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The Grand Tour by Russell Dye

I want to apologize for my tardiness with my blog posts. I have been having some computer trouble. My “logic board” crashed on my mac, whatever that is, but I now have it restored and I will start my blog from the beginning! Hope you enjoy!

Greetings, for those of you who do not know, my name is Russell D. and I am a horticulture student at the University of Georgia. I am going to be a third year next year. Currently, I am on the Grand Garden Tour with UGA’s Horticulture and Classics department.
I left Atlanta last week bright and early towards my way to Naples, Italy where the trip began. I flew from Atlanta to Chicago, Chicago to Dublin, Ireland, and finally reached my destination of Naples after a quick flight from Dublin. It was definitely a very long day and I did not receive much sleep. Luckily, I am on this trip with one of my friends so the flight was not too bad. Once we touched down in Naples, we hit the ground running. After three hours of sleep and some interesting airplane food, we were off to Pompeii, Italy.
We saw the ruins of Pompeii from the hands of Mt. Vesuvius. It was fascinating to learn that Pompeii was once one of the largest cities in Italy before the volcano erupted and destroyed the town and its people in 79 ad. We saw ancient artifacts that I could not believe I was seeing with my own eyes. It was one of the most fascinating places I had ever seen, but it was only day one of our trip. After Pompeii, we headed for Rome.
Once arriving in Rome, we were immediately thrust into the ancient city. Learning the public transit was tough at first, but we all eventually got the hang of it. I was excited to see the wonders of Rome that I had only seen on postcards in the past, and that is just what I did. I saw the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps all in one day. We flew through Rome but felt like we had been there forever. My favorite part of Rome was The Vatican. It was miraculous to see paintings like The School of Athens and the Sistine Chapel. I could not believe I was at one of the most Holy places in the world, and I was truly touched by the experience. After Rome, we were headed to Florence.
Florence was much smaller that Rome. It kind of reminded my of Athens. There were a ton of places to eat, a lot of shopping, and really nice people. We got to see the Statue of David, which was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. We saw some amazing gardens around Florence as well. The Villa Gamberaia was my favorite. The boxwood shrubs were perfectly cut, placed, and shaped around the garden. It was lined with beautiful Italian Cypress trees and perfected by years of garden magistracy. Florence was one of my favorite places on the trip so far and I will definitely want to go back in the future.
I am now on my way to France. We will visit Paris and a few other towns on the way as well. I hope France will live up to the fun and fantastic times I had in Italy. I am excited to see where this trip continues to take me and I am excited to continue to use my knowledge that UGA’s College of Agriculture has taught me abroad. This trip has been an extreme blessing so far and will continue to enlighten me along my Grand Tour.