little sarah Big World

Florence, Italy, in 10 Pictures or Less

What? I like to limit myself to a certain number of pictures per post so that I can be sure I’m offering you guys la crème de la crème, French-ly speaking. Does that make me a big dork? YES. And you love it.

(Scroll over the pictures for more info, friends; I don’t want to ruin the aesthetic)










Okay, so maybe it was 10 pictures exactly, no more, no less. Whatever. Did you see the part about the secret bakery, though?! It’s like a speak-easy, but for baked goods. At 3am. When I told Kevin this he freaked out as much as I had, and we might have to move to Italy as a result.

A Tale of Two Cousins*

One of the biggest bummers about growing up, for me, is that it becomes increasingly difficult to make new friends. This is a perennial theme. I miss the instant, easy friendships from grade school–nervously meeting somebody new, chatting happily, discovering that you have tons in common (you both have Lisa Frank journals, for example, or maybe you both have major crushes on Jonathan Taylor Thomas). Then the next thing you know, you’re having sleepovers, sharing your deepest, darkest secrets, and jumping on the trampoline in her backyard. You know, friendship stuff.

I’m not saying that sort of friendship chemistry is impossible in adult life, just rare. Extremely rare. The last time it happened for me was with Mel, freshman year of college, and that was largely due to the fact that we lived in the same room, practically.

Until…until my uncle got re-married, and I got a new cousin, Misty. And we both lived in Europe. And we both had BA’s in English. We had both gone back to school for a second degree, and we had both played the violin at one time or another, and we had similar worldviews. And similarly complicated family arrangements.

So just like that–click!–instant friends. New cousins. And on this recent trip to Florence (to visit her), we really did just seem to understand each other, to be able to relate well and compare our similar experiences.

Misty & Me - Florence, Italy

I’m not going to lie, friends, it’s pretty fricking amazing.

But not as amazing as how much stuff I crammed into that tiny little Longchamp for a 3-day weekend in Italy.

So just keep all this in mind while you’re looking at my vacation pictures, okay?


*I do not want this post to in any way diminish my already cousin, Emily, and the awesome connection that we have, and our years as pen-pals, secret spies, whisky drinkers, and koala lovers. So now I have two awesome cousins, both of whom speak Italian. Guess I’d better get on that.

Parisien Sandwich

Friends, getting to Italy was INTENSE. Let me tell you about it. My flight was at 8:30 in the morning, but it was at the far-out Paris airport (Beauvais), which meant that to get there I was obliged to take a 15€ shuttle at 5:30am, and to get to THAT I had to take a Parisian night bus with drunk Algerians who wanted to harass me (“My dick, in your mouth”), a number of exhausted youths on their way home, still dressed to the nines, and a junky who shook and chattered so frighteningly that I chose to stand the full 30 minutes rather than face him. All that was at 4:40am.

Bright side: I got to hang out with Gianny again! (A sweet thing he said to me in an e-mail: “I’m going to be expecting you at home before taking you out on the town.”) Because OBVIOUSLY I’m going to spend the night in Paris for a morning that starts so early. And by “spend the night” I mean “stay-up-hanging-out-with-Gianny-and-riding-bikes-through-the-city-and-drinking-hot-toddies-with-new-friends-in-an-old-apartment-and-then-walking-around-talking-world-travels-until-3:45-am-and-then-‘nap’-until-it’s-time-to-catch-the-night-bus.”

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” I told myself. Here’s some pictures, though:

graffiti @ the austerlitz train station

drinking wine with my "little sister" from Tours

out for a walk with Gianny, 3am

I forgot to mention that I rode the train from Tours to Paris with Elizabeth, who is has the same home-stay as me, and her friend Sam. Without even knowing it! (A thing I actually said to her: “What are YOU doing on this train?”) They were heading on to Nice on a night train (Harry Potter, y’all), and therefore had wine (naturally), which they shared with me. In the train station. (Also naturally).

Then, on the way BACK from Paris (post-Italy), I was supposed to have gone straight from the airport to the train station to “home,” but my flight was delayed, and then the shuttle (another 15€) had a beeping problem that called for highway-side assistance (shenanigans). So I found myself with 2 hours to kill before the next train.

I entertained the possibility of being grumpy about it, then I realized that I was in Paris, with the worlds smallest carry-on (Mary Poppins, y’all), and two hours to explore the city. ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, FRIENDS. Or, re-frame. I walked around, ate a baguette sandwich, took pictures, asked for directions, mailed a postcard, and went to McDonald’s. Yup.

The City of Light at Dusk.