For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.
Now, home girl did something pretty stupid before the Northern Italy trip.
It was the Halloween Party.
I, who was perfectly sober by the way, sprained her right ankle getting too lit. I danced that night, hardcore like I usually do, on an ankle that was already somewhat fragile from a previous rolling. But if you know me, you know that once my jam(s) come on, there’s no way to stop me.
So I got a cane.
And a wheelchair. Just in case.
Our first stop was Assisi and the first site we went to was the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi.
The mosaics and artwork there was absolutely breathtaking.
But what really took my breath away was the climb. The very steep climb. At this point I only had my cane, which was named Ichabod by its previous owner, since I didn’t know where the wheelchair was. Or if the staff was being serious when they said they were bringing it.
While I successfully, and triumphantly, climbed up on my own, the climb down was a different story. You would think it’d be better considering, well, gravity but it wasn’t. By the time we had to leave, I had physically exhausted myself from climbing up to the basilica and going around the big church exploring (stairs and such). I literally could not hold myself up.
So my friends, my wonderful and insane friends, decided to manhandle me against my will. At this point we were behind the pack and needed to find a way to speed me up. So the carried me. Literally one friend per arm and another for my legs. And Ichabod landed with someone. It was probably a really weird sight. Seeing these American students hustling and carrying a human being in the middle of Assisi.
And in front of our professors.
But honestly, by then they had seen weirder things from us.
Our next stop, which was my favorite, was Florence.
From it’s gorgeous monuments to it’s leather markets and it’s delicious food. In fact, I had Asian food there for the first time in months.
I almost cried right there.
In a restaurant filled with the most amount of Asians I had seen in what felt like forever.
But another reason why I loved my time in Florence so much was that everywhere I went I was wheeled around. So imagine a bunch of college kids running around a foreign city, pushing their friend around and having wild races. If we didn’t stick out already, we most certainly did after decorating my chair in gold tinsel.
Now at this point I’d been carried around multiple times. Assisi was the first. And then two piggyback rides in Florence, both in one day and most appreciated.
But my dumb ass, probably due to pride and ego and insanity, was determined to climb up the Duomo. If you didn’t know, the Duomo has 463 steps (I looked it up). I can’t even climb one flight of stairs with both of my ankles, now I wanted to climb hundreds on a crutch.
But despite my ganky ankle, I actually made it. AND in under half an hour.
Did I almost die?
Was it worth it?
Especially since I had a whole squad with me for motivation and in case I fell.
We then moved on to Venice.
As an avid fan of the novel, The Thief Lord, being in Venice was exciting. If you don’t know what that is, definitely check it out!
While Venice itself is indeed beautiful and unique, it was the hardest place for me to be in. Venice is small, therefore the pathways are narrow and there are multiple bridges to cross. It’s basically inevitable to encounter some. And a special shoutout to Mia, who was basically stuck with me for a whole day in Venice. She most definitely did not plan on having to wheel me around all day, but she did so anyway. Mostly because she had no choice, otherwise I’d be stranded. But I am, however, incredibly grateful.
It also meant that we took as many water taxis as possible. But it gave us a great opportunity to see all of Venice in the limited time that we had.
My favorite places in Venice was Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and St. Mark’s Square. Both are gorgeous places one should definitely visit!
Venice, however, was where I had one of the worst not chocolates ever. I meant, it was baaad. It was so viscous and burnt my throat. Also, BEWARE OF THE BIRDS. The birds are vicious as hell. They will actually fight you for your food!!! So I advise you, no matter how nice it is outside or how pretty the views are, don’t eat outside unless you want to fight or die…
Despite the scary birds, Venice was overall really nice. Since Northern Italy was the last class trip we would all be taking together, everyone spent the last night being together and thanking our professors and the staff for all the trips they put together.
It was a wonderful last night spent together on the last class trip.
After making a quick stop at Ravenna, where we ate pizza and visited Dante’s grave, we headed back to Rome and went back to work.
I also said goodbye to my wheelchair since campus is incredibly small.
Less than a week later I also said goodbye to Ichabod.
And as a way of saying “Thank You,” I bought Pringles for the friends who consistently helped me get around all of Northern Italy and for being just overall awesome people.
I have very sweet friends.
But don’t tell them I said that.