Saturday, June 27, 2009

thurs through saturday


we went to class. which was wonderful as it were. we then began to pack our stuff and clean our apartment a little bit because we were getting ready to leave to come back to the states. we went to campus to have our study group for our final on friday and afterward we went back to our apartment and studied and packed a little more and all in all good day to hang out and relax


we woke up early to go take our exam at 9 am. it was fairly easy our first question was to identify the colosseum haha.. after we planned on going out to lunch and we waited in the courtyard for everyone to finish their finals and we went to a restaurant which offered a 4 course meal for 10 euro which is a great deal.. so we had bruschetta, lasagna, chicken, and dessert.. it was deeeelicious. after that we went back to campus to turn in our keys and sign the necessary paperwork to get our transcripts sent back to Grand Valley! and we went back to our apartment and completed the necessary packing, cleaned our apartment top to bottom, and waited for the girls to finish getting everything and we went to get some dinner at a restaurant we had gone to before which was amazing!! so after dinner we went out to scholars the american bar to meet up with some of our friends from villanova and grand valley to hang out for out last night. it was a lot of fun.. after we left there we got ready to go to bed and kendra went to the hotel that her and her dad are staying at since she's going on a Mediterranean cruise - super jealous!


This morning we slept in, i walked to john cabot to return my key and walked back to the apartment and mandy let me in, then we finished the last bit of everything around our apartment - our roommates had left the night before and at 6 am.. so after our last sweep.. we called a taxi company and they came to get us at 1:15 to take us to our hostel. we arrived at our hostel and it is amazing like it is really nice overall we are super pleased!! after our venice experience we were hesitant to stay in hostels haha.. but oh well.

we cannot wait to come back home on monday so hopefully tomorrow will fly by!! we aren't sure what we are going to do tomorrow yet, but word is there's a mall and a beach around here so we might venture there to help pass the time.

woohoo monday :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

wed june 24th

today started out great and was action packed so far.. we started out by showering and getting ready we met some of our friends in the Jewish Ghetto for lunch and had fried artichokes which were delicious and some eggplant parm. yummy! and then our friends sarah and meghan's prof told them to get 'pizza' from the jewish bakery - its not the pizza your thinking of, its a dessert type thing it was really good but very different.. from there we went to largo argentina which is where there are ancient ruins from victory monuments which has been turned into a cat sanctuary since cats are protected here.. so mandy fed the cats some salami she bought at the grocery store called simply.. and we fed the cats, and afterwards we walked to the pantheon to try to get a tax refund for our purchases - we have to do it at the airport :( and we then walked to piazza navona to look at and potentially purchase artwork - we ended up buying artwork.. its on canvas so we know its legit and not copies.. but i bought a picture of venice, mandy bought one of capri and meghan bought one of the spanish steps.. we are really excited about this.. after we walked home and walked the wrong way so hopped a few buses to get home, our man friends kyle and rocco made us dinner :) which was delicious they made us chicken parm :) and we are just sitting around now trying to rest up were going to go out to our american bar scholars for a little bit since usa is played spain in the soccer game although it will be over by the time we get up there.. itll be nice to hang out and not worry about school work.. everyone is leaving early saturday which is a bummer since we will be going to a hostel for a few days but we'll make the most of it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

monday and tuesday :)

Monday -
today we slept in and spent all day writing our papers and doing drawings for class on tuesday.. we had to do visual analysis of portrait heads which wasn't fun but i mean it was fine not too difficult..
we went to campus to print our papers and we did, then we called DJ and Rocco and Kendra and had them meet us at a restaurant for dinner with 3 euro pizza's and then we went out for some gelato afterward it was a lot of fun.. and a very chill day..

Tuesday -
we went to class this morning and learned some fun things.. and after class we went to Zara's similar to Macy's for here, to shop around and then we went to the Pantheon to find out where we could get our tax refund back from.. and we came back to our apartment and made some quick lunch got ready and met Rocco at school to go sight seeing.. we went to see Ecstasy of Saint Theresa which was amazing and went to the Capuchin Crypts which were really cool inside, we finally found the American Embassy after so long of looking for it.. and we came back and have been relaxing the rest of the night, and are planning on relaxing tomorrow, meeting some of the girls to go to the Jewish Ghetto to get some Jewish food for lunch and do our tax refunds and maybe start cleaning and packing a little bit.. its sad we're leaving so soon but i think we're ready to be back in the land of convenience..

