My Italy Trip Entry 25: Fiesole – one of the most BEAUTIFUL places I’ve ever been

Yesterday¬†I went on a hiking trip to Fiesole with my friend from the food bank, Ragan (pronounced like my last name). Quick fun fact, Ragan’s roommates name is Allison so together they phonetically make my name ūüėÄ

Anyway, i don’t know why Fiesole is not a widley mentioned place to go when you’re visiting Florence or the Tuscan region in general. The park Montecceci is a hidden beauty apparently with amazing¬†views overlooking all of Florence and the rolling hills of the country side beyond. Although it looks far away on a map, the ride is only about 16-17 minutes from the Piazza San Marco. The bus drivers and taxi drivers alike seem to always be in an insane rush – I will theorize on taxis later.

I am about to head out to go to Germany for Spring Break where I will be staying with my friend Jonas whom I met Junior year of high school when he was a foreign exchange student. I am quite excited, but I will not be bringing my computer so all the details will have to wait until I get back and i need to take care of some last minute things, but I really wanted to at least post pictures of Fiesole and hopefully I will take another trip there – the one yesterday was too short! – so I can elaborate a bit more on what the pictures are and how half the time I felt like I was taking a path to Narnia. ¬†And I’m only posting 1/3 of the photos, the rest I will post when I come back:)))

Have a wonderful next week!!!!

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My Italy Trip Entry 24: School and Such

So I’ll start off with my last class – Introduction to Environmental Plants – Giacamo

Giacomo is my professor and he is in charge of the Community Garden I occasionally volunteer at for my Environmental Conservation class. He speaks English pretty well and it turns out he has an American wife and an¬†adorable¬†4 year old son I watched one time when I volunteered. I am a bit jealous of all the young kids here with American parents who are bilingual because they learned both languages so young – I’ll hopefully explain later how Ive encountered other kids. Anyway the class is pretty neat, we basically watch a bunch of plant documentaries and work in the garden learning doing a large array of projects and we will hopefully visit some bigger gardens later on in the course. At the end of our second class our assignment was to sit down, choose a plant, and just sketch it. The sun was out, the birds were chirping, and it was beautiful, I’m definitely going to miss classes like these when I go back.

St.James American Church

Seeing as how it is Thursday today i suppose I will talk about why I love my Thursday mornings (sorry if I have already told you about this). Every Thursday morning – unless I am traveling – I volunteer at the St.James Food Bank (an American episcopal church) with some other girls who are also studying abroad in the area. Basically we come in at 9, a nice Filipino man whose name I can’t remember always makes us a cappuccino served with a tray of small spoons and a tin of sugar and there are always some form of cookie alongside – this morning was ginger thins, yum! After that we either help sort food in the back kitchen, sort clothes, or basically chat until 10. Today we were a bit busy and I worked the clothing table for the 1st time (as opposed to the table handing out¬†apples and pasta/beans). And let me tell you those mothers that come in right when it starts at 10am are vultures.¬†People were going through the clothes so fast that when I was bringing more up, the women would swarm me and literally grab clothes out of my hands before I could even make it to the table. Needless to say I enjoy working the food table more. Don’t get me wrong some of the people are amazing and I love to know I’m helping them. One of my favorite moments was the first morning I ever volunteered when a man came up and after we gave him an apple and can of beans to go with his other food bag, he put his hand over his heart and said “thank you” lie he was about to start crying. That’s also one of my most memorable moments here and I am so glad to be able to volunteer here.

