I was almost panicking on Wednesday morning when I was trying to wash and dry some of my clothes that I want to bring. Luckily everything works out well, and I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. We got on the airplane, and the long long wait just started… First of all, some passengers’ luggages manged to get on the plane before their owners, who were probably still on some other connection flights to MSP. Naturally Delta wanted to take out those baggages, but then those passengers got to MSP, and the people on the airplane just waited and waited. It was almost two hours later than scheduled time did the plane take off for Amsterdam.
The flight to Amsterdam was actually pretty decent. Since we were flying on an A330-300, there’s individual entertainment system on the back of each seat. Over the entire 8-hour flight, I watched The Blind Side, because I haven’t watched it before and I really wanted to; Avatar, because I watched it just a few days before I got on the plane and I wanted to watch it again; and The Hangover, because of all the special memories it reminded me of my freshmen year in college and I wanted to watch it for the third time.
Amsterdam Airport doesn’t really give you a sense of being in Europe, except when the announcement is in Dutch, or the price label is in euro. We then flew to Rome, and took a coach bus to Florence. Now, up to this point I probably haven’t slept for almost 24 hours (I woke up at around 8 am on Wednesday, and we got to Rome at noon, which is around 5 am Central time). So on the way from Rome to Florence, I was pretty much semi-conscious. I did managed to take some pictures of the Italian roadside (for a lack of better word). I will say that there is something about the trees on the side of the highway that look very different, elegant almost.
Or it very well could be that I just didn’t have enough sleep, so I started thinking the trees look different in Italy.
The bus ride from Rome to Florence was 4 hours long. We did take a break at a little shop on the side of the highway. I am very proud to say that I successfully ordered a chocolate croissant using my limited Italian vocabulary (well, I should add that the word for croissant in Italian is, as you might have guessed, croissant). When we got to Florence, the bus driver pretty much let us down at this little plaza and just drove away.
Our on-site housing coordinator arrived on her motorbike a couple minutes later and started to give out housing assignment/calling taxi to take us to where our apartment is. Since there are only 3 guys on this Florence program, we obviously are going to share an apartment, which we later found out that it is not only very close to the Duomo of Florence (otherwise known as the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, see picture below), but also has wireless Internet, which is not something other apartments have.
After settle into the apartment, the rest of the day was spent walking around the street, trying to familiarize the environment, and see all the beautiful thing Florence has. I also had a very tasty spaghetti alla carbonara for dinner (definitely something I will try to make in the future).