Sunday, February 28, 2010

Assisi + Rome-again

Alright, this entry may be a novel.... Friday we took a field trip to Assisi. What is there to say about this city, it was beautiful. The weather was kinda rainy and seriously windy at one point in the day, but other than that it was nice and the sky looked, well, awesome. ((I've formed a new obsession for clouds, don't ask.)) We saw the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, as well as many other churches, buildings + piazzas in the small town. There was so much that Marco had to say throughout the day, it was very cool. And the bus ride there and back was gorgeous, I'll post pics I took from that part too. Soo then comes my favorite part yet.... Saturday morning, my roommates and I all decided to get up early and take a train to Rome for the day to see the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's. And okay, I've been just dying to see the Basilica of St. Peter's in person for years now, so needless to say I was more excited than I've been in, well, years. I had dreams about it the night before.. anyways. We got to Rome at a little before 9am and we went straight to the Vatican Museum first and spent hours walking through it. (The 5 of us kinda split up cuz 2 of the girls were staying the night, so it was just myself, Brooke and Alyssa the whole day.) We finally got to the Sistine Chapel after going through a maze of museums, I swear we were starting to wonder if the place actually existed it took so long. But it was packed with people like you wouldn't believe. Unfortunately photography wasn't allowed inside the chapel. But we stayed and stared for a bit, and our necks hurt upon leaving. And at that point it was about one o'clock, we were supposed to meet up with the other girls at 2, so we kinda hung out outside for a bit before going to our meeting place-St. Peter's. By the way, it was 60 degrees and amazingly sunny and gorgeous outside all day. (Basically I was just in shock the entire day.) So we started to walk to St. Peter's, and I couldn't really breathe the whole way there. I could (did) take as many photos as I want of this and every other amazing building but when it comes down to it, nothing's gunna be as good as when you see it in person. This applies to everything I've seen here so far. So I'll just say that seeing St. Peter's was a dream come true. We wanted to see the Basilica at around 5pm when it's starting to get dark outside, so once we took a few (a ton for me) photos, we got some lunch, went back to Piazza Navona and the Pantheon for a second time, basically just walked around Rome enjoying the afternoon for a bit, and then headed back to St. Peter's at 5. Here's where it started getting a little crazy... We got back to St. Peters and went inside where there was a mass in session, (and oh my heavens, the interior is just as spectacular..) and we figured we'd stay until 6pm cuz we had a train to catch at 7. Once we got inside, however, all 3 of us realized that it was actually 6pm at that time and not 5pm like we thought...?! Not sure how we forgot how to read time and lost an hour. We also realized once inside that the mass that was in session was a 'special ceremony', as the guards told us, and they weren't sure when the church was closing. So we figured we'd hustle through the inside, take as many photos as possible, and head to the train station to catch the LAST train back to Orvieto for the night... We went toward the papal alter & the baldacchino, where mass was being held to take more photos, and we're still not sure what the special service was about, but we may or may not have seen the pope while we were there. Yeah, we're not exactly sure. So we left & started booking it toward the subway station to take us to the train station, and when we got to the ticket machines, they brought up No Seats Available for our 7pm train... So us 3 are thinking we're stuck in Rome for the night, but we got in the very long line to ask an assistant just in case, frieking out the whole time by the way, and when we finally got to the front we asked the very kind old worker man if he spoke English (cuz at this point we were all so frustrated and grumpy that we didn't even want to try speaking Italian) and he told us to try Italian. So I spat out some Italian phrase asking if it was possible for us to get back to Orvieto that night, and he found a train that left an hour later that stopped there. We were so relieved we were able to go home since for a while we thought we'd be roaming the city of Rome all night long until the first train in the morning left!! So yeah, we had the longest day of our lives, we went home after one incredibly successful day, and that is the end of this entirely-too-long story.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Throughout this semester, we have a few longer field trips--meaning longer than just a day. Our first one was a trip south to Pompeii this past week. We went Wednesday morning and returned yesterday (Friday) late afternoon. We travelled by bus, which was a nice change from the train, and we stayed in a pretty decent hotel just in walking distance to the main Pompeii area. We stopped Wednesday on the way in Herculaneum and saw a bunch of ruins.. It was very close to Naples, which is pretty trashy & sketchy, so.. Wednesday night a group of us went to our professors' favorite restaurant and got amaaaazing pizzas, it was a pretty nice restaurant and it was just so good that Alyssa Paul + I went back the next night too... Then we saw Pompeii roman ruins on Thursday--got a lot of cool pictures, and Friday we stopped in Caserta and saw the Royal Palace, which was awesome! (Seriously, if you don't know it-look it up. cuz I didn't take my camera in on account 'a it was mostly inside + then raining when we left...hard. But it's gorgeous.) Seeing all the ruins was pretty incredible & neat cause our two professors have pretty much spent their lives studying & exploring all of them. They were very knowledgeable. The ruins are thousands of years old, and much of what's been uncovered is not even half of what's all burried... (the pic is from Pompeii) For those who are reading and don't know about the pictures I've been posting to my web albums, you can see those through this blog site, I just added the link it should be at the top right. Also, random, but I just wanted to mention how different it is to go grocery shopping here, because I just went. I mean, I've talked about the weekly market already, so that was this morning. But going to grocery stores is an adventure. Sometimes they charge if you need a bag, so we often bring our own, and they just kinda throw your stuff down the end of the counter and you have to bag it yourself and pay. It can be flustering. My roommies and I just this afternoon went down to a large grocery store at the bottom of the hill of Orvieto called COOP (pronounced co op), which you have to take this little tain-like thing that takes you down the hill, called the funiculare-it's really cool. The weather has been funky today too.. It was nice when we went down, but when we came out of the store there were some serious storm clouds brewin above Orvieto, and by the time we got back up near our apartment it was raining pretty good. And now its sunny. But yeah, that's about all I got now. Here's a cool pic from the last night in Pompeii downtown. Oh yeah, and lastly--I'm going to Milan and Switzerland for spring break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

non lo so.