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That’s Gina, one of the girls who volunteers:)

After volunteering, some of the women who also volunteer – surprisingly a lot are British although one is Italian and the other Mexican – told us about how the masses at the church are held in English and that Sunday they were going to have a large luncheon afterwards. So Nina – not Gina – and I went to mass together and it was actually pretty neat, the church was beautiful inside as all churches here are and afterwards we went down to the basement and waited for a meeting to be finish. We were overwhelmed by the quality of the food – it was a catered 3 course meal. Our expectations going in were basically “hey free lunch!” We also met some cool women, all mothers with their own unique stories about hoe they came to Italy. 99% of the time it is because they fell in love with an Italian. But trust me, the Italians here have far different customs and most of them would no live up to American girl standards of “decent” and “respectable.” You either are friendly to them – which they take as you’re interested – or you completely reject them, there is no in between -_-

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Nove Cento Museo

The day of our luncheon was the first Sunday of March and every first Sunday of the Month, all the museums in Florence are free entry, so Nina and I decided to venture into a museum on our way home. This museum happened to be the one where I took my gorgeous profile picture posing with the statue. It turns out the place was a post-modern art museum or something similar and basically it means art in the 80s and 90s where people did lots of drugs. Some of the stuff in there is really neat but I also feel that if I ever did drugs and decided to create something it could also probably end up in there. Sorry if any of you are super art enthusiasts and I insulted you…. On that note, here are some pictures, at some points it was kind of like a fun house!

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entrance into one of the rooms

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He looked so fascinated XD

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hard to get the camera to focus on the whole thing but these are both the same thing. Kind of gave me the creeps.

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yes this is a red canvas with red lights on it that say “red”

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umm I think this might be a baby of one of the creatures from Alien. 

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view from inside the museum on the Piazza de Santa Maria Novella

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Thought you guys might want a little boob action

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Me becoming one with the art

The Duomo Tower

So at some point in time – I cannot remember the date – I climbed the Duomo tower with my friend Olivia. You can climb up the Dome itself or the connecting tower next to it. The tower had a nice big metal grate encasing the whole top so thats the one I chose because I like several layers of metal between me and a long¬†fall to my certain death. Apparently most people prefer a railing that reaches their hip. So at first the climb wasn’t that terrible, but once we got to the 4th staircase, we started to really huff and puff – I know, HUGE SURPRISE THERE. The stairs were also extremely narrow with almost no room for traffic moving in both directions – or the camera on my phone for that matter. There were points when it was tight and winding and I had to wait for someone to pass and the only thing to hold on to was the ceiling (even though that was technically pressing my hands against, not holding, but details schmeetails). However, the views were of course beautiful and although I we were a bit rough from our climb I will post the photos anyway because anyone pales in comparison to the background anyway.

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Thought you might want to see some of my gorgeous poses

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Well that’s all for now, I’ll be back to tell more adventures tomorrow! Ciao!

My Italy Trip Entry 23: Florence Happenings

In this post I will explain what has been going on in between these weekend trips, including all my random thoughts, ¬†while I’m home in Florence. I’m going off notes I typed on my phone so I’ll do my best.

Week after Verona:

So I have noted a lot that people here do not care much for PDA (Public Display of Affection). While in Verona on Valentines Day sure, but otherwise it is kind of everywhere. On the first week when the roomies and I went up to the Piazza Michelangelo, on our way down the stairs this couple was going pretty hard and heavy on a bench. In the piazza San Marco in Venice there was another couple stopped in the middle of a walkway in a very passionate embrace – who knows, maybe masks turn them on? Most recently, I was on my way to Italian class, walking down Borgo Pinti , and this other couple is walking my way having a normal conversation, randomly stop because I suppose they’ve simultaneously been overtaken by some fit of passion, make out for a minute as if they’re saying goodbye, stop kissing, and walk down the road as if nothing happened.

There are also a lot of dogs here, and i mean a lot. You have to watch your feet in the city so that you don’t trip over the uneven streets and fall on your face in front of all the locals, but you also have to watch out for dog poop. The city is pretty clean – I often see people with orange vests cleaning the streets and trucks in the early morning actually spraying them – but you can’t do anything about human laziness and the leftover poop. If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know we all do it at least once.

So now I’d like to discuss a few of my teachers.

