My Italian Adventure- Part 3

RECAP TIMEEE

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Goodness, I have not written much lately! We visited the Uffizi, in Florence, on Friday. The Uffizi is an art museum that showcases many famous artists, one being Michelangelo.

On Saturday we headed to Venice on a two-hour train ride. Walking around Venice was so surreal. All of the canals through the city were absolutely adorable! Our hotel was within a minute of San Marcos Square and was very nice. I loved being in San Marcos Square a lot. It had a lovely ambiance that was enriched with the dueling orchestras on either side of the square. It was very nice to just sit back and listen while eating gelato. On our first day there we went inside of the Basilica. The basilica was gorgeous and the ceilings were amazing! The pictures were made out of mosaics and all gold. My favorite part of the basilica, however, was the fact that it housed the ashes of Saint Mark. You know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Yeah…THAT Mark. It was so awesome!

Our next day in Venice was short, but incredible! We went for a gondola ride through the small and narrow canals as opposed to the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal has way too much traffic on it to be an enjoyable ride. Oh my goodness though, the gondola ride was everything I had imagined and more! The gondolier wore the striped shirt and the uniform hat! We found out that normally it cost extra for them to sing to you and we decided against that, but during a quiet spell, the gondolier starting whistling a melody to go along with the boat ride and while not a big gesture, was still amazing! He was also very informative and showed us where Vivaldi, Mozart, Casanova, and even, Angelina Jolie lived during their times in Venice.

Later that day we got back on the train and headed for Rome. The train ride was a four-hour ride, but I thought it went quickly! Once we arrived a the Roma Termini, we caught a cab to our apartment. I thought the taxi drivers were insane in Florence…then I experienced the ones in Rome. They are nuts! We arrived at about 4 pm so we decided against going out an exploring. However, yesterday was our first day out an about and it was so much fun! We visited the Trevi fountain which is so much more grand and expansive thanΒ  the pictures portray. I, of course, had to throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish. supposedly throwing a coin into the fountain also means you will visit Rome again one day. I would not be opposed to that idea at all! It was quite funny. We were walking through all of these ally ways and all of sudden…POOF… we come around the corner and there it is in all of its magnificent glory!

Yesterday we also visited the Pantheon. I loved it! I had learned all about it during Western Civilization class this year and there it was! What I find interesting about it is that there is a hole at the top of it (on purpose) and it is angled in such a way that rain never or rarely gets inside! Fun fact of the day right there! I also did not know that the Pantheon is a church! Who even knew that?! Not me! Fun fact numero dos for the day! πŸ™‚ I enjoyed walking all around and seeing the art inside.

Today we visited Vatican city, which means yes, I was in yet another country today and I did not even have to show my passport! Although, it was like going through airport security all over again! I loved Vatican City! We went through the museum kind of quickly because we were there for the main attraction… the Sistine Chapel. Which, oh wow…that is all I can say. It was fantastic! Michelangelo did such a spectacular job. I found out that there had been so many candles and oil lamps used in there that until the 80’s or 90’s, the ceiling had more or less been significantly darker than the original had been. Then they recovered the Chapel and the colors were so vivid that art critics did not believe that those were the original shades. The people in charge of recovering the Chapel verified that the colors were in fact, part of Michelangelo pallet. They figured this out by looking at work of Michelangelo’s students. The fact that they could verify that is incredible. While we were there we also walked on the grounds of St. Peters Church. I saw were the pope stands when he is delivering services. Tomorrow I believe we will be going back to the church to see the inside. I think that will be fun!

The people are different here than the people in Florence. For one, the people on the streets trying to sell purses (not out of a tent, as they are carrying them) are fewer than those in Florence. Still as direct, but there are less, so we encounter them less often. Personally I like that…I respect that they are out there trying to make a living, but after being asked for the hundredth time if I would like to buy a purse, I start to get slightly annoyed… bus alas, in a big city, what do you expect?! I am not complaining! I am in one of the greatest cities in the world with the best people! This city has been thriving for thousands of years and I had the absolute privilege of getting to see it and I could not evenΒ  be happier! πŸ™‚

Well, that is all I have for tonight.

Until tomorrow (hopefully…I need to be more regular than this)

arrivederci,

Beth πŸ™‚

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Italy-The Vacation of a Lifetime: Pt. 2

It’s that time again! Recap of my trip!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013Β Β  3:30 pm

We are currently in for ‘siesta’. While not all stores close, some do. By now we have already been awake and sightseeing for seven hours. It is a nice time to rest our feet! As I am writing this, I am glancing up to see the storm clouds rolling in and other tourists parading around the Uffizi. Vespas are roaring around on the street below our apartment. This description may sound like the introduction to a classic movie of sorts. Add the Frank Sinatra I am listening to, and now we have something!

Earlier today we visited the Palazzo Pitti. The palazzo was home to the Medici Dynasty among others. It was quite the interesting living quarters/ mansion/ fortress. It showcased hundreds of paintings in the Palatine Gallery. Raphael, Botticelli, and Rubens paintings fill the enormous gallery. It is simply amazing how the structure came to be the way it is displayed today. There were many pieces depicting Christian figures (Mary, John the Baptist, and of course, Jesus). It was so lovely!

Today I also bought my first real leather piece. It is a gorgeous, magenta wallet. It had a scratch on it and I was concerned about it and asked the store clerk if he had anymore in the same color. As he did not, he told me that he had been working with leather his entire life and would be more than happy to fix it for me (this was all in broken English). He was able to fix it with no extra charge by rubbing some sort of leather protectant (I am guessing) into the wallet and it was gone! The price was 55 Euros which would be equivalent to about $70. I believe it was money well spent!