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cinque Terre -

so this past weekend - friday morning until sunday night was spent in Cinque Terre. or 5 Terre.. or 5 Towns. anyways in short they're five towns that are along the coast of the italian riveria. which you can hike all five its about 7 miles or 5 hours ish to hike or train to each town.
town 1 - riomaggiore
town 2 - manarola
town 3 - corniglia
town 4 - vernazza
town 5 - monterosso

friday when we arrived it was midday since we left at about 730 for a 4 hour train ride, and we arrived in Riomaggiore which was where we were staying at - got showed to our apartment while we were there, put on our swim suits and went down to the beach - which was made of hugeeee rocks. so they don't know what sand is here apparently! anyways on our way down to the beach we found out they had scuba on the cove - well fun dives so we signed up and did that right off the coast it was amazing - so cool we bought an underwater camera and we are considering becoming certified.. after that we got a quick dinner ate some gelato and hung out at the beach and went to bed early after such a long day and in anticipation of hiking the next morning

saturday we were going to wake up early to hike the trail and see the towns and everything.. and then it decided to pour rain.. everytime we've left rome it's rained.. boo.. so we slept in til about noon and then got going hopped on the train and went to the final town (Monterosso) and laid on the beach there - also rocks but smaller rocks this time, and we looked at all the shops in town and went back the fourth town - Vernazza and shopped around there too before going back home to shower and get ready for dinner.. we were meeting up with some other girls that decided to do the hike anyway that day. so we ate dinner, some gelato and went down by the beach to hang out - and watch the storm roll in.. which it did start raining about a half hour after being at the beach so we went back up to our apartment to call it an early night again..

sunday - we woke up early finally and packed all our things up and checked out and hiked.. it was quite the journey after climbing the side of a mountain and then climbing 386 stairs to get to town three- Corniglia - and hanging out and visiting each town - we realized we had not seen all of Monterosso so we decided to go back and check out the remaining stores and beach that we had missed. come to find out they do know what sand is - it was on the one beach we didn't have time to lay on which was a huge bummer but we're hoping to get time to go to the beach in rome one day this week to maybe find some other sand.. after arriving back to our main town Riomaggiore we got on a train and headed back to rome and here we are ready to start our final week of classes..

ps. this place was the land of pesto. they make it different than most places in rome so i ate pesto pizza about 2394334893 times a day it felt like which was delicious every time, and pesto pasta and pesto everything! aka so delicious :) so i bought a ton of it to bring home.

we are officially starting our last week of classes - so i have two classes, 1 final and one paper due this week.. and we will be staying in a hostel for saturday and sunday and flying home on monday - which we are excited for since we've made a list of things that we as americans have taken for granted and things we never would believe before like paying 3 euros for a liter of water.. 3 euros = 4.5 or 5$$$
but italy has been a great time and were not going to let this week slip past without making our mark :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 15 - 18

monday we took it easy after an active weekend we met the girls for some lunch and shopped down via del corso which was really fun we found a cheap dress store with some cute things.. which was a great bargain since most of the time the stores are too expensive for us.. but the window shopping here is wonderful :) i decided that i wanted to get a pair of shoes from italy - well shoes in my size are just as hard to find in italy as they are in america so it was a epic fail after shopping for hours on end. Mandy, her friend Lauren that came for the weekend, and Meghan all got henna tattoos from a guy in campo di fiori over the weekend and when we were walking around again we all got more henna tattoos i have one on each foot, mandy has one on her foot and wrist, sarah and kendra have one on their foot, and meghan has one on her wrist and ankle. so it was really cool. Also it was our roommate, Annie's, birthday... we made plans to go to dinner to celebrate - and we went to the restaurant that our cooking teacher's family owns. it was delicious :) after this we went to get gelato and then we went and sat in the piazza and our other roommate Lily sang an opera song which was incredible. After this we went to our american/irish bar scholars to hang out and have a few drinks

we went to class today and it was by the colosseum so we were really excited so we were walking over there and our whole class was there and class starts at 9.. so then.. we were waiting and it's 915 still waiting 925 were like uhm wheres our prof?! so we get the syllabus and find her number and give her a call.. and guess what she's eating breakfast!? lady class started a 1/2 hour ago?? she comes out and apologized but still didn't realize how late she was and that class had actually started at 9. (it has started at 9 the other 4 weeks of class) so since she showed up late the long awaited inside the colosseum had limited time.. it was so sad we had time to stay after class but we didn't get like the whole history lesson that we should've surrounding it. everyone in our class was really disappointed too.. also when we were asking our prof about it she said that it wasn't really that great.. which is weird since all of us were like "Wooohooo colosseum!" Then tonight we just hung out and chilled watched some movies and cleaned our apartment a little...