Class #1 – Foundation Drawing – Alessandra Ragionieri

First off I’d like to note that her clothes often reflect her inner artist. I think she dresses more according to the color of her clothes rather than their composition and how they actually look on her body.

Like most of my teachers her English isn’t the best and she often has to ask us for certain words. But to top it off art is basically a language in itself and sometimes we don’t understand anything she’s saying, or at least I don’t. ¬†For instance Im pretty sure the only descriptive words she knows are “growing, regular, and finish.” At the beginning of every class we display all of our works and she critiques them in front of everyone – you can imagine what a confidence booster this is. It wouldn’t be that bad if there wasn’t always two amazing pieces that made the rest of our pieces look like we had a five year old draw it, crumple it up, give it to a homeless man to sleep on, and then flatten it out and bring it to class. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think my work is that terrible, but those people shouldn’t be in a beginners class.

Anyhoo, she critiqued one girl, saying that her work was “growing” but that certain parts, such as her plate she drew, needs to be more “regular.” I could see this clueless WTF look cross this girls face as she told her. Then later on, when I was starting a new piece i was pretty sure I had already screwed up. i asked Alessandra if I was at least heading in the right direction and she responded “no, not really.” She then proceeded to point out everything I did wrong, laughed half the time,¬†and then said “you’re welcome.” I hadn’t even said thank you! And to top off my teachers “you done effed up” speech, the paper I had to work on was the wrong one. The whole point of the project that week was to show contrast with the use of “negative space” using black paper and white pastels. Of course, everyone else got black paper and what did I get? This bobo brownish dark grey paper. And if you messed up you were supposed to be able to use black pastel to fix it. No luck for me. I ended up pulling it off in the end, but I can tell you I definitely felt the doom and gloom in the beginning.

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It may look dark, but I promise its much lighter (therefore harder) as compared to black paper.

I think the school used to be a residence. The doors are really old, but they have pretty fancy door frames. Also one of my classes has a fireplace in it and the painting studio is actually two separate rooms connected by a doorway. There is also a window inside of one of the inside bathrooms, and the window looks out onto a stairwell… 0.0 I swore I took a few pictures, but I can’t find them. I’ll try to remember later to take some.

Class #2 – Environmental Conservation – Mirella Sarti

I would have to say I think Mirealla has the worst english. For instance one of her powerpoint slides starts with (in embarrassingly large letters) “What does energy is?” But some of it can be quite cute, such as when she says “something can broken” instead of something can break or when asking if we’ve written down what was on the board she asks “have you signed this?”

She also has a habit i try very hard not to think about because then you will notice it the whole two and a half hours. She tends to make an “um” sound literally almost every other or every two words, if I’m lucky she’ll say a whole sentence fragment.

Class #3 – Beginning Italian – Francesco

My Italian teacher is quite fun an eccentric and tends to snort while he laughs. He makes a potentially boring class a bit more enjoyable. His main quirk is that he plays the strangest music in the background every class. The music has ranged from the hits of Jon Denver, The Temptations, The Foundations, and “I heard it through the Grape Vine.” I think he’s hit almost every classic genre in American music now.

This is getting quite a bit long so I will continue another time. For now Arrivederci!

My Italy Trip Entry 22: Chianti Hiking

Last Saturday, March 14th, Shannon and I went on a trip with FlorenceForFun (our favorite tour group so far) to the Chianti wine region for a hike and wine tasting/lunch.

We started off the day with taking a charter bus to our location Panzano, a cute little town on the top of a hill surrounded by vineyards. The coolest part about this bus trip was that it was a public charter bus. When I was asking the tour guide about this she didn’t understand how I found this as a unique thing. In America, you rent charter bus when going on trips with a large group or riding a Greyhound, but here you can buy a normal bus ticket and hop on~ 10 euro for these ones as compared to 2.4 euro round trip in the city.

When we got there we “of course” took a coffee and bathroom break at a bar across from the bus stop – Italy really is al about having espresso multiple times during the day. We both started and ended the trip with coffee.

