Monday, May 26, 2008

5Terre, Firenze, Venezia

This past week was uber intense. I finished up my tour of Italy by visiting Cinque Terre (requested by everyone i know) and spent 3 days in Florence and Venice with my whole class and professors.
I was really excited to go to Cinque Terre. I just needed time away from Rome. Overall it was really nice but it could have been SO much better. So that was kind of a bummer. What made it not as great was the fact that it was cloudy and raining. I really just wanted to do all of the hikes but since it was POURING and Rizzo (she came with me yay!) and I didnt have any rain gear we just hopped the train and went town to town. Overall I dont think I had the normal experience that most people have with Cinque Terre. I think my hope were too high or something of that sort. It was very cute and fun but I know it could have been better. oh well.....
I had about half a day to get ready for my trip to Florence/Firenze and Venice/Venezia. I have heard a lot about these places so I was really excited. For those of you who love Florence, I am sorry. Rome is so much cooler. Florence is like a smaller Rome with less to see. I mean you have the Uffizzi Gallery with Boticelli and Michaelangelo and Da Vinci and you have the David statue which was really impressive (its gigantic!) but Rome just has SO much more. I guess I am just biased, plus it was raining like mad in Florence. Florence was cool though, I just love Rome better.
Onto Venice. Now this place I LOVED! I mean you have seen pictures and movies about this place but its so surreal. It's kinda like Disneyland. Venice has even less to see as far as touristy places (I guess I like those because Rome has SO many) but its just so beautiful. The water is disgusting but it just adds this really romantic feeling to the whole city. You are constantly getting lost and walking over TONS of bridges. Plus there are the masks.....oh the masks....This was a problem. I am a drama major. I love dressing up. LOVE IT. So you shove me in a city where every street has a mask shop with different types of masks. sparkles, feathers, pink, blue, red, cats, music notes, the different styles were amazing. I fell in love with so many masks...I ended up leaving with two. For myself. I figured that I will use them at camp or my kids will play with them. They can hang on my wall in the meantime. I just loved Venice and yes, I did ride in a gondola. It kinda happened by chance because I wasn't really planning on it but then when I walked around on our last day with the Pantheon girls (a group of girls in my program that live by the pantheon) they planned on going on a gondola. I figured why not. It was pretty cool. The gondola is a very romantic little trip. I wouldnt suggest going with five other girls you dont really know but still it was fun. On the little ride we got to see Marco Polo's house and Casanova's (Italy's playboy).
Overall this week was intense and ended with a wonderful Sunday at church and on via del corso singing hymns in italian (so pretty...)I was really glad to finally get to know the other people in my program and hang out with them and just kinda have a week off, even though all of our trips to museums and churches were lessons with Ricardo my Renaissance Art teacher. Ricardo is amazing by the way. He knows EVERYTHING. We asked him one time what he did know and he said "how not to buy books" that is how cute he is. I love Ricardo....soooo much. Greatest teacher I have EVER had, and that is saying a lot.
Those were my final Italian destinations. I still have a lot to see in Rome (in fact today I saw Saint Sebastians (the one who was shot with arrows) crypt). I love being back here. Time is short and I want to enjoy it as much as possible.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Life in the Fast Lane

