I woke up feeling anxious thinking about being gone for 4 months. There were some things I needed to pack at the last minute so I frantically tried not to forget everything before heading to Panera on the way out of town. Said my goodbye’s to my dad, Tommy, Geoffrey and Mikko and tried/failed not to get emotional on the way out of town.
Pulling up to the airport was the time to get excited though! We checked in and had no problems with our luggage. The international terminal was almost empty so we made it through to our terminal in less than 10 minutes. Noa and I split some loaded guacamole from Frontera and it totally hit the spot.
Boarding the flight at 6:45pm, Noa and I were pleasantly surprised with our seats. They were roomy and each person had their own TV. There were also many empty seats on the flight and I’ve never seen that on an international flight. After a bumpy take-off, the flight attendants came around with drinks and then our dinner – cheese ravioli. It was all pretty yummy! For breakfast we ate a warm croissant and Chobani yogurt.
But in-between those two meals I did not get any sleep because of a too-friendly/too-drunk Belgian man sitting directly behind me. He must have befriended the entire plane because groups of people moved over by us to chat all night.
Touched down in Zurich groggy for a supposedly short layover that kept getting delayed because of a layer of fog over Florence. After waiting around for a couple more sleepless hours we were stepping off a small plane in Florence. Luckily my luggage all came through because lots of people had lost luggage including Noa and my future roommate Molly. I split a taxi with another girl I met at the airport who was going to the school too and it was 29 euro total because of our bags.
Arrived at LdM with a line out the door and you couldn’t even enter because of everyone’s luggage – I wish I could have taken a picture. It was pretty hysterical how unorganized things were. After we finally got through, we had a very boring orientation about our housing that I nearly fell asleep through because this was 5:30pm Florence time and I had been up since around 10am the day before in Chicago time.
After orientation, me and my 2 roommates decided to walk the short 10 minutes to our apartment and it turned out to be a huge struggle. We got to the destination and our apartment was supposed to be, apartment 11. However…the numbers on the street went 3, 5, 7, 29, 31 and so on. Number 11 was completely missing! After some failed attempt to ask people for help, we walked down the street a ways and it came back to 9, and finally 11! It took awhile to actually find which apartment was ours once in the building because the floors were unclear and the locks were tricky. Our 3 mysterious roommates were already there to greet us and they even helped us carry our heavy luggage up to the 4th floor of winding steps. We were all panting and sweating after that so thankfully we only have to do that once.
We all got aquatinted, unpacked a little and decided it was time to go out to eat. Roamed around the Duomo (wow!!!!) and found a place down a dark street and it was filled with locals! It was called Ristorante Antico Barile. The food did not disappoint and we shared a liter of the house red wine for 15 euro. I had house made gnocchi with salmon cream sauce yum!
About the apartment
Exceeded my expectations wildly. After the initial trauma of getting there, it was bright, roomy and very clean. Kristen, my roommate, and I have a room with french doors opening to the street and our bathroom is in the hallway. I later discovered that our shower is a small tube that you can’t wash your hair in without hitting your elbows, there is no place to put your soap, and the temperature is unpredictable. The kitchen is pretty much a straight wall but surprisingly came with a large-ish dishwasher, a microwave and a pretty big fridge! Pictures to come on the apartment.
Last minute thoughts
Upon my arrival in Florence, I was so exhausted from traveling that I wanted to go straight to bed when we got to the apartment. But everyone ended up rallying and staying up until about midnight because we were so excited to finally be there.