I dressed for a sunny day full of hiking, but it was actually mostly cloudy and quite chilly – too chilly for my capri workout pants – which I know I should’ve expected by now, but I was too busy dreaming the weather would be like Barcelona. On the other hand, once Shannon and I started walking we warmed up and were completely overtaken by the views to even care anymore. I will of course post pictures below, but if it is ever possible for you to take a trip to to Tuscany and the traditional Italian country side do it.¬†The environment is amazing and I don’t think any picture can capture what we saw with our own eyes. So far this trip was both Shannon and mine’s favorite trip. My main goal in seeing Italy was to see a vineyard and the country side and my expectation were definitely met, if not exceeded.

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This dog literally hung around our group the whole time

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I could’ve taken, and maybe should’ve taken, more pictures, but the scenery really does demand you to stop spending your whole time looking through and camera and instead just sit there and take it all in. And although there were definitely some times Shannon and I straggled behind the group (whoops), the clean air made it a lot easier to make the hike.

The hike actually started off pretty easy because it was downhill, but the second part was very uphill, as our tour guide was obviously too in shape to think any of us would find difficult. One of the stops Shannon really wanted to get the perfect shot and of course, right around the corner was this long, steep hill where we could just see the group at the top and we had to huff and puff our way up as fast as we could without sounding like we were old grannys or having an asthma attack once reaching the group. Thankfully we pulled off the casual “oh look another mountain, let me slow down to casually appreciate it and not to put air into my lazy American lungs.” Although I still prefer hiking to stairs. Stairs are still evil in my eyes.

I wish I could remember to tell you, but apparently they have these special delicious cows in Panzano that a famous Butcher there (also forgot his name, but ate his food at least!) cooks in his restaurants (in 2 pound servings!). We visited his Butcher shop on the way to our final destination for lunch and a wine tasting, but I really would love to come back for a good meal at one of his restaurants where he explains his food and cooks right in front of you.

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At top of said hill

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We ended the tour at this man’s wine cellar/ wineary/ home. To demonstrate how much of a tradition wine making is, the guy whose home we ate in (Lorenzo) had been there since 1200,¬†and his family in particular had been making wine for the past 7 seven generations. We learned a lot about the wine making process and I was actually able to help use this knowledge to help my roommate Maria buy wine at the grocery store for Mike’s birthday ūüôā

In case you’re ever curious here are a few¬†fun facts: wine with a rooster sticker on it mean they’re from the Chianti region – typically Chianti classico, DOCG means it is has met all the regulations by being made locally, met certain production standards, and someone came in and actually tasted the wine to guarantee it (hence the G). Also extra virgin olive oil is the first oil that comes out of an olive when squeezed and of the highest quality, while virgin, and then just plain olive oil are the later drops. And even cooking you can definitely tell the difference. I’ve grown to dislike anything that isn’t extra virgin – hope that doesn’t sound snobbish 0.0.

Anyhoo the cellar was actually kind of smelly, but neat, and lunch was delicious, especially the almond biscotti at the end– bread-like hard “cookies” that are basically the Tuscany’s only desert. I did try all the wine’s, but I still don’t care for much of the taste (I only really like the Moscato we had on the first night). As a result I had Shannon finish all my glasses so I didn’t look bad, not that she had any objections whatsoever. I’m, talking at least 3 glasses here. We also tried this stuff called Grappa which is basically the leftover grape skin fermented and such and it is called a digestive because¬†you sip it from a small glass after dinner and it helps you break down the fats you’ve consumed. And I should’ve said Italians normally sip it, Shannon and I disgracefully took it as a shot because its… an acquired taste to say the least.

Afterwards we took a stroll into his garden – remember this is his home he invited us into and his sister, himself, and his girlfriend cooked for us. The garden had this beautiful view out of this break in the trees where you will see Shannon and I standing. Sorry I didn’t take more pictures of the garden or anything, Shannon and I were just a bit overwhelmed. I highly recommend this trip to anyone traveling throughout Italy, √Ȭ†Bellissimo!¬†

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My Italy Trip 21: Barcelona Weekend ( A lot of words in so little time)

Hola!!

