Monday, July 24, 2006

Hi Everybody,

Rome was fantastic. We all left after class on Thursday and arrived that evening. The train was about an hour late, so we may be reimbursed for our tickets. That night we went out for food, and saw the building that the Wedding Cake was created after. I can't recall the actual name, but it was one of the most impressive sights I've ever seen. After that we went for gelato and saw the Trevi fountain and ended up getting lost. Eventually we stumbled back to our hotel at about 2 in the morning, dead tired.

The next day we woke up unfortunately rather late, and went off to the Colloseum. On the way, there was the Trajan's Column, and arch. The colloseum was fantastic. Unfortunately, we got scammed by a bogus tour. The tour was technically illegal and they failed to give us our tickets, which would have got us into the palatine for free. I was furious. It only lasted about 20 minutes of the promised hour. Although, I suppose if you're going to get scammed, Rome is the place to do it.

Regardless, the seeing the Colloseum was amazing. After that, we got lunch, and headed off to the forum. We walked around this for a long time, marvelling at the ruins. However, we were all tired, and headed out for drinks, then a quick dinner, then it was off to the Pantheon. A friend of Annique's from school also happened to be in Rome, and I was going to go hang out with them that night, as I knew him from freshman year. But, I was too beat, and bailed to go off with everyone else.

We also saw a few of Rome's better piazza's (piazza navona, I believe, was one of them). But, we had to get to bed relatively early, because the next day was the Vatican.

The next day we were up by 6 and out the door at 6:30. We were at the Vatican at about quarter to seven. It was a good thing we got there early, as there was already a line. The doors opened at about 8, and then we were off to tour their museums. Their collection of religious art was phenomenal, as was their collection of Roman art. We spent most of the morning going through the museum, and finally got to the highlight, the Sistine chapel. This truly was great. I was particularly impressed by the last judgement. But, we also saw da vinci's, rafael's (surprisingly, some Salvador Dali's). After this it was off to St. Peter's. (oh, I sent a postcard from the Vatican home, so you guys should keep an eye out for that).

St. Peter's was the most impressive structure I have ever been inside. We saw the pieta. I'll have to show you pictures, although none of them do the church justice. We also toured the tomb that holds all the popes. After that the day was mostly spent, and we returned to the hotel to shower and head out for dinner.

We went out to a restaraunt near the Trevi. The food was fantastic, fairly cheap, much better than in Venice. Rome's food is as good as Venice's is mediocre. Then we went out for drinks with some Roman waiters that we had met the night before.

The next day we slept in a bit, and then headed out to the Palatine hill. Of everything that I saw in Rome, this may be my favorite. The hill is covered with the ruins of the golden palace. We spent several hours strolling through them. Then, it was off to Hadrian's mausoleum, which also, oddly enough, served as the pope's residence at one point in time. It's very castle-like, and has some great views. After this, we had to rush back to the hotel to make our 7 o'clock train.

We made it back to Junghans at about 2:30 last night.

Anyway, it's time to catch up on work after a busy weekend. I hope that everything is going well back home. I love you all, and miss you.

I'll try and update with some pictures tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

So, I haven't updated in a while.

Thursday I went on a tour of the basilica in Saint Marc's. Then on Friday I took a trip to Revena, where one of the professors took us on a tour of the famous mosaics located in the town.

Then, last night was the Redentore festival, the festival of the redeemer. The Venitians build a bridge across the Guidecca canal, ostensibly so people can make a pilgrimage to the church of the redeemer. There was the best fireworks display that I've ever seen.

There should be some new pictures up at I don't have any of the mosaics, but I may have some of the Redentore festival up later.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Last night was great.

I've been managing to keep pretty cheap on food, and we were going out for someone's birthday last night, so I decided to get a real Italian meal for once. First course was tortellini with prosciutto in a cream sauce. Second course was a steak filet. Then we split a bottle of Pinot Grigio. I suppose I should have had a red wine, but oh well. I like Pinot Grigio, but my experience with it here has been fairly mixed. Sometime's you'll get a good one and sometimes it will be disgustingly sweet. Anyway, dinner was pretty fantastic. Although way overpriced. The food was decent, but not 10-12 euros a plate decent. Then we all split a few cakes.

Anyway, in other news, we watched Casanova the night before last. Pretty terrible movie, but filmed in Venice, so it was interesting to recognize places we knew.

I've found a pizza place that I love. It's a smaller bakery. The pizza is the best that I've had so far, and the cheapest. I got a mini pizza for 1 euro. Throw in half a kilo of cherries for 2 euros and something to drink, and you've got yourself a great lunch.

Everyone has gone off to Padua to shop today, but I'm staying back to catch up on reading.

Classes are going well. I'm really enjoying my behavioral economics class. Growth and Fiscal Policy is going fine. The lectures are a bit dry, but the book is good. I switched into it late, so I've been having to catch up on reading for it. I went to a pottery class the other day as well. We've been painting and glazing and firing pots. It's pretty enjoyable. My pot has a scene depicting the ineptness of the people running my program. It's fairly entertaining.

I should have some more pictures up soon. Today is going to be all work, but tomorrow should be Lido and the Italy/Germany game. I'll try to get some pictures of the madness that will ensue during and after the game.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Here's a slew of pictures from Lido and Padova. Enjoy.

Whew. I am completely beat.

Yesterday we went to Lido in the morning and went swimming and sunning. We marveled at the Italian notion of beach decorum and had a general good time.

Then we returned to the dorm and studied for a few hours and then headed down to the train station. Once there we met up with some Italian students and caught a train up to Padova (Padua of Shakespearean fame). Padova was having its "white night" festival. It's essentially an all night gathering where all of the shops and bars stay open. We got there in the early evening and ate dinner (perhaps 16 of us, including the Italians). After that some people went shopping while the rest of us got some spritzs and enjoyed the revelry. Later on we met up again and hung out in Padova's central "square," the second oldest in Europe. Padova also features the oldest university in the world. There were bands playing all over the city for most of the night, but from about midnight on the stage in the central "square" switched from live music to techno/dance, so we danced until about 4 in the morning and then caught the 5:30 train back to Venice and collapsed in bed.

I just got back from dinner, and its time to hit the books. I may have some pictures up later tonight.