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Wednesday, June 2nd

Ugh, what a day. My allergies are just out to get me, and I think I'm ready to surrender. I get these awful days back home about once every three weeks or so, and they're bad enough that I usually stay home from school. You know, the kind where you can't get anything done because you're so busy with the kleenex. Well, today was one of those days.

Talk about bad timing! We toured the main parts of Florence today, though we didn't go in any of the buildings. That will all be later with a tour guide and stuff. Today was just to get our bearings in a new city so that we would feel more comfortable going in on our own. We walked ~so~ much today! First we had to walk from the villa to the bus stop, which is seriously about a mile and half. And it's downhill to the bus stop, so think how wonderful it is coming back to the villa in the heat of the afternoon. :-( Then we walked all over downtown Florence; probably three to five miles, I'd guess. Not to mention that there was a good half-mile stretch of stairs for part of it!

But the buildings are just incredible. There's just so much to see on the outside, it would take me days to look at it all. There's also several statues and stuff in one of the squares, which was pretty neat. I'm really going to enjoy our time here. It was really disappointing to find out that one of the neat church buildings is closed due to restoration, as is the museum of the Duomo which contains a lot of well-known stuff. There's replicas of most of the Duomo stuff thoughout the city, but it's just not the same.

We had lunch on a hill overlooking the downtown area. It was really an awesome sight. I didn't take many pictures today because I know we'll be back, and I'm not sure how to survive on only 12 or so rolls of film left. We'll probably be buying some more before the end of our trip.

After lunch we visited a small church. Then everyone else went to the American Express office and a local internet cafe. Greg supposedly knows where these are now. I rode back to the villa then with one of the faculty here just because I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't take it one hour into the trip, but that was my first opportunity to go back. I had taken about a half-pack of kleenex with me, but it was gone after two hours of very conservative use. Let me emphasize how miserable I was for the remainder of the trip. :-(

I'm still really disappointed at how today turned out for me, and I'm still feeling horrible which is only making me really mad. It's really hard to see the screen, but there's not much else I can do now. Laying down on the bed gets old after a few hours.

Greg came back around 4:00 or so (about two hours after me) and we just laid in the room, trying to keep cool. We had gotten really sweaty from walking around in the heat all day, and both of us took showers when we came in.

Dinner was the same penne (or maybe ziti) pasta we had the first day. Still good, though! There was also some sort of chicken thing in a cheesy-cream sauce, which was good too. Oh, and classic mashed potatoes. Robbie had bought us all ice cream earlier in the day (stay away from the hazelnut chocolate--it's really odd), which was wonderful. I suppose it's a good thing we're doing so much walking. Between gelati and Nutella, I really need the exercise!

I hope to go into Florence tomorrow and use the internet cafe. We only have classes until lunch time, and then they actually encourage us to go to town. It's not like I really expected. They even encourage us to go after dark! Not very Harding-ish, but who's complaining?


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