Last weekend – March 5-8 – I went on a trip with Maria, Mike, and Elisa to Barcelona. We left Thursday night on a charter bus from Florence at 10pm and arrived in Barcelona approximately 13 hours later. On the bus ride there Elisa and I sat in front of this 6 foot 3 guy who was so long-legged that Elisa and I couldn’t recline our seats. I did a little bit, but Elisa couldn’t at all. I took a Zzzquil and actually got some pretty good sleep, but I woke up almost every 1-2 hours to move my legs because my knees hurt.

Day One

Once we arrived in Barcelona, we walked to the hostel St. Christopher’s Inn and had their leftover breakfast of slices of meat and cheese, bread rolls, and some bobo tasting coco puff-like cereal. The hostel itself was pretty neat, with a foosball table and crates with cushions on top and such. The room had 6¬†bunk beds that were built into the wall with privacy curtains on each bunk and a reading light in the wall and a pull out metal drawer underneath big enough to fit a suitcase and you could lock it if you had your own lock. The only bad thing is the wifi was horrible and you were lucky if you got a connection for 5 minutes, so as a result I had to use a majority of my data to use for google maps because the place was HUGE.

Side note here on wifi use while traveling. Everyone always seems to be looking for wifi wherever we go as if we’ve been in the desert for the past 40 days and a water bottle is going to pop out of their phones. Everyone must have some crazy social lives because when I get wifi I don’t really know what to do with it. I basically check my email, close it, then scroll through my phone pointlessly and go “well that was nice,” and then turn my wifi back off. Meanwhile everyone else is staring at their phone like they just found the meaning of life or the cure to cancer on it.

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Friday morning we went on a walking tour around the city that was actually really neat and ended on the very busy, touristy street of Las Rambles, which is actually where I stayed on my trip to Barcelona 6 years ago. The city has a LOT of history, especially involving wars and their Catalan pride. Apparently Barcelona back in the day was technically a part of the region of Catalunya (and still is) so the city’s main language actually isn’t Spanish, it is Catalan. Dinner menus were often in Catalan, Spanish, and then English as the third option (at least at the authentic places). There was a lot involved in the tour, so I’ll attach pictures here and put some descriptions under some of them if I can recall the stories behind them.¬†Also throughout my trip to Barcelona and pretty much anywhere, I liked to take pictures of fast food places to see how far we’ve invaded into Western culture and I also enjoy taking pictures of all the times the Super Couple is always speed walking in front of the group.

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Subway!!!

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This is a structure representing the record for the tallest Human Tower. (Its a crazy dangerous tradition; worth a good youtube search!)

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This is a church Gaudi visited every Sunday while he was working on the Sagrada Familia. The only place he went to when not locked in his room for 7 years. All the marks on the bottom and on the walls the way up is actually due to remnants of bombs dropped during WWII.

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This window is argued to be one of the Top 5 largest rose windows in the world. Its part of a church built in dedication to a pine tree which supposedly had the face of the Virgin Mary on it.

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Super ancient Roman burial ground discovered in the mid 1900s.

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Cathedral ofSaint Eulalia, a 13 year old girl who the Romans symbolically tortured in 13 ways as punishment for being christian.

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Breakfast

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After our tour we went to Dunkin Coffee (not Dunkin Donuts for some reason, same place though). I got an over priced donut that didn’t taste that great, but then again nothing like that really does in Europe. But I couldn’t resist because the donut I got looked like the cookie monster.¬†I think that’s all the explanation I need. Dunkin is also right next to the infamous market,¬†Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. If I lived by there I would be a lot healthier and a lot skinnier. I would definitely not be eating this bag of m&ms right now. From the market, which was filled with every fresh food you could ever want and these delicious 1 euro smoothies, we walked to Barcelona’s beach (much much farther than the 15min our tour guide told us it would take to get there -_-). The beach was a bit chilly and windy, but it was sunny and beautiful¬†with these cool stone statue lounge bench things we laid back on for a good while, just enjoying the utter unrealism of my life at this point.

