away when we landed at JFK, so I switched gates at the NYC airport and I was on my way to Italy.  This is where the FUN begins.  I was treated like a princess the whole time I was there.  I got to see the beautiful cities of Tuscany, where I stayed in Parma, Florence, and Bologna.  My friend Gabe’s family let me stay in my own pent house apartment on the fifth level of their house in Parma! Parma has been AMAZING, and I have been riding around the city on the back of Gabes motorcycle!! 🙂 The night I arrived I had dinner with his family, I had home-made pasta filled with spinach and cheese, veil, some weird vegetable, and a fresh tomato filled with this egg salad in the middle, oh and gelato for dessert.
Tuesday was the first day I explored Parma, I woke up had coffee and cookies for breakfast, then we took Gabes scooter and drove to the school that he went to growing up.  The building was amazing, and it was built as a university for nobility hundreds of years ago, and now it is an elementary, middle and high school.  It has a beautiful courtyard, and paintings on the wall of the dukes and noble people who graduated from the school.  The scooter died, so we walked to the center of Parma on the main street and went shopping…or browsing I should say.  We then snuck into the Parma Opera house (I have pictures I will email you)
Followed by that we had lunch at an Italian cafe and I ate ham sandwiches! Yummy
Later that evening we went to a famous Torrechiara Castle in the countryside.  It was built 600 years ago by this duke.  It’s protected by three walls and four towers.  After that we met up with a group of Gabes friends for dinner at this restaurant right by the castle.  I ate a meat dish, with Parma prosciutto, salami, and other meat, with these bread shells, along with parmesan cheese and balsamic vin.  For dessert I ate fresh fruit and more gelato!!! It was a great first day in Parma.

The following day in Parma, we visited the town theater, and the campus of the university of Parma.  My favorite part of the campus was the library, it was wayyyy cooler then the Harry Potter library, it was straight out of the movie, REALLY tall book shelves, and the best part was a lady in the middle who kicks people out if they say one word!!!!! OMG! hahaha

Shortly after we went to the “central park” of Parma, had gelato in the park for lunch, and later that evening I went to a celebration for a graduation party, where I hung out with Philosophy majors, who liked to quiz me about my American history.  I am in love with Italy…..but it gets better!!!!

The next day we went to Florence!!!!!!!!!!! It was sooo hot walking around the city! we went inside the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore!   We walked to the top of the dome (which is the largest dome in the world), and the view was spectacular!  I could see all the rooftops of the houses, and they were all uniform.  It was so beautiful!! After the dome, we went to lunch, and ate pasta and for dessert….gelato!!  As we continued to walk around I was really amazed by the marble statues.  How can someone take a slab of marble and create these larger than life characters!? wow….it’s a truly amazing art form.  Another really cool part of Florence was the most expensive bridge in the world filled with jewelry.  whoa baby….it’s so magical, and romantic…I would love to go back and walk across the bridge during the evening.    They are a lot of tourist traps around the city, but luckily I was with three Italians who showed me around, and hipped me to the history as well so I felt VERY lucky!

The following weekend the fun continues with two Italian tour guides and body guards in Bologna.  They also treated me like a princess, and I couldn’t even carry my bags up the stairs.  The day I arrived in Bologna, they took me out for pizza! OMG, the pizza was huge, and soooooo good! the best I’ve ever had.  They walked around to shops with me, took me shopping, and showed me the city center.  Bologna was my favorite city, it has such character, and the architecture reflects that of the middle ages, with large walls still built up around the city to protect the nobility.  It’s so crazy to see history and the modern world collide.  Bologna has the oldest university in the world, and you will see people partying all night on the campus.  It’s very surreal.  I went out dancing to the disco that night, and it was crazy how fast the night seems to fly by.  The lifestyle is so relaxed in europe, and they enjoy the night which starts very late. haha What I learned from the Italians was to slow down, and enjoy.  Relax and live life, just don’t worry.  That’s what they kept telling me.  It’s a great way to live.

Next stop……….Seville.

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