Wednesday, May 20th 2015
I was awoken by the landing of the plane. Time to start my day in Venice! We took a train into the city, and by miraculous timing, we met the Sherman’s at the train station. My aunt, uncle and cousins had also come to Europe and our paths crossed for a few days to spend together. We spent the day wandering the streets of Venice, looking at the Murano glass in the stores, seeing some amazing churches and fabulous squares. Unlike Amsterdam, the water actually comes up pretty close to the street level, which makes the city have this interesting canal/street feeling. It certainly felt way more magical than Amsterdam (to me) even though it was quite rainy all day. We spent the morning on a tour of multiple synagogues. They were absolutely stunning. You could tell the differences between the styles of the synagogues and the different aspects. After so many churches throughout Europe, it was really nice to see a beautiful old synagogue.
We then started the drive to Florence, for which I slept the entire way.
Thursday, May 21st 2015
Today we had a walking tour of the city. It started by seeing the David statue, which was fantastic! It was so realistic, so perfect and so impressive. It is hard to believe that Michalangelo was able to carve that out, without even doing a plaster first. But, the most amazing part was the size. I have seen so many pictures of the David statue, but had no idea how large it was. I would have never guessed that it was so big! We then had a really great tour of the city. I learned a lot and really enjoyed it. That afternoon we went to the leather markets. They were crazy. So much leather everywhere. My mom and I took a quick adventure just to peak over the bridge, and it was so beautiful to see the city.
That night, we took a trip to a villa. The scenery on the ride over was unbelievable. I had my eyes glued to the window, I couldn’t take it all in fast enough. When we got there, we had a tour of the vineyards and of the wine cellar, which was beautiful. Then, we sat down and had a really nice formal family dinner while tasting lots of wines. I have to say the wines were fantastic (and I was drinking for two because Eric didn’t like his). It was a lovely evening that I really enjoyed with my family. Dad even loved the wine so much that we now have some!
Friday, May 22nd 2015
From there, we made our way to the synagogue in Florence. It was stunning! The synagogue was large and ornate. I was blown away. They also had some historical information and items which were great to see. A woman came up to Uncle Mark, who happened to be wearing a Mulenburg shirt and mentioned that she knew the school because her daughter went to a school nearby. We asked what school – Lehigh, what grade – just finished Freshman year, what sorority – Zeta… OMG that is the same as Michelle’s! We found out that they were the parents of one of Michelle’s friends. The world is so small it is crazy!
On the way back, I stopped with my parents at the leather school (where they teach how to make leather and make the best leather in the world). Mom was enamored by how they made it and probably could’ve watched for days. The work was spectacular and really was interesting to watch. Some of their bags were just amazing.