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thats sea urchins btw!!!!

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The beach was so far away we didn’t make it back in time to go with the guides to visit the Sagrada Familia. However, this did give us the time to sit down and have a delicious nacho lunch we devoured in less than 5 min before we headed out. Getting to the Sagrada Familia at first was a bit overwhelming and confusing, but once you get your ticket, find the correct line, and hop on your first train, the system is quite easy to get the hang of. After the Sagrada Familia, we eventually found our way to one of Gaudi’s other famous buildings, Casa Batlio. After dinner at this delicious authentic restaurant called Oregins Elisa’s friend took us to who lives in Barcelona, we visited a really neat bar called the Dow Jones. At Dow Jones, prices of drinks fall up and down in reflection of the American stock market. For instance, when you buy a drink, the price of it will rise and the price of another will fall. Also every once in a while an alarm will go off and yellow lights will flash indicating a stock market “crash” where all the prices are dropped. And there was this guy at the Dow Jones who just kept yelling “politics!!!”

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I just thought this bar name was hilarious

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Day Two

SOOOO 962 words later and we are hitting day 2, I know, quite a doozy. I’ll try to make this one shorter.

In the morning we had a yummy, much larger breakfast with fresh, warm round rolls, a larger variety of cereals, some greek yogurt, coffee, and more fruit than before (Yumm!). We embarked early for a trip to Gaudi park with a group of other students who were traveling with bus2alps. We had to take the metro halfway there and then walked the other half to Gaudi Park. I didn’t take a picture, probably because I was so taken aback, but if you take the side entrance like we did, there is a very steep¬†hill and 3 SETS OF STAIRS (God I hate them) before you reach the entrance. The monumental (mosaic basically) part of the park costs 7 euro to go inside and is pretty small, but that view you see in google images, is basically what you’re paying for. Part of it was unfortunately under construction so it kind of ruins any potential for super awesome pictures with the towers in the background, but oh well. The part I was most excited about, and I think far too many people don’t appreciate is the climb above. There are so many paths above that section of the park with gorgeous views of the whole entire city. When I last visited several years ago in 2010 with my family I was too afraid to climb this mound in the corner of the park with a cross on top, it is essentially the highest point of the park. When I was younger I was too afraid to climb to the top because the stairs have a tiny railing halfway up, but then they kind of just disappear and you could pretty much fall off the super cramped top at any moment. This time I was determined to face my fears and climb to the top and I DID. Although, it was by no means graceful. Half the time i was on my knees or sliding on my butt to go up and down the stairs or just standing there with my knees locked. I don’t really like the picture of my at the top, but I wanted proof I was there so I will post it anyway^-^ I also attached a picture of the most massive vending machine I have ever seen. They are located at the entrance to many of the metro stations.

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wall grab gaudi park Gaudi Park w: roommates Gaudi Park window  IMG_7628Gaudi Park

Okay this is getting long… so after Gaudi Park we went to a day party for this weekend music festival called Springfest at this club on the beach called Opium (there was this super tall black dude who dressed like t-pain and was dressed in all black and gold and was basically ballin and buying everyone alcohol so I got a side picture of him) and travelled to Font Magica of MontJu√Įc – a huge fountain that lights up and plays music in front of a castle. The fountain was really neat of course, but played some strange music. It played Spanish Spongebob where I kept hearing them call him something Jorge (Hor-hey). They also played the music for Big Time Rush and the Spanish version of “Let It Go.”

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There are more things I could say, but I think we can all agree its I’ve written more than enough. If you’ve made it this far congrats trooper!!! Hope you enjoyed the reading! one more trip to post and then I’ll go back to all the things that’ve been happening in Firenze:)

Ciao!

