The Closet Challenge

The Closet Challenge

Lately I’ve been feeling like my space at home is shrinking. My space to store shoes, my space to hang my clothes, my space to store even my underwear and socks! It’s just plain and simple ridiculous, and a reminder that I have too damn much!

So, I told myself, “Nikki, you DO NOT need to buy anything else, like ever!” Now, I realize that’s a little extreme, and I’ve made myself a couple of exceptions, but for the most part I’m boycotting buying the following item types:

  • No more shoes – only exception is my brother’s wedding – of which I am a bridesmaid
  • No more clothes – this includes pants, tops, sweaters, dresses, skirts, shorts, hats, scarves…you name it. The only exception here is the dress I need to purchase for my brother’s wedding
  • No more purses – like really? I don’t need another purse
  • No more jewelry – again only exception is if it’s for the wedding

The second bullet is really the one that has brought me to think up this challenge for myself. I am going to challenge myself to not buy anything new (outside of wedding-related items),  for the next 6 months (beginning on July 1st – because don’t we always want a fresh start to also begin at the beginning of a new month?)

During those 6 months I will be encouraging myself to get creative with what I already freaking have! I’ll be sure to check-in weekly, to keep myself honest, and to post the outfits I was able to pull out of my bulging closets – yes that’s plural, (I have one enclosed closet, and one external closet), and chest of drawers.

At the end of those 6 months I’m hoping to have less money spent and a new appreciation for the wardrobe that already exists. The double whammy is the exciting idea that maybe, just maybe I’ll have also begun clearing out some of the clothes I’ve just been hanging on to (aka hoarding) instead of giving away to people who could use them.

If anyone is interested in joining me, I encourage you to post your updates and photos to my weekly blog posts and Instagram (Find me! Wishbonedreams). I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’ll be using #closetclutterchallenge and #closeteditor in both my blog posts and IG. If you post something on IG definitely hashtag it! I think it will be a fun way to motivate one another to not look at our closets every morning and say, ” I have nothing to wear!”

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Why Are Some People Meant to Cross Your Path?

Why are some people meantto cross your path-Why do some people cross our paths? Especially the ones who are here for a fleeting moment and then really, you’ll probably never see them again? I realize that for some of our relationships we know EXACTLY why that person was part of our lives – especially romantic relationships, friendships etc., but I continually have people enter my life for a very, very short amount of time. I find that these encounters seem to leave the biggest impact.

I’ve always thought that it’s meant to teach me something, right? I must have needed this person to enter my life at that very moment, right? It’s hard to know right away; if ever at all. I have experienced this more than a few times. It’s usually when my guard is down, I’m either on vacation or out and about doing something – distracted and not thinking about normal life stuff. These people enter my life, create a connection that I can’t say I have with anyone else, and as quickly as they enter, they’re gone. Sure, there’s FB and IG to stay connected (which helps with the sudden sadness you feel once you say goodbye to that person), but it often takes time to recover from the interaction and connection you felt.

I love meeting good people. People who have amazing personalities, they’re smart, respectful, funny, and just have a genuinely kind heart. I get too caught up in the rat race that is my commute everyday (and where I happen to be writing these very words), to a city I’ve come to try to avoid if I’m not working, to a  job that I enjoy but I’m unsure whether it’s my absolute calling, and then BOOM someone walks in and kind of flips a switch. You see things a little differently, from a different perspective and you realize maybe this isn’t what it’s all supposed to be about?

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I usually meet these amazing people when I’m on vacation. I have less worry, I’m in a better head space, and I’m more open to receive the good and let people in. I’m more open to be myself, smile more (a big one for me as I have a tendency to look VERY serious a lot of the time), and I’m just generally open for someone to engage with me. It’s become the thing I love the most about traveling. These people I meet are meant to touch my life at that particular moment (for whatever reason that may be), and me for them.

The downside, and the thing I don’t like about it is how empty it makes me feel when I have to say goodbye. It can actually be very sad. It’s like having this happy ray of sunshine that made you feel so warm and happy covered by a rain cloud. You’re left with this feeling of desperation to capture it again, but a few days go by and you’re back to your normal days, friends, lives and you slowly forget what that felt like.  The only thing I can say about this is to try your hardest to remember how good that feeling “feels,” and when you aren’t feeling so great think back on how amazing that was. It helps, it really does.

