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Mason in Italy

The Louvre, the Lock Bridge, and the Next Step

There’s no time for sleeping in on vacation. Not in Paris. On day two we forced ourselves to wake up early enough to beat the crowds at the Louvre. Our alarms buzzed at 8am. Snooze. Our first day exploring we were up and at ’em by about 9:30am. The line for the Louvre around then was nonexistent, so our groggy morning minds figured we could sleep until 9, leave the hostel around 10, and be one of the first in line at the Louvre by 10:15. Not true. We got […]

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The Parisian Paradise: Sipping Wine Underneath the Eiffel Tower

Excited to venture into one of the world’s most famous cities, Megan and I woke up early and made a quick plan for the day. Our goal? Explore. We had three full days here– still a short amount of time, but enough to not feel too rushed. We knew our first goal was to see the Eiffel Tower. Paris is centered around the Seine river, and it acted as a landmark for us to find our way around the city. Without functioning phones we first felt pretty damn useless. I’ve […]

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From Pisa to Paris: Learning to Navigate the World

Extensive traveling is equally exciting as it is exhausting. People post incredible photos online of their picturesque getaways, showcasing the absolute highlights of their vacation. But what’s not shown are the endless lines outside of bathrooms, the labyrinth of different train platforms, and the groggy travelers hectically pushing through the masses trying to catch their next ride. Megan and I set off from Florence for a ten day journey; Train to Pisa, then fly to Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, and Milan. Then we would catch a train from Milan back to […]

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The Island of the Sun

Located south of Italy and just north of Africa, Sicily is one large melting pot of different cultures and cuisines, providing an eclectic mix of Italian, Greek, and Arabic influences. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a week in a small town located on the more Greek influenced west side of the island, named Taormina. A colorful coastal city that’s nestled in the foothills of Mount Etna, they have a culture and dialect completely different than that of Florence. Waist-deep water in some areas. Typically sunny […]

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Cinque Terre: Cliffside Beds & Beautiful Views

Megan and I have always sought out our next new adventure. Being the high-speed Army individuals that we are, hiking the trails and cities of Cinque Terre on the coast of Italy seemed like the perfect destination. However, we wanted to go the extra mile with adventuring this weekend– rather than booking a hostel or AirBnB for sleeping accommodations, we opted to make use of our hammocks and sleep outside. We stuffed our rucksacks to the brim with just the bare necessities: hiking clothes, sleeping bag, hammock, camera, and toiletries (don’t […]

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3 Days & 30 Miles

Although Florence is a relatively small and compact city, by the end of the day your feet will be throbbing and sore. Unless you are courageous (or crazy) enough to cruise the streets on a Vespa, getting from point A to B means walking. The past 3 days our group has been given practical and historical tours to familiarize ourselves with the city and its vibrant past. I would highly recommend skimming the Wikipedia page of Florence and its humble beginning by the Romans, some 2000 years ago. There is such […]

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Ciao!

After nearly twenty-four hours of travel and sleepless flights, I touched down at the Aeroporto di Firenze. The weather was surprisingly sultry, but not uncomfortably so. My roommates and I squeezed into a small Prius taxi, giving the driver our new Florentian address. The driver shifts from neutral to first gear, and we take off with surprising speed. It’s difficult to describe the streets of Florence. It’s as if the city were modeled after a toddlers crayon scribbles on a piece of paper. The roads twist, bend, and turn in […]

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