Sunday, June 20, 2010

Assisi! Rome!

Quick History lesson: 

Assisi is the home of St. Francis, who is the patron saint of animals and the environment. He was a part of the military until in he had a dream (around 1205/06) in which God was calling him to return to Assisi and care for the sick.  Francis called for simplicity in life, poverty and humility before God. He believed that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffered for a need of redemption because of the primordial sin of man. (some of this information is from Wikipedia - go there for more). If you google or ever see an image of St. Francis, he is typically portrayed with animals or in nature. 

So on June 9th we spent the day in Assisi. It really was one of the most beautiful places I think I have ever been. 

Last week, June 14th -17th, I was in Rome.  I don't really have words to describe how excited I was to be there.  We got there early afternoon on Monday and we headed to our hotel to check-in.   After, we decided to get started on our sight seeing! The first thing we did was go to the Roman Colosseum.  We literally spent 2 and half hours there.  All four of us were just in awe of this place.  It is amazing to think that it has been standing in the same place for so long.  We also kept stopping to take pictures - probably why it took so long.  

Since we were all seniors (oh goodness - I finally said it), we took some time to spell out a special message in the rocks: 

After we took our time walking back to the hotel, Barbs and I went and met Ari and Linley for dinner and to watch the soccer game. There is no place better to watch an Italian soccer game than Italy!Barbs and I may have gotten a little lost on the way to meet the other girls but it made for a pretty picture: 

After the game, we walked around a bit and headed by the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. Barbs and I both got a little teary-eyed when we got to the Trevi Fountain.  This is probably the one thing that I have always wanted to see. And now I have. Crazy. 

Tuesday morning we got up early and headed over to the Vatican City.  We had schdeduled a tour and we thought it would only be about 3 hours.  It ended up being closer to 5.  But it was still amazing.  Here is a little model of what the city looks like: 
We got to see the Sistine Chapel and all the Pope's tombs.  And of course St. Peter's. We were all pretty tired after that and still had a full day to do things so we headed back to the hotel for a bit.  We also hit up Hard Rock for dinner.  And watched another soccer game (by this point they were all making fun of me for wanting to watch the games). 

Wednesday morning we got up and headed towards the Roman Forum.  I played tour guide and read all the information about each thing that we were seeing.  Once again, it was pretty amazing to be in a place that had been there for so long.  We took our time and took lots of pictures.  We also climbed up to Palentine Hill.  

Next we went to the Pantheon (2nd time for me and Barbs but this time we got to go in).  We also headed back over to the Trevi Fountain.  It was super crowded and I felt like you didn't get the same effect as we did when we went at night.  The 15 minute walk from the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain also ended up taking a lot longer than 15 minutes, probably closer to 2 hours after we stopped so many times to go into stores.  We went back to the hotel, took a short nap, and then went to dinner.  We once again did a self-guided night tour, back by the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain (and yes, we took a ring picture), and this time we added in the Spanish steps.  The view was amazing (second picture)! 

Thursday morning, we took our time leaving and did some shopping.  Once we got back to Sansepolcro, we knew that things were going to be rushed! We had class Friday and Saturday.  And there is a group of Meredith Alums here this week that we had lunch with on Friday.  Our final projects and presentations were due today (Sunday) and we leave Sansepolcro for the last time tomorrow! Very bittersweet.  Tonight we are having our host families over for a final dinner.  We head to Switzerland on Thursday and are there until we come home on Sunday! 

I can't believe how fast time flies!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Verona! Venice! Florence part 2!

I am so bad about updating this thing. 

Last week we had a travel break starting Monday and we (10 girls) headed off to Verona for the night.   It was really exciting to see Juliet's house (even though it's not really her house).  I had gone to see Letter's to Juliet the afternoon before I left for Italy with Hannah so it was really cool to be able to be in the same place.  The courtyard and the famous wall were definitely my favorite part of the house.  We didn't go inside the museum (because it was closing and cost money).  But the main attraction is really the wall anyway.  Here are some pictures:

Statue of Juliet (she doesn't look 13 to me)

Some of the notes:

Needless to say it was a beautiful place.  Maybe a random place for us to go but we are girls and do like a good love story.  

Tuesday morning/afternoon we traveled to Venice and were there until Thursday.  If you don't know anything about Venice: it is 117 islands connected by 400 bridges.  The best way to get around is by water taxi.  

I think if I ever moved to Europe and decided to live near the water - I would come to Venice.  It is sooo easy to get lost (and we did - about 4 or 5 times).  But that just adds to the adventure.  

Our hotel was pretty out of the way and not my favorite place in the world.  After checking in, about 6 of us headed over to St. Mark's square to just look around.  We spent about an hour there, taking pictures (we tried to take pictures with the birds - but they just didn't like us).  We went to meet the other girls for dinner for MK's birthday and then went for a night time gondola ride.  It was nice but pretty hard to see anything or to get good pictures.  

Okay, so here is the thing.  I'm clumsy.  I don't have good balance. I never really have.  I trip and fall constantly. Just ask my parents or my sister or anyone who has ever gone anywhere with me.  When we got back to the hotel the floor was slippery and I fell.  And I may or may not have broken my little toe (pretty sure I did though).  And a week later, it looks A LOT better but still hurts pretty bad.  

Wednesday morning we got up and headed back to St. Mark's and went in to the Basilica.  We didn't pay to walk into the various parts, but most of it you could see in the area that was free.      Wednesday was also a national Italian holiday so we got to see part of that celebration.  We then went to Murano, a small island off of Venice that is famous for it's glass.  We got to see someone make a glass horse.  It was one of the most amazing things I think I have ever seen.  

We spent the majority of the day there, and right when we were getting ready to head to the taxi stand it started to rain.  Pictures before the rain: 

The plan had been that I was going to go back to the hotel for a bit to rest (my foot was killing me by this point) and the other girls were going to go shopping and then I was going to meet them for dinner at the Hard Rock.  But with the rain, we all ended up back at the hotel napping.  It was probably the most amazing nap ever. 

We still went to Hard Rock - we met three other girls there.  Have an iced drink and free refills was fantastic. Being in Europe makes you appreciate things like that back at home. 

Thursday we pretty much just traveled back to Sansepolcro. 
Friday we had class and our second family dinner. So fun! I was so nervous about family dinners but they have truely been some thing special. And of course I was thinking about my own family back in NC doing all that they were doing on Friday and Saturday.
Saturday we had class all day. 
Sunday was the same. And I had skype date with Hannah.
Monday we went to a local museum here in Sansepolcro and saw Piero della Francesca's The Resurrection.  And then had class. And I got to talk to Emily and my parents for a little bit.

Today, we had class this morning (our class took a bit of a field trip and went to see a couple of  churches and the market).  This afternoon Anna, Barb, Ari, Linley, and myself skipped lunch at the Palazzo got on the bus and train and went back to Florence.  We only ended up being there for about 3 hours but it was so worth it.  Ari and Linley climbed the Duomo while Anna, Barb, and I went to Santa Croce.  I was so excited! Our first trip we missed getting to go in and I had really wanted to.  So we went in and spent more time in there than we meant too.  The sad part was that the tombs and memorials that were of the people we knew (Dante, Michaelangelo, Machiavelli) were being worked on and we couldn't see them.  I guess that just means I'll have to go back one day (cough ellen-graduated-from-college-frazier-family-trip?cough).  We also went to the market and did some shopping - look out friends, I got some of you presents today! 

All in all, the past few days have been fun.  Tomorrow we are going to Assisi - so excited about this! I am the first one in the Frazier 4 to go there and that doesn't happen often or ever.