November 1st.Hard to believe that it’s been eight weeks since I left Canada for France and I have already seen and done so many, many things.

A week after my ‘one month anniversary’ in France, my family took me to Paris and it was beautiful…one of the most opulent places in the world, I would say. We went up the Eiffel Tower, had a bus tour around the city, saw Notre Dame, the Galleries Lafayette, a river cruise and of course-The Louvre! I’m still quite unsure of my favourite part of Paris, I was enamored with the city as a whole and would love to eventually live there for a small period of time if it’s possible!

On Tuesday, October 20th, we left France at six a.m., drove for about eight hours, through France and Switzerland to make to the North of Italy…Bergamo to be exact. Bergamo was a charming city, divided into two parts, one of which is atop a great hill with a funicular as the transport between the two. We stayed one night in Bergamo, then headed to a very small town by the name of Sirmiome, also known as Lago di Garda (Lake Garda). I absolutely fell in love with this place, it felt so warm, relaxing and welcoming! I loved it there, though we didn’t spend too much time there, just a single morning and then left for a quick drive to Verona… the city of Shakespeare’s Romeo&Juliette! The city was absolutely gorgeous! I saw the balcony of Juliette, the old Roman amphitheatre, the huge market in a courtyard part of the city just around the corner of all the shops and of course, the fortified castle! The castle bridge is always filled with small vendors selling everything from trinkets, to food to healing oils! Verona was fantastic and the food there was as well, I wish I could go back for more Gnocchi!

After two nights in Verona, we left for the city where we would spend the longest amount of time, VENIZIA!! I was so excited for Venice and it was most defiantly everything I had expected. There are no cars on the main parts of Venice, such as San Marco among the others and so we took the boat system to travel from the car and around Venice and it was truly breath-taking! We spent one evening and two full days in Venice, eating amazing food and hoping from island to island through the water transit system. Each island seemed to have its own unique speciality…Murano is world-famous for its magnificent hand blown glass and Burano is for its detailed lace and needle point work, both of which are very lovely and very cool to watch being made! Each building and mostly the churches in Venice were extremely, uniquely detailed and gorgeous, I would recommend seeing as many as possible! Absolutely incredible!

I found that Venice was at its most beautiful when the sun was setting and then at night. You can hear all the musicians playing to people outside of their restaurants, the lights glowing against the old cobble stone streets and just the feel that the Italian atmosphere gives is unexplainable, but beautiful! Once we finished in Verona, we headed for our final stop, Milano! Milano is the home of fashion week and a very old beautiful cathedral, known as the Duomo…and it’s massive! We walked around the outside balcony, all the way to the roof and were able to see the city from there, and below the Duomo was a huge archaeological exhibition for the cathedral! Milan also has the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping centres, it includes places such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel and Dior! The next day, we got up early and started our eight-hour trek back to Chaumont!

I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Italy and I can’t wait to go back there on Euro-Tour with the other exchange students! I really want to go back and do Rome, Pompeii and Sicily maybe! I am very grateful to my host family, The Osmonds, for bringing me with them to Italy and taking me to Paris! I’m having the best time and I can’t wait to go to Normandy and Sweden with them in December! Crazy to think that in just nine months I will be back in Canada, I can’t wait to see what those nine months hold for me! Stay tuned to find out!

Lago di Garda
Lago di Garda

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