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September 28, 2008
When in Rome...
This weekend, Brad and I went to Rome. It was awesome because Nate Schrader, my pledgebrother, studies there. Nate met us at the train station and showed us around the city. Our first stop was the Coliseum. All public museums were free yesterday; so all the tourists were out and about. Because the three of us stand out as "stupid Americans," these tour guides were bombarding us for offers. They're sales pitch was, "If you join our tour for 12 euro, you can walk right in the Coliseum, otherwise its about at 45 minute wait. And we will explain the Coliseum's 'ancient' history." Well, that may sound like a good offer, but we just didn't see the point. Number 1, the line was moving rather quickly. Number 2, Brad is a history major, and I'm sure he could tell me anything I wanted to know about the Coliseum (He took an Ancient Roman and Archeology class). Sure enough, we waited in line for about 6 minutes, and Brad was informed enough about the Coliseum to point out some interesting stuff.
From there, we traveled to the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and Vatican City. The Vatican is absolutely beautiful. I would say all churches in Italy are beautiful because they are saturated with art, but the Vatican is something else entirely. Because I've only visited once, I dont think I have the words to accurately capture the beauty of the city. I would need multiple trips there to soak in everything. I didn't even see the Sistine Chapel. I've always associated the Vatican with the Sistine Chapel, but for some reason I never realized there was so much more there. I cant wait to go back.
This week, its looking like I'm going to October Fest. We're still in the early stages of planning, but I think we may be taking a trip to Munich. I'm pumped.
More pics here
September 23, 2008
My Partner in Crime
I don't think I could have asked for a better roommate. Let me introduce you to Brad... a Wabash Delt who studies history and english. We never spoke to each other at school. We never had a class together. Technically, we never knew each other existed... however, there are the occasional photos from freshmen year where we both appear in the same frame cheesing from ear to ear. Even then, we would bump into each other but we never talked.
But now things are different. Me and Brad are practically inseparable. The faculty here has identified us as the "Two Musketeers." When anybody sees one of us, they immediately ask where the other is (funny enough, this girl Meagan just asked me where Brad was). True enough, me and Brad are pretty compatible roommates. For instance, I like to sleep in the morning... he wakes me up for class. He likes to stay in and study... I make sure he goes out and parties at night (I mean, we're only 20 and in Italy once). He loves to cook... I love to eat. Our relationship works so well.
He's also turned out to be a really good friend. He's a genuine fun guy to be around. When ever I want to take a trip anywhere, he is ready to go in a heartbeat. He is just as willing as I am to travel and see the world. And he'll usually have a joke or two while we sit waiting on the train.
so that's all. just thought I would say I'm doing more than traveling... I made a pretty good friend.
September 21, 2008
This weekend, I had to attend a retreat with my Creative Writing class. Our teacher, Cynthia, took us to an Agriturismo, which is Italian for Tourist Farm. Essentially, the farm is like a commune where every one grows the food and cooks the meals. They invite the public to spend the night and enjoy the meals. The food was delicious... probably because it was all organic. It was no less than 7 courses. I cant even recall all the courses but I remember the pasta as being exquisite. It was homemade pasta cooked in a tomato sauce. It was meatless, but it tasted like it was seafood pasta. It was like the pasta was cooked with prawns before they added the tomatos. It was soooo good. The man course was grilled sheep. Apparently, the sheep was cooked on an open fire. It was probably some of the tastiest meat I've ever eaten. Then, dessert was almost like a peach cobbler. Well, thats the only thing I know to compare it too.
The purpose of the retreat was so that the class could bond. Cynthia wants us to feel comfortable around each other so that our writing will be more honest and personal. I guess the retreat worked. There were definitely some personal pieces that people read yesterday. My story was a bit sillier... more reflective of my personality. But you never know, I have the whole semester to write something that might make the whole class bawl.
September 15, 2008
This past weekend, I traveled to Cinque Terre, five towns on the Mediterranean Coast. Our original plan was to travel on Saturday, but we were forced to leave early because the train workers decided to go on strike Friday at 9 pm until Saturday at 9 pm. Apparently, Italian train operators are notorious for going on strike at the spur of the moment. So we were forced to leave a day early.
We thought were able to reserve hotel rooms for both Friday and Saturday. No, we were sure we had confirmed reservations at the hotel for Friday and Saturday; however, apparently in Italy, hotel reservations does not secure you a room. Upon arrival to the hotel Friday evening, we learn that the entire hotel is full. At this moment, we didnt know what to do because Monterosso, where we stayed, is a big tourist town. All the hotels and hostels in town were booked. I was sure that we would just sleep on the beach. But the hotel owner had one suggestion for us. He knew of a place that had space in town where we could sleep. He even called us a taxi to take us there. However, he didn't tell us we would be sleeping in an insane asylum for the night. Yes! Instead of having a hotel room, we were forced to sleep in a mental ward for the night. The ward was vacant, but one of my friends swears he heard someone gag to death and die in the night.
