The World Cup

I was nearing the end of my stay in Italy. I’d been to Venice, Rome, and Siena, gone out for a wild Halloween, and now was on my way to watch some of the World Cup. My peers were all a-buzz about it. The World Cup offered a nice backdrop to my stay in Europe, where it is taken very seriously. 

I went to the Irish-themed bar that was showing the World Cup. I can’t remember who was playing, which didn’t seem to matter since neither had scored a point for the entirety of the game. Two different countries were competing with a bar full of impassioned people shouting at the screen. There I am cheering for neither, which is fine since neither one is winning. It was just me alone in a room full of drunken, cheering maniacs, judging some of the single best athletes in the world, because they can’t score a point. 

The night passed like this for some time. Me, trying to drink beer, but not loving it, and eating something that came with French fries. One of the teams scored a singular point, making them the winners, and then I called it a night.

A couple of days later I went to a different bar to watch the World Cup again, this time more invested. I went to finish my homework and cheer on Croatia in the World Cup. For those who don’t know, my great grandfather emigrated to The United States through Ellis Island from what is now modern-day Croatia. My great grandmother similarly came from Trieste, now a part of Italy, but it was still Yugoslavia when she was born there. Ethnically, she was Croatian, making me about a quarter Croatian, which is why I was rooting for them in the World Cup. 

Red Garter is an American restaurant and bar in Italy. I had no need for American food; I’d be having the real thing soon enough, but I still went there anyway for a burger so that I could remember what I’d been missing. That was how I spent my evening: American food, fruity beer since that’s the only kind I can tolerate, last minute homework, and the World Cup. 

And what do you know folks: Croatia won. I’d never once cheered on a sports team in my life and they just won. 

I go halfway around the world just to see a Georgia game on in the bar that I’m at

The crowd went wild, as did the Croatian team. That is one of the things that I love about watching a team win a match in the World Cup: the losers wallow in self-pity as they mosey off the field while the winners dry-hump each other and roll around on the grass. My other favorite part is when one player breathes on their opponent the wrong way and they crumble to the ground like feta. Clearly, sports are my passion. 

So there you have it folks, a slight detour out of my comfort zone. I watched a sports game and drank some beer, twice in a row, and then I was done. Now, onwards and upwards to my final days in Italy.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Venezia

When you last saw me, I was cutting a rug on a dance floor at midnight on Halloween (or I suppose on the day after Halloween since it was midnight), not at all preparing to catch a train the next morning. This story begins with me tired and dunking a tea bag into scalding hot, flavorless tea at the train station the day after that, probably with globs of unwashed makeup still in the corners of my eyes, and my mind questioning why I did this to myself. The answer to that question is simple: when Halloween calls, I answer. 

I’m not trying to complain too much since I was up to catch a train to Venice, which could be a whole chapter in my privilege manifesto. 

I decided to kick off the first day of November, and my fall break, by going to Venice with my friend Cody.

So, this is Cody:

You may recognize him from his brief shoutout in my Siena post. He’s a super cool dude, a fellow Sarah Lawrence student, which speaks for itself, and a film student. He gives off very cool film student vibes, which is a compliment.

So, that’s Cody. 

When we arrived, the entire city was blanketed in a layer of fog, making everything feel moody and atmospheric. We checked into our hostel, which was a menagerie of bunk beds, and then set off down the street for lunch at the water. 

We had lunch at the water, during which time a seagull got up close and personal to me, thereby freaking me out

Venice doesn’t feel real. It looks and feels magical, like the destination at the end of a fairytale adventure story. Cody commented that he couldn’t believe that we were there, since Venice has always been a place that existed on a postcard and I agree. Venice is where celebrities go for red carpets and film festivals, not a place for regular college students. It is famous for its glass, is covered in bridges, and has streets that are filled with water.

For the most part, we just wanted to experience Venice. We hadn’t made any plans for our day, except to walk around and see what interested us, so we went to the bridge that they filmed a scene from “Spiderman: Far From Home” on. It was, in fact, a very nice bridge. 

We rode on a gondola and marked it off my bucket list. It was a half hour ride around the city, being told about all of the places that the tourists don’t know about, without telling us the names of them, so that we couldn’t go either. Onlookers standing on bridges could lean over the sides and stare down at us as we sailed by in our gondola. 