Traveling is very tiresome and fast. I have visited so many places in the past couple of weeks that all I want to do in my spare time is sleep. Italian sun makes you very sleepy. I have gone to Tivoli, Naples, Pompei, Herculaneum, Capri, and Cinque Terre. Oh and I went to the Borghese Galleria which has all of Caravaggio's main stuff and Bernini's main statues. I have also gone to the Vatican Museum. Lots of great stuff there too!I am learning so much in such a short amount of time. I think it might not be the sun. My brain is on an information overload. Lets see....Tivoli has Hadrian's villa and Villa d'Este. I liked the latter the best, the former was later in the afternoon so it got really hot really fast. Villa d'Este was amazing though. It has 3000 fountains. It's basically the best backyard anyone could ask for. So beautiful. Naples was an amazing trip. Stayed at a lively hostel which felt more like a family, in a good way. The pizza in Naples was AMAZING. I seriously cannot figure out why anyone else even tries to make pizza. Nothing can compare to the pizza I ate there. Ever. It's funny because you can eat an entire pizza on your own and in the pictures people might think I am a pig, but one thing to note is that crust is REALLY thin. Its not like thick Americrap pizza. Its easily able to be eaten by one. Probably not the best idea but I wouldn't want to share. Pompei and Herculaneum kinda go hand in hand. Both were destroyed by Mount Vesuvius when it erupted a long time ago (think Roman Empire). Pompei was preserved in ash while Herculaneum got a landslide of mud. Pompei is HUGE! and very cool, but its kinda like looking at the same thing over and over. Herculaneum is cool because it has mosaics and stuff. They both had preserved bodies that were kinda scary because they depict people struggling for life. You can literally see their pain. Moving on to Capri. How do I even begin to talk about Capri. It was amazing. I wish I had more time there but alas. The water was gorgeous and I was able to take the boat ride into the Blue Grotto. The water was neon blue. I have never seen anything like it. I doubt I ever will. It was amazing. Capri was all sun and waves and gorgeousness. I loved it.
This weekend I visited Cinque Terre. I loved it except it was kind of a bummer because it rained all weekend and I knew that my love for it could have been so much more if the sun was out. I was not properly equipped for the rain so hiking was out of the question. I ended going from town to town on train. They were super cute and it was fun just relaxing and not feeling rushed. Just sitting and reading and enjoying life. I love it there. I will definitely have to go back hopefully with better weather.
I have been to so many museums they make my head hurt. I love them but there is so much packed it gets kinda hard. Vatican was really cool. There is so much history about the Renaissance copying the antiquity and their preservation of it so they could really get it to the point. It's way cool. The Borghese Galleria was intense. You get 2 hours to look at 3 hours worth of stuff. You have to quickly appreciate the beauty of Bernini and Caravaggio. Bernini was this child prodigy sculptor. He is intense. His sculptures are breathtaking. They are like real people ready to move at any moment. I love Caravaggio also, mainly because of my Grandpa who has about 10 half done paintings of his trying to mimick Caravaggio's work. Caravaggio is so interesting. He was a rebel and said, "screw the rules of the Renaissance painting, my people are gonna be real and dark and relatable" I love his work. Needless to say life has been moving in the fast lane that I hardly ever have any time to catch up on updating those who read this. I am off to Florence and Venice for a week with my entire program, professors and all..... WISH ME LUCK!

Monday, May 5, 2008


So I always though Tuscany was a place.....but its actually a region. The movie Under the Tuscan Sun confused me. Me and my two roommates, Krytal and Gyaltsen, headed out to Siena. Siena was sweet. It was frozen in medieval times. It would have been even sweeter if people had dressed up. That would have made my day, but otherwise all the building are towers and it was built to protect from harmful outside forces. That makes really small, cramped streets. We wandered around, visited the town center...well you can't really miss it. We went in the Duomo (cathedral) and it was pretty cool overall. The best part was going up on this sort of ledge that overlooks the whole town and countryside. It was gorgeous. Siena is like my ideal place to live.
We stayed at a hostel, the only hostel in Siena. It was a fun experience for my first hostel. Just a bed to sleep on basically. The next morning we set out to Pisa. Just to take a picture, really thats all we did. Its funny because there is this field and EVERYONE is doing the same thing, holding up the leaning tower. It's pretty funny to see people holding up nothing. After taking some pictures we headed back home on a four hour train ride. Let me tell you, I thought trains were cool. NOT FOR FOUR HOURS. I went a little bit crazy, but I did get to see the coastline of Italy....mmmm ocean..... Needless to say, I love Tuscany and enjoyed my time under the Tuscan sun.