My Italy Trip 20: Verona in Love

So from here on out my goal is to follow my blog chronologically, but I cannot promise I will go astray from that goal. Aka. I totally will.

So Verona was on the 14th of February, a month ago as of today so I will do my best to remember the important details:

I can sum up the day with a few words: cold, rainy, no umbrella, and a lot of chocolate. For those of you who do not know, Verona is the location of some of Shakespeare’s – and a few other old dead poet’s – stories; most infamous is Romeo and Juliet. Every Valentines Day weekend they have a Love Festival where many chocolatier’s come and sell their chocolate in two of the plazas and some of the restaurants have couples specials. In our group – Nikki, Tay, Shannon, Elisa, Maria, and myself – only one of us had a boyfriend with her, but thats why chocolate was there for the rest of us.

The day started off with a chocolate cake thing I ate on the bus. Once we arrived we saw Verona’s own colosseum, apparently there are three main ones in Italy or something, and Verona’s is in the best condition, the top layer only damaged by an earthquake.

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After, we took a tour of the small-ish city, including some intense looking tombs or crypts or burial place of important royal people (Im super tired right now -surprise, I know – so my vocabulary is… interesting). There was also a love well covered in locks and a poetic love inscription written on the cover. However, the well was based off a story where this dude was in love with this total female dog and eventually she told him that if he really loved her he would go jump into a well. I guess playing hard to get was super attractive back in the day so of course, like any sane person, he jumped in and died. Then B*!?hFace (as I call her) had the audacity to feel¬†bad¬†and decided she indeed did love insane lover boy the whole flipping time and followed suit into jumping into the well so they could be dead together forever. Who wouldn’t be inspired by this story to immediately lock their love to it so they could be just like them?

So anyhoooo we also knocked on Romeo’s supposed door and later on waited in a ridiculously long line to go inside and stand on Juliet’s balcony (which was actually added for tourist purposes) and visit the rest of the house. I also dropped in my own letter to the Juliet Club that will actually respond to your love problem letters (kind of excited!), although it does take approximately 6 months to get your response, so better hope its not dire. And outside there is a statue of Juliet and supposedly if you rub her right breast you will either find love or have good luck in your relationship. The majority of her statue was a muddly bronze color, but you best believe her left boob was as gold as the pot Lucky the Leprechaun has at the end of his rainbow (this is a lucky charms reference btw).

Verona really was neat, but I think I would’ve enjoyed it a bit more if I had not lost my umbrella that morning because it rained the majority of the day – after all the pictures thank goodness – and I was very cold and very tired at the end of the day. I also managed to get hit in the face with several umbrellas.

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Plus side: I bought myself some delicious almond cream layered chocolate square things and collected some free samples for home. I finished all of these the next day of course.

The ending ceremony was neat, but the entire thing was in Italian so I basically had to make up my own subtitles. But I would like to note that this is an international event where people come from around the WHOLE PLANET to come and post their love stories, so I figured some english would be spoken, but no I was wrong.

So the ceremony involved some people coming on stage dressed in wedding attire (im assuming they got married and for some reason needed to share their epic story). The groom spoke¬†a lot,¬†so much that the speaker kept trying to hint by speaking over him, but the groom was so overwhelmed with how awesome his proposal was or how beautiful his wife was (whom didn’t speak at all and actually didn’t look all that happy…maybe she has a resting annoyed/sad face) to care. there was also some Bacci chocolate bars thrown at the crowd.

The coolest part was the ending where we were all given red balloons that we all released together at the end and followed by a minute long kiss by all couples (including the super couple who I got a GREAT picture of <3).

Overall, I would definitely reccomend a trip if you really want a special or symbolic Valentines Day and I would love to come back with a significant other in hand.

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My Italy Trip Entry 19: I GOT MY COMPUTER BACK!!!!!!! PRAISE!!!!

