Here, There, and Everywhere

Written by carolinemeyer June 8, 2024

Ciao! As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my semi-roomy train seat, gazing out of the giant window to my left as fields of grapevines pass by. Noah Kahan is playing in my freshly charged earbuds, and the excitement of arriving at our weekend destination, Cinque Terre, fills my mind.
Time here in Italy has flown by as fast as the fields outside my window are passing by. How is it that we are already embarking on our last travel weekend at CIMBA?! Venice, Florence, and Vienna feel like months ago with all that has been packed into these past three weeks, and yet the memories are as fresh in my mind as if I had just experienced them yesterday. And what better way to keep them fresh than to write about them and share them with you!
Let’s dive right in:

1. Venice, the floating city!

Venice was my first taste of Italy. Walking out of the airport straight onto a water taxi in the canal felt like a dream. How could I really be all the way across the world in Italy, a place I had dreamt of going to for as long as I could remember? But there I was, suitcase in hand and giddiness in my heart.
We spent two and a half days in Venice before heading to Paderno to start classes, and they couldn’t have been more perfect. We did everything you could imagine, from riding a gondola through the uniquely beautiful canals (cliché, I know) to wandering the city streets until we were just about lost, and everything in between.
My favorite memory is a sweet, but simple one. On our first full day in the city, we happened upon a cute outdoor restaurant by the Grand Canal for lunch. Hungry and still jet-lagged, we stopped to eat, and what we thought would be an hour-and-a-half lunch quickly turned into three. We laughed over spritzes and seafood as people cheered for the boat race happening in the water. It was magical and a memory that I will never forget.

2. Florence, the city of leather & gold!

Oh Firenze, how I loved this city! Walking 37 miles over the course of the weekend was well worth it. Our days in Florence consisted of shopping in local boutiques, wandering through markets, lots of museums, great food, some unfortunately funny moments, and even a bit of iced coffee, a rarity here in Italy! I have so many fond memories that it is hard to choose just one, so I’ve decided to share a few.
On our first night in the city, we were treated to free limoncello shots at the end of dinner. We were all “adventure girls,” as my parents would say, and tried it, but quickly concluded after a sip or two that limoncello was not for us. However, lots of laughs stemmed from our waiter’s generous gesture, and it’s something I will always remember.
The next afternoon, my friend Mia and I decided to wander aimlessly around the city. It turned into quite an adventure. We tried on lots of jewelry that we could only ever dream of affording, turned a corner into the most beautiful piazza we have seen thus far, and justified each other’s purchases a little too much, ha! It was spontaneous and fun, two things that describe lots of travel experiences in Italy!
That night we bought cheese, crackers, meat, and wine (the charcuterie essentials) and made our way up to Piazza Michelangelo. We sat for a few hours snacking, watching the sunset over the city of Florence, and people-watching. It was beautiful, calming, and falls into my top 10 moments so far! I’ve only scratched the surface with these stories. Florence stole my heart, and I cannot wait to be back.

3. Vienna, Austria…cue Billy Joel, am I right?

The entire week leading up to our trip to Vienna, we would randomly break out into song singing, “When will you realize, Vienna waits for youuu,” but inside we were really hoping that it was our flight that would wait. With class ending at 1 o’clock, the Venice airport an hour away, and our flight time being 2:35, it was a long shot. However, thanks to Flavio, our fearlessly speedy taxi driver, carry-on backpacks, and Venice’s security fast pass, Vienna didn’t have to wait any longer (and neither did we).
We roamed around Vienna exploring lots of breathtaking churches, viewing Klimt’s The Kiss at the Belvedere Palace, trying schnitzel, and even dining at a Michelin Star restaurant. That dinner was by far my favorite memory of the trip. We quickly befriended the staff and were treated like royalty with a surprise tasting, lots of visits from the chef, and the most delicious food. We were the last ones to leave the restaurant and left with our hearts and stomachs full.
My time on the train is quickly coming to an end, so for now, I must end my stories here, although I could go on for pages. Over these past few weekends, I have fallen in love with traveling to new places and grown eager to experience more travel adventures over the next few weeks and the rest of my life. I urge you to book the flight (maybe not as close as our flight to Vienna) and go make memories for yourself! For now, I’m begging for time to slow down and am soaking in every minute that I have here.