I often grapple with the reality that it’s clear that person wasn’t supposed to be a large part of my life, but they somehow left the biggest impression on me. I used to think I was the only one who got emotionally attached to someone’s genuine spirit upon first meeting them – and this goes for both men and women. I’ve had amazing connections with people who I have maybe met once or twice in my life. It’s like they’re a part of me – it’s a strange feeling. Most recently, someone made me realize it doesn’t just happen to me. It was reciprocated this time, so it felt differently – and maybe it’s been reciprocated in the past and I just didn’t know it – regardless, it impacted me.

I’ve read things about soulmates and how someone can have more than one in their lifetime. I used to think that was a bunch of garbage, but the more I travel and meet people from different places and different walks of life, I realize that those people who touch me and impact me so significantly are probably part of those many soulmates we all have out there just waiting to make that connection with us. And soulmates are in the form of both men and women. I think often times we think of a “soulmate” as the person we are meant to be with romantically. I personally don’t think that is the case. I feel like I’m sounding too “gypsy soul” right now, but it keeps happening to me. People need to feel connected to feel loved and alive, and we don’t always get that in our day-to-day, so when you experience a new place, somewhere beautiful, and you experience it with someone who starts out as a total stranger only to connect and have a great conversation, it’s hard to not think that person was sent to you for a reason. I like to think these people are sent to me in order to help me remember that I still have the ability to connect on that level, and that I can still feel loved and alive.

I’ve had long lasting friendships from almost everywhere I have traveled: Hawaii, Mexico, Las Vegas, Arizona…you name it. With most of the folks I’ve met on vacation I’ve been able to stay connected, and even visit some of them! The connections with these people are very real, and they’re very different than some of the connections I have with my closest family and friends, and for that I’m grateful. I am also thankful that I have the opportunity to travel, to be open enough to meet these wonderful people, and to be aware enough of the impact it has on me as a person, my life, and my world.

I’m sure some of these wonderful people I have met are reading this blog entry right now, so I thank you for enriching my life and making it just a tad bit more enjoyable!

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The Blog Turns One!

Wishbone dreams

It’s been a year since I started my blog! It flew by so fast so I thought it would be fun to share some blogging highlights from the past year. WordPress has some fantastic built in metrics and numbers to track. One of my favorites is the map that highlights all of the countries where people have read your blog!

Blog stats map

My blog has been viewed in 25 different countries! I think that is probably the coolest part about this experience is the ability to touch people as far away as Bahrain!

Some other highlights are listed below:

Top 5 most viewed blog entries

  1. Italy Adventures: Rome Edition
  2. 10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me
  3. Italy Adventures: Florence Edition
  4. Italy Adventures: Venice & Pisa Edition
  5. Italy Adventures: Tuscany Edition

I have to say, the travel blog entries having the most visits doesn’t surprise me. When I first started exploring the idea of having a blog I kept reading that there is so much pressure to decide what your niche is. It actually stressed me out so much that I almost didn’t launch the blog, however the more I read the more I found that some bloggers start out with a particular topic or niche in mind, and end up evolving and changing. So, I decided I would just write about the fun things going on in my life and see where it goes from there. What I found is that my travel blog entries received the most feedback and the most views. Now, if only I could figure out how to travel more often so I can share my stories with all of you?!

The one blog entry, that is a close contender to the number one most viewed (and comes as a huge surprise to me), is the “10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me.” When I wrote that I was in a bit of a writing rut and thought that it could be fun to share, and maybe some people might be interested, but I had no idea it would receive so many views! The beauty of having these insights is the positive reinforcement of what I’m sharing with everyone. If you like it, then I’ll continue to share it!

Total number of views

My blog has been viewed a total number of 425 times! This kind of blows my mind. While I realize that some professional bloggers out there have millions of views, and this may seem like chump change, it actually warms my heart. I really thought maybe 50 people would read my blog, so I’m grateful for those who have taken the time to read it, and humbled by it as well.

This entry is a bit short and sweet, but what I really want to say is thank you to everyone who reads my stuff! Writing is a passion of mine – always has been – so to have the opportunity to write for people (and that you all actually READ it) is a dream come true for me. So, THANK YOU!