In the evening I did some Venetian glass Christmas shopping for my relatives and later we sat on a dock and looked at the water, where everything looked like solid black glass. Soon after that, feeling exhausted, I went to bed and the next morning Cody informed me that there’d been a blood moon. 

I MISSED THE BLOOD MOON IN VENICE! 

Keeping me humble. I can’t have too many bragging rights when I come back. People would hate me at dinner parties if I went on about the blood red moon that I saw in Venice, among other things. I was, however, beneath the blood moon the whole time. Instead I got a good night’s sleep and was ready for our train the next morning. 

I had to get back in time for the art class that I was not allowed to skip during fall break. We had a day full of gondolas and water taxis. I’d love to go back there someday, hopefully for longer, and actually see something like a blood moon. In the meantime though, this was a fantastic trip and I am very thankful to Cody for accompanying me.

Until next time! Ah! Venice!

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Creature of the Night

Am I about to enthrall you with the madness and the mayhem of a Halloween for the books? I certainly hope so. Hijinks ensued, there were some honest intentions, some good civic duty, and an attention-grabbing outfit choice. I hope that the suspense is killing you. 

Let’s take it from the top: my trip to Siena came and went at the end of October, giving me a little over a month left in my Florentine stay. Around this time, I needed to get a COVID test, having fully breathed the same air as a then-COVID positive friend of mine in Siena. It had been a while since I’d gotten a COVID test so I’d forgotten what it felt like to be harpooned in the nose. I dragged myself to the local pharmacy for a few rapid tests where they now have a delightful new way of testing for COVID in which they first plunge the Q-tip into the back of your throat, before swabbing it so far into your nose that I swear it touches your brain. 

I knew that this was going to be bad, but solemn and dignified, I accepted my fate. Then, she thrust it back towards my tonsils and I reeled my head back, making the sound that my cat makes when she’s going through it with a hairball and it sounds like the world is ending.

I then proceeded to do this test three more times over subsequent days. 

My results came back negative each time, giving me a clean bill of health just in time for my favorite night of the year: Halloween.

This year, I planned to go as Magenta from Rocky Horror Picture Show. For those who’ve never seen Rocky Horror Picture Show, for starters change that, but there is a character named Magenta, an alien and a “creature of the night” who lives at Frank-n-Furter’s mansion and wears a French maid costume, some fishnets, and some pretty heavy face makeup.

For those who don’t know

Twas my time to shine. I went to a hole in the wall store to buy my Halloween costume a few days earlier and put together my Magenta look using the off brand Wednesday Addams costume they sell under the title of “gothic school girl costume” and their maid apparel. 

I walked around all day in costume.

People have since said to me, “I didn’t know that they celebrate Halloween in Florence.” 

They don’t, but I do. 

That might explain why those two people wanted to take a selfie with me. There were also a few strange looks on the bus.

As the day progressed, I seemingly was running the risk of not having any plans on Halloween night, sadder in my mind than not having any plans on Valentine’s Day. When my proposal for an in-costume bar crawl was unceremoniously rejected in the groupchat, I decided to instead go to a nightclub. Tenax nightclub had Nobody’s Perfect with Body and Soul playing that night, starting at midnight, and although I had no idea who any of those people were, that sounded right to me. 

I could not, not go out on Halloween night. Did I or did I not say “creature of the night?” I was in the mood for a science fiction double feature and to do the time warp at midnight.

Me on the bus

Halloween also happened to be one of the last days that I could vote in the Georgia midterm election so after taking an hour-long bus ride to print off my absentee ballot, I walked to my nearby post office and mailed it before going out to the nightclub. Just a girl with wildly teased hair, wearing dramatic face makeup, fishnet tights, and a French maid costume on her way to vote for Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock. The only problem was that I went to the place beside it first as it was closing and a man who was leaving had to inform me that I couldn’t mail in my ballot there. Frustrated by the amount of things going wrong, I started crying. 

The man was dealing with this

The man, who was taken aback by the crying American girl in a Rocky Horror Picture Show costume, was kind enough to walk with me around the corner to mail in my absentee ballot. This was the day that I learned that I have a pretty obvious tell for when I am about to cry since I throw my hands up in the air near my face like a cat that is about to start clawing at things. The man helped me get an envelope and a smaller envelope and then organize everything in the convoluted way that you must when you send in an absentee ballot. 

