Tuesday, March 11, 2008

ROMA

I visited Rome from Feb 29 until March 2. I took a direct train and it took just over five hours to get there. I hadn’t booked a hotel or bed at a youth hostel prior to arriving, which was a mistake. My train got in late Friday night, and it was already dark outside. That first night I didn’t see much besides the quick walk to the nearest hotel. I didn’t have trouble booking a single room for that night, and since I was checking in so late they cut me a deal. The next morning I woke up pretty early to see the sights. I started with Capitoline Hill and the museums, and it was incredible. There is so much history there. I could have spent all morning there and walking around the ruins. It was pretty cloudy and rainy for most of the morning, but it cleared up a little later in the day. Some backpacker who was alone asked me to take his picture for him, and then he started talking to me in Italian. He was a student from a nearby city and just seeing the sights for the day. He was really nice and walked me to the Fountain of Trevi (pictured) and Spanish Steps, which was my next stop. I tossed in a coin over my shoulder (toss in one coin to ensure that one day you will return, two coins and you will fall in love with an Italian, three and you will marry that person). I just tossed in one.

I then headed to the Pantheon, which was really cool. The top of the dome is actually a hole to let in the sunlight, and when rainwater comes in it is drained out through tiny holes in the marble floor. It was really cool. Next I went to Piazza Navona, which is full of shops and restaurants and has three really historic fountains. I stopped at a stand-up bar and had a panino and gelato before heading to the Vatican City!

It was a pretty long walk, and I don’t think I took the most direct route, but walking through the gates into St Peter’s Square was an unreal. I walked around to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. There was so much to see in the museums, and it was all leading up to the Sistine Chapel. There were places around the side for people to sit and say prayers, and there was no talking allowed. Apparently pictures weren’t allowed either (see image), which I found out mid-shot. Luckily they didn’t confiscate my camera or kick me out! J

Daylight was running out on me so I decided to head back, where checked into a hostel and enjoyed a free dinner at the restaurant next door and went out for gelato with the girls I met in my room. They were really nice, from St. Luis and had just arrived from Stockholm, which they highly recommended. After dinner I met up with a friend from Michigan who was also in Rome, and I met his friends who are studying with him in London. They were all really nice, and we went out to a couple bars and got a taste of the Roman nightlife. The next morning was Sunday, and I went to the Colosseum in the morning and took a lot of pictures of that and the surrounding area. I then had a quick meal at the train station before catching my train back to Trento.

When I got back to via Borino, a girl had moved into my room! The previous week Joey and I had requested a room in Vela, which is where most exchange students live pretty close to town, but I didn’t think everything would happen so quickly. Luckily we had an extra bed. That night my roommate from Africa invited me upstairs for dinner with her other African friends. They made this really good sauce with spices and some sort of lentil and chicken, and you were supposed to dip this certain type of bread into it. It was very good! Also they made me braid their friend's hair. But thats another story.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

04.03.2008

Last night I moved into my new apartment in Vela, a really nice student apartment closer to town. Joey and I met our new roommate, Sezen, a girl from Turkey who seems pretty nice. I don't have much time to write at the moment, but the new apartment has wireless internet, which is nice because I won't always have to carry my computer with me. Anyways Rome was great, I will write more about it when I have more time, but until then these pictures will have to suffice:

Trento, Italy

Rome, Italy


also my new address is
Halle Doenitz
Via SS. Cosma e Damiano, 103
int. 16
38100- Vela TN
ITALY

26.02.2008

Today I slept in a little, then went into town to buy my train ticket to Rome. I was going to take a cheap flight there and back, but it was more expensive than just taking a train. I ended up getting direct tickets, leaving on Friday at 17,00 and returning Tuesday evening. It cost just over 100 euro, which is pretty expensive compared to the trains to Florence, Venice, etc. But I will be staying with a friend while I am there so that will be nice.

I went to the CIAL Language center to enroll for my Italian course, but when I got there I realized that my voucher for enrollment a free course had Luiz’s, the student from my orientation, name on it. The Welcome Office must have mixed ours up. So I either have to go find him somehow, or see if the Welcome Office will print me a new one.

Later in the afternoon I walked around the shops, and stopped in an ice cream parlor (gelateria) and had my first gelato- tiramisu flavored. Era squsitio!

