Kayla Sides is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A psychology major, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester through the custom program at Norco College.
In this week's post, Kayla talks about what it's like to wake up in the city of Florence as the sun peaks over the historical town.
It’s one thing to wake up every morning to the sounds and smells of Florentine life, but with a little more effort (okay, a lot more effort), you can experience it on a different level. If you didn’t know already, Italy is the home to an infinite amount of pasta… and pizza… and gelato… etc. See where I’m going with this? Let’s just say that it is extremely easy to give in to the carbs. So, to balance out our hungry habits, my roommate and I are pushing each other to go running every other morning. Our routine includes waking up at 6am, leaving the flat by 6:30am, and running about two miles. We run around the Duomo, along the Arno River, and up to Piazzale Michelangelo. I can easily say that this is my favorite activity here in Florence.
The moment I walk outside, the air is a little moist and chilly. The only other people I see are street cleaners or other runners. The street lights are still on, so it gives me the feeling that it is still night time. During the whole run it feels like I have the streets to myself and there is no one there to take them away from me. I find myself randomly chuckling to myself or smiling as I pass by a famous monument because all I can think is, "Wow! I’m running in Florence! This is my city!" Everything, in my opinion, is so much more beautiful at this time. All the buildings, the streets, the art… They bask in their beauty and authenticity. There are no tourists, trash, or any other distractions that can interfere.
On the way, I can’t help but stop on the bridge and look at the water of the Arno. With the blue and yellow from the almost-sunrise, you can see a reflection of the sky on the water. The only thing I can say about it is bellissimo. After crossing the Arno, we get to the slopes and stairs to Piazzale Michelangelo and Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte. If you ever go to Florence and need to do a “leg day”, you can run up here. As soon as I reach the top, I jump up on the railing, sit down, and patiently wait for the sunrise as I catch my breath. As I wait, I soak in everything that’s in front of me. From this point we’re overlooking the historical center of Florence. The air is fresh and the perfect level of cool. My adrenaline is pumping. Being able to relax in front of this view is beyond amazing.
Then, the moment comes when the sun peaks over the mountains. First, I look to my right and watch the sun slowly make its way up for a long day’s work. Then, I look to my left and watch the color of the city change from dark blue to a bright orange/yellow. The light shines on the far edge of the city and eventually covers it like a blanket from west to east. This is the moment when I become speechless - I have no words to describe what I feel. There’s just something that stirs inside me that makes me want to smile from ear to ear and jump for joy. I just want to scream at the top of my lungs, “I LOVE YOU FLORENCE!” It sounds weird, I know, but I can’t help it! This city is so beautiful, and waking up with it at sunrise is an experience that I will never forget.
I am so sorry to you, readers. I desperately wish that I could put all of my feelings and thoughts into words about this experience. Unfortunately, like the title states, I’m speechless. This post doesn’t do the experience justice! I really, really do hope that if you ever visit Florence, you will have the opportunity to watch the day begin here.
Kayla's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.