I explained to him that I was voting in an election. I was then trying to convey with my body language that I am voting progressively, which is impossible to do, but I think that my outfit communicated that well enough. He said that it was nothing, but that man went home with a story to tell. So, after traumatizing a man who was leaving work and voting in my midterm election, I went out clubbing. 

Tenax was perfect– alcohol, bright lights, and loud techno music. I felt like I was the best dressed person there since it’s hard not to be with basically a party-city white, faux-silk apron. I cut a rug on the dancefloor for a while. I couldn’t bust out the Wednesday Addams moves since I found myself once again in the middle of a mosh pit. There’s not much to say other than the jostling of the crowd became fierce and that the Halloween atmosphere was perfect. 

I didn’t stay long because I had to get up the next morning to catch a train to Venice. Oh, you want to hear about Venice? More on that next, but as far as this night was concerned, my Halloween in Florence was one for the books. I had the right costume and the right idea. I partied hard at night and walked around all day in costume, taking Halloween as seriously as I always do. 

I’m already planning my next Halloween, at least in terms of the costume.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Siena Waits For You

I took a day trip to Siena with my newfound Middlebury friends Cody, Katie, and Naja just as autumn was descending, which meant beautiful, brisk weather along the Italian countryside. 

Siena struck me as the type of place that is underappreciated by tourists who’d much rather spend time in Rome, Venice, and Florence, but is small and charming enough to traverse in a day. It was a typical day for us checking out Siena, moving through a maze of old, beautiful streets and making a beeline for food.

We had little to no plans and not many expectations for what we would do in Siena, so, we spotted the Duomo of Siena and admired it from the piazza, then had lunch, pasta of course, and hung around the city center. 

Toward the end of the trip, we visited a farm. To get there, we took a breezy walk down a long dirt road, surrounded by fruit trees and saw sheep, goats, and geese, although thankfully partitioned away from me behind a fence. I am about as outdoorsy as you think I am. For me, “feeling outdoorsy” just means feeling like leaving my house. I stood up close and personal with one of the goats, (the fence wedged between us) watching him do nothing as other families gathered around to show the animals to their kids. A father explained to me that an apple was called a “mela” in Italian as he fed one to a “capra” although I did actually know that.

There were vestiges of old world beauty, with mossy stone ledges and an old abandoned well that had been grated over. We stayed at the farm until they closed, and then walked up the road past several other old, beautiful buildings that probably housed important things. The day was winding down and we set back on our way to Florence. 

Being in Siena felt like being inside a painting that you have no wish to get out of. With stairs built into hillsides, crowded by lush, green nature, Siena is a place I won’t forget anytime soon. It was a quick, restorative trip down the countryside with fun people and amazing pasta. 

I could wish for nothing better. 

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Dolce Far Niente

Dolce far niente means “the sweetness of doing nothing” and there’s no better place to do sweet nothings than Florence. 

It was while I was doing nothing in Florence that I made many shrewd observations:

Negronis are the strongest drinks in the known universe and taste like lighter fluid, going straight to your stomach and straight to your brain at the same time, Venus has abs for weeks and is surrounded by beautiful flowers, and rowing your boat down the River Arno looks fun but I’d have to do that with other people because if I tried to row, row, row my boat gently down the stream by myself, you’d all be reading about a tragic drowning accident in a few days time. 

Let’s start at the beginning:

The buses were on strike, which was bad news for everyone except for the taxi services, so I spent most of the afternoon on foot in my knee-high boots, and feeling like I’d walked the length of Florence. I’d been listening to “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” which is ironic since my boots were in fact not made for walking. It was a bright, warm, and sunny day that made me feel mellow to my core. 

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I really value the time I spend with me, myself, and I. It is for that reason why I set out on my own to find a cafe when I found an open-air market. In movie-like fashion, I made my way through every stall of nostalgia-based thrift stuff, bought myself a book on Florence, drank my chai latte outside of a cafe while reading “Call Me By Your Name,” and then did the same thing inside an empty restaurant that played real jazz from the 40s. 

It would be at this point in the movie that I would stumble upon an attractive young guy who is very interested in me and therefore sparks up a conversation, changing my life forever. No such thing happened to me this time, thank god. 

When I’d gotten my fill, I walked back to the Ponte Vecchio, lingered there for as long as I felt like, and then walked to the Uffizi where I spontaneously decided that this would be the day that I would see “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli for the first time. 

