Our second stop on the whirlwind tour of Europe was Florence, Italy. Florence was my favorite city of the entire trip. Rome, though a beautiful and impressive city, was just a little too touristy for my liking. Florence, on the other hand, was much more relaxed and seemed more authentic to me.

So, while in Florence, we made sure to see all of the necessary sites as well as some off-the-beaten track ones. The hostel we stayed at had two free walking tours that covered pretty much the entire city so we took full advantage of that. You, of course, cannot leave Florence without seeing the David statue in the Accademia museum. I had been looking forward to that moment for a long time so standing beneath the statue was beyond words. You aren't allowed to take pictures, but I have a very strong visual memory to make up for it. Another must-see is The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, more commonly known as the Duomo. Since my friends and I are strong, healthy, and good-spirited young adults, we decided to climb to the top of the Duomo. I lost count on my way up, but I believe there are almost 500 steps. Though a bit of an endurance test, the view from the top of the Duomo is absolutely worth the climb. The view was stunning! Pictures do not do this scene justice, though, so I can only strongly urge that you see it for yourself!

I could go on and on about this place, but because there are more cities to describe, I will simply post some fun pictures.

The Duomo.

The Little Pig has a very shiny nose because people rub it for good luck and to make their wishes come true. I certainly had a wish or two so I had to take part.

Ponte Vecchio. If I remember correctly, our tour guide said it was the Bridge of Heaven for women and the Bridge of Hell for men for the same reason: jewelry shops. Several.

Another must: gelato! We made sure to get enough gelato to truly be able to determine whether it was good. Final decision: It's amazing! This gelateria was our favorite.

To get from Florence to Paris, we had to take a flight out of Pisa. How perfect! Before our flight, we made a side trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and took plenty of crazy shots. It was such a funny sight. Hundreds of people were taking their turn, coming up with unique ways to pose with the tower. Here is a normal one of us, but not to worry, we have a fair share of our own crazy shots.