Sunday, May 25, 2008
Florence: The last day in Florence was so much fun. We saw a few churches in the morning, had free time in the afternoon, then went to the Uffizi gallery. During our free time we hit up the leather market. I haven't spent much this trip on souvenirs, but i may have made up for it today... I bought a really cute pink leather wallet, a leather keychain, and (the big purchase) a pair of super cute off-white heals. I bought them thinking I could possibly wear them for my wedding, but they prob wont go with a white dress. they are adorable though, and i prob just thought about the wedding thing to justify the purchase. no buyers regret there though! Yje Uffizi was wonderful; I enjoyed it so much more than last time I was there. when I was with my family, all Mitch and I wanted to do was leave and get pizza, while Brad had to ask my Dad for an english interpretation of every painting description. we wanted to kill him! i did notice that they now are in the process of having english descriptions now, too. I loved seeing Botticelli's "birth of venus" and Parmigiano's "Madonna of the Long Neck." We spent our evening wandering Florence for one last time. While natalie scarfed down 3 gelatos in an hour, I dined at a cute restaurant facing Palazzo Vecchio and ate Carbonnara, my favorite Italian dish. We crossed Ponte Vecchio (the famous bridge) ans hiked up to the Michaelangelp lookout spot. It was such a beautiful view of the city at night. I wish my camera were capable of taking better night pictures! (wow, so much for a brief update...oops)
Venice: One of the things that was most notable to me in Venice was the complete lack of cars. I loved the sound of silence in the evenings when the shops closed and all the tourists went to bed (except us, apparently). Thursday evening we had our "date night." The 6 of us girls wanted to go on a gondola, but all agreed that we needed dates, so we did just that. :) we used the candies in the lobby to choose dates. we put 6 pices in a bowl (2 each of 3 flavors) and went on the date with the person who chose the same flavor. I chose well and got to go with Torrie. This prpbably seems silly, but we had a blast. Of course I would have much rather been with Colby, but Torrie was a great substitute. We went to a candle light dinner on a small canal and then took a gondola ride on the Grand Canal. We were given 50 euro instead of the 10 we normally get for our museum choice day, so the expense seemed tiny. Oh, and we all paid for our own dates. It wouldn't have been a date otherwise. Of course that means each person's date paid for theirs too. worked out wonderfully. ;)
My other favorite parts of venice were seeing glass blowing on Murano, feeing pigeons and getting fabulous pictures in St. Marks square and going to the Peggy Guggenheim museum. I really appreciate renaissance art, but I love modern art, which is what the GUggenheim was. I got to see several Pollocks, a Mondrian, clader mobiles, and Brancussi's "bird in space." I know how much I love modern art simply because I was able to identify artists before reading the name plaques on works I have never seen. I know individual styles to the pint I can do that. I felt pretty cool, sometimes knowing more than the art history majors. (sorry, not trying to sound stuck up...)
Milan: So far we have seen the Milan Cathedral, a church by Bramante, shopped and gone to church. The Milan cathedral isone of the 4 largest cathedrals in Europe. It was really cool architecture because it was designed by a group of architects from all over europe and constructed during the transition period from late gothic to early renaissance. I loved the thought and conversations I had here contrasting our temples to all these cathedrals. I find it weird that we are there as eagar tourists, with cameras out, while people are in the middle of worshipping or confessing sins. I always notice the darkness within the buildings compared to the clean, crisp white we have, or the unadorned walls of our churches. So much emphasis is put on the art and decoration as opposed to the people and the teachings as we do. The other contracst I saw was the surrounding area of the buildings. I never metally noted how beautiful our temple grounds are compared to other places as I did today. The Milan Cathedral is surrounded by hecklers, vendors, crazies, and ritzy shopping centers. You step out of the doors and are engulfed in the hustle and bustle of the world. I love how you can be outside the temple, but within the gates, and really be "in the world but not of it." I think this is one thing I will take away from this trip and think about often.
Milan is known more for its shopping than for its art, so of course we hit up some shops. I made a few great purchases at mango and H & M (first experience at H &M...wonderful). I got a blue and white striped dress, a white top, and a gray linen skirt. The skirt was a must, at 14 €, and will be a good change from the one sunday outfit I brought.