Once we left the mental ward Saturday, we explored all around the five towns. It was a six hour hike, but it was well worth it. The Mediterranean Sea is so beautiful and blue. We swam in the water and hung out at the beach for a while. It was a really relaxing day. That night, the hotel owner invited us back to his hotel and we were able to sleep there Saturday night.
Finally, on the back to Perugia Sunday, we stopped in Pisa to see the infamous Leaning Tower. And, it is indeed leaning. It was cool. Me and Brad took a whole bunch of silly pictures of us leaning on the tower and holding up the tower. Pisa is actually pretty small. I think that may have been our first and last visit there.
This weekend, I think I am going to the Tuscan countryside to spend the night on a farm. Should be pretty interesting.
Check out pics here
September 08, 2008
This weekend, I went to Florence, and it was absolutely unreal. Florence had to be one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been in. Also, I feel confident to say that I walked the entire city in two days. Let me give you the run down.
Me and Brad caught a train from Perugia to Florence. It was about 2 hours and it cost us 20 euro... so that was pretty good. When we first arrived, our first battle was finding our hostel. We didn't have a clue where we were, but we had some directions. After walking 20 minutes in the wrong direction, we decided to go back to the train station and start over. Eventually, we found the hostel and checked-in.
Next we walked around the city some until we stumbled across the Academy Museum. Usually, the line is about 30-minutes but there was no one there. We walked right in. As soon as I walked into the museum, I was blown away because Michelangelo's David is right in the center. It was so cool to the look. Number one, I had no idea it was so massive. Number two, I finally understand why it is considered one of his masterpieces because of the supreme craftsmanship. Of course, there was a lot of other interesting art. Personally, I thought it was interesting to see how God has been depicted throughout the ages. It was all so beautiful.
After the Academy, Brad and I sat down for dinner. We wanted to eat a nice meal and we sure as hell paid for it. Our antipasta, or appetizer, was four courses. We started off with smoked salmon, then octopus, then seared tuna, and finally just a plate of delicious meats. While we enjoyed our antipasta, we had a bottle of the house wine... also delicious. My main course was spaghetti with lobster and Brad had Florentine steak. The bill was 75 euro... so maybe $110 USD, but it was so worth it.
The next day, we walked around everywhere. I saw the mortal remains of Michelangelo, Dante, and Galileo. We ended our day climbing to the top of the city and saw the entire city from above. It was amazing. Absolutely breathtaking.
I cant wait until I go back.
Check out pics here
September 04, 2008
Alright. I knew the food in Italy would be amazing, but it has sufficiently exceeded all my expectations. There are all these "ristorantes" on the main street, and you can request to eat outside under the umbrellas. Brad and I decided to have a nice lunch the other day, and it was probably the best thing I have ever eaten. I ordered a seafood pasta with mussels, prawns, and fish, and I have to say that it was the freshest seafood I have ever eaten. It was delicious! I cant even begin to describe the taste. We are definitely going back to eat there again.
Then there is the pizza. I probably eat piazza 2 or 3 times a day. Its so convenient to eat because there are pizzarias every two feet from each other. A slice costs me 1 euro, and I love it as my snack food.
Then there is gelato. My God! How have I been eating that crap they call ice cream my whole life. I'm even sure if what I had was the best gelato in town, but it was still the smoothest, sweetest, and tastiest treat I've ever eaten.
You know, I think I just decided to have gelato for dessert tonight... hmmmm.....
September 01, 2008
So, I've been in Italy for 24-hours and all I can say is hello beautiful (Ciao Bella). And its been working pretty well with the Italian women on the street.
Italy is beautiful. Its like nothing I've ever seen. I've done a lot of walking yesterday and I'm starting to notice the different nuances in American and Italian culture. First, Italians eat HUGE meals. Last night, we had this 5 course meal and I learned that its not rude in Italy to leave food on your plate. Because Italians eat so many courses, its not rude if you only eat half your plate. Also, all the cars here are really tiny... probably so they can fit through the alleyways. I'm sure I'll keep noticing things
Funny story. When me and Brad got off the plane at Amsterdam, it was like 6 in the morning. Our first order of business was to go to the bar and order a Heineken. We didnt do it because it was the right thing to do at 6 in the morning, but we did because we could. Its so amazing to order alcohol legally.
Finally, I've moved into my apartment and it is nice. I'll take some photos of it and post them later.