Well, I’ve been here for about 2 weeks now and we just wrapped up our 2nd weekend as well. I must say, I’m loving this city and country! The first few days brought us culture shock to the extreme, and each day we experience something new (duhhh) but I just love being here! I feel like I’ve been on a vacation…about a 2 week vacation and I’m going home soon. But then reality sets in again and I realize that I’m actually going to be here for about 4 months still! I think this is what really hasn’t hit me 100% yet, the fact I still have 4 more months in Italy! Something I’m really excited about that I discussed with my dad on the phone yesterday is my Italian language skills. I’ve already learned so much in just 2 short weeks. I can just imagine how much I will be able to say and use when I leave. I’m trying my best to learn everything and I’m not afraid to make mistakes with my pronunciations. I would love to come back here for leisure or business and be able to truly use this experience to my benefit!
As I already stated, we just wrapped up our 2nd weekend here…well I wasn’t really here in Roma the entire time. On Saturday we went on a school sponsored trip to the Hills of Tuscany! But let me go back and explain everything I did this entire weekend:
On Thursday night, we all went to a dance club down the street that set up with the school free admission. So there were plenty of AUR students and other Americans as well as people our age from all over the world! This was a fun night just relaxing and hanging out with everybody. Then on Friday night, we knew that we’d have to be up early on Saturday for the trip, so just me, Jess, Mikey, and Dave went out. We got a nice authentic Italian dinner out of the way of “tourist” restaurants and all shared some great sparkeling house wine, a delicious cheese platter, and an entre. I had some penne pasta with peppers and rosso sauce. When we finished up dinner, it was only about 10:15pm so we decided to walk around some of the city and just see everything at night. This is where our night gets interesting, because how often will I get to say what I’m about to say!?! We just started walking, saw a few signs and BOOM…..The Coliseum was right in front of us! We walked through the Roman Forum and saw all the old ruins and then right up to the Coliseum. The Forum used to be the main governmental part of Rome in the Ancient days and times of Julius Ceasar and Marcus Agrippe and etc. Now, as you most know, the Coliseum is where the gladitoral games took place. Slaves and animals all fought for their lives and “reenacted” great Roman battle victories. Now, once we made it through the Forum, the Coliseum was standing there in all its might! The archways were all lit up and it was just amazing this structure was still standing, well most of it. Parts of the outter wall is completely missing due to war and obviosly over so many years it’s not the same. But the main frame is all still standing there. Pictures can’t even put into words what the building is like. I took some, so definetely check them out, but still…it’s better in person! We hung out there for about a half hour then we walked home for the night.
The next morning we were up at 6am to leave for Tuscany. There were 4 coach buses that took us there and took us about 2 hours to so to get to our destination. The first place we went to was Montepulcino. This was a city built ontop of a huge hilltop. Now when I say city, it wasn’t your typical city. It was probably only a mile long, but the buildings were all attached and when you think of your typical traditional Italian town, this was it! We went and toured through a midevil wine cellar. There we tasted a few wines…..most we didn’t like, and chesses and some biscotti! I took pictures of the town, the views on the vineyards and the wine cellar. So take a look and get a feel for what I’m talking about! After Montepulcino we drove through the vineyards to a Italian farmhouse for a traditional meal! First we had bruschetta, then a plate of penne pasta with rosso sauce. Next we had a linguinni with a mushroom sauce, followed by a plate of cheeses and italian sliced meat. For dessert we had biscotti dipped in a dessert wine. Everything…..was marvelous! There was definetely a different taste to the pasta and sauces compared to when you eat in the States…but it was a better taste! Mikey, Dave, Josh, and I bought two dinner wines, a rosso and bianca to go along with a provolone cheese wheel we tried and bought as well. After leaving the farmhouse, we went to our last destination. I do not know the name of the town, but this town was definetely set out in the Hills of Tuscany! There were just your traditional shops, few cars, no large stores. You could tell people here lived very simply and I remember talkin to my friends about how nice and peaceful this area just was. There are photos to check out of the views here. All around you saw rolling hills, spread out houses with their vineyards, and snowcapped mountains in the background! Everywhere you looked was a photoesque spot to take a picture! We stayed here and just walked around for about an hour and then took off for home. Needless to say we all got home and just passed out. We were so exhausted by the end of the night, it was 9:30 by the time we got home. Needless to say, it was a great day and a dive right into the heart of Italy!
On Sunday, we decided to go shopping at the grocery store and it turned out that there’s a HUGE market on the street every Sunday. No exaggeration, for about 2 miles, there are vendors set up with tables and awnings with everything from coats, hats, jewelery, knives, luggage, etc. It can probably be best compared to the largest outdoor fleamarket you have ever seen in the States! We didn’t have much cash on us since we didn’t plan on walking through this, so I didn’t purchase anything. However, next Sunday, I already have a short list! First, I would like to get a nice little Italian sytle hat. Not a fedora but just a lil cap to wear around rather than my red RMU Hockey hat that screams AMERICAN (we’ll discuss this later). I would also like a nice pocket knife. I’m always opening something up or needing to cut something, and you can get a good one for 5 euros so it’s worth it here. I also saw a nice canvas bag I can barter down for 10 euros that I can take to class rather than the backpack which can be bulky at times. So that’s my list! Now, while we were there, we had a little boy following us, because our dress screamed AMERICAN again but we’re ready for things like this and when Josh and I made eye contact with him (on purpose) he took off running! We also had a man following us on the way back to our apartment, however we all stopped and turned around and he took off as well. It’s just funny how they want to get our wallets, but we’re too keen for them! It’s our dress that gives us away that were not natives. You can’t wear sweats here or ballhats or white tennis shoes. Everybody dresses dark. Whether it’s jeans, khaki pants, canvas material, but not very bright colors. Anyways, we made it home safely and we’re starting our 2nd week of classes. WOOOOHOOOO!!!
Until next time…Ciao!