It has been almost FOUR WEEKS since I have last posted, due to the tragic accident with my computer T-T

Many have asked, but in case you don’t know I came home one day and innocently went to go open my computer to write my blog for you lovely readers, but when I opened it I found water dripping down the screen and after picking it up I found a pool of water on the table. No, I’m not sure exactly how this water became one with my computer as my roommates and I all share the kitchen table and that day in particular it was cluttered with everyones belongings and something could’ve easily spilled. Of course, all the roommates were clueless and kept going about their day while I inwardly spiraled out of control at the attempted murder of my computer. Honestly, it was probably me and I didn’t notice. I don’t know how I wouldn’t have but I am occasionally “hypnotically blinded” (like when you’re looking for your keys and they’re in your hand) and don’t see things in right in front of my face.

In those first few moments after spilling something on your very expensive computer in a foreign country many terrible, irrational things go through your head. For instance: “is there an Apple Store in Florence, is there even a store in Italy?!?! What if I have to buy a new computer???? How much was this one, at least 2k? IM DOOOOOOOOMED. GODBYE¬†FOOD AND TRAVELING AND OUTDOORS.” Meanwhile my roommates were all planning their trips and bugging me about what trips I was going to book. I felt like someone had just stolen my child and then on top of that I opened up my bank account and it read $0.

Obviously this was all an overreaction and my computer is now all safe and healed, but I see¬†my computer as my¬†child. One of my attempted methods at rescue was sitting it in a makeshift rice bath made of a cardboard box I took from the front of the grocery store Conad, saran wrap for the open corners, and masking tape. Surprisingly it held through, but now I have three bags of uncooked rice just sitting on my dresser that I am debating whether is safe for consumption. While it was sitting in its box, I would check on it and yes, occasionally try to revive it with human love. And no, the rice box or putting it over a fan hanging upside down didn’t work, and after finally finding this place called DataPort – my friend Olivia dropped her phone in the toilet the same day and had heard of it from her advisor – I had it sent it away.

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The great news is AppleCare somehow magically covered the damage – don’t know how and don’t care why. But when I brought it in the situation was basically, we will take your computer and send it to an apple repair center, but you won’t know how much it costs until they send it back. Since I didn’t have much of a choice, I gave it to them for 2 gruesome weeks (it was sitting in a rice bath for a week prior). I figured if I came back and they told me it was $900 I could just throw my computer at their face and run. Once again, we are all very lucky it didn’t come to that.

So I’m sure you want to hear about my travels, such as Verona and Barcelona, but first I have something more important to rant about: Stairs. If this¬†trip has taught me one thing, it is that I HATE STAIRS. They are the bane of my existence and they are EVERYWHERE. In America, it is often a choice to “take the stairs” to be a healthier person or get some exercise, but here there is no choice. It’s like once giant mockery of me. No wonder the people here aren’t all that fat, THEY’RE ALWAYS WALKING UP STAIRS. Every place I’ve been has had some experience with stairs: climbing up the tower next to the Duomo, walking up and down the steps of the Subway in Barcelona, walking up the stairs to my apartment with at least 15 pounds of groceries, walking up to your room in a hostel, walking in Juliet’s house, walking ANYWHERE. I cannot wait to go to nice flat Florida with minimal steps and if given the option, I will opt to¬†not¬†take the stairs. Shoot my legs are hurting just thinking about climbing stairs. I could go on all day about stairs, but I am afraid my argument will only continue to lose all logic and turn into a mindless rage at a perfectly necessary invention of humankind.

BUT if there was a civil war where we could choose to only have elevators or stairs, I would be Team Elevator all day. Shoot, I’d even be Team Escalator, at least those stairs move. I would also just like to say I really want this shirt.

Don’t worry I will post about all my travels and daily thoughts ( I have plenty!) and adventures, but I must return to studying for midterms next week. Gross, I know.

Ciao!!!!!