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 thanย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 evenย  be happier! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, that is all I have for tonight.

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

arrivederci,

Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Italy-The Vacation of a Lifetime

This time a year ago I was on the vacation of a lifetime. I saw so many famous works of art, ancient cities, and interesting people. I thought in remembrance of the voyage I would post my adventures again. So Enjoy!

Looking over Florence, Italy.

Looking over Florence, Italy.

I arrived in Italy yesterday with my grandparents and my aunt. What a gorgeous country! Like a true blogger, I am keeping a journal to remember this wonderful trip forever. I want to write all my adventures here as well for you all to enjoy. Currently I have no means to include pictures, but once I return home I will post many. Right now I am in Florence, or Firenze as it is spelled in Italian. It is a beautiful city and our apartment looks over the Arno River. Included in this post is what I have written in my journal so far:

Monday, June 3, 2013

My first day in Italy! Once we reached Rome, we took a train from the airport to the Terminale Roma in order to catch the Eurail to Florence.

Our travels began yesterday nearly 24 hours ago. We sat on first class on the airplane and that was an amazing adventure within itself! I never want to go back to coach! They gave everyone a tablet to watch movie and television shows, listen to music, or play games. I watch Safe Haven and Identity Theft, two movies that I have been wanting to see. Between the movies and the sleep I was able to get, the long flight went quickly! We had an overnight flight so we had meals on the plane. They were so much better than I believed they were going to be! My dinner included a salad with balsamic and vinaigrette dressing, a bread stick, grilled chicken with some sort of white chocolate gravy sauce (it was the most delicious sauce for anything that I have had so far), asparagus, and tomatoes. We were also given Ben and Jerry’s ice cream with our choice of toppings. It was really a treat to be taken care of so well!

Once we finally landed in Rome, it was a completely different atmosphere. People were dressed nicer for traveling. The pairs of sweatpants I saw were now few and far between which I thought was interesting. However, more people spoke English in addition to Italian so understanding people was easier than I imagined. Later, we took the train to reach the Terminale Roma. That was interesting because in the United States, one can hardly find a train station that is so populated! The station was a melting pot of cultures. There were various nationalities there visiting. We finally got on the Eurail and began our journey to Florence. We had an hour and a half train ride through Tuscany and the numerous villages were absolutely breathtaking. It was like something out of a movie so of course I had to put on my music so it was like I was in a movie! ๐Ÿ™‚ The Duemo is in Florence which I am excited to see. I learned about it when I was a sophomore, in World History and swore that one day I would visit. I cannot wait to see it!

Our apartment is very quaint. It looks over the Arno river and the view is breathtaking! I can see hundreds of scooters lined up on the streets from my window. Which reminds me, let me talk about the driving here. Traffic laws exist, but they must be enforced lightly because people pull out in front of each other, weave between cars, and do not pay much attention. The funny part about this is, however, is that the anger levels are way lower than what I am used to. People go with the flow and road rage is at a minimum. The motor cyclists do make me nervous with the way that they drive. They will weave in and out of cars that are less than a few feet apart! It is an absolute miracle that they stay alive!

Regardless, it is such a beautiful country. When we were flying in I could see Tuscany and it was such a surreal feeling and experience. To know that this land has been farmed for nearly 3,000 years, if not longer, is amazing. It has been quite a long day and I am ready for some sleep…

Tuesday, June 4, 2013ย  8:00 am

Well, I have been up for nearly three hours already. I was very out of it last night. Jet lag has not affected me much yet…I don’t think… I keep forgetting that everyone at home is still asleep as daylight has not reached them yet. That is strange. Since we have arrived in Italy, the few Italian songs have been on a continuous stream in my mind. None of the American music I know seems to fit with the baroque architecture here. Although, when we made a trip to the market yesterday they had Bruno Mars playing over their music system. I thought that was odd because 1) it was in English and 2) don’t they have their own pop sensations? I guess with the globalization of everything it makes perfect sense to have him singing! I really want to hear Italian music, but evidently the Italians do not want me to hear it! Yet, I still have nearly 2 weeks here so that could change!

I am starting to understand why writers such as Ernest Hemingway came to Europe to write. Although he wrote in Paris, Italy has that creative ambiance as well. I hope that one day I can visit Italy again and sit at a cafe with the city bustling around me and just write. While I have barely ventured out onto the streets so far, I feel as if this atmosphere is very relaxing and quells the soul. I know that it will be difficult to go home to the suburbs knowing that this all exists and has been thriving for thousands of years. I am beginning to see that there is more in this world than I ever imagined. I am going to go for awhile until I have more adventures to write about. Until then, arrivederci!

