Monday, April 27, 2009

Amalfi Coast

Although leaving at 6:30 in the morning for the Amalfi Coast, wasn't my idea of fun, it was definitely worth it. I slept and read for the entire 6 hour busride, aside from the time that we stopped in Naples for a few hours for lunch and exploring. It was insane knowing that I could have been walking on the same streets that my great grandfather walked on. The city itself was sort of a poor country, but the coast was BEAUTIFUL. The farther south you go, the more beautiful and blue the water becomes. After eating a delicious pizza, walking the coast, and being entertained by a drummer in the street, we continued our journey to our hotel in a little town on the Amalfi coast. The hotel was definitely not as nice as the one in Lake Maggiore, but it had a bed and running water, and that's all I needed.

When we got in, we had time to relax a little bit, freshen up and then head off to dinner. We made some great new friends on this trip, Kara and Stephanie and they were a lot of fun to hang out with and we had several laughs at dinner. One of them consisting of our bet about whether or not flies poop or puke when they land. We tried to find out from other tables what the answer was by the majority, and someones answer was "they spit seven times". Thanks for the help. We attempted to go out that night, and all 70 of us found this empty bar and took over the entire thing. I was way too tired, so after about an hour, and no drinks, decided to just go back, and go to sleep. Good thing because we had to be up at 6:30 the next day. We took a boat to a ferry, and then an hour long ferry to Capri. It was too cold that morning to sit outside so we stayed inside and I finished another one of my books. Once I get going on one, I finish them in 3 days. Upon docking in Capri, I immediately fell in love. The water was like no water I've ever seen. It was straight up turquois. We got in line for a boat tour right away. Not all of us did it because it wasn't included but it was only ten euros. It brought us all around the ocean and showed us different grottos. We definitely got unexpectadly wet, but it was so worth it. I think that was my favorite part of the trip.

After the boat tour, somehow 7 of us got stuck with our chaperone Francesco, who is this old man that teaches at FUA. It's great because he knows where everything is, but I can't stand walking at someone elses pace. I just want to do things myself. We went out to lunch, and we didn't even have the privaledge of picking out our own food. He orders for us. It was good though, I really can't complain. After that we walked around Capri. He took us to these gardens on a balcony that had a wonderful view. Cristiano, (he's in charge of the academic field trips, he's a little older than us, Italian, maybe a grad student..i don't know his whole story), but he's walking around taking pictures and giggling, and I'm like what are you laughing at...and his only response was "my nation". HAHA i dont know why it was so funny to me, but it was. After following Francesco for hours, Stella and I were able to separate and go lay on the beach. That was an interesting experience in itself. Stella pretty much got hit in the face with a soccer ball, stones were inches away from hitting us, and some Italians walked by and took pictures of us sunbathing. I don't think they knew that we were peering at them through squinted eyes.

On the way back from Capri we stopped in another coastal town. We were only there for about 45 minutes, enough time to look around at little shops. Stella's highschool friend, Mark, sweetest boy you'll ever meet, he's gay which makes it SOOOOO mcuh better because I think they are the best kind of human being. We were walking around and he points out, in his boston accent, and cute little voice.."did you see this woman's breasticles..they got water comin outta them". Sure enough there was a fountain of a woman with water coming out of each of her breasts. On the ferry ride back I sat up top because I was convinced I would get more color, and I had a long and hilarious conversation with Kara, and this kid Addison. His way of breaking the ice was by telling Kara that she had a "killer lens" on her camera. After that we talked the whole way back about anything and everything. He said that I had the most contagious laugh, and that the day before he caught himself laughing from across the room, just because I was laughing and was like "I want to be her friend." I really didn't know that my laugh was so unique but it's pretty much one of the first things that everyone says upon meeting me. We ended up making a bet, because he didn't think that us girls would be able to get ready on time for dinner cause we didn't have much time when we got back. If we didn't make it downstairs by 8, we would have to suck on his socks. HAHA the next day he kiddingly admitted that "I love sucking on my socks. I purposely made a bet that would be win win for me." That night at dinner, all 70 of us packed into a restaurant, and the guests that were already there were not pleased about it. Obviously if there are that many people in a small room, let alone Americans, it's going to be loud. Our table was being quiet and somehow, we kept getting blamed for all the noise by this stupid woman next to us who kept giving us the worst death glares, and at one point came over and yelled at our table in Italian. I wanted to smack the miserable look right off her face. We were so exhausted from the long day, that after dinner, we just went right to bed.

