Postcards from Prato

Anelia Marston

 Lizzie McGuire Moment

It is only week two in Prato and it is already becoming increasingly difficult to balance the fun that is to come with being abroad and doing schoolwork. I have started to explore the city, and every day I find something new that I had no clue existed. For example, there is this dog shelter where can take a dog out for a 20-minute walk and then return it. Someone told me you can do this in America, but I think it’s so much cooler to do it in Italy.

Anelia in Florence, Italy (photo obtained via Facebook)
Anelia in Florence, Italy (photo obtained via Facebook)

I have also been exploring the river outside of the city. At first glance, outside the walls of campus, Prato looks a little bit like West Haven . The river is a great place if you’re looking for a spot away from the crowded city and just want time for yourself.
I had my first cup of gelato on Monday and I’m going to make the bold claim that it is 100 percent better than ice cream. I had stracciatella (vanilla with chunks of Nutella) mixed with strawberry gelato, so, basically, it was pure heaven. One thing that I have noticed here is that people really love their chocolate; I feel like they love it more than we do in America. The funny thing is, chocolate isn’t really chocolate here; it’s Nutella. So if you have a chocolate filled pastry, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be filled with Nutella.
I spent last Saturday evening in Florence. A lot of people speak English in Florence because it is such a touristy area and, let me tell you, it was such a relief! My friends and I shopped, explored, and, of course, ate some pizza. It was a great night; the only downside was that we messed up the train schedule. We originally were planning on leaving Florence around 10 p.m., seeing as a lot of the stores close around 7 p.m. for some reason. When we returned to the train station after our evening, we found our train and the time it was leaving was 10:30 p.m. Well after we waited for 30 minutes, we realized that there actually was no train leaving for Prato; the train was actually arriving from Prato at 10:30 p.m., not leaving. The only other train leaving for Prato that night was at 12:30 a.m.! We made the best of our time though. We spent the next few hours exploring the city at night, which was a blast, and when 12:30 a.m. came around, we made sure we were on our train home. We even met some Italian teenagers on the train ride home, so overall, it was a memorable experience.
As the semester progresses, we have begun to plan a lot of our trips. As I write this, I am on a train to Rome for the weekend. I am so excited to have my Lizzie McGuire moment and I am planning on finding my Paolo this weekend (if you have never watched the Lizzie McGuire Movie, I highly suggest you do). I will let you know how my quest for Paolo goes next week, but until then, ciao!