We were planning on going out to see DaVinci's Last Supper today, but won't be doing that anymore. When MJ checked for reservations in December, they were gone. He told us we could go out in small group and try and get in with other reserved groups. Some tried that and after waiting for several hours learned how impossible it is to get in. The extra seats even have to be taken online and those are booked out several weeks as well. Its a let down, but I will survive.
So, basically I am loving this trip. Heading home will be a bittersweet thing as I leave places I love, but return to things and people I love as well. But, I guess I still have a few weeks so shouldn't think about the end yet. Buena Sera! pictures will come later
2. Because I didn't pay attention to 1 at first, I now have to send a package home. I packed at our weight limit, without thinking that I would be buying things. What was I thinking, me, in Europe without shopping. silly me!
3. 6 weeks is a long time to go without a washing machine. I have gotten pretty good at hand washing, wearing clothes MULTIPLE times without washing, and learning to mix whites and darks in laundramats to save money.
4. packing more underwear than the suggested 4-5 pairs is so worth it. I laugh when my roommates have to go commando or blow dry a pair while they are wearing then because they don't have any clean, dry ones. Honestly, how much space does a pair of underwear take up.
5. 5 pairs of shoes is not necessary. Yes, I will be sending some shoes home.
6. Some things were so worth bringing even though others say they aren't. i.e.; my own pillow. europe hotel pillows are not real pillows. i think i get some of the best sleep because i have a decent pillow.
7. expandable packs on suitcases are lifesavers
8. travel size anything does not last 6 weeks...duh.
9. keep a change of clothes and tooth brush with you on flights, because the airline may just lose your bag. (3 more flights to go...)
Friday, May 23, 2008
On the Island tour! Check out the bright blue water!
The six girls on Ponte Vecchio. Me, Torrie, Rachelle, Jackie, Noelle and Natalie.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I have already been to florence once before, so mot much of it is new. I lvoed going back to see the David. I dont understandhow such a beautful thing can come from a chunk of rock. Seeing the bones and vein of his hands blew me away, even though I had already seen it before. I thnk one of my favorite museum places ever is the hallway with michaelangelos slaves leading up to the david. I love sseeing his method and learning about his belief that soul are captured in the stone adn it is his duty as a sculptor to set them free. Then at the end of the hallway is the beautiful 18 foot tall David. Amazement! We also saw the Duomo and of course went to Vivoli's, the famous gelato place. I still like Giolittis better, but enjoyed Vivolis. Yes Dad, I ate one for you! Hopefully we will return tonight after the Uffizi!
Ciao! Remember to comment if you are reading this. I wanna know who is following! :)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Rachelle and I have deemed each other "adventure buddies." It seems we are always the two wanting to explore and see more. Well just minutes after being released, we found a trail and ran through it. Quite adventurous. The group that we hang out with was kind enough to wait. We thought they would have left like everyone usually does when we go explore.
We headed down the hill and prepared to go see the Blue Grotto. This was the main thing I saw in our prep class that made me so excited to come. I had told my family and Colby about it because I was so excited! Well, some girls from the group told us the place to get a boat to it. We got our tickets and drove around the island. It was beautiful! But, when we got to the Blue Grotto, the guide pointed to it and told us what it was then drove past! We were so confused. Turns out every other boat from that company stops, and we didnt know that so didnt check the schedule! Oops. Well rachelle and I were determined, so we found another boat that would take us directly there. It ended up costing an extra €10, but was so worth it. It was beautiful! Time is up! I still need to post pictures! ciao!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
After exploring some other churches, we ended up going back to the apartments. The others showed up about 20 minutes later. They said we really didn't miss much. Personally, I think we saw better things than the group did. I think it was worth being lost just to see that basement. Too bad MJ and the other girls didn't notice we were gone when they hurried to jump on a bus. Oh well.
Today is our last day in Rome and we head to Sorrento tomorrow. I am so excited for that. I have heard the pizza is phenomenal, because that is where it all began. I will let you know. :) CIAO!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
2. Married men enjoy flirting with American girls...holding their hands, offering to take them to dinner, and even home...and then go home to their wives. No big.
