Elena Hart Fall 2013 Temple Rome

Not Your Typical Fall Break: Paris, Florence, Siena

In the United States, at any typical university, a fall break is given to students right after midterms. This fall break is usually spent by taking a few days off of classes and heading home to relax with family. Here for students at Temple Rome, fall break is spent by taking week long trips across Europe to all of the places you’ve only dreamed of seeing in your lifetime. I was lucky enough to have family come visit me for 2 weeks, arriving a week before fall break and staying for the duration of my break.  First off, seeing my mom after a month and a half was much needed, it gave me that little piece of home that i had been searching for here in Italy. Also, my mom and three cousins had planned a trip to Paris, Florence, and Siena during my break and I was more than ready to be done with midterms and off to see more of the world! While I still had school, I got to spend time with my family in between classes showing them parts of Rome and enjoying delicious and relaxing meals with them. Then finally, the Friday night after my tests were finished, I headed to their hotel and after enjoying a meal at a German restaurant across the street, I headed to bed to prepare for our early flight to Paris. Paris is a place I had dreamed of going since I was a little girl, always fantasizing about what it would be like and hoping it would be like what I saw in the movies. I must say I truly fell in love with Paris. My top 4 highlights of my days spent there were:

1. The Eiffel Tower

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Not only was the Eiffel tower the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, but it sparkled every hour! It was truly breathtaking and exceeded my expectations of what Paris would look like at night. It was almost as if the city had its own sun, the way it illuminated everything. It took me a long time to truly believe that I was standing in front of it (and eventually right underneath it!)

2. Notre Dame

This cathedral was MASSIVE and taking in the little details of the building was eye-opening and incredible. I had always heard stories of the gargoyles that topped it, but seeing them for myself was something I’ll never forget. When we went inside Notre Dame, there was a mass that was beginning and that only added to the beauty of the place.

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3. Putting a lock on the Pont Des-Artes Bridge

When my parents came to Paris in 2011, they put a lock on the famous Pont Des-Artes bridge and said whoever in our family came to Paris after them had to also put a lock on the bridge. My mother and I never thought our chance would come so soon! We had a fun time writing on our lock and picking our special spot on the bridge. Hopefully I’ll get to return to see my lock soon!

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4. Shakespeare and Company

The place where some of my favorite writers frequented during what I consider the golden age of Paris, during the lost generation. Knowing that I was walking inside walls that Ernest Hemingway also walked through, and wrote about, gave me an even greater picture of what Paris was like for writers and artists during that time. It also had me wishing I could take a time machine back to the early 20th century to experience Paris. Kinda sounds like a recent movie doesn’t it? (cough cough MIDNIGHT IN PARIS). Of course, I had to buy a Hemingway book A Moveable Feast at the quaint little shop, which featured the writer on the cover standing in front of the store itself. (too cool!)

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After our amazing trip to Paris, i reluctantly boarded to plane to Florence, where we would be renting an apartment for the rest of our trip. We spent our days in Florence strolling the streets by the water and looking at the gems on the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge. We also ate delicious meals at adorable Italian restaurants and even enjoy some fun drinks at the new Hard Rock in the main area of Florence. We watched an Italian band perform on our last night and enjoyed bonding time as a family. Florence was full of artists and musicians roaming the streets and performing and selling their work to everyone. We really enjoyed our time in Florence and were very sad to have to say goodbye.

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During our stay in Florence we took a day trip to the town of Siena. Siena was only a short train ride away and it was well worth it! It was a gorgeous medieval looking place that offered delicious Tuscan wines and authentic Italian meals. There were also many local shops that we had fun exploring. The Piazza Del Campo was beautiful and it was a nice little quiet escape from the busy places we had been visiting throughout the break.

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Now that my family is back in the United States and I’m back in school, it’s time to finish my last half of the semester. I can’t believe so much time has gone by and we have less than 50 days left!

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