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10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me…

10 things you probably don't know about me

Holy smokes! I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last entry. Life has been crazy – I am in my 4th week in my new role – and I’m enjoying it very much but that means a lot of long, busy packed days so when I get home the last thing I feel like doing is writing. So, to ease back into things I thought I would share 10 things that you probably didn’t know about me…

1. I have a deep fear of fire – I can pinpoint the exact time I suddenly had a fear of fire, and it may sound ridiculous but it was after watching an episode of Beverly Hills 90210, when Kelly is at a fraternity party and a fire starts in the house. She ends up trapped in the bathroom and sustains burns. I realize this is just a TV show, but for some reason it stuck with me – and still does to this day.

2. My zodiac sign (Cancer) describes me to a “T.” Moody? Check. Fiercely loyal? Check. Emotional? Depends on what it is, but check. Basically the cancer zodiac definition should have a picture of me next to it!

3. My favorite food growing up – Cheeseburgers…my favorite food growing up was cheeseburgers. It was what I always wanted my mom to make for my birthday dinner, and it was what I always wanted her to cook if I was having a friend over for dinner. And, to this day a really good cheeseburger is a strong contender to almost anything else.

4. I have participated in 3 half marathons – I hate the process, dread race day, hate recuperation but yet I always find myself signing up for another race. The first time I signed up for one was to really challenge myself. I had just embarked on losing a lot of post-break-up weight and it was a way to supplement working out with my trainer. I think I continually sign up for half marathons because of what it symbolized for me back then. It does feel like an amazing accomplishment once it’s over though!

5. The scariest day of my life – Was the day my Dad went into surgery for his heart transplant. You kind of just don’t know what is going to happen. That day was the longest 12 hours of my life. Well, if I’m being inclusive – I’m sure it was the longest day of my family’s lives as well.

6. I see a psychic/medium on a semi-regular basis – I don’t tell a lot of people about this because I know so many people think that stuff is crazy, or witch craft or whatever, but I have a genuinely legitimate person I go to – and I’ve had friends go to her as well. I usually see her every year or two just to check-in…especially if I have things in my life I’m unsure of. If you want her name – let me know!

7. I was on the teacher route before I landed in my current career – Before I decided to stick to communications and writing I was well on my way to being an elementary school teacher, but decided that wasn’t going to be quite for me and chose communications/writing. So far it’s been a good, lucrative career, and I haven’t regretted that choice (yet).

8. I have to completely psych myself out before I speak in front of a crowd – I know, I know, I know – this seems weird, but my confidence is shot when it comes to having all eyes on me. I try to be very unassuming, I’m quiet when you first meet me, and it takes a while for me to warm up to you. I’ve even been told I’m somewhat unapproachable. So, as you can imagine getting up in front of a group of people to speak is often the last thing I want to do. But, I’ve also been told that once I’m up there doing it they would never have known I was freaking out leading up to it. Go figure?!

9. The oldest pet I ever had was 17 – It was my cat Allie aka Allie-boo-boo. By the time I had to say goodbye to her I was 30 or so and I had had her for half of my life! We rescued her from a neighbor’s garage. She had been abandoned and was the tiniest little nugget of a kitten. We nursed her back to health and she really became my baby.

10. I made/met some of my best friends in my late 20’s and early 30’s – This is not to say that the friends I still have from high school and college are any less important – I mean I still have relationships with a few – but the friends I have made in my late 20’s and early 30’s are most interesting to me because you really begin to come into who you are during that timeframe. I feel like the friends you make then are a piece of and a reflection of the life your leading. For example, the people I have run half marathons with – all friends I made in my late 20’s. The friends I travel most with now, I met in my late 20’s. I have seemed to have found my tribe over the last 10 years or so…

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How do you know if you’re good at accepting change?

How do you know if you're good at atI’m changing things up with this blog post to talk about change, and how do you know if you’re good at accepting it? There’s been a lot of it in my life these days, and I have learned that the only thing constant in my work-life and personal life is change. This is a notion I’ve come to realize through not-so-easy practice and adoption.

Right out of college in 2008, I was able to score a job in San Francisco working for a legal publishing company. It was unfathomable that I was able to get a job in June of 2008 right as the “bubble” was bursting and all hell was breaking loose, but I did. It wasn’t a great paying job (I made more as a nanny in college), but I looked at it as a step in the right direction – everyone has that one job right out of college right? However, the two years I spent at the publishing company I saw very little turnover in staff. I think this was due in part to how bad the economy had gotten. So, when I left the publishing company I was under the false notion that people stayed at their jobs for a long time – I had always stayed with an employer for more than 2 or 3 years.