I was thinking about yesterday and I forgot to mentiom two details that I thought were very interesting. Yesterday, outside of The Duemo, I saw a monk! A real life monk! He was dressed in the traditional brown robe of sorts with a white rope keeping it all together. All the while carrying a mandolin! In addition, we were serenaded by a talented accordian player while eating gelato. It was definitely an Italian melody and made the experience a hundred times better. Here I am in Italy outside of 1,000 year old buildings, eating gelato, and listening to an accordion player! How many 18 year olds can say that?! Yet, as I stated yesterday, everyone is very direct and instead of American street performers who wait to be tipped, this performer went up to tables asking for tips. Very odd. In correlation, today we were asked by a street vendor to buy a necklace. We were sitting at an outdoor cafe and the vendor just came up to us! It must be acceptable here to do such things as they are still going on. So interesting!

Anyway, it is very apparent why Italians are so thin! The food is completely fresh and is not as processed. Chemicals do not make it into food, or rather, if it does, there is significantly less. You would think with the food they serve, Italians would be heavier. Today I had a crossant, toast (one with butter and one with jelly), and a cappuccino. I did not expect that to keep me full for the five hours that it did. Whatever is in the food, is doing its job! In addition to the food, the exercise level is higher. More people walk and use bicycles than I am used to seeing. In two days alone, I have walked about six miles!

7:52 pm
I have been finding myself speaking Italian more consistently. I am using simple words such as si, no, and gratzi. Regardless, I caught myself saying ‘si’ without even realizing it! Maybe by next week I will be using full sentences!

Tonight we went out for gelato and I got a nutella and vanilla cream mixture. OH MY GOODNESS. SO DELICIOUS! πŸ˜€

I am very tired indeed for those who may be wondering. With that statement comes my conclusion for this blog post.
Until tomorrow, arrivaderci,
Beth:)

 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

As with every day, we are back at the apartment for siesta. We visited the Basilica Di Santa Croce this morning. The Basilica is a sacred place as well as a burial center for many influential Italians. Those such as Galileo, Michelangelo, and Niccolo Machiavelli are buried and honored there. Three very prominent figures in Italian and world history.

It was a very interesting Basilica. I also thought the way they buried nearly 250 people was fascinating! The tombs are flat against the floor as the people are buried beneath the floor of the Basilica. Each tomb is marked in its entirety by marble and some have inscriptions, coat of arms, or outlines of the bodies that are buried there. The reason the tombs are like this is to symbolize the humility of man. It is supposed to show that everyone’s inevitable outcome and destiny is the same, to be walked on (according to the audio I listened to). Although, tombs of the famous were higher, off the ground, and marked by busts of the deceased and allegories.

In other news, I bought a very beautiful grey, 100% silk scarf! It has a gorgeous fringe hanging upon it and like I stated, is absolutely beautiful! I bought it at an outdoor market outside of the Basilica. Interacting with the merchant was fun. She would unfold the scarf and let it flow in the breeze so you could see the colors. There were hundreds upon hundreds of scarfs. I am a lover of scarves so it was like Heaven!

As I mention everyday, the people are very direct. We have come across a few painters who, if you are sitting, will come near you and open their portfolios. They tend to stand for a moment until you glance over and then they try and convince you why you must not leave without their magnificent painting. At least I think that is what they are saying…they are speaking thick Italian. They will say, “quanto costa?”, meaning, ‘how much does this cost’. Using my context clues I believe they are asking me, ” do you want to know how much this costs?”. Unfortunately, I do not make eye contact, nor do I speak. Which I know is rude, but I have learned that the only way they leave, is if you do that to them… However, I do admire their perseverance! They are out their trying to make a living for themselves instead of begging. I think that is wonderful of them!

Arrivaderci!

Beth πŸ™‚

My Italian Adventure: Day 5

As with every day, we are back at the apartment for siesta. We visited the Basilica Di Santa Croce this morning. The Basilica is a sacred place as well as a burial center for many influential Italians. Those such as Galileo, Michelangelo, and Niccolo Machiavelli are buried and honored there. Three very prominent figures in Italian and world history.

It was a very interesting Basilica. I also thought the way they buried nearly 250 people was fascinating! The tombs are flat against the floor as the people are buried beneath the floor of the Basilica. Each tomb is marked in its entirety by marble and some have inscriptions, coat of arms, or outlines of the bodies that are buried there. The reason the tombs are like this is to symbolize the humility of man. It is supposed to show that everyone’s inevitable outcome and destiny is the same, to be walked on (according to the audio I listened to). Although, tombs of the famous were higher, off the ground, and marked by busts of the deceased and allegories.

In other news, I bought a very beautiful grey, 100% silk scarf! It has a gorgeous fringe hanging upon it and like I stated, is absolutely beautiful! I bought it at an outdoor market outside of the Basilica. Interacting with the merchant was fun. She would unfold the scarf and let it flow in the breeze so you could see the colors. There were hundreds upon hundreds of scarfs. I am a lover of scarves so it was like Heaven!

As I mention everyday, the people are very direct. We have come across a few painters who, if you are sitting, will come near you and open their portfolios. They tend to stand for a moment until you glance over and then they try and convince you why you must not leave without their magnificent painting. At least I think that is what they are saying…they are speaking thick Italian. They will say, “quanto costa?”, meaning, ‘how much does this cost’. Using my context clues I believe they are asking me, ” do you want to know how much this costs?”. Unfortunately, I do not make eye contact, nor do I speak. Which I know is rude, but I have learned that the only way they leave, is if you do that to them… However, I do admire their perseverance! They are out their trying to make a living for themselves instead of begging. I think that is wonderful of them!

Arrivaderci!

Beth πŸ™‚