LYDIA'S BLOG: Fabulous Florence

Feb 11, 2012

Today I realized I’ve already started to do just that in my blog. I haven’t written about anything but my weekend travels in weeks. But Florence is just as fabulous.

On Thursday, I had an Italian test. I came home and had a salad for lunch with homemade Italian dressing. I did a workout video, some yoga and took a shower.

It’s nice to have time for such things.

I relaxed for a couple of hours. Let me repeat that: I relaxed. Those who know me well understand the enormity of this. I haven’t truly relaxed in years. Sure, I’ve sat around doing nothing, but it’s always been while worrying, thinking, stressing. But here, I’m learning the art of relaxation and loving it.

Later in the afternoon, I met up with Amy. I waited for her at Basilica di Santa Croce and watched some people play with their puppy.

We trekked up to Piazza Michelangelo for the sunset. It was incredible. I want to go there more often and go earlier in the day so I can sit and read. I’ll wait until it’s warmer for that though.

Amy and I split a pizza and some baguette for dinner. We played cards and sang along poorly to Maroon 5.

She went home to change, and then we met up with everyone to go dancing! I can’t dance, but I love to anyway. We were going to go to Yab, a discoteca Petra had recommended, but when we got there at 11:30 p.m., it was too early. So they sent us around the corner to a bar we could hang out until midnight when Yab would be open for dancing.

We sat down at a table in the bar and a couple of girls ordered drinks. The manager greeted us and asked how we liked the music. Our chair dancing answered his question. He passed us a couple of times before coming back to stamp our hands with VIP passes. He led us upstairs to a colorful, ritzy room filled with men in ties and women in cocktail dresses. He sat us at a table and told the waiter we were his “special guests” for the evening. We were greeted with a bottle of champagne, followed by various other free drinks I bypassed. We felt like celebrities.

After about a half-hour upstairs, the restaurant slowly evolved into a club. The lights dimmed, tables were cleared and people were up dancing. I rocked my poor dance moves all night.

I got up today around noon. I showered, ate breakfast and did some more yoga before curling up on the couch with my comforter. It’s still incredibly cold here.

Eventually Kate, Caitlin and I bundled up and braved the weather to go shopping in San Lorenzo with Yelena and Amy. We’re going to Carnevale in Venice on Saturday. I’m so excited. I don’t think I’ll sleep much.

Venice has been my dream for 10 years, and I’m finally going. It’s hard to grasp that. It always seemed like a magical land I had created in my mind. It will manifest itself on Saturday.

I want to buy a mask there so it’s reflective of the region (each region in Italy has its own style of masks for its individual carnevale). But in case they’re too expensive, I bought a €2 one at a stand in San Lorenzo.

Amy, Yelena and I went out to dinner on the other side of town. I got a burrito. It was very different from what I was expecting, but also much better. It was an Italian spin on Mexican food: avocado, tomato, zucchini, kidney beans, cheese, spinach and some kind of salsa in a tortilla.

I will definitely be going back.

After a half-hour walk home in the bitter wind, I curled up in bed and shifted through my pictures from the last couple of days, caught up on e-mails and Skyped my mom.

The power went off briefly tonight. It seemed to be the whole street at least. But it has obviously since returned — thankfully, so I can now charge my camera battery for Venice.

I will try to get some sleep. Arrivederci!

Editor’s note: Former Grand Haven Tribune intern Lydia Coutré is spending a semester in Italy. She is a junior at Kent State University, studying journalism. Her blogs during her stay in Italy will be posted here and at http://lydiaislost.blogspot.com. All photos by Lydia Coutré.

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