3. European buildings you see in text books are MUCH larger than you ever could imagine they would be
4. Fake Prada bags are fire resistant. We have been showed several times. Oh wait, it is becuase "they are real Prada." uh-huh
5. You can get free food by flirting, even in Italy
6. Everyone smokes, not many wear deoderant
7. The exchange rate sucks. No arguement. Even the vendors tell us that.
8. Jogging to St. Peters at night is the best run ever. Come on, not many can say, "I am gonna go for a run around St. Peters. Wanna come?"
9. The metro/bus plan is a wonderous idea.
10. You must take your own groceries out of the basket at the checkout stand.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Rachelle pointed this out, and I thought it was a great thought. At the front of the chapel, under the famous ceiling and below the Last Judgement painting , a cross with Christ on it is displayed. It is dwarfed by the majestic paintings yet really stood out to me. Rachelle shared how it reminded her of how all the weight of the world is on Christ's shoulders, yet he remains firm. I wonder if it was planned to appear that way, with the history of the world above, all appearing to rest on Christ and his atonement. It really moved me. I enjoyed being in the room and thinking about my own beliefs of gratefulness for the gospel.
Later that day we went to the Borghese gallery. We had to reserve our own tickets, as it wasn't part of the planned study abroad part. The gallery was a private collection of Borghese, the brother in law to Napoleon Bonaparte. Bernini, a great sculptor, was his hired artist and several of his works were displayed in the gallery. I was taken away by the stories of the sculptures and the sculptures themselves. One in particular was "Pluto and Porsephina" It shows Pluto abducting Porsephina. What amazed me was the intricate detail of the work. The depiction of his hand grabbing her leg was unbelievale. His fingers were indented into her leg, making the marble appear to be fleshy. It was incredible. I just stared at it for a few minutes. I really wish I had my camera, but we couldn't take anything in with us. Becuase it is a private gallery, tickets must be reserved. They let each group in for 2 hours and then get everyone out before letting the others in. It has been my favorite museum, by far.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
We visited several other places today, including Piazza Navona. I loved this because it was what I had pictured Italy to be like. There were cute little windows with potted plants and vines coming out of them. So picturesque. Later we saw a few Carravagio paintings and the Church of S. Ignazio di Loyola. The ceiling was painted such that it went up super high and didn't have a ceiling. pretty sweet. We ended up at the Pantheon, again eating Giolitti. Yes, that makes 4 out of 4 days. We are going for 9 out of 9.
We are headed to Pro Jo's brother in laws restruant for dinner. Dinner is normally 70 euros a plate, but we get a sweet discount. It must be good food. For now, ciao!!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The head and hand of Constantine. These are parts of a statue that once was about 30 feet tall.
Handstands after our nap.
Back at the Coloseum...jumping for joy!! :)
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
We met up with the group at the national archeological museum and were there for several hours. It was really neat to see so many things that I have studied from textbooks about right in front of me. A lot of the statues were so much larger than I had thought. It was also so mice to be with other people who are interested in this type of stuff. We would just sit and stare at objects and discuss them. Kinda nerdy, but I loved it. After the museum several of us headed to the coast to hang out at the beach. It was so fun. Most of the girls just layed out, but I was determined to get in! I talked Noelle and Torrie into jumping in with me. The water was freezing, but I'm glad I got in. No regrets this trip!
Exploring the tidal pools
As I went to bed last night I was excited to set my travel alarm clock. Torrie and I have are sick of converting time on our phones (becuase it hasn't reset since Chicago and won't...) to set our alarm. With our luck though it stopped working in the middle of the night, so we were wakened by Brianna, who knocks on doors 30 minutes before we need to leave. I somehow was able to shower and get ready for church in 30 minutes. The group got on the metro and went to church at the Athens branch. I always love going to church in other countries and seeing how the gospel has touched the members' lives. After church Noelle, Torrie, Natalie, Jackie and I wandered around Athens. We saw the olympic stadium, spent awhile in the National Gardens writing in our journals snd wandering, and watched the changing of the gaurds. We spoke with one of the army guys there who repositioned the guards and straightened their skirts. It was fun becuase he said he had once served as one of the gaurds( they stand motionless for hours gaurding the tomb of the unknown soldier) and we were able to see that they really do have personalities. He was hilarious! We are back at the hotel for a bit and then will head back to the church to go sing with the missionaries at a town square.
We found an air vent while wandering through athens. We couldn't pass up the Marilyn Monroe picture.
All in all it has been a great stay in Athens. Tomorrow we head to Rome!!