I got lost in the Labyrinth that is the Uffizi but wound up on a rooftop restaurant where I had my first Negroni. It was a day for trying new things so I did it. I do, however, doubt that I’ll do it again. I took one sip and immediately felt drunk. 

After not finding the painting for a while and having seen everything else the museum had to offer, I approached the two people I’d overheard speaking English with American accents and asked them where “The Birth of Venus” was. The vibe was very much “my fellow Americans.”

They led me to it and I saw her, taking up the entire wall with a pool of people around her. I walked right up to the painting, stunned to finally see it in front of me. It was no longer a watercolor painting on the back of a postcard, nebulously out of reach. It was right there in front of me, partitioned by only a thin layer of glass. 

I wanted to reach out and touch this time capsule of feminine beauty. Instead, I stood there mesmerized by the flowers in the painting, which I’d never noticed before, and turned behind me to get everyone else to notice them too so that they could join in on my enthusiasm and bask in the beauty of it with me. 

“Move out of the way,” said the man behind me who clearly didn’t want me to see the Birth of Venus up close and probably doesn’t support women. His wife made the international hand gesture for moving out of the way and then I did, but once they’d “moved out of the way” themselves, I got a different man to take my picture with Venus. 

After my picture, I stood there, now uninterrupted, and stared at her for as long as I wanted and as close as I wanted, before leaving myself.

The next day, I returned to the same area to witness an opera singer busking in the streets in front of the Uffizi, singing her heart out. Her voice was perfection, which begs the question of what she was doing on the streets of Italy and not on the stage of the Sydney Opera House. 

I then sat and had my portrait drawn by a man who spoke Italian with me. The opera singer started up again in front of me while someone played the “Bach G major” on the cello behind me. It felt strange in that moment to think that this was my life.

Posing for a drawing invokes a pseudo-celebrity feeling, as you attract the attention of random people and tourists on the street glancing over at you and taking pictures of you and the drawing as it is being created. 

This was a supremely good Florentine day. Moments like this don’t always last or come around often. That is why it is important to do nothing when you have the chance and to enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing. 

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

Roman Holiday

“Life goes by quickly, but if you live it right, once is all you need”

–Seneca

For my first trip out of Florence, I gate-crashed, broke-a-window, crowbarred my way into the other girls’ plans to go to Rome for the weekend. The plan was simple: see all of the Roman sites and stay in a hostel for the night, eating all the right foods at all the right places. It was right on track to be a wish fulfilling Roman Holiday. 

Breakfast on my last day in Rome

Fortunately, the other girls made the plans since we’d be up shit’s creek with no paddles had that been left unto me. We shared a hostel room down the street from the train station with a shared bathroom that could generously be described as dirty, but not disgusting, and had a toilet that only occasionally flushed when you asked it to. We were “roughing it,” as the kids say. I haven’t roughed anything a day in my life and it seemed clear that neither had the other girls, but the hostel was just a place to rest our heads when we weren’t roaming the streets of Rome.

Out and about, we grabbed lunch near the Colosseum, where I scarfed down plenty of Carbonara and caci e pepe, two famously Roman meals. We ate gelato at the Trevi Fountain, followed by a photoshoot. I threw my euro in and made a wish, but that wish is between me and Trevi. I had my head turned once again as someone got proposed to, but I joined in the applause when a guy shouted, “she said yes.” There was wine with every meal and gelato after every meal, a slice of tourism heaven. 

A nice lip-lining from the gelato I ate

Later in the day, I walked the length of the Forum alone. I wanted to eat lunch at the rooftop restaurant at the Forum, with a perfect view of the Colosseum, but the other girls did not want to, citing “too many stairs.”

Speaking of stairs, we saw the Spanish Steps, not to be walked up, of course, and spent the next half hour in the nearby Furla flagship trying to talk one of the girls out of, or into, the $200 purse she ended up buying. We checked out the Parthenon and Colosseum, but didn’t go inside due to the need for reservations. Instead, we shopped around, dipping into whatever stores interested us. 

The Spanish steps
The pantheon

I bought a purple rabbit fur coat (vintage, of course, so it doesn’t support the industry) and when we weren’t doing that, we were walking into various cathedrals with architecture that could bring you to tears, and encountering fountains entangled with statues of mythological figures dramatically heaving themselves on top of each other.

We made our way around Rome with us eventually passing by the Roman Senate (RIP Julius Caesar) and the place where Mussolini unfortunately gave his speeches near the Forum.