finally the ability to sleep in as late as possible. it was amazing and we did nothing all day literally nothing. i uploaded pictures and we just made pasta and relaxed since we haven't really had time to just chill out. we made plans to go to a bar crawl last night so we did do that. it was fun there was a large group of us and they had free pizza and cool tee-shirts and drinks. but it was a great way to top off our day of doing nothing. we met up with some of our other friends afterwards and they were having a market/parade on the river which was really cool so we've been doing that and going down there a few times to check it out and theres a lot of shops around there and it's really cool since they just ended a festival some where else near by.

today we went to class. our prof arrived on time and was now realizing she was super late last class. we came back and planned our next week out since we only have 9 more days in rome, and then we are staying in a hostel for the 3 days til our flight leaves on june 29th. but we will be leaving tomorrow to go to Cinque Terre which will be fun. but back to today after we planned out the last bit of our sight seeing we've decided that we are going to go to the 'ice bar' tonight. its a bar completely made of ice its a place thats like 5 below 0 which is funny because its like 90 and humid almost every day so itll be a great change of pace. other than that i just woke up from a nap and were getting ready to go to the grocery store to get some snacks for this weekend!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

well heres the weekend..

i apparently wrote too much so im dividing my days -- heres the weekend!

in keeping with the american trend there is a place here called TBONE STATION. well its american food and it was delicious i got a hamburger and fries and again tasted like home haha.. buttt its funny but they got american better here than we've got italian at home... deeelicious - after this we walked to campo di fiori and piazza navona to see what was going on in the stand for fun sometimes they have shops and paintings and things.. so we found a place that sold dresses and fun shirts for 10 euros which is a great deal and we scooped up on that :)
for dinner we had a pasta party at our apartment, we had meghan and sarah over for dinner and then we got ready to meet up with DJ and Rocco to go out to an american bar that is here.. the bar is called Scholar's.. the rumor was they only let in americans and didn't let in italian people.. we found out this wasn't true but the bar only played american music and had american drinks. it was really fun and we totally felt like we were at home.. clearly as you can tell from our american weekend we miss home and needed a little taste to get us through the next two weeks.. :)

today we started our morning rather late being able to sleep in for one of the first times in a while, and got ready to go to church. well we realized we wanted to go to the vatican for mass (which was super cool) and the next mass they held was at 4. so we got ready and went to a really cheap place to eat pizza before going to church. we made the journey to the vatican and attended mass.. it was all in italian and probably one of the quickest masses i've ever been to.. were talking like 1/2 hour.. and it was in st. peters basilica which was really cool since we had already been there to sight see. after mass we went down into the papal catacombs which was really super awesome. we got to see all the catacombs and they had pope j.paul II's all guarded and everything it was very cool.. and they had it so you could see into his catacomb and it was highly decorated and super awesome - we weren't allowed to take pictures which was a huge bummer but some girls snuck some shots so that was pretty cool.. after this we walked back to our apartment to chill out and made some dinner. after this we got ready to go out to dinner with some friends even though we already ate so we got dessert, it was delicious and we walked to get gelato and again delicious and we went to the piazza by school and there was a comedy act going on the guy was really funny and then a juggling act came on that was super cool to watch too.. its unique that they basically have free entertainment all over town but of course they always have the hat out to collect change :)

it was definitely an eventful weekend and we are looking forward to more fun to come this week.. we have a trip planned for the weekend to Cinque Terra. and we have a wine tasting at the school on tuesday and more fun to come! i am happy and sad that i'll be home in 15 days!! .. eekk!! ..