When I was made the offer at the utility I work for now the opportunity was above and beyond what I had ever imagined. My salary was doubled, the benefits were fantastic, I was a year into grad school at that point in my life, and they offered tuition reimbursement. I had stars in my eyes! When I told the publisher I had accepted this unbelievable offer and I was giving her my two weeks, I’ll never forget what she asked me, “Do you not like it here? Are you not happy?” It never occurred to me that she might think that was the only reason I was leaving. I told her honestly that I loved working there, but what this other company was offering me was impossible for her to counter – at this point it wasn’t just the benefits but it was also the opportunity to further my career. That seemed to make sense to her, but I left feeling like I had just broken up with someone – it seemed so personal.

As you can imagine, that only added to my notion of “people don’t just leave,” and “people stay when they’re happy,” and “seeing the same people every day for two years is normal.” Boy was I wrong and tad naive!

I would say a short month into my position at the utility, the person who on-boarded me and was essentially my lifeline was leaving the organization with the Director she was supporting, who was being promoted to VP. That was my very first experience with change. I felt like I handled that one fairly well – I made friends with others who I knew I could reach out to with questions, and I was starting to get the hang of things so it was OK.

I stayed on that team for two years and within those two years, I went from supporting 3 directors, to one and I saw the team turnover about 85 percent. Instead of embracing the changes, I worried and questioned whether it was the leadership, or the work etc., as opposed to wondering if that type of change was normal and to be expected.

Eventually it was my time to move on and everyone was really excited for me. This was a very welcomed change for I was the one initiating it. I’ve learned over the years, that the changes which impact you the most are the ones you can’t control at all. These past 12 months alone have been the most change I have ever experienced and also the most challenging year of my career.

  1. I left a position I had been in for 3 1/2 years. It was a change I was making, and in hindsight I realize I was scared to make it but went for it anyway. The following impactful things happened : I attended my first staff meeting on the new team to find out the person who hired me was no longer going to be my boss. Shock of my life! I decided to make the best of it and roll with the punches. It was a rough go at first but I managed to figure out how to make the best out of a less than ideal situation – and still learn something.
  2. At almost my 1 year mark my entire company went through a major layoff – having to say goodbye to people I had worked with for many years was extremely hard.
  3. The manager whom I had worked so hard to establish a relationship with (and had finally established a decent one) announced she was retiring – this occurred about 2 weeks after the layoffs.
  4. Simultaneously I was in the process of interviewing for another position within the company – and I’m excited to say I accepted the position and will be embarking on yet another change – though at least I initiated this one!
  5. To top things off, while I’m transitioning my current work over to the person back filling for me, we found out our director and fearless leader would be leaving the company.

The changing tide was strong over these last 12 months. The strangest thing to come out of all of this is that I feel calm and I think I have finally come to terms with the fact that this is normal. Because I never thought I was good at dealing with change, I decided to look up some articles published and other thoughts around dealing with change (my sources are cited at the end of this post):

  1. Don’t stress out about stressing out – Our reaction to stress has a greater impact on our health and success than the stress itself. I learned this in two situations just this year. The first was my “freak out” moment when I realized my boss was not going to be my boss. My instinct was to call HR and rescind my acceptance – that was me stressing out about the stress that might come with having to establish another new connection with someone.
  2. Don’t expect stability – Expect these changes as a part of your story, rather than a tragic thing that will ruin your life. I’ve had to practice not being shocked over this past year, but I think eventually you just come to expect that everything is always going to be changing.
  3. You’re prepared – Those who live in a constant state of readiness are unfazed by change and step easily into what’s next. They don’t victimize themselves by wishing for different circumstances. They capitalize on change by having the foresight to be prepared for what’s headed their way. Remember, success will depend on your ability and willingness to adapt, not on everything staying the same. Plus, don’t we all agree that when everything stays the same it eventually gets stale and boring?
  4. You can re-frame – Visionaries don’t see their situations as a challenge, they see them as an opportunity even if they aren’t sure what the opportunity will be. Though I had the rug pulled out from under me when I found out my boss was not going to be my boss, I had to re-frame what was happening. I kept telling myself that as bad as it may have seemed at the time, I would be learning and taking something away from my experience.
  5. You give yourself permission to fail – Change means risk, which can be tough for the ego to handle if it’s been built upon a false premise that failure is or was never an option. I kept feeling like I made the wrong move 12 months ago, but I gave myself permission for it to be OK that I maybe didn’t make the most ideal career move. But quite frankly, we can’t always hit it out of the ball park.
  6. You move on from your mistakes with confidence – Do what you can to fix it, learn from the situation and how to do it better next time. Failure becomes a teachable moment that is a step toward self-growth, not their identity. Though I had a rough year, I’m leaving it with confidence because I took the curve balls thrown at me and tried my best to hit it out of the park (can you tell I’m a baseball fan!?)

