Leaving Switzerland was tough, but I think we were all excited to make it to Italy! We arrived at our hostel in Florence in the early evening, and then we set out to one of the main squares to explore and grab some dinner.
I got some dinner with Ashlee and a girl from our group named Courtney, and our first Italian meal was a success! We had good wine and pasta, then finished it off with some delicious tiramisu. So good. This time of year, Florence is filled with tourists, so Darren took us all to an American karaoke bar for the night, and that was FUN.
The bar was filled with mostly Americans and Australians, and while there certainly weren't many locals, it was still fun to meet others and hear about their traveling adventures. It was also a blast to sing along to the karaoke; the highlight was definitely Bohemian Rhapsody, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and the Spice Girls (naturally).
The bar definitely had a Chippewa vibe, which usually isn't my scene, but it was a perfect night and it was great to be out with my group.
The next day, we had a walking tour of Florence, and we were able to go inside the Duomo, which was stunning, however, the outside is much more beautiful than the inside. We went around the city a bit more, and everything was so beautiful and just seemed like classic Italy to me.
After the tour, Darren took us to a leather shop where we watched a demonstration and we were able to do some shopping. We got a small discount because of our group, and we were able to get free gold embossing of or initials on our products. I bought a small suede purse and got my initials embossed on the front, the gold embossing looks great against the deep purple!
After that, a lot of us went to a wine tasting excursion in San Gimignano. On our way there, Darren and our bus driver Carlos let us off to get a glimpse of the best view of Florence, and it was quite the view, that's for sure. Just gorgeous and very...Italian. We then set off to San Gimignano!
We were able to explore San Gimignano for a little over an hour, which gave us some time to eat some gelato and do some shopping. The gelato I had was unreal! I got a scoop of saffron flavor and a scoop of sparkling grapefruit wine flavor, and they were both divine! I did some window shopping after that, then it was time to head out to the wine tasting part.
The guys hosting the wine tasting were a trip. Just the typical flirty, attractive, charming Italian men that every American girl imagines. It was clearly part of their job, and I doubt they are REALLY like that when they are off the clock, but it was still entertaining.
The wine tasting was a lot of fun, we sampled about nine different wines and then got to purchase some. I bought a bottle of my favorite red wine, I think makes for a nice souvenir!
The next morning, we set out for Pisa before heading to Cannes. The only thing that's really at Pisa is the famous Leaning Tower. I got a kick out of all the tourist there doing the typical pose of trying to prop up the tower.
After Pisa, it was time to head back to France! Unfortunately, we had a little hiccup traveling to Cannes because there was a car accident in a tunnel on our way there which left us stuck at a rest stop for a few hours. And it was HOT. And pretty miserable. But I guess it was better than being stuck on a bus for hours without being able to use the bathroom or get something to eat or drink.
When we finally arrived at Cannes, we almost instantly forgot about the horrible ride there, because we were staying at a freakin' resort! It was so beautiful, and our suite had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, kitchen, and a giant balcony. The suite I was staying at was called Niagara, which was cool for me!
Because we got in much later than was planned, all we had time to do that night was get dinner at the hotel and get some sleep.
The next morning we set out for the beach, which was unbelievable! We stayed there for hours just basking in the sun and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. I had such a wonderful time, but despite applying and reapplying sunscreen several times, I still got killer sunburn.
After swimming, a few of us walked around town a bit and did some shopping. Cannes was a just so beautiful and posh. The beach we went to was right next to the area where the famous film festival is held, so that was fun to see.
After shopping, we grabbed a cab back to our resort and had dinner. While eating, private jets were roaring over our heads either departing or landing nearby. Ah, the life of the rich! We stayed out for a few hours and had some great conversation, then we headed back to our room to have some wine on our balcony. While on the balcony, a fireworks show went off! What a perfect ending to a glorious day in Cannes.
The next morning we set off to Barcelona, where I am currently writing this entry in our really cool and trendy hostel. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that this is our last destination and I leave for home in two days. I am so, so sad to be at the end of my amazing adventure, but I guess all good things have to come to an end, and I think it's a good thing that I am sad to leave as opposed to yearning for it.
Barcelona has been magical, and I still have one more full day and night to experience it and enjoy this crazy journey until it's time to go home and back to reality. There are many complicated emotions whirling through me right now! Part of me wants this to go on forever, just to continue to travel the world, where each day is packed full of unbelievable moments, but another part of me is excited to see my family and friends and reflect on what I just experienced in three short weeks. And sleeping in my own bed will be nice...