Archive | January, 2011

Ooo Palermo

28 Jan

So spur of the moment my friends and I decided our first trip abroad would be Sicily. I went with my friends Chelsea, Kendal and Paige who I knew from home, and three girls I met in Italy Catherine, Chrissy, and Kathleen. We had been wanted to see the south of Italy and in our Italian Mafia class we have heard a lot about Sicily so we figured hey why not? We took the train to Pisa and then took Ryan Air into the city Palermo. The train was really easy and it was cool seeing all the surroundings on the ride. The airplane situation in Italy is a little different than in the US, they had dubbed over Baywatch at the terminal, perfume and watch sales and lottery tickets on the flight and cheeseburgers and hotdogs as your on board snack. When you get to your gate and the boarding announcement comes on it is a free for all to get a seat you want on the plane. People literally ran onto the plane, even the Italian on crutches. I have never seen Italians move faster than when they are in a plane or car. When we got into the airport we learned right away the whole planning an itinerary is more important than you might expect. We bargained to get a taxi to our hotel and walked into a very nice and modern hotel only to find that we did not have reservations there..but the sketchy hotel upstairs, Hotel Regina (yes Jacqui, Hotel Regina haha). It ended up being totally fine but it was a little sketchier than we expected. Chelsea, Kendal and I shared a bed and a common bathroom with the rest of the hotel guests. We explored Palermo and even found a school supply store (you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find a notebook and pens in Italy)! We ate a local pizza place and had amazing pesto pizza and prosciutto and mushroom pizza. We decided that we wanted to check out a new city the next day, so we headed to the beach city Taormina. It was a two-hour bus ride to Catina (if I went back I would for sure fly into there instead) and then an hour bus ride into the city but sooo beautiful. It was not very busy and a lot of the restaurants were closed because it is their off season but I bet it is a busy vacation spot for Italians in the summer. We ate lunch and I attempted to try their famous fish, but I will definitely be sticking to the pasta and salads in the future. We then took a Gondola ride to see the coast and walked along the beach! We went back to Palermo that night and headed back to Florence the next day. Overall the trip was really fun, hanging out with the girls and checking out the coast, but I am glad to be back in Florence : )

Out in Florence!

20 Jan

The going out scene in Florence is super fun! People eat dinner really late (between 9-11) and then head to the bars. We originally thought they drank wine all night, but apparently it is a no-no to drink wine after dinner. We have been to a few so far and a lot of them are a lot of Americans (which isn’t shocking with thousands of study abroad students just arriving), but we are going to keep checking different ones out around the city. The Red Garter is a fun American sports bar kind of place close to our apartment. They have beer bong and karaoke some nights. We have also tried a bar called slowly. It had an older crowd, but more locals which was fun for a more low key night. I have heard Lion’s Fountain and the Irish Pub are also really fun places I’m excited to try. After the bars everyone usually heads to the clubs or “Discotecas” around one am. Some places have a cover charge of 8-10 euro, and sometimes they give you a drink card that if you lose you have to pay about 50 euro so DON’T lose it. Some of the fun clubs we have been to are twice, YAB, twenty one and Full Up. There is another club called Space that we had heard a lot of people LOVE, but we were not fans. It is expensive and creepy (about one girl to every 9 pushy Italian man) and HUGE (two story dance floors) which made it a little overwhelming. There is an interesting concept around here of club promoters. These promoters hang out with American girls and get them bottle service and free entrance to all the clubs to get them to go. As you probably thinking Great! A free night out!, but it also can get extremely weird. Luckily the city is not too big and we are able to walk basically everywhere we want to go at night and we usually see people we recognize, so far it has been super fun!

 

 

 

 

First Week!

20 Jan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from the Ponte Vecchio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week has been so fun in Italy! Since classed started Monday, we are finally getting a chance to explore the city. I am in History of the Medici, The Italian Mafia, Italian and Living in Italy. My Italian teacher is so nice and even though I am horrible and can’t stop speaking Spanish I love it! All of my classes are really interesting and convenient considering we barely have any class : ) We met a new friend across the street from school at a caffe! He laughs at our Italian as we try and order, but he lets us try free cookies! Their coffees are tinyy, but I am loving the cappachinos. Most people stand in the caffe to enjoy their drink and take a break from work, but they do let you get them to go. The waiter told us if we want to sound like locals, order “Happachinos”. The picture above is right next to our classrooms, it is so crazy going to school somewhere so beautiful and in the middle of the city!

Castello di Verrazanno

17 Jan

 

 

 

We went wine tasting at Castello di Verranzanno with our group. It was very beautiful and we got to see how wine was made! We tried three different kinds of wines and had a feast of pasta, meats, cheeses (pecorino..be jealous dad), vegetables, and dessert AMAZING.

 

 

 

 

My Apartment!

17 Jan

Just The Beginning

16 Jan

Hi Everyone! I am having so much fun in Italy! I am getting along really well with all of my roommates (Amanda, Hadas, Courtney, Cassie, Kendal) and have been hanging out a lot with some new girls who also go to CU. We have seen a lot of the city at this point, it is so much smaller than it seemed at first!  I went running along the river in Florence to the other side of the bridge with some friends and it was an beautiful view. We walked back over there today and checked out a market where locals were buying cheese and sauces. We have tried some amazing restaurants and tried everything from cannoles at El Gato to pear gelato at Grom. We have been hearing about an amazing panini shop with 2 euro sandwiches and wine on the street I can’t wait to check out tomorrow! Everything we have tried is amazing! I am attempting to speak some Italian but mostly just confusing people by speaking a weird version of Spanish because I get so confused between the similar words. We finally found a “supermarket” and had an interesting experience trying to cook for ourselves for the first time let alone in a foreign country haha. After adjusting to all the late night lifestyle and figuring out how to get around here in Italy we are all excited to start class tomorrow and meet everyone else in out program!

 

January 12, 2011

12 Jan

FIRST DAY IN ITALIA! I love it already : ) I met my five roommates last night and saw our apartment. It is small like I expected but really cute! We live right next to the Duomo, in the heart of the city and about five minutes from class. We had orientation all day today and then explored the city. All of the stores and restaurants are family owned so really small and amazing!