I should've written something on Sunday, but I've been procrastinating... So basically last Friday was our day trip to Florence for the second time. We went to the Uffizi Museum--one of the most famous art museums. It was a pretty quick day, but of course our Friday day field trips are always pretty exhausting since it takes a couple hours by train to travel there + back, so we leave pretty early in the mornings and by the time we get back it's about past dinner time. However, the long day in Florence apparently didn't stop a bunch of us from going out Friday night to a local Orvieto bar-where we have all become close acquaintances with the bartenders-and where they had a live band playing music, and we danced... Then Saturday morning was our cooking class with Chef Lorenzo!!! Which started at 8:30am and it was awesome! (As tired as I may have been) The group of 21 of us + our 2 professors were split into two cooking class groups--one on Thursday, and one Saturday. And all of us actually had a wine tasting class thing after the Thursday group's day of cooking. Lorenzo is a world-famous chef, and he has a restaurant Zepplin's right down the street from my apartment in Orvieto that is phenomenal. We started the morning off with shots of Grappa and a glass of Champagne, we all went to the market to get the food we were going to make, then we went back to the restaurant and were all assigned to cook a different thing (I made bread) and we drank wine and ate an awesome lunch of homemade pasta, pizza, bread, wild boar, and a delicious cake! The meal ended at like 4pm with yet another shot of Grappa, and espresso+Sambuca...... I mean, needless to say I went home and slept for several hours. And THEN, since we had been cooking with the several chefs at the restaurant all day, who happen to be Americans, they invited us all to go to a dance club with them that night after they got off work which was down at the bottom of the hill from Orvieto. So when we woke up from our day-long-cooking-coma later that evening, we got ready, painted our faces + dressed up all crazy (since carnevale was still going on here until today) and went to this dance club at like 1am!! Oh, and we got a ride TO the club from Chef Lorenzo... What?!! It was epic. Everyone at the club had on costumes like it was Halloween. And we danced, and danced alllll night long. It was the best, most crazy time I've had since I've been here. And there are only more nights to come..... :) We leave tomorrow morning for Pompeii & will be there until I will write again after that!

Monday, February 8, 2010

trip #2

So last Friday (the 5th) was Florence, where to begin... Well besides the fact that it was kind of a bummer as far as weather, it was awesome. We went early Friday morning like all weekly field trips, and a group of about 9 of us stayed the night in a hostel, and came back to Orvieto Saturday evening. It was tiring but so fun, it was rainy and cloudy the whole time so the pics I got have white skies, and we all felt pretty disgusting after walking for two days in the rain with no showers. But it was still incredible and so worth the stink. I lost my umbrella somewhere along the way though, and had to buy a new one for 3 euro. oops. The hostel was nice and cheap for all of us. And the last place we stopped at on the field trip part of Friday morning was Santa Croce, and in the Piazza in front of the church was a huge chocolate convention! It was fantastic. We were all in awe and in a very intense sugar coma later that afternoon! Marco explained how the city's name, Firenze, means the 'city of the flower', which I thought was beautiful. The only thing that was somewhat disappointing about the city was how many english speakers were there... That must be one of the most popular cities for americans to study in or something!! The shopping was just outrageous... I made a couple purchases, as did everyone else... (Don't worry mom+dad, I'm watching my budget! ;) ) We all then woke up Saturday morning, checked out of the hostel, and went to the top of the Duomo (the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore). There were 460+ stairs to climb, it was an adventure, but once at the top it was AWESOME!!!! It was so cool to not only see but CLIMB to the top of a famous duomo we've studied & learned so much about. Brunelleschi is a God, and my life is complete. Or at least it will be after this semester..... I'm off to help out at yet another dinner party in my kitchen :) life. is. good.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

progetto uno completo

We all finished our project #1 tours this week for studio. It wasn't a difficult project at all, but it was a nice short beginning project relating to Orvieto. Each group had to make a one page map with the tour route + sketches + info. Paper sizes in Europe are funky, they don't have 11x17 so it's different. It was cool to go on all the other students tours cuz we got to see spots I haven't been to yet. I still can't get over how breathtaking Orvieto is! It's just so cool to be raised up so much higher than the surroundings and seeing everything below & surrounding the hill, which makes for some spectacular views. The school + classes here are so relaxing. None of us have been worrying about school at all, it's just such a nice change from all the classes, studio + stress we've all been through the last few years. We're all just so happy to be here! We are going to Florence in the morning, and some of us are going to stay the night in a hostel tomorrow night. I'm pumped. And also my roommates and I just discovered a wireless internet connection near our apartment that we can connect to which is awesome!! Now I can get online at home instead of going to the bar all the time! By the way, the tiny tv we have in our kitchen has very few, very Italian channels, and so we frequently watch mtv and they have the craziest music videos--some Italian, some in english!! Hilarious.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rome.. my first time.

Our group took our first field trip of the semester to Rome on Friday.. Oh my goodness, there are no words to describe it! Pictures don't come close to what you see in person, and all those history classes didn't prepare any of us for how amazing everything is there!! It's beautiful, first of all.. A little trashy/sketchy in some places. But seeing the many many ruins and remains was incredible.