Still Tuesday… 12:50 pm

We have returned from walking around Florence. What an interesting experience! We saw The Duemo and went inside. It was absolutely gorgeous! The ceiling of it told a story about the journey of life and death through a painting. It showed Heaven and Hell and those who were living and dying. It was a painting from hundreds and hundreds of years ago that had a depiction of Jesus and God. It was an incredible masterpiece. The Duemo is a church and currently a place of worship so every once in awhile you would hear an automated voice say, “Shhhhh, Silencio!”. It would then get louder and repeat itself. Lastly came the English translation.

We also visited many places including the Piazza Della Republica which had a large archway that looked as if it was an entryway to the city at one point. We also visited the Piazza Di San Giovanni, and the Piazza Della Signoria. The streets around Florence are very cramped. The idea of personal space is non-existent. Nearly every building is adorned with flower boxes that contain a wide selection of gorgeous flowers.

Before I came to Italy, I had heard about the gypsy’s and pickpockets. We came across a few gypsy’s today who came up to us begging for money and followed us until we said “Va via!” loudly. Va via means ‘go away’ in Italian and they listen. Everyone is very abrupt and direct here. As I mentioned with personal space, there is none. To some, “no” is not an answer. Some of the vendors keep pressing on until you tell them for the umpteenth time, “no” or if you just walk away.

Anyway, we also saw the Statue of David. Rather, the weather durable David. Tomorrow I will see the real one, the original, not a copy, David, that Michelangelo carved at the age of 26. That is quite the accomplishment Mr. Michelangelo….be proud!

In addition to all of my adventures we also tried gelato! It was sweeter than ice cream and thicker. I got chocolate gelato that had chocolate chips in it which really added something special to it. It was so yummy!

I have always heard about people backpacking through Europe and I saw some people backpacking and it looked like a lot of fun. I hope one day I can do that!

Italy is known for its fashion, namely Milan. It must be a lot of Italy because the streets are filled with fashions I have only seen in fashion magazines. As I mentioned yesterday, people are a lot dressier. Even though not everyone is in high fashion, many of the women have leather purses, scarves, and high heels on and so many of the men wear blazers and leather shoes. It is easy to distinguish the natives from the tourists. Italy is known for its high quality leather. Before I leave I plan to buy a wallet or a purse. I went into one store where the man working spoke Italian mainly. When I meant to say “okay”, I said si, or yes. Then when I told him, “thank you”, I said gratzi. Instead of it sounding smooth like it should be I pronounced it like gratzee (like Yahtzee, but with a grrrrr sound). Anyway, adios!

Still Tuesday…5 pm

We just a ate at a truly pure Italian restaurant. I ordered spaghetti al la carbonara. I thought it was going to be normal, to my standards of course, but alas, it was not. The spaghetti was more of a yellow color as opposed to the white shade I am used to seeing it as. It also contained more oil than I use. The carbonara (or bacon) was also very different. It was sweeter, but it was also boiled instead of being fried. Not my favorite way of preparing it, but it was interesting to try! ๐Ÿ™‚

While we were eating the author, Dan Brown walked in. There were only two other tables eating at the time and mainly everyone kept to themselves. Brown was taking pictures with a lovely view of Florence as the back drop. He just wrote a new book called ‘Inferno’ and is famous for his bookย  ‘The Di vinci Code’.

 

I will continue with part 2 of my Italian adventures soon! Stay tuned!

Arrivederci,
Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

My Italian Adventure: Days 6-10

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 thanย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 evenย  be happier! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, that is all I have for tonight.

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

arrivederci,

Beth ๐Ÿ™‚

Favorite Songs

Just my favorite songs right now in nonparticular order. ๐Ÿ™‚ I picked one out of every Pandora Playlist I have. You only have 6 songs that you can skip so I picked my favorite out of those. For the most part, these are my legitimate favorites!

1) A Drop in the Ocean by Ron Pope – Favorite Lyric: “I’m holding you close ’cause you’re my heaven”
2) Your Grace is Enough- Chris Tomlin
3) You Raise Me Up- Josh Groban ( Honestly, I just heard this song in its entirity for the first time a few weeks ago. It is beautiful. He has a wonderful voice).
4) Where We Gonna Go From Here- Mat Kearny
5) Make Some Noise- Beastie Boys
6) Everybody Talk-Neon Trees (Loooove this!)
7) Don’t Want to Go Home- Jason DeRulo (catchy!)
8) Look At Me Now- Chris Brown
9) It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas- Micheal Buble ( I love Micheal Buble so much. I have most of his CDs. I will go into my love for Christmas music in a few months. It’s my favorite genre…;) )
10) Jingle Bells- Dean Martin
11) Baby, Its Cold Outside- Glee Cast

Maybe you’re starting to see what I meam about Christmas music, I have so many stations dedicated to it!

