Tuesday, August 31, 2016
I’m trying to mix up the style/format/content of my blog posts while I’m in Italy, so bear with me! I’ve been in this wonderful country for almost one week. I learn something new every day, and I figured I’d share what I’ve learned so far…
- Pedestrians do not have the right of way on the streets.
It’s crucial to be alert. I almost got hit by a car a couple times in Italy (sorry, Mom and Dad; I’m alive though). The cars, busses, and bikes move quickly and rarely stop to let pedestrians cross, even at crosswalks. I have to remind myself that I’m not in Vermont, so I have to look both ways at every street and make sure it’s safe to cross.
2. Food & drink are not cheap.
I thought for some reason that food and drink would be cheaper in Italy. I’ve discovered that’s not the case. You’ll still pay 10-20 euros/person/meal. Some places have cheaper options, but on average, it’s still expensive to go out to eat. I’ve only paid for a glass of wine once, and after spending 7 euros on one glass, I’ve concluded that I won’t be buying drinks that often.
3. The market is the place to go for fruit & veg.
I went to the Mercato Centrale Firenze today to pick up some groceries. It’s very cool. Fresh fruits and veg, meet, cheese, oil, and everything in between can be purchased at the market. I spent about 15 euros there on a container of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, two garlic heads, and a bunch of asparagus. Although the food is laid out in a way that makes you want to touch it, the vendors will become angry if you do so. Instead, you have to point at what you would like, and they will get it for you with plastic gloves.
4. Super markets have reasonable prices.
I can’t find $3 evoo or $1 butter in America! The super markets here are much smaller, and the produce isn’t as good as it is in the market. However, there’s still a lot to buy. And if you shop with a list, your budget stays on track.
5. Florence itself is fairly small (area wise).
I walked around Florence four times today. Two out of those four times I was doing a tour. I was shocked at how small the heart of the city is. From my apartment (perfectly located), it takes about 5-10 minutes to walk anywhere & everywhere: the Duomo, the Arno River, Marist Italy buildings, the market. I’m hoping to explore outside the main city soon. It is stunning everywhere you look.
6. Cabs are very safe.
Cabs are more expensive here, but they’re very safe. We’ve been told to take a cab if we’re out late, and it won’t cost much in a group.
7. Cash is the best way to go.
A lot of places don’t accept credit cards in Italy. Therefore, cash is the way to pay. I started with 200 euros and am currently at 100, so I’ll have to take some more cash out soon. Hopefully the fees won’t be too bad.
8. Nights in Florence are precious.
Florence looks completely different at night. Totally different vibes when everything is lit up. There’s live music, people sitting outside eating dinner, and students like us wandering the streets.
9. It’s still possible to be homesick in such an incredible place.
Today was the first day I felt a little homesick. I’m having such a fun time, but I want my friends and family to be here to enjoy this experience with me. Luckily, I’m making a new abroad family, and I’ll have visitors throughout the year.
10. People care about the environment.
People don’t litter in Florence! The streets are clean, and people don’t use extra water or electricity. Helps make the city look even more remarkable.
Tomorrow I register for my permit to stay! Fortunately, I can sleep in until 9. xo ~e.