thursday til sunday.. :o)

we attended class and walked around the roman national museum. it was very interesting we learned about julius caesar and augustus.. super interesting! we got a study group together from our class and studied all night for our midterm on friday. mandy and i quizzed eachother until the wee hours of the morning. we were nervous for our exam and wanted to be the best prepared possible!

our midterm was at 9:30 so we woke up got a little bit more studying in and then went to face the midterm. our professor just put pictures of things up on the projection and we had to identify and give facts about each of them. it was very difficult, even though we thought we were prepared it was something that we had a hard time.. but we talked to classmates afterward and they were also very nervous for the results!
we decided after a rough midterm to go get some food. we ran into meghan and sarah who were going to "friends" to get some AMERICA BREAKFAST! woohoo.. we got omlettes and french toast, fresh squeezed orange juice, and bacon - it was defintely a taste of home that we miss very much!
after this we met up with our friend DJ and decided to go shopping around town, to help ease the hurt of the challenging midterm. we found some great deals and started to get hungry, and what do you know - we found a MCDONALDS! so were talking 2 american meals in one day - most of you that know me know i don't really eat fast food but i broke down and got a hamburger - it tasted like home.. i know corny - but the mickeyd's here have curly fries and spinach Parmesan nuggets and breaded shrimps. dj and sarah were daring enough to try to s/p nuggets and said they were very odd.. and kendra got curly fries - and they tasted like arby fries :)
next, we went back to our apartments and got everything together to go out for the night. we got our group of grand valley people and all the friends we've made and had a blast!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

pope! :o)

Rome and the Pope

tuesday june 9
we went to class.. it was very fun we walked around and learned about the Augustan period of roman history..very interesting lots of pictures.. after class we came back to our apartment to get ready for our cooking class we had last night - it was awesome... we made a three course meal - a vegetable mix for appetizer, home made, own rolled pasta with eggplant and tomato sauce - super delicious - and we made a tiramisu type dessert which was also really good - our iron chef ingredient was 'eggplant' which was amazing! and it was nice to have legit food since we've just been eating plain pasta a lot. there were only 12 people in our class who were going to eat and we made enough food to feed 30 - are you surprised - cuz i am not lol.. it's great for us since then we wont have to buy more food! we were so full when we got home we couldn't move but we have pasta dough to roll noodles!

wednesday june 10
we got to see the POPE today! :) we woke up very early to get to the church to get our tickets for the papal audience. so then we realized it was at st. peters so we were on the hunt for a bus stop to get on a bus to go half way across rome. which was rough they are pushy here and we missed 3 buses before we got wise and crossed the street to get on the bus before the main stop. which was bright - after this we made it to the vatican/st peters and went to our seats. finally the pope came out and he drove around in the pope mobile for a little while and everyone cheered.. they read a reading in english, french, german, spanish, italian, and russian, so he has cardinals do these readings - he gave a homily type thing in italian which we understood it to mean you need to believe in the bible and see it as the whole truth and how we have to believe as it's written and the vatican is the platform of christ ect. and then they cardinals came up and did 'shout outs' and acknowledging all the groups that showed up - the choir's all sang when they were named, and then even after every group was called he blessed everyone - after the shout outs Pope would give a speech in that language which was really it was hard to understand because of his accent but nice to be blessed... lol.. when it got to italy everyone was goign nutso there were little kids there - how awesome of a fieldtrip to have - and everyone was super excited.. and then he did a closing remark, sang the our father in latin, and gave a final blessing and blessed anything we wanted as you held it out.. and it was reallly awesome overall - they had tv's so that you could get a better look since there had to be at least 500 seats.. it was really nice though..
overall super awesome i have great videos and great pictures ill post some since the pope's the man

Monday, June 8, 2009

weekend in Capri!