12) Last Christmas- Glee Cast ( look another Christmas station…I think this is it…)
13) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Film Score- John Williams
14) Forever and For Always- Shania Twain ( the music video is adorable)
15) Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring- Philadelphia Orchestra ( another Christmas song!)
16) “Spring” from The Four Seasons Violin Concerto- Antonio Vivaldi
17) Long Live-Taylor Swift
18) Too Close- Alex Clare
19) I Like It- Enrique Iglesias
20) The Wind- Zac Brown Band (I like the fiddle part at the beginning)
21) Love Shack- Glee Cast (I like the original version too!)
22) Pon de Replay- Rihanna (old Rihanna was so good)
23) The Good Stuff- Kenny Chesney (such a cute song)
24) Over You- Miranda Lambert
25) That’s What I Love About Sunday-Craig Morgan (reminds me of fall)
26) Don’t Trust Me- 3Oh!3 ( welllll this is old)
27) Live Like We’re Dying- Kris Allen
28) White Houses-Vanessa Carlton
29) Falling in Love At a Coffee Shop- Landon Pigg
30) Canon in G Major- Johann Pachelbell
31) Free Fallin’ and Your Body is a Wonderland- John Mayer
32) When You Say Nothing at All- Alison Krauss [I heard this song in a movie (can’t remember the title) and loved it!]

Obviously, I have quite the unique and varying taste in music. In general, I love soft rock amd country.

Wow…32 Pandora stations…can you beat that?!
Are any of these YOUR favorite?
I would love to hear!
Beth:)

My New Favorite Store:)

I have a new favorite store. In fact, I would buy out the entire store if I could! I am going to post some pictures of my favorite pieces (so far;))

Francesca’s Collection’s have a mixture of colors and patterns that I am in love with right now! If you can, I would recommend checking them out.

I really do like these jeans! I normally do not go for color pants/shorts, but I recently have found a liking for them!:)

My floral scarves and I:) I should go buy one…you would think I would have bought one by now, but alas, I have not!

This is such a pretty color and I love the texture! If I buy white jeans, I may just have to go buy this sweater too!

This just looks very comfy.:D

I really love these types of dresses! I do not know if they have a specific type of name, but nevertheless, I want this too!

I love the lacy skirt style sooo much! When I was at Francesca’s today I saw this fitted grass/spring green skirt that looked similar to this and, oh my goodness, the most beautiful skirt I have ever seen!

I LOVE cardigans and dots. Not to mention my great love for green and blue. This seems like my match made in heaven!

This store may just be the new spot for me to go. However somewhat pricey these items are, I may just save and splurge sometime!

Well, goodnight everyone! I must get my beauty sleep you know! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Beth:)

The Last Night

Well, tonight is my last night as my summer comes to end. Tomorrow is my last day of summer vacation and I will spending the majority of the day at school as it is! In the morning I’ll be helping freshman “transition” into high school, the afternoon I go back up to school for tennis practice. tomorrow I will be up at school for seven hours. I am not sure how I feel about this considering it IS my last day of summer!:P

To be completely honest I am nervous for this school year. I feel like a lot has changed in my life in the past few months. People have changed in my life and things have changed. How I predicted this year was going to go is already completely the opposite of how I thought it would. Do not get me wrong, I know I will have a fun year, I just do not know how It will go.

Tennis is going well! I found out my rank as of now I am 10 on the team one being the top and 47 being the bottom. So this means I am on Varsity unless some weird thing changes with the ranks which I do not foresee. Can you believe 47 girls are on the team?! This is our largest team since I have been in high school. Within our large team we have five teams. Varsity Gold, Varsity Silver, JV Black, and JV Purple. There is another team, but I forgot the name! ๐Ÿ˜›

This post does not really have a point except to say what I am thinking about right now. So what am I doing on my last night of summer break? I am watching Up in the Air with George Clooney and blogging . Up in the Air is really good! I recommend it!

Goodness, I am so tired. This is probably the best time to end this post. I need to go to sleep! ๐Ÿ˜€

Are you all ready for school?

Beth:)

Back to School Favorites

We all have our favorite things to buy when school starts. New shoes, clothes, and school supply’s come into mind. I have a list of my favorite things for back to school. Without further ado:

1) Shorts: I bought these from Delias for $10!

2) Floral top:

Fun fact: The two items above are my first day of school outfit!:)

3) Bright Tennis shoes: ย ย  < Also bought these:)

4) Floral scarf:

5) Jeans (these are my favorite from American Eagle: Artist Jeans):

6) Highlighters (After AP US History, I will always keep highlighters with me!):

7) Sperry Topsiders ( My favorite shoes!):

8) Brown leather boots:

9) Notebooks (Make sure you check to see if they are college or wide ruled. I hate wide ruled. Don’t make my mistake…I bought wide ruled for school!!!)

10) Cute Sandals:

^So those were my top ten back to school items.

Have you gotten what you need?

Beth:)