My euphoric view of Italy was shattered when I got off the plane from Amsterdam to Florence and wandered around the little looking for the rest of my group that I was supposed to join. After completely embarrassing myself and frustrating the workers at the tourist desk, and frustrating poor Ian trying to help me find my way, I realized I was in the wrong city. I was in Florence, and my group had flown to Rome. Solid. I was in a foreign country, speaking not a lick of Italian and had to navigate my way to get to Castiglion Fiorentino. Thanks to the great and patient Dr. Lombardini, I went to the city bus to get to the train station in Florence, and then took a train to Castiglion Fiorentino where I was picked up and taken to Santa Chiara—our school. Although getting on the train was a little rough, as I sat in my seat, wide-awake for fear of missing my stop I might add, I noticed the true beauty and tranquility of Italy. It took my breath away. The rolling hills and the rays of sun that snuck through the holes in the leaves of the trees was the most beautiful scenery I have ever had the privilege of seeing.
As I write this, I am sitting out in the courtyard of Santa Chiara looking over the valley, and may I just say it is the best cure for writer’s block.
The Santa Chiara courtyard