So this weekend. we'll start with thursday night - we had to be at the central train station at about 7 to get on the bus at 730 which turned into 8pm so we got told we weren't allowed to sit down or be in front of the Nike store which is the meeting place for the bus to alps trips.. next we hopped on the bus and had a 4 to 5 hour bus ride to Sorrento where we were staying for the weekend - it flew by we probably played about 40 games of euchre if i had to guess.. lol. from there we arrived at our hostel which was extremely nice - the staff was amazing and the accommodations were lovely.. we were so hungry since we didn't stop for dinner and the staff brought us out some free snacks and some left over cake from a party - the cake was amazing!! friday we had to be up bright and early to get ready to go to capri. well the weather was too bad to go there - since we wanted to go into the blue grotto. and we had to make other arrangements so we went to Pompei instead. pompei is an ancient town that is now ruins - when we were there we walked around the ruins which were well preserved because they were once over taken by a volcano eruption from mount vesuvious so we saw fast food restaurants they had, old houses, and mosaic art they made in addition to many other things. from there we had a break for lunch and had to gear up to climb a volcano. we got all our stuff together hopped on a bus and rode up quite a ways - from there we paid to climb to the top of the crater and we were able to look down inside of it which was pretty awesome and the skyline view was amazing! it was quite a hike so that was a nice treat at the end. after this we went back to our hostel, and got ready to go to dinner - they had planned a dinner out somewhere in town so that we could have a nice dinner with everyone - it was just that very nice :) we had five course meals and the food was delicious - however the service not so amazing - they don't care really about customer service in italy like they do in america.
saturday we awoke to find out we were going to go to CAPRI! the long awaited capri - everyone says how wonderful it is. and i mean all these places are just amazing - so we get our own private boat to take us to the island and take us around and we end up at the blue grotto - basically you have to get in a row boat and lay in the bottom of it to get inside the blue grotto. and when your in there the rocks don't go all they way down to the bottom of the sea so the sunlight reflects into this cave making everything a crystal blue color - aka its pretty amazing. our guide told us its about 80 feet deep and it was the roman kings swimming pool - and you aren't allowed to swim in it well so the sign says but our guide let me sarah and kendra jump in to swim in the blue grotto for a while - we were the only ones that got to swim in it - so i now get to say i swam in caesars pool :) hehe - after the blue grotto we hopped back on our boats and continued on to the main land part of the island. from there we were allowed to explore the island and lay out on the beach - we also we told we could taste limoncello - which is a lemon, vodka, sugar dessert alcohol that is produced on the island of capri and only served in italy. so we tried a variety of flavors, in addition they grow some massive lemons were talking lemons the size of cantelopes and they make lemon flavored everything - chocolate is another specialty so that was amazing to taste the variety of chocolates they produced. after that we just laid on the beach and waited for our boat to come back and pick us up.
we had saturday night to chill out and hang out with our friends at the hostel so we just sat back - had a glass of wine and hung out all night
sunday we were on our way to Positano we packed up our things and hopped back on the bus to get us close to town. from there we had to climb up the hillside again to get to the main part of town. once we were here it was really nice - we just kinda hung out on the beach, swam and relaxed all day - which was really nice after go go go all weekend. however they were offering cliff diving as an excursion which sounded cool so we rented a boat to go find a cliff to jump off of and the water was to rough to jump but we did hop in to swim, the current was really strong we made it to the rock to climb but the current was to strong and wouldn't allow us to climb up the stone so after hopping in we hopped right back out and onto the boat. (sounds a lot easier than it was, right?) on our way back onto the boat Meghan got stung by a jellyfish.. which sucked. and we made our way back to the mainland got some lunch and gelato, got all cleaned up and made our way back up the 500 stairs we had climbed to get down, hopped on a few buses and went back to our hostel to get on the main bus and drove back to rome! the ride back to rome was about 5 hours and we jumped on a bus that took us back to our apartment and did a little homework last night and crashed - it was an exhausting but amazing weekend!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

wednesday june 3

so today we went to a lot of places - it was pretty exciting,
we went to the spanish steps, gesu' - a jesuit church, we looked for a statue of a huge cat on via della gata - but it was non existant - the santa maria della sopra manerva, and a wax museum, and there was supposed to be a pasta museum - but it was closed which was a bummer.. we also saw the inside of the pantheon -
tomorrow for class we are going to the museo capitolini which is pretty sweet its two museums that are connected underground - which is pretty awesome
and we also ventured back to the movie theater and we able to watch angels and demons so that was pretty cool - the movies amazing- it is places we see here on a daily basis so if you want a taste of rome - GO SEE IT! :)
tomorrow we have class and need to get ready for a weekend away - we are leaving tomorrow night to go to Capri, Pompeii, Sorento, Positano, Amalfi, and the Blue Grotto.. it should be pretty exciting and were going with a lot of our friends that we've met here.. :) woohoo!

ill write again on sunday when i get home - since i won't have internet all weekend

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

monday and tuesday

Yesterday we basically laid around, it rained for the first time since we got here, which sucked, cuz as soon as we walked outside there was like a huge down pour - however we were able to make it to school, and we paid for a trip to Cinque Terra in a few weekends which will be pretty fun - we then ate some pizza - which yes the pizza is soo good here :) and came back to our apartment to clean - we had some of our friend we've made while we were here over to play cards and eat dessert. it was a blast and nice to just sit around and hang out and chat..

