Monday, October 27, 2008

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend me your Ears

Well, we just got back from Rome!

Rome was a very busy place, and we had a VERY busy weekend! I think we walked a culmination of about 30 miles for the weekend (friday-sunday).

We started our trip on Friday morning, taking the fast train from Florence to Rome. After we dropped our stuff off at MJ Hostel, we went to the Vatican where we had a tour of the Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. All of which are essentially connected by walkways, which is amazing! I have never seen so much beautiful art concentrated in an area like that before. To say that I have stood under Michaelangelo's fresco in the Sistine is something I never thought I would find myself saying.

(photo: standing near the Pope-hat fountain)

After that tour we walked all around Rome, finally ending at the Spanish steps (and there are a LOT of steps by the way). From there the group parted ways, and we all had dinner and gelatto and went back to the hostel. This was my first Hostel experience, and it was an interesting one. Our room was up like six flights of stairs and let me tell you that Roman stairs are VERY STEEP. The showers were grimey, but were a necessisty after walking that much! My bed was a sight for sore eyes except that it sloped to one side and that made for an interesting two nights sleep.

-- more pictures and the rest of Rome soon!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ciao Bella!

Well Hello! Last week was terribly busy! Lets start off by our guided Uffizi tour on Thursday by our wonderful Angela. Angela is a German women, who is fluent in German, English and Italian - and she is probably the most intelligent person I know! She is an Art Historian so she does most of our tours as well as our ILC lectures. I dont know how she stores all this information in her head but she does!

photo: Me in Lucca

Friday we as a group went to Sienna and San Gimignano. Sienna is a rival of Florence, and they were at war with each other for about 300 years. Finally Florence conquered Sienna, but the Sienne's still hate the Florentines. (Really, all towns are rivals- just because). Sienna was a beautiful little city with a unique and fantastic history! Everywhere you went in that town had the smell of good food being cooked and it definitely made your mouth water.

We then went to San Gimignano, and it was another equally lovely peaceful little town. San Gimignano sits on a hilltop, like most of the towns, and it had gorgeous view points of the valleys of Italy. I enjoyed San Gimi a lot better, and it was then when I realised how much I love being here and how much I don't miss the United States. Then I got pooped on by a pigeon and quickly changed my mind! After that though a group of us went to a torture museum which was really a waste of 6 euros because mostly it was just drawings of examples of torture.

photo: me in San Gimi with all the towers behind me

Monday, October 13, 2008

Highlights. . .

Everything is going well here in Florence and I am commencing week three of my stay so I thought I would give you all some highlights.

So far I have visted three other towns, Fiesole- a quiet Etruscan town minutes away from Florence. We also visited Pisa to see the leaning tower and Lucca (right) for a nice afternoon stroll. I have climbed the Duomo here in Florence and I visited the Uffizi and the Boboli Gardens with my museum pass.

I have been sad that there are not very many animals in the center of Florence, especially cats. However when I went to the Boboli gardens on Saturday, I discovered that all the cats in Florence are there and it is quite a haven for them!

Sunday a group of us took a trip to Cinque Terre and what a grand day that was. I was swimming in the Ligurian Sea I realised that was THE highlight of my trip. The day was beautiful, and the sea was as clear as could be - you could see the fish swimming between you as you floated along.
Well, I'll have more pictures and maybe some video up soon, tomorrow if not wednesday!

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