I now find myself embarking on yet another change – of my doing – that I’m very excited about. I will be staying with my company, but leaving the organization I’ve called home for the past 4 1/2 years to join a team where I don’t know anyone, and become apart of an organization that I know nothing about. BUT, I’m excited, I’m embracing the change and I’m more optimistic about this move than I have been in a long time.

I will leave you all with this: every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind – the goal is to find it. I hope that what I’ve shared today will inspire thought around how you deal with change, what you could be doing to deal with it better, or to simply reaffirm and encourage you to continue accepting change in the ways that work best for you.

Ciao!

Nikki

Sources:

Harvard Business Review: “How to get better at dealing with change” by nick Tasler – September 21, 2016

The Huffington Post: “Saying ‘yes’ to what’s next – 4 signs you are a master at handling change” by Cy Wakeman – April 26, 2015

How to pack for a 10 day trip to Italy – in a carry-on!

10-day-trip-to-italy-in-one

So, I went back and forth with this. Do I check a bag, or do I just bite the bullet and carry-on? I started thinking about myself and how I would handle having to carry a large bag to multiple places (we didn’t stay more than 2 nights in the same place), and I realized how annoyed I would become with having to lug a huge bag around. So, I decided I would pack 10 days worth of clothing in a 20 inch carry-on bag.

How did I do it? Easy (so I thought)! If anyone knows me, they know that I research and prepare and plan – almost to a fault. So, as you can imagine I read a number of travel blogs and endlessly searched Pinterest for tips and tricks.

I started with 4 basic items: 3 pairs of pants (1 camel denim, 1 black denim, and 1 dark blue denim) and one black cotton dress.

I then added one bulky, comfy sweater, a denim button-up I wore this as a layer on the plane – so it was not added to the carry-on, 2 long sleeved shirts (one striped, and one dusty pink for a little bit of color), one long gray hooded cardigan and one nice black blouse to wear out at night.

It may sound crazy, but with all of these items I was able to put together 9 outfits! See below for the different combinations:

I did however run into some problems. I didn’t pack enough underwear. I know, I know, how the heck did I organize everything else and not include that? Well, simple…I was doing laundry before the trip and forgot to add a few more pairs to my suitcase. Mistakes happen, but underwear are also very easy to purchase, which is what I did 🙂

In the end I had to purchase a small carry-on bag for 20 euros to pack all of my souvenirs – and ended up checking my suitcase on the flight back. I thought that worked out perfectly and I had breakables in the carry-on I had purchased so it was easier for me to control in that sense. Plus, it was super cute:

carry-on-photo

As for accessories, I purchased a really cute beanie with a pom pom at a store in downtown Livermore, adorable nicely lined gloves from Anthropologie, a beautiful blanket scarf I purchased from Etsy (and it doubled as a great blanket on the plane!), and I wore my rain coat from Banana Republic the entire trip. It was pretty lightweight, but I think it was the perfect coat since you needed to wear layers – cold outside, and then transitioning to blistering hot inside. I put together a collage of the accessories mentioned above – these are not exactly what I took but similar.

italy-accesory-collage

For shoes, I packed my Tom’s tennis shoes, my Ralph Lauren brown flat boots, and for a little bit of height – and for going out at night – I packed my over the knee suede boots made by Dolce Vita (purchased via Nordstrom Rack online).

Hopefully this was helpful information. I know that when I was looking for tips and tricks resources such as the one I’m providing were super helpful!

Until next time –

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Our Italian Itinerary: Firenze, Roma, Pisa, Venice, Toscana…

Our Italian Itinerary.png

I’ve had a few of my readers ask for some of the locations, attractions, and Airbnbs that we used so I thought I would share our itinerary, where we stayed, how we got around etc.

