24 hours in Florence Italy

Today I am linking up with the #sundaytraveler linkup! Thanks to Pack Me To! I spent six months living in Florence Italy and it quickly became one of my favorite places in Europe. It's quaint, but modern. Full of history, but full of life. And it made for the perfect place to spend a semester.

Pack Me To

Recently one of my friends was going to Florence but only for 24 hours! This isn't really enough time to explore everything, but it is enough time to enjoy a few of my favorite things. Here is what you should do if you find yourself in Florence for just one day!

1. Book tickets ahead of time to see David at the Academia: It is a once in a lifetime chance to see this incredible statue.

2. Climb to the top of the Duomo: When I lived in Florence, I could see the Duomo from my window, but it wasn't until my last day there that I actually climbed it. Stunning views inside and out.

3. Explore the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens: This was one of my FAVORITE places in Florence to relax and explore. It was the residence for a Grand Duke of Tuscany and there are museums within the palace. The gardens are the real show stopper though!

4. Walk to the Ponte Vecchio: This a bridge over the Arno river that has a handful of little jewelry stores all over it. It offers a beautiful view of Florence and is a fun shopping destination.

5. EAT, EAT, EAT: Florence is obviously known for their food. You can find a million great places to eat, but a few of my favorites are La Giostra, Il Latini, and da Nerbone for a Bolito Sandwich. Of course, don't forget to hit up Grom (or any gelato place) after you finish eating!

Now I know I skipped quite a few amazing places in Florence (the Ufizi gallery for one), but if I had only 24 hours in Florence this would be my schedule. It's such an amazing city full of amazing people. I hope you enjoy! Ciao!

Visiting the Blue Grotto in Capri

I absolutely love water, so when given the chance to experience some of the world's most beautiful water in the Blue Grotto, I took it! The trip is definitely touristy (and expensive), but I just can't imagine going there and not seeing it! The tide was a little high that day, which means you had to lay down to enter the grotto. I  was a little scared...

But soon enough we were inside and it was magnificent.

The camera I had five years ago does it NO justice. The water is beautiful and glowing like nothing I've ever seen. This experience may be overpriced but it is not overrated.

Don't go all the way to Capri and miss out on the Blue Grotto!

The joys of travel: Connecting with people

To say that I act differently when I travel is a HUGE understatement. When I'm at home, I like to be at home, work, visit with my friends and generally live a quiet, homebody-ish life. Because I work from home, I often really crave human interaction outside of my employees and my husband. Yet, when I'm home in Austin I still have trouble connecting with new people. I find when I meet new people I often don't spend much time getting to know them. For some reason, it's really hard for me to connect with people when I'm home. When I'm traveling, it is a totally different story. I crave meeting and getting to know people. I actually seek out actively connecting with new people. Like Armando, the owner of a sandwich shop I ate at everyday the entire six months I was in Italy.

Or these schools girls in China, I met during my trip through Shanghai. Even if we don't speak the same language I love just seeing them interact and experience life.

I also love learning from new people, like our tracker from Londolozi, Derek.

Derek helped us find and experience the most amazing animals while we are on safari. He also somehow talked me into taking a picture right by the hippos (an animal I am very, very afraid of). He promised to bring the rifle with him just in case, but as you can see in the picture, he lied :)

I can only hope that on my next adventure I continue to meet new, amazing people who open my eyes to new world views, customs, languages, ideas and more.