Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The capital of Tuscany was the birthplace of the Renaissance and to this day is a centerpiece of culture, art, and history. It is a city not to be missed during a visit to Italy. I found the city to be much more charming and quaint compared to it’s southern sister Rome. The surrounding Tuscan hills, vineyards, and old villages make Florence a central hub to a perfect week or more in Italy. Here are 20 pictures to inspire you to visit Florence!
My plan originally for the cloudy March day was to hop on a train to Naples to visit the famed archeological site of Pompeii. But two days after landing in Rome, my jetlagged body just couldn’t fathom the idea of waking up at 6am and traveling all day. So I chose my backup plan instead, Via Appia Antica, and it was a great decision! Located just outside the center of Rome, this nature and ecological park along one of the oldest roads in Rome makes for a splendid day of exploring!
The doors opened and we pushed our way out into the sea of people at the metro station. The dingy station opened onto a busy street where we caught our first glimpse of the Roman Colosseum looming above us. It really was a spectacular sight to finally see. I imagined how it might have looked like all those centuries ago; the stands full of Romans cheering, the clink of swords crashing as mighty gladiators fought, and the emperor presiding over them all.
“Hmm, it’s not as big as I imagined,” I thought to myself. Having visited two other wonders of the world already, I expected to be blown away. Yes, it was beautiful and looked exactly how I imagined it otherwise; I just thought it would be even bigger!
Paris is famously known as the city of light (or love), and for good reason. It is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. But it also has a darker side if you know where to look. From famous cemeteries to guillotines, Paris can suddenly seem very eerie with the right locations. If you are visiting in the fall (or anytime, really), here is an itinerary for a spooky Paris!
Call me basic, but I love all things fall. Pumpkins, autumn candle scents, cozy sweaters, and that cool crispness in the air that just can’t be properly described – I can’t get enough! No longer boiling hot, tan lines long gone, but not yet so cold that my face hurts. It’s my favorite time of the year! It is also the perfect time of the year to travel. And where better to travel in the best season than to my favorite city – Paris! Autumn is arguably the best season to experience the enchanting French capital. Paris in the fall should be on everyone’s travel list!
Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s largest game reserves, with a high density of wild animals populating its grounds. I spent one day driving through Kruger during my time in South Africa, and although I definitely recommend spending multiple days here, I was amazingly able to see the Big 5 all in one day!
Rhinos are still unfortunately being poached in South Africa. Their horns are sold on black markets because some people believe they have medicinal properties, when in fact the horn is simply keratin – the same substance that’s in our fingernails. Poachers brutally shoot and kill them, cut the horn off, and leave the dead animal behind. They’re magnificent creatures, and it’s horrible they’re being murdered…for keratin that has no use. The population of rhinos is dwindling, and they will soon be extinct if poaching continues.
I remember the first time I saw a “wild” animal. I was in kindergarten at the Tyler Zoo in Texas and my most vivid memory was watching the giraffes from a balcony. I wanted to get closer so badly! I ate my lemon Popsicle and imagined what the long-necked creature would feel like if I could touch it. That feeling never went away, and largely inspired my desire to become a veterinarian. So imagine my excitement when I signed up for a course with Wildlife Vets during my second year of vet school in none other than South Africa!
I first came to Chicago around 2 years ago with my little pup Roxy tagging along. She is the first dog I’ve had on my own, and it’s been fun discovering the city with her. Having a dog is great when you move to a new city, since there’s so many things you can do with a dog – and they’re great ice-breakers to meet new people. I recently brought my puppy Jack home to Chicago, and Roxy’s been hard at work teaching him the ropes of being a city dog. Here are a few dog friendly spots around Chicago that we enjoy on a regular basis!
In my third year of vet school, I went to a seminar during lunch. There was free food, and if you know any student, especially a vet student, then you know free food cannot be passed up. Anyway, it was a group of students giving a PowerPoint presentation on their volunteer experiences with World Vets. I was immediately intrigued. Hot off my veterinary trip to South Africa, I was just itching to travel somewhere new on my next semester break. Insert World Vets. What could be better than gaining surgical experience in an exotic location while helping local animals? I thought, “Sign me up!”