Well it's been awhile since my last check-in, so I guess I need to fill you in on what I've been up to these last few weeks. I've done a ton of traveling, and that's mostly been the highlights of each week. So buckle up, I'm going to go fast through each one.
When I last posted, I was heading to Florence the next weekend, which was great. Lots to do, go see David (it's bigger than I thought), walk along the Ponte Vecchio, and please, for the love of pizza, go eat at Gusta Pizza. Yes, it may be full of American students who are studying in Florence, but there is a reason it's always full. Florence is also a great break from Siena if you want to hear more English (We saw La La Land in English and was lovely, and many tourists and students are there)
The following weekend I went to England (Bury St. Edmunds to be more precise) to visit my sister and brother-in-law. This was the perfect trip and timing for me. If you have family or friends, I recommend going to see them after a few weeks of being alone in a new country. Let yourself adjust to the new culture and new friends before going off to see familiar faces. I was just starting to really miss being with people that knew who I was better and had a history with when I left to go see them. We got to do some fun things like touring a castle, visiting England's smallest pub, and I even got to tour the Air Force Base (Ben is in the air force.) Make sure to eat fish and chips, and get pub food like Shepard's Cottage Pie.
One week later, I was in Venice for Carneval. This was a jammed pack trip. Our bus arrived 45 minutes late and those 45 minutes we really questioned if it was coming, and if we were going to be able to go. I stayed outside Venice (so much cheaper) and just took a bus into the city each morning and returned at night. Carneval is insane. so many people, so many costumes. Very cool to experience, but just to warn you, if you want to tour the city and go in museums and such, don't go during Carneval. Lines are very long and streets are filled at all times. This is going to sound obvious, but the best thing to do in Venice is the gondola rides. I wanted to to get off the gondola, turn around, and get back on. I didn't even think about the money, it was money well spent.
Following Venice I had a couple weeks off. I had to remind myself that I was studying abroad in Siena, and I should probably stay there at least a couple weekends. I had good times taking day trips to places (La Marzocco espresso factory near Florence,) went to Empoli for an afternoon on a whim, and spent a good amount of time hanging out with my language partner. If you get to opportunity to have a language partner, do it. They know where good, cheap food is, and are some of the nicest people I have ever met.
Last weekend I was in Rome. You have to go to Rome if you are spending any time in Italy. Rome is incredible, so much to do. One weekend isn't nearly enough, you'd have to spend about a week hitting all the big sites. But still enjoyable to rush around and see the major historical monuments that you want to see. The Coliseum was lit up green for St. Patricks Day, and we saw a fly over of fighter jets streaming smoke of the Italain flag.
Lastly, our overnight field study. We went to Amiata Mountain and toured a pastry factory, a herb producer, a beer factory, a olive oil farm, and a winery. Let's just say it probably the best field trip you could go on.
I know I just hit the highlights, so feel free to reach out and ask any questions or if you want more details. Heading to Scotland this weekend for a little me time (hah - see how I went to SCOTland, for me time?) Planning on playing some golf, going on a whisky tour, and generally having some down time before my Carrie and Ben come to visit me and finals start approaching.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>My name is Scott Durrwachter, and I am a junior at Penn State studying Business Management. I am studying abroad in Siena, Italy on the Business and Economics of the Food and Wine Industry (does it get any better than that?). My goals in Italy are to keep studying the coffee industry (especially espresso) and to befriend an Italian grandmother who loves to cook.</p>