Flights were booked through http://www.exploretrip.com. We were able to secure flights via Finnish Air, operated by British Airways, for under $800. We flew out of SFO landed in Heathrow, and then caught flight to Bologna. British Airways was fantastic. I have friends who didn’t have great experiences with them, but Kelly and I were more than happy with their service.

Getting to Stephanie’s apartment in Firenze (Florence): We had 2 options – take either the bus or train to Firenze S.M.N Train station:

Bus info: http://www.appenninoshuttle.it/: 20 euros or 25 euros onboard direct

NTrain info: First take bus to Bologna Centrale Station – cost is 6 euros, then take Trenitalia to Firenze S.M.N – Cost between 10-15 euros

Train info: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

Stephanie met us at the train station – since it was about 7:30pm we walked around Florence a bit, grabbed dinner and drinks.

Day 1:

  • Visit Accademia Museum – Booked for 10am (online)
  • Mercato Centrale for lunch – SO cool – I definitely recommend this, and for some reason it made me feel like I was in Seattle. It just had the vibe.
  • Climb the Duomo – booked for 1:30PM climb – take water and make sure you have your walking shoes on!
  • Walk around Firenze some more
  • Aperitivo – Drinks and a light buffet at Moyo: 10 euros (we did this twice! It was perfect)
  • Spend the night in Firenze

the-david-1

Day 2

Day 3

  • Check out Montepulciano some more little vilalges and visit Volterra
  • Drive back to Florence for a 5pm rental car return

tuscany5

Day 4

  • Depart for Venice by train (2.5 hour ride)
  • Purchased tickets online (via Italo)
  • St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Gondola ride – approximately 40 euros – plus tip
  • More sight seeing around Venice and St. Mark’s Square
  • Shopping
  • Took the last train back to Florence

venice-group-photo

Day 5

  • Take early train to Rome (1.5 hour ride)
  • Purchased train tickets online (via Italo)
  • Booked Airbnb for two nights: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2751075
  • Vatican Museum – purchase tickets ahead of time on the Vatican Museum’s website: 45 euros – you definitely want to purchase ahead of time to avoid the long lines for non ticket holders.
  • The Vatican Museum took up most of our first day in Rome. Grabbed some dinner, bought some wine at the little store below our apartment, and called it a night.

vatican2

Day 6

  • Colosseum first thing in the morning. We purchased the Colosseum tickets at the Colosseum, which also included the Roman Forum.
  • Toured the Colosseum, then met up with Stephanie and Diana for a walking tour of Rome, which included: Pantheon, Trevi Fountain etc. These tours are “free” but a generous tip is expected at the end of the tour.romanforum2

trevi-fountain

Day 7

  • Depart Rome in the early morning to head back to Florence
  • We were all so tired when we returned to Florence, we decided to take a nap, which turned more into a 4 hour nap, then got up to find something to eat, walked around the leather market and purchased gifts for our families and friends. This was basically our only down time – but was much needed and I recommend you build some of that into your itinerary.

Day 8

  • Depart for Pisa.
  • You really only need a couple of hours in Pisa so we purchased our train tickets at the station and took the 1.5 hour train ride to Pisa.
  • Checked out the leaning tour, grabbed some food and headed back to Florence via train.

pisa-1

Day 9

  • This day was used to finish up any shopping we still wanted to do. Walk around the leather market some more, and we climbed to the top of the Piazzale Michelangelo to check out the beautiful nighttime view (I look like I’m in front of a green screen – but I promise I’m not!)
  • Also, we decided to take a walking tour of Florence, which concentrated on the Medici family. It was quite interesting, and again it was “free” but a  generous tip was expected at the end.

firenze-2

Day 10

Headed home 😦 We took the bus directly to the airport (purchased the tickets the day before at the train station on our way back from Pisa)

Tip of advice for traveling back from Heathrow: We caught a flight from Bologna to Heathrow, and had about a 1.5 hour layover. THAT IS NOT ENOUGH TIME! Kelly and I almost missed our connecting flight – we literally had 7 minutes to get through security and clear to the other side of the airport. Going forward, I would not feel comfortable having anything less than 2 hours between flights.

I hope this helps! As you can see, we packed A LOT into 9 days, but it was well worth it! I think we saw the most out of the fewest number of days.

I wish you happy travels!!

Ciao!

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