Photos by Elizabeth Persons (Vanderbilt University) CET Florence, Summer 2018 In my CET course Renaissance Art and Architecture, we started off by talking about the competition between Ghiberti and Brunelleschi to see who would carve the new set of doors for the baptistry in 1401. This week we were able to go to the Bargello and actually see the two contenders’ actual submissions for this contest. I think it is really cool that we are able to learn about something in class and then walk a couple minutes away to actually see the piece that we discussed. Although we are able to see lots of the awesome museums around Florence, one that we couldn’t visit as a class was the Galleria dell’Accademia, which holds the original David by Michelangelo. There are plenty of copies around Florence in plain sight, like in the center of Piazzale Michelangelo, but it was pretty cool to see the actual statue. There are a lot of companies that run weekend trips out of Florence, like Bus2Alps. We went to Croatia last weekend where we got to go zip lining over the Cetina River. These trips are also great ways to meet new friends from other programs in Florence and Rome. On our way back home from Split, Croatia, we were able to stop at the Krka Waterfall National Park, the main attraction of which is this beautiful waterfall that we were able to swim in. Just a short train ride away from Florence is Pisa, which I decided to go visit after class on Wednesday (my class ends at 11am). I was able to climb the Leaning Tower which was a little scary but a good experience, and of course, I had to take the obligatory “holding up the Tower” picture. This weekend, I traveled (once again) with Bus2Alps on their three-city tour of Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg. The weekend was super-fast paced as we had three days to do three cities. This is the Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest, which we saw at the end of our walking tour of the city. In the evening, we had a dinner cruise along the Danube River in Budapest. The Danube actually splits Budapest into two parts, which are theoretically two separate towns, Buda and Pest. This is the Hungarian Parliament Building from the river. Here is another picture of the Parliament Building and one of the many bridges connecting Buda to Pest. I took this picture from the Chain Bridge which is the main connecting bridge across the river. Built in 1849, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge was the first permanent stone bridge to connect the two cities, and only the second bridge connecting the two halves. The next stop on the weekend trip was Vienna, Austria, which was probably one of my favorite places I have visited so far. After our walking tour around the city, I joined three other girls to visit the Hotel Sacher, where the original Sacher-Torte was created in 1832 especially for Prince Wenzel von Metternich. The torte is made of chocolate cake with layers of apricot jam and dark chocolate icing… So essentially, I ate cake made for royalty. On Sunday, on the way home, we stopped in Salzburg, Austria where I went on a Sound of Music tour. For those who have seen the movie with Julie Andrews (hopefully everyone), this is the garden where Maria and the von Trapp children sang “Do Re Mi”!! We also saw the lake that the children fell into, the house that they lived in, and the gazebo where Liesl and Rolf sang “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”. I highly recommend going to Salzburg if you are as obsessed with the Sound of Music as I am.