Adventures in Italy: Week Two

Here’s to another incredible week spent in Italy! I truly couldn’t love it here more and I am so thankful for all of the memories I’m making and experiences I am getting to have. Read about my week below!

DAY 8

On Saturday morning, Annabelle, Jessalyn and I packed our bags and headed on the train towards Cinque Terre! Since we have our weekends free to travel we had done some research regarding where it was exactly we wanted to go the most. The train ride was fairly short and once we got there we dropped our bags off at the air bnb + headed to the second of the five cities, Manarola! We had received a good lunch recommendation so we decided to eat here in this town. The restaurant Trattoria Dal Billy was amazing, but it was quite the hike to get there. Sitting on the opposite side of the city from the rest of the restaurants and shops, we had to go up so many staircases to get there. But— the view was BEAUTIFUL + I don’t think we regretted the trek because the food was just that good.

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The city of Manarola was one of the most breathtaking little towns I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. After lunch, we walked around some shops, watched locals cliff jump, and after awhile we headed up the other side of the mountain to a little appetizer/ hang out spot called Nessun Dorma. The view from this restaurant cannot even be compared to any other spot in this town, we LOVED just sitting here and enjoying the scenery around us. Not to mention they have little water misters to cool you down because it’s so hot. 10/10 recommend.

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After visiting Manarola we headed to the next town, Cornigilia! While this town didn’t have quite as much to do as Manarola, I thoroughly enjoyed how simple + quaint it was. Once again, the views were stunning everywhere you looked and we loved just walking around and exploring. We got gelato from Alberto Gelateria and it was some of the best I’ve had yet here in Italy.

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After Corniglia we took the train to Vernazza. This town was bustling and had so many options to eat right along the beach with an amazing view. We had dinner here, enjoyed the sunset, and before the train came for us to go home we went stargazing. The air bnb we stayed at in La Spezia was so sweet + we were all so exhausted from the busy day that we immediately fell asleep when we got there. Traveling is so much more exhausting than I ever realized, but so beyond worth it!!

DAY 9

Since we didn’t make it to the first city of Cinque Terre yesterday, today we headed straight to Riomaggiore! We had an amazing breakfast + Annabelle tried fried seafood in a cone. The view from the marina was beautiful + we even contemplated taking a boat tour to see the town from the sea. Because we had so many other towns we were anticipating visiting we decided to skip out on the tour but still loved admiring the view here. I love Cinque Terre because each little town is so different and unique but they all tie together in the sweetest way.

After exploring Riomaggiore a bit more, we headed back to a Manarola!!!! This town is by far our favorite of the five as there’s just something so special about it, none of us wanted to leave! We grabbed a bite at Nessun Dorma again and chatted with the workers who were pleased to see us back again. The view just never gets old here.

From Manarola we headed to the last city of the five, Monterosso Al Mare! I had heard lots of great things about this spot but have to say we were not totally impressed. It definitely felt the most touristy out of the five as the beach was so crowded there were no chairs available and not a single spot to lay a towel. We grabbed some food at a restaurant along the beach and took turns going out to the water to swim. The water was SO blue and so refreshing after such a hot day and we had so much fun swimming around. We ended the day with gelato (are we seeing a theme here yet???) and then headed back to Genoa on the train. I’m so thankful for these friends who adventure with me and for all the memories we made this weekend!

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DAY 10

Today was my first day in the pediatric oncology department! This is one of the things I am most intrigued by in medicine and so I was thrilled to be placed in this specialty for the week. I got to do rounds with the doctors + they explained each case to me and then I got to do some research with them to better understand the type of cancer that each patient has. The doctors were so kind + I am so excited to see what else I get to learn here this week. 

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After my day at the hospital we had some free time before heading to the city center for a group dinner. I tried seafood pasta for the first time and it might be my new favorite. Since Genoa is right along the coast, their seafood is ridiculously fresh + so so yummy. After dinner we got gelato and I got a call from my brother who had just opened my letter from Alabama saying I got into nursing school!!!!! It was so exciting and I’m glad I was surrounded by my new friends who were so excited + happy for me. I’m so thankful to have been accepted and can’t wait to start this journey in the fall. After the gelato we walked around the city center for a bit before heading home to get some rest. What a day!

DAY 11

Today was another day in the oncology department with again more rounds, research, and a bone marrow biopsy. I just continue to learn more and more here as I spend more time in this department. The doctors are so wise + so helpful taking the time to translate and explain things to me. I really do wish I could speak Italian though! We have been so busy these last few weeks so after work I just relaxed and went to bed early to get some much needed rest before more shadowing the next couple days.

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DAY 12

Yet another day in the oncology department, I just continue to learn more and more about how this department runs and about different kinds of cancers. The doctors have had me do research about cancers I might not have already been familiar with and it’s amazing the information that is out there and how quickly I feel like I am beginning to catch on. Rounds might be my favorite part of the day because that’s when we visit patients and I love just getting to observe how the doctors and nurses interact with them. After shadowing was done, Annabelle and I headed to the beach and I was so content/tired that I fell asleep for a little bit. It felt so good to just relax and get some sun. Afterwards we headed to the grocery store and then made dinner before planning our trip to Nice + Monaco for the weekend!

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DAY 13

Today was the fourth of July! It felt so odd to not be in the U.S. on this day but I still had so much fun celebrating with friends in Italy. I had my last day shadowing in the oncology department today and then we had a group dinner at night. Marcos, our site manager, brought us to a BBQ + burger spot since it was the 4th and when we walked in they were playing dixieland delight. I felt so at home even across the world! I had possibly one of the best burgers of my life with a homemade gluten free bun. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this kind of food in Italy but it was absolutely amazing. Marcos even got us USA themed red velvet cupcakes as a little July 4th surprise. I’m so thankful for how intentional he was to make this day fun for us!

After dinner Annabelle, Gunner, and I headed towards the harbor and ended up watching a volleyball + basketball tournament that was going on then Annabelle and I road the ferris wheel at sunset! The views were AMAZING and I’m so glad we got to just walk around and explore this area for a little bit.

While we were wandering around and walking past the harbor we got invited onto a yacht to make homemade pizzas and hang out with the crew! They were all so nice and welcoming and we had so much fun! This was definitely a July 4th I will never forget.

DAY 14

Today was another “excursion” day with our entire group! Our site manager brought us to the town of Recco and gave us a little tour and gelato, then we headed to Camogli to go to the beach and kayak! Camogli was the cutest little town and it was so fun to swim there. The views of the city from the sea while kayaking were unbelievable and we had so much fun just paddling around all together. It was a pretty chill/restful day which I loved. Once we headed back we made dinner and got to bed early before leaving for Nice the next morning! I can’t believe I’ve already been here for two weeks now and I can’t wait to see what the next two weeks hold.