By Andrea Arredondo

After a beautiful month in Italy, at last my time to leave had come. Clothes washed and bags packed, I reflected on everything I had just experienced. Cheesy as it sounded, I was already feeling nostalgia and I had not even left my apartment. Florence is a magical city and I had just experienced the trip of a life time. On my last day in Florence I decided to do everything I had not yet done. I woke up at five in the morning and walked across town to the big outdoor leather market. The San Lorenzo market is one of the most famous leather shops in the worlds. Thousands stroll through it each and every day. That day, I decided to look around for the best deals and find the cutest bags. After looking at hundreds of designs, I eventually found a tiny little red bag that would complete my closet.

Following my success at San Lorenzo, I then went looking for breakfast. If I am being completely honest, before this trip I was never really into coffee, but for whatever reason while I was in Italy my taste for it flourished. I mean it started from a cup every now and then to what I believed was a daily essential. Thankfully coffee is easily available and pretty inexpensive in Florence, so, on my last day I enjoyed not one, but three cups of coffee (Hey! They are a lot smaller in Europe).

Coffee-fueled, I returned back to my apartment, grabbed my suitcase, and headed back to Santa Maria Train Station for the last time. Since I was flying out of Rome, I was once again traveling to the Roma Termini. After checking in at my Airbnb, I decided to similarly do one thing I had not gotten the chance to do on the trip yet: go to the beach.

As a Southern California native, the beach is my happy place. So, when I found out that there was a beach only a short train ride away, I had to go. When I got to the beach it was beautiful and sunny. The water looked clear and there were families everywhere. In true English major fashion, I found a comfortable chair, enjoy the breeze, and read from a book I had found in my bag. Pages turned into chapters and eventually I noticed that the sky was changing colors.  Blues turned to grey and clouds were rolling in. Seconds later, a storm unleashed itself.

Unprepared for the storm, I ran for the train station and returned back to my Airbnb, where I would change and prepare to go out in the storm toward the city center. When I made it back to the the Airbnb, it was as if Spring had come. The air smelled clean and roads were clear. Excited to make the most of my last night, I looked up the best gelato place and tried flavors I had never heard of. Then, I went to a pizza shop where I had potatoes on pizza! It might sound a bit strange, but I can honestly say I have never had anything more delicious.

After eating my last slice of pizza, I returned back to my Airbnb, only having missed the return of the storm by a faction of a minute. Lucky for me, after I went inside the rain immediately returned and quickly soothed me to sleep. The next morning, I woke up early and took a train to the international airport. I couldn’t believe I had just spent a month in Italy—it all went by so fast! 

Andrea Arredondo studied abroad in Florence in Summer 2019.