Ever since the beginning of February, my friend Emily and I have been planning our travels for Semana Santa: holy week. As we were buying the tickets and booking hostels back then, I remember thinking how long we had until it would finally be time to go. How wrong I was, my friends. We anxiously waited for our journeys to Rome, Florence, and Paris. We were gone for ten days, and it was honestly much needed. There came a point where I was ready to leave Asturias and get out of my daily routine.
Our travels started out a bit stressful because of some miscommunication about where we were going meet to get the taxi to go to the airport. Note to self: the train station IS NOT connected to the bus station. Since I don’t have a cell phone here, and Emily didn’t have Wi-Fi, we didn’t have any means of communication. But Nora came to the rescue since she could get in contact with Emily, and we eventually got back on track! Luckily, that was the only major issue we had. We arrived in Rome, where we had a lot of trouble finding the hostel. Before we left, many people told me that Italian is similar to Spanish, so I thought that I would be able to get by if I needed to communicate with an Italian. Well, whoever told me was wrong. We asked probably five people for help with directions, and while they could understand our Spanish (I think for the most part…), we couldn’t understand their Italian except MAYBE a word hear and there. What did help us were hand gestures and other body language. Although it was frustrating, dragging our luggage back and forth on a steep street in the heat, it was part of the experience of a traveler. Now I know that if I ever get lost, there is till a good chance that I will find my way, even with language barriers present.
I’m not going to waste time telling you about all of the touristy places we went to in Rome, but just know that we had a great time exploring and seeing all of the most talked about sights. The only downfall, in general from the whole week, were the ridiculous lines we had to wait in and the crowds we had to maneuver through. Again, there was really no way for me to get in touch with Emily if we got separated, so we had to be especially careful to not let the crowds break us apart. In every line we waited in for the museums or whatever else, there were always people selling tickets where we could “skip the line” to avoid the long wait. What amazed me were how many languages these people knew! What would typically happen is, they walked up to you, started speaking to you in the language they thought you spoke based on your looks (usually they thought we were Españolas 😉 If not, they would go through every language they knew until we responded to them. As annoying as they were, I was impressed by how many languages they were able to speak. Our main event in Rome was a food tour that we took. Best. Decision. Ever. We got to try the typical foods of Italy like pizza, gelato, bruschetta, cannolis, cheeses, meats, and pastas. We saw some sights along the way so we were able to digest between meals. To the “foodies” planning on going to Italy, this is a must-do activity.
Florence was our next stop, and my favorite out of the three. It had beautiful landscapes, the friendliest people, and delicious food. Our big thing we did here was a vespa tour. We rode vespas in pairs, following a tour guide through the hills of Tuscany. Emily drove the whole time, but I got to sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views. Before we left, I took a test drive of the vespa and it wasn’t too hard!
Paris was our last stop, and by this point in the trip we were both exhausted. But we pushed through and saw the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, just to name a few places. We climbed up to the top of the Eiffel Tower after about a 2-hour wait, but boy was it worth the wait. I got sick towards the end of our trip, so needless to say I was happy to be back in Oviedo in my cozy house with my family. I didn’t realize it before, but I am really going to miss them. Coming home to them was so comforting and inviting, and I don’t want to have to say goodbye to them so soon. It is already the end of April and before I know it, I’ll be on a plane back to Philly. I have mixed emotions because I don’t want to leave this wonderful place, but I am so ready to see my friends and family back home. Until then, I am going to try to take in every second I can while I’m still here!