Well, I have to say this past week has been the craziest of them all. Monday morning, I flew back from Sicily, and Wednesday morning I was back at the airport to visit Italy's other major island: Sardinia. My friend Angela and I flew into the largest city on the island, named Cagliari. Cagliari is very laid back and has a small town feel. It is also very picturesque, with a beautiful boardwalk and port. We walked through some of the main business districts of the city, and saw the duomo (which compared to the other duomos we have seen in Italy was very small yet ornate). Realizing by around noon that we had seen most of what was to be seen in the city (which wasn't much), we decided to see more of the island. There is one train in Sardinia, so we decided to take it to a small town about an hour away named Iglesias. As you can probably tell by the name, this town was originally a Spanish settlement during the Spanish occupation of southern Italy. The train ride was awesome, as we got see a completely rural and very untouched part of rural Italy. There were many more goats and sheep than humans! It seemed like a total trip to the past passing through those areas. Once we got to Iglesias, we realized that since it was the pausa (the break Italians take during the afternoon), not much was open. Honestly, there was nothing to see in this small mining town but it was worth the train ride. We finally found an open restaurant and were sure to try a plate of the regional cheeses. These cheeses were VERY fresh and so delicious! They rivaled the fresh cheeses I tried in Florence a few months ago. We then decided to head back to the train, and spent our last hour or so in Cagliari relaxing and watching the sunset by the harbor. Wednesday night I flew back into Rome Ciampino airport, and Thursday night I was at the main airport (Fiumicino) on my way to Paris! My best friend is currently living there, and she was waiting for me as I got off the bus in Paris. The first night, I got in pretty late and got to see her cute little apartment in the Port d'Orleans area of Paris. The next day, we got going on the main sights of Paris. We started by walking down the Champs Elysees, which was definitely a really cool street. Very expensive too! I saw the original Louis Vuitton store which is about 5 stories and has a huge sign. We walked directly to the Arc de Triomphe. Luckily, I was with a true Parisian! Most tourists go darting through the crazy traffic to reach the Arc, not knowing that they don't have to risk there lives because there is a tunnel connecting the street with the arc. It is way bigger than I expected, and was so detailed! According to her, the best view of Paris is actually from the Arc de Triomphe and not from the Eiffel tower. So of course, we took the hundreds of stairs up to the top and had an amazing view of all of Paris. I was able to see all of the Champs Elysees, the Eiffel tower, and the very modern new financial district of Paris. It was so cool! Naturally, from there I had to see the Eiffel tower up close. Once there, I had to get a hot nutella crepe to warm me up. Eating a nutella crepe on that cold day under the Eiffel tower was so amazing, and such a French moment! The Eiffel tower was so huge, much bigger than I expected it to be. It is one of the most amazing monuments I have seen in Europe. After spending a long while checking out the tower, we headed back to her apartment and rested before going out. We had a great time in the bars of Paris, and luckily were able to sleep in the next day. After sleeping in, we headed to the Louvre Museum. The Louvre was huge and absolutely impossible to do in one day, so of course I saw all of the main sights. Winged Victory was so cool to see in person, and Venus de Milo was so beautiful. Of course, I saw the Mona Lisa which is tiny and surrounded by tourists. Again, the true Parisian knew that due to the last time the Mona Lisa was stolen, they no longer have the original out on display. The one I saw, and all the tourists were snapping pictures of is actually a duplicate. I guess it is smart to keep the original safe! After checking out the beautiful ground of the Louvre which was the former palace of the French royalty (before they moved to Versailles), we headed back to her apartment to get ready for a dinner party. She threw a great dinner party with all of her friends, and tons of cheese, bread, and wine of course. It was really great to meet all of her friends from school. After finishing dinner, we headed out to see the Eiffel tower again. It is a completely different sight at night, and is illuminated so beautifully! Every hour on the hour, the tower sparkles for 5 minutes. We sat there for 2 hours and watched it sparkle twice! I was absolutely mesmorized by it, and it was such an amazing 5 minutes each time. It seriously was one of the best moments of the whole semester. That night, we went out again and had a fun time with her friends. The next day before my departure, we decided to get in a visit to the Sacre Coeur church, which is very famous and sits atop a huge hill with a great view of the city. The church was in a very distinct style, and almost looks like something you would see in eastern Europe. The view of Paris was also really cool, but unfortunately it was kind of a hazy day! That afternoon I got on my sixth airplane of the week, and got back to Rome. Luckily, that was my craziest week and from here on out the travel will be more relaxed. Cookie and I are going to Amsterdam next weekend, and trying to figure out how to do possibly Belgium or Luxembourg while there. The weeks are counting down! I will keep you all posted. If you are still reading (I know I wrote a ton) then thanks for following everything I do! I miss you all at home.
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