Ciao! For Thanksgiving, I visited my cousin Kelsey in Florence, where she is studying abroad. To make the weekend even better, her entire family-- my cousins Kaela, Brendan and Luke and my Aunt Jeanne & Uncle Brian, were there for the occasion too. It was such a great way to spend the holiday and I had such an amazing time there. So good to be with family!
On Wednesday when I arrived, we climbed up to the top of a lookout where we could see all of Florence-- most importantly the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio-- the two most prominent buildings in the city. The sun was just starting to set, making for picture-perfect views on my first day in Italy.
After the big hike to take pictures, we stopped at a bar at the top to reward ourselves with mojitos before we headed to dinner.
I ate more pasta than is humanly possible on this trip, but how could I not? No matter where we went the food was ridiculously good-- the food in the airport was better than some of the best restaurants back home in the US, not even kidding. (Here's an awkward family photo of us eating the best sandwiches of our lives.) My second day in Florence, we decided to go to a museum that housed paintings of Leonardo da Vinci along with several other famous Italian artists. There were also many perfectly preserved marble sculptures from centuries ago. While we appreciated the art, it was very entertaining hearing my younger cousins' commentaries as we walked through aisles upon aisles of naked marble people who weren't leaving much to the imagination.
Thanksgiving dinner did not disappoint. We may not have had turkey and stuffing pies this year, but we certainly did not go hungry. Between many rounds of antipasti, Chianti by the bottle, pasta to boot and a massive Florentine steak shared between me and Kelsey, we barely had room for dessert - but where there's a will there's a way, so we squeezed it in.
We capped off the night with a ride on the merry-go-round in Florence and headed back to the Airbnb for our last night in Florence.
The next day, we headed to Milan. I didn't really know what to expect but we were all pleasantly surprised by its charm and eclectic mix of the old and the new architecture. The Milan Duomo was amazing to see- we got to go inside it and walk around and it was absolutely beautiful.
We also went inside a huge fancy shopping center, kind of like the Short Hills Mall on steroids. It was fun to look around and see all the Christmas decorations, but Gucci and Prada were not in the abroad budget. We finished the night with a late dinner (more pasta) and prepared for an early wakeup to catch our various flights (I was going back to London out of one airport, Kelsey was headed to Paris from the other airport and everyone else was USA-bound).