We got up the next morning, checked out, ate breakfast, and went off to Pompeii. We had this miserable tour guide on our bus that we all wanted to shoot, because we just wanted to sleep and she wouldn't shut up. She kept yelling at people, and it just made us want to ignore her more. It was an extremely interesting day, and not even because of the sites. The sites were pretty but got old after awhile because everything started to look the same. It was crazy because they actually had the people covered in ash, and preserved for us to look at. Stella made quite a special friend there, who kept staring at her and waving everytime he walked by. We think there might have been something wrong with him, so I started to feel really bad, and so did Mark. He was like "that must have took so much courage for him to wave!" What else happened..hmm we saw a little girl legit squat and start peeing on the ancient archaeological sites. The look on Marks face was absolutely priceless. He went on and on about how innappropriate it was. After our tourguide legit got into a brawl about who got to see the brothel first, we entered only to find a menu on the walls, where you could choose which position you wanted. It was really awkward seeing the like stone rooms and beds, just knowing what happened there hundreds of years ago.

Quite an interesting trip.
20 more days left.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lake Maggiore & Como

So I can tell that my time here is coming to a close, because all my academic field trips were booked for the past 4 weekends, and they have begun. This past weekend Stella and I went to Lake Maggiore and Como and it was an absolute blast and sooo beautiful. We made lots of new friends and enjoyed lots of laughs.

The first night we got there, we checked into our gorgeous hotel and put on our bathing suits right away and took advantage of the indoor pool and jacuzzi. We went to dinner and afterwards our chaperone brought us to this really cute bar in town with an African type theme. We went to bed fairly early that day, and thank god because the next day was non stop.

We woke up early, ate breakfast, and were off to the dock to start our excursion from island to island, palace to palace, and garden to garden. I've never seen so many flowers or so many exotic birds in my life. There were these gorgeous white peacocks that were so elegant looking but ruined it when they opened there mouths and made the most atrocious and intimidating sound ever. We learned a lot of interesting stuff in the castles too such as the higher the canopy over a bed, the richer and more powerful the person that sleeps under it. It was sooo cool seeing all their marionets and puppet stages also. It reminded me of the scene in the sound of music where they put on the show. I filmed the entire day so I could put together a travel document for my film class. I'm one of two people that gets to do it.
I got lots of sun that day and I was so excited.

After a night on the town, and barely any sleep, we woke up to our friend Jesse calling us angrily and saying "Get on this bus NOW" only to realize that it was 8:52 and we were supposed to be on the bus and pulling out by 8:30. We got ready and down there in exactly 6 minutes...we ran onto the bus and our old chaperone Francesco looks at us with a cigarette in his mouth and says "I kill you." hahaha

It was a rainy and cold on Sunday, but we got into a boat and toured Lake Como anyway. We saw tons of villas all along the lake and they were beautiful. We saw Robert Dinero's, Versaces and his tomb, George Clooney, the villa where Mussolini spent his last night, Heinz ketchup, Napoleon's and his dogs tomb (he loved his dog). It was insane.

Such a great weekend and I can't wait to put together and edit all my footage.
I also finished filming my final project today so I can start editing that tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter and such

So easter weekend was a blast. It started off Thursday when I got to be in one of my film classmates movie. It put me in such a good mood because that's when I'm the happiest, in front of the camera. Then I went back changed into shorts and sat outside of Santa Croce and did homework because it was so beautiful out.

Friday, Lauren and I went to Fiesole, which is basically part of Florence, but not really. We had to take a bus up a hill, and it was a gorgeous drive. It had a beautiful view, and I had a really great salad, but the fact that the ATM stole my money, and we had a huge bank issue, kind of ruined my time there.

Saturday was my favorite day. Got up really early and went on a day trip to Cinque Terre. SOOOOO beautiful. Definitely the prettiest place I've seen so far. It's a close runner up to Ireland. We legit like scaled a mountain side. The hike was so intense, but we followed the coast line and it had a gorgeous view. The water was sooo blue. I loved every moment of it. There were so many doggies around and I just wanted to pet all of them.

Sunday, I really thought that I'd be able to wake up on time to see the Explosion of the cart outside of the Duomo, but I was wayyy too tired, and instead slept until 12. When I woke up we had a feast with Amandas mom, and her, me and Lauren. We had eggs, easter bread, fruit salad, and a huge chocolate egg. After that I went up to Piazza di Michelangelo and layed out for hours. It was sooo relaxing. Then I came back and did homework for a long time.