I headed back up to my apartment and decided to walk to the grocery store to buy food for dinner. I got artichokes, tomatoes, eggplant, chicken, olives, and red peppers (pepperoni). The sun was just setting and the walk to and from the grocery store was really nice. Even though it’s February, while the sun is out it’s about 50 degrees Fahrenheit here. In the mountains at night it can get a little chilly though, but it’s usually really comfortable to walk around in. Also it’s almost always sunny here, sometimes foggy in the morning, but it clears up by noon.

Movies, music, and books and magazines in Italian are a really good way to pick up the language.. that and sitting by friendly people on the bus. Earlier in the morning when I was headed into town I sat next to an older man who was making small talk in Italian. Before his stop he got pretty quiet and I could tell he was thinking of something. When he left he said “Have a.. good day” in the cutest accent. Haha.. it was great.

25.02.2008

This morning I picked up my libretto and student name and password. I stopped by Aquila d’Oro and had an espresso and sandwich, my second espresso of the day. I wonder if having 2 or 3+ caff├Ęs per day is bad for you. I doubt my body responds to caffeine any more. I mailed the postcards my dad and I wrote last week, but I don’t think the stamps were pretty Italian ones. I had to get the postage at the post office, because I guess that’s the only place to find it.

I met an American on the bus today, the first one I have come across in Trento. I don’t know his name but he is from Philadelphia and is studying in Trento for 3 years. I have met a ton of people from Europe, and quite a few from Africa and South America, but nobody from the US. It’s weird that there are so few of us here.

I decided I am going to Rome this weekend to stay with my friend Jen who is studying there. When I was walking around town I bought a guidebook of Italy, so I don’t miss anything when I go visit. I went home and cooked fish and spaghetti for dinner, then met Nicola, Joey, and another student in town to see the Tim Burton movie “Sweeny Todd.” Before the movie we went to a wine bar a few doors down from the cinema. It was really nice, and all the wine options were thumb-tacked into the wall by each table. There were so many to choose from, and good thing they were organized by color, or else I would have just been choosing at random. I got a glass of Chianti, and I would describe it but I don’t exactly know how just yet… other than it was red.

The movie theatre was small and only had one screen. The seats were really nice and comfy though. The movie was dubbed over in Italian, which made it hard to understand, but I was lucky that “Sweeny Todd” is a musical and they don’t dub over the singing parts, they leave them in English and put Italian subtitles below. The movie itself was pretty good, a typical weird Tim Burton film though.. reminded me of “Edward Scissorhands” with all the barber razors!

24.02.2008

Today I discovered the difference between a head of lettuce and a head of cabbage. I made myself a sandwich for lunch and when I was washing the lettuce I thought it looked different than normal, but I just figured it was Italian lettuce or something. When I bit into my sandwich I thought it tasted a little strange and after I translated the produce label on the bag I realized that I had bought a head of lettuce.. oops! The sandwich was still pretty good though.

I went into town to use the internet at hotel Aquila d’Oro again, and then met up with Joey and our Italian friend Nicola. We decided to go to lago di garda, which is about 30 minutes away by car. Do a google image search for pictures, mine wouldn’t have turned out because when we got there it was really foggy and misty. It was still fun though. We ordered hot chocolate from a bar, and it was very different than the hot chocolate we have back home. It was very sweet and almost as thick as pudding!

On the way home we stopped at a shopping center in Pergine, one of the only ones that are open on Sundays. We got some groceries and Jo made dinner Nicola and I, penne pasta with eggplant and red pepper sauce.. it was so good! When I got home I took my laundry out and realized that either my jeans or new towel had gotten blue dye all over my white socks, towels, and shirt.. ohh well, live and learn.

23.02.2008

I went grocery shopping in the morning, then to the shopping center to return the empty hair dryer box. I was a little worried they wouldn’t believe me, but the people that worked at the store were laughing about it because they thought it was funny. They gave me a new one no problem.

I met Joey for dinner in town, and I ordered fettuccini con funghi del bosco (wild mushrooms). We ordered limoncello after dinner, and then they gave us a complimentary shot of it after that. Limoncello is a sweet lemon-flavored liqueur. After dinner we met up with the other Erasmus exchange students and went to a club. It was the Portuguese students last night in Trento, so we said our goodbyes.. Jo and I are already planning a trip to Lisbon.