Towards the end, we went to a modern art museum to see some art that was very different from what we’d become accustomed to in Italy. An abstract art show, composed mostly of bright lights, is very different from a biblical figure made out of marble or a painting of character from roman mythology, but it makes for a welcome change.

It would be cliche to say “when in Rome” when discussing how we felt when trying to embrace what was around us, but few expressions encompass the fun and relaxing time we had in Rome that weekend.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

I finally see David

I finally saw David. Not the guy in my class who I kept harassing for the homework assignment, who is also named David, but the actual statue of David by Michelangelo. Side note: I frequently ask the same person for answers as to where the field trip is and what the essay is supposed to be about because I often feel like I’m in the tall grass when it comes to what’s going on as part of my ongoing left brain hip check. I probably owed him a bottle of wine for his service, only that didn’t happen. 

On a whim, while walking down the street near the Duomo, I decided to cross something off my list that had been on it since I touched down: seeing the statue of David by Michelangelo at the National. The line was short for once, the perks of being here in the middle of the day on a weekday, and I read my book in line while I waited for the museum like the cultured, civilized individual I hope that I am. 

I spent the first half of my museum visit admiring the other statues first, trying not to let my eyes just glaze over them. I’d seen sculptures like this in the past, having seen the same mythological creatures carved in marble at the Met.

There they were, Greek and Roman gods and goddesses artfully splayed in throes of passion and sowing chaos, representing passion, beauty, and foley as they acted on their trifling whims. What’s not to like?

I was admiring these when I suddenly appeared at the statue of David himself. It was as if everything in the packed room had stopped and I was with him alone.

Michelangelo, with his God hands, created perhaps the most incredible piece of art I’ve ever seen. He’s shockingly tall, scaling up towards the ceiling, and sculpted so well you can see the veins in his hand. I wanted to reach out and touch him, which is now against the rules. I stood in front of him until I felt like I’d experienced him in his entirety, marveling at the human feat that he represents. Michelangelo’s brilliance reigns victorious, hence the fact that it has been around for hundreds of years and will be around for hundreds more.

Naturally, I believe that everyone should see him before they die, if they can. Afterwards, I walked across the street to the vintage book shop and had a look around at the Italian books before they closed. It was a fairytale day of girl-in-Italy-going-to-bookshops-and-museums. My parents can’t say that I didn’t get enough out of studying abroad.

Every time I saw something magical and Florentine that I’d wanted to see, I felt euphoric and relieved, no longer worried that something I’d wanted from my trip wouldn’t pan out. It was not long before I had an opportunity to cross something else off the list. Stay tuned.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

TwentyOne

A few months ago, circa my first month in Florence, I was invited for a night out at TwentyOne, Florence’s highly-rated nightclub on TripAdvisor. I pulled out my black silk, spaghetti strap dress that I bought before coming here, having told myself that this dress belonged in Italy. The dress however was not made for chilly weather, so when I waited in line, the very nice bouncer let me wear his leather jacket because I’m guessing I looked very cold. This was very kind of him; I couldn’t be the only one in line not wearing a leather jacket. I already was the only one not smoking. 

People my age were waiting in line in head-to-toe black, smoking cigarettes and decked out in leather jackets. This was the fashionable side of Florence I’d heard about but never seen. 

Once let inside, it was obvious to me that my companions were not there yet, so it was incumbent on me to get the party started– a task I am not well suited to.

All of the women in the nightclub were so nice to me. Some of them asked me if I was straight (it must have been my dancing) and when I said that I was, they informed me that this was a gay bar. I had ascertained that much from the men in the corner who were far more interested in each other than they were in the women at the bar. I was invited to dance with some of the girls as the dance floor quickly became a mosh pit. 

The dance floor quickly became a mosh pit. TwentyOne is selling a pretty sweet package. Those who come for a night get a free drink, a drag performance, and to be danced on by some scantily dressed men. 

My friends joined later in the night, once I’d had about an hour to myself on the dance floor. The people-watching was fun as we rested our feet. A woman whose whole figure was composed of some well-done implants was with a man whose entire being screamed, “I’m rich.” (Seriously, he was wearing a pocket square in the breast pocket of his double-breasted three piece suit and gold-rimmed glasses in the club). A woman and her sugar daddy, out on the town, she looking very cool and sexy, and him looking very uncomfortable but trying to pretend that he is not. I salute you girl. 