Monday, Lauren and I woke up early and went to the beach in Viareggio. It was pretty windy and cold, but the beach was big and sandy and pretty. We layed out until we felt raindrops and then went back and made dinner.

Video class was actually fun today. I pretty much editted the entire cooking show (almost done) by myself, and it's awesome if I do say so myself. I'm gonna start filming my own script on Thursday, and then I'm also bringing the video camera to Lake Como with me because my teacher said I could film there and make a travel video if I wanted. I need the practice to I said, sure!

I spent a lot of time outside this weekend. Every day. I hated that I was in classes all day today, and pretty much will be all day tomorrow too. But come Thursday, I'm right outside again.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I've finally completed the circle of seeing all three countries of my heritage. Germany was the last stop, but definitely nowhere near the least interesting or beautiful. Of course we saw it during its snowy season but it actually made it all the more gorgeous. This country side was much different than that of Italy or Ireland. As opposed to the rolling green hills that those two countries have, Germany is more like a forest. The mountains are rockier and more rugged and filled with pine trees. The second that you start your driving or walking excursion, you feel as though you are within the setting of Hansel and Gretel. Within the cities, everything is well manicured and maintained; everything cut to edge and prim..much different from Italy's uneven stucco buildings with laundry hanging out of windows everywhere you turn.

The eating habits in Germany were very difficult to adjust to, especially being a vegetarian. We had bread and meat for breakfast and dinner. Sometimes a big lunch, and cake and coffee in between every meal. One thing I loved about the food was the salad..for some reason the salad dressing was delicious and I don't know that I'll be able to find anything like that in America. I tried sauerkraut for the first time and loved it. Although it was homemade and I know for a fact that if eaten out of the jar, I wouldn't even get it past my lips. The apple strudel in Germany straight out of the oven is to DIE for.

One of my favorite parts of Germany was meeting the other side of my family. My Dad's side all live in America, but most of my mom’s side never left Germany. Most don't speak English so it was a little difficult to get things across, nonetheless, still an experience. Tante Ingy still looks the same, cute and witty as ever. When we were all talking about her hair, she says something in German, and Chris(our translator/Toni's grandson/Michaela's son) informed us that she said "What the hell is so great about my hair". haha. All of Toni's grandkids are so cute. Chris, the punk rocker and most like me, Florian aka Flo, the soccer player and definitely going to be the ladies man, and Timmy, the baby and has the cutest and biggest smile that is enough to win anyone over. I loved meeting Michael, who is now 36, because last time I saw him, I can't even remember. I was 5 months old, and he was visiting America and carrying me around on his shoulders.

One of the days that we were there we took a drive down to one of king Ludwig's castles. I can't pronounce or even come close to spelling it so I'll just describe it as the one that Walt Disney designed Sleeping Beauty's castle in DisneyLand, CA.
It was beautiful. All the way on top of a mountain and of course the bus was down, so we had to hike all the way up. On our trek, we saw a woman walking a dog that appeared to be a yorkie, so we were like awww a yorkie. Well, bad move. This woman was extremely offended by this and rudely shouts "NIEN YORKIE". We didn't let that down for the rest of the trip, and it never got old. Rolf took pictures the entire time that we were in Germany and gave us the CD of pictures at the end of the trip as a surprise, along with a book of Nuremburg, which was so nice of him.

So story of the trip. We left early enough to return our car, sit down to eat, and go wait to board. We got to the airport in about 2 and a half hours, returned our rental, and went inside the airport to find a place to eat. We're looking around for RyanAir, and figured we must have been in the wrong terminal, so we asked someone where the right terminal was. They replied that it was in a different airport, and not only that, but 90 miles away. We freaked out. I was about to cry because I was without a computer for a week and just wanted to get back and talk to Nick, but needless to say, a crazy cab ride on the autobahn and 170 euros later, we made it to our plane.

Mom and Dad went to Venice the next few days while I was in classes, and when they got back I was finally able to show them Florence. We went inside of Santa Croce where Michelangelo’s tomb is, I took them to the engagement spot, San Lorenzo's market, Dantes and Ponte Vecchio. We also went wine tasting on Saturday morning up at Verrazano's castle in Chianti. It was pretty interesting even though I don't like wine. It was absolutely beautiful up there and the true image that I had in my head of Tuscany.

Mom and Dad are gone now, but I enjoyed their visit and am so happy that I got to show them the lifestyle that I've been living for the past few months.