Austria was absolutely incredible, but unfortunately its time to leave! Our next stop, Verona, ITALIA!! We arrived in Verona on Sunday afternoon. When we got there we were supposed to get lunch in town and have a tour around the city, but it started to downpour after lunch so the tour was cancelled. Even though it was pouring rain, the town was extremely crowded because of a One Direction concert that night. As we were eating lunch, the one Direction bus was arriving. The fans started screaming and tons of people, with umbrellas in hand, started chasing the bus down the street. It was mass chaos!! Later, that day the rain stopped and a few friends and I walked around, to do some sightseeing, a little shopping, and got some dinner. We got our first real Italian meal and it was amazing! The bruschetta was to die for, and of course after dinner we had to stop and try some authentic Italian gelato (which was delicious). On our way back to hotel we heard the One Direction concert going on in the arena. The next morning we had a site visit at Frau Shoes, where we got to see how the shoes are made and learn about their business. Some of my classmates even bought a pair. We then had the whole afternoon free, so my friend and I went sightseeing a little more and went to Juliet’s house (from Romeo and Juliet) and saw her famous balcony. We also saw some different plazas around town and did some more shopping. That night our whole class had dinner with a class, who was studying abroad, from the University of Illinois. It was pretty cool to meet some other college students from the States. The next morning we had to be up bright and early for a site visit at Masi Winery and then it was off to Rome. At Masi, we got a tour of the winery, and got to see how wine is made. We saw where the grapes are dried and the barrels the wine is kept in until ready. At the end of the tour, we had a wine testing where we tried three different types of wine. Some people even bought a bottle for their parents, but unfortunately they couldn’t ship it and I had no more room in my suitcase (Sorry mom and dad!). After Masi we had a six-hour bus ride to Rome. Luckily, I was able to get a lot of work done, while still finding time to get some rest.
We finally arrived in Rome, and I honestly can’t believe it’s our last city. I was excited to see what Rome had to offer. We got in around 8:30 p.m., and we were all exhausted so a few of us grabbed a quick dinner by the hotel, got some gelato, and then relaxed near the hotel. The next morning we had a site visit at ICE Italian Trade Commission. We had the rest of the afternoon free so my friends and I went sightseeing and shopping in downtown Rome. Unfortunately, while we were walking it started to rain but we took shelter at a restaurant and waited it out. We then went to see the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Spanish Steps. Both places were really crowded, but we were able to walk up the Spanish Steps. The view from the top was incredible. Later that night a group of us went to Campo di Fiori and got some dinner and hung out. We had an early start the next morning because we had a visit at Johnson and Johnson where they talked about the different consumer products and medical equipment. That afternoon we went to see the famous Roman Colosseum. We were lucky the line wasn’t too long and we were able to go inside and see what it really looked like. The architecture, history, and design of the Colosseum was absolutely amazing! Since it was our second to last day, the whole class and professors had a farewell dinner at a local Italian restaurant. It was great for all 29 of us to all hang out together one last time. Our last day in Rome was a free day, so a few of us got up real early (in an attempt to avoid the long lines) and took a trip to Vatican City. Since we beat the rush and avoided the long lines, we were able to go inside St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. I’ve seen hundreds of pictures of the Vatican but it is nothing like being able to see it in person. It was so cool to see Michelangelo’s famous painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When we got back from the Vatican we were all exhausted so we just hung out around the hotel for a while until some of us went to dinner. Later that night after dinner, a lot of us went to go see the Spanish steps and Trevi fountain. It was so nice because it was all lit up and there weren’t many people there. The group of us took pictures and enjoyed the view on our last night in Rome. No one wanted to go back because the next morning it was time to say goodbye.
I honestly can’t believe that our trip is over! I had an amazing two weeks in Europe visiting Germany, Austria, and Italy. I made some great friends and unforgettable memories. I am so grateful that I was able to go on this trip and experience so many different cultures and countries! I had the time of my life and it is something that I will never forget!! I miss everyone already!!!!
P.S Rather than going back to the States, I went back to Germany for a few days to visit some family. I’m toing to enjoy Europe for a few more days before I make my way back home. Stay tuned for one more post about my trip to Mannheim, Germany!