I showed up when the club opened at midnight and left around the time that it closed at about 4 am. I then got home around 6 am. We danced for a few hours before leaving and tried to get a cab, a nearly impossible task in Florence on a night on the weekend. We walked for two hours and called 15 times before my friend Naja and I got a taxi. I, therefore, got home at around 6 am, hungry and cold and ready to faceplant in my bed, which I did, a strangely anticlimactic end to an otherwise fun night.

A night of sweaty bodies on dance floors, mainlining drinks, followed by walking through the streets of Florence in the middle of the night. It was truly a first experience to say nothing of a dip out of my comfort zone. Similar out-of-comfort-zone experiences to follow.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

All That Jazz

Some time ago, who knows when, I went out with a few of the other members from the program for a night of drinks and music. Thursdays are the new Fridays for us since most of our classes end on Thursday. 

First there was dinner. You can’t do what we were planning on doing on an empty stomach. A few people went home after that, as is always the case and surprisingly, I was not one of them.

For once, I was in the mood to go out, especially since the plan was to go to the Florence Jazz Club, an underground jazz club where they ply you with alcohol. Themed to look a bit like a dive bar, but is completely up to code, the Florence Jazz Club is, for me, an excuse to drink a vodka cranberry and listen to live music.  

We’d camped out at a table in the back and refused to get up since a table at a nightclub that was this packed is like prime real estate and when people crowded in front of us, obscuring our view of the band, we stood up on the benches to dance, earning us a bunch of strange looks. 

I gotta tell you, a lot of that music wasn’t actually jazz. We all sang along to “Mustang Sally” but that is not a jazz song. Do I wish there was more actual jazz music? Yes.

There’s no follow up to that thought. I just wish there was more jazz music. 

People were getting hit on, going outside for smoke breaks, and dressing revealingly. In other words, it was a proper night out when you’re in your twenties. I’ve been told by adults in their 40s and 50s that it’s moments like this that they miss: getting put into a cab, a little, or very, intoxicated, their eardrums pounding after a night out with friends and being hit on whilst dressed to be hit on. And all that jazz. 

We ended the night by walking down the street and calling taxis from the Virgin Rock Pub. It was the middle of the night. Music was still pounding in my ears. I hit my pillow that night already practically unconscious, but still thinking about how I enjoy the reckless abandon, the lack of responsibilites, and the quick turnaround hangover recovery when you’re under the age of 25. 

And all that jazz.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

River Arno & Ponte Vecchio

On a pleasant afternoon, when I didn’t have any plans, I decided to go with my fellow SLC study abroaders, Natalie and Elsie, for a picnic. Our plan at first was to see some secret garden, have a few main character moments, take a few instagram worthy pictures, and call it a day, but because everything was closed due to it being Sunday, we decided instead to go to have lunch at the Piazza Vecchio, followed by us waltzing across the Ponte Vecchio on the River Arno. 

We got some food at the market on our way to the Piazza Vecchio where we had a quick picnic underneath the statues. The statues are your normal, run-of-the-mill statues of mythological figures, naked women, and lions, all of which I approve of. I ate my panini and pasta while constantly under siege by pigeons who had the audacity to fly directly at my head with so much fervor that I probably could have filed a harassment lawsuit. I felt like I was in a Hitchcock film. 

Then, onward to the bridge. The Ponte Vecchio, or the old bridge, is the oldest bridge in Florence because all of the other bridges were destroyed by the Germans during World War II. The Ponte Vecchio was specifically saved, supposedly, as a direct order from Hitler, due to its “cultural and historical significance.”

The way towards the River Arno

Now, it remains as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Florence, where people can buy expensive jewelry from street vendors and young assholes can scribble their names with sharpies. It was very important for me to know that “Dan was here” apparently. 

Defacing an ancient historical bridge aside, the bridge is a beautiful site. It offers a perfect view of the river and much of the city. 

From where I was on the bridge, the water looked warm and inviting and kayaking seemed like a good idea. Instead, I bought myself some new jewelry on the bridge, believing this to be the better option. It was.

We called it a day shortly thereafter. Surprisingly, a walk across a bridge and a quick snack was all it took to make a great day. I got some good food, a new ring, and a quick history lesson, all in one outing. 

Not bad for a singular Sunday afternoon.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel