Greece, Florence, France and the Amalfi Coast

I’m heading into my last week in Rome, sad to say goodbye but also excited to trek around Europe with Ryan.
I realize I haven’t updated for a little bit and wanted to share some photos from my weekend trips! I went to Greece a couple weeks ago with a few girls to an island called Corfu. Rated one of the clearest waters in the world, it didn’t disappoint. It was incredibly relaxing and the hostel treated us like family. All the food for breakfast and dinner was grown at their far…did I mention greek salads with every meal! Staying at hostels are always fun because you meet so many people from all over the world in the middle of their journey. They were surprised we were only here for 3 months. Some had been traveling for over a year while others 6 months, and they considered that to be a short time abroad! Did I mention I got burnt? The weeks that ensued made me regret not going out of my way for sunscreen.
Florence! Spur of the moment, Megan and I decided the night before to get our tickets and go with Sarah and Dawn. We left at 6am and only a two hour train ride, we arrived at 8am to wander. The town is more quaint and renaissance feeling than I expected. Compared to Rome, it had less locals and more tourists. I got to see the famous jewelry bridge, Il Duomo di Firenze (the big cathedral), statue of David, and some of the leather works. Heard some familiar names I recognized from my high school history class such as the Medici family and Dante. I picked up some street art and checked out all the handmade leather, it was a trip you must do if you visit Italy.

France. Got to visit my favorite family:) Spent the weekend with Sybille, my international sister. I was glad I was able to finally understand something from another language….I was able to watch France play in the World Cup, and also watch the French go crazy, well just Sybille’s family;) One day we ventured to Marseille and drove our way to the top to overlook the massive city. It was incredibly huge. Then another day we went to a lake, but compared to American standards, this lake was pristine. The south of France is spectacular with rolling hills of lavender and little castle towns nestled in. Loved visiting my other family!

Now, the Amalfi Coast. You’ve read this far, and I saved the best for last. I went there to assist a wedding with my internship, but it almost didn’t happen because the photographer had a little bit of a bike accident. She ended up not making it there. Instead I went alone, but another photographer stepped in to cover for her and said it would be okay if I helped. The people there were kind to me, some of the kindest I’ve met. They took me, a lone traveler and young girl, under their wing and went out of their way to assist me and get me settled. This trip was also visual overload. I was staying at the peak town of Ravello, outlooking two bays and Salerno in the distance. How to describe this view! The cliffs are terraced with scented lemon groves and mazed streets leading to eloquent villas and perfectly cut gardens. I wandered for hours in the mornings and evenings, always planning a way to sit and rest with this view in front of me.
The wedding was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced. They were an Australian and Irish couple, with about 30 people in all. The Amalfi coast is a very popular wedding destination, I mean very, very popular. I would say it’s their main commerce, and with that view I understand why. After the service, the couple walked the streets and square followed by two guitarists and a line of their friends and family. The wife kept exclaiming “it still hasn’t hit me yet!” And I could see why in place like that, with the man she loved, and her closest family celebrating with her. I was happy because they were happy. Happy and in love. As the newly married couple entered the party, the melodies of the my favorite classic “At Last” started to play, it was a dream that I never wanted to wake up from. So happy for this couple and that I was able to get this opportunity to assist on this wedding. I’ll never forget it. Well, if I could forget the amount of stairs I had to walk up for that wedding, I might sleep a little better at night!

I’ll blog soon about the end of my stay in Italy, before Ryan and I take off to conquer Europe!

xoxo Panda in Roma

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