Today - tuesday - it is Festva de Repubblica here which is like the american 4th of july and we were going to go to the parade, but didn't wake up in time, so we decided to walk in that direction to some shops that we had found another time we went that way. so we did some window shopping in all the name brand stores that are around here that were actually open and bartered with some street vendors - but that was about it, on our way back home we were going to go to the markets around our apartment but realized that everything is basically closed for the holiday which stinks but we get it. and we are just about to make some dinner and chill out for the night, and getting ready to make some fun plans for tomorrow when everything is open again :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

this weekend

so. yesterday - saturday - we went to the outlets which were about 3 to 4 hours away from our apartment . we went to all your big name fashion places - prada, gucci, burberry, valentino, ect ect.. amazingness basically since it was the outlets it was cheaper than normal, and then since we were in europe its even cheaper still :) so i bought my momma a gucci purse and some burberry scarves and myself a burberry purse, it was really awesome over all my roommates bought some gucci shoes and prada purses and things like that - it was pretty good though
we were so tired when we got home we went to our friend DJ's for dinner and after that we went to bed - we had to get up at 6am this morning to go to tuscany for the day. so we hopped on the luxury buses again and we drove to Pienza and we walked around for a little while and to see the scenery. from there we hopped back on the bus and we went to another town in tuscany - here we got to see the set of the new twilight movie at least the part that was filmed in italy which was pretty cool - so we took pictures all over the square the biggest bummer was the finished filming yesterday so we weren't able to see edward :( haha..
after that we got to walk through a wine cellar, and taste a variety of wines and cheeses the place offered - and it was wonderful i bought 2 bottles of wine for a later day to enjoy :)
next we hopped back on the bus and went to a restaurant that offered us a 5 course meal. = amazing
course 1 - assorted ham, salami and cheese
course 2 - pasta with tomato sauce
course 3 - pasta with mushroom and basil sauce
course 4 - chicken and potato wedges
course 5 - dessert - biscotti type cookies

after this we had like a 3 hour drive home on the bus
we overheard some girls talking about going to see angels and demons at 1030 tonight so we were pumped and wanted to go too so we made plans to meet up and go
so we hopped on the tram and we walked the rest of the way and we got to the movie theater at 1020, and found out the movie actually started at 10 - which sucked, so we know now not to listen to other girls haha. since we were on the hunt for this place - but we managed to make good time to find it like 30 mins instead of like 45 which it would've taken.. so since the movie attempt was over - we bought some gelato and walked back - and well i would like to say it wasn't a total loss when we did get gelato :)
while we were walking home - mind you it's been mind blowingly hot here and it hasn't rained, we've basically sweat all day - well today it decided to be cold and rainy which sucked. but it started to rain on the walk back which we were doing more leisurely than our sprint walk to get to the theater.

ready for more adventures tomorrow, ciao!

Friday, May 29, 2009

vatican pictures

vatican city

so today started bright and early - we walked to john cabot our university to print our tickets for the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel! woohoo! so we ventured on our little walking way to vatican city - we found it which is always a good sign and we continued on to go inside, once inside the line to get into st. peters basilica was forever long.. so we decided to go to the Vatican museums first. we went into one it had a lot of paintings and frescos and yes to even pass the threshold of the door to the museum - knees and shoulders had to be covered. you would be surprised at how many people don't even think about this?? whatever.. so once we were inside we journey through the museum took some pictures but were on the hunt to see the vatican dowry. which we had a very hard time finding. once inside we went to the other vatican museum that contained a variety of other artwork, lots of ceiling paintings and tapestries which were all cool to look at but there were so many people we jsut wanted to make it to the sistine chapel. we finally got close after being faked out many times by a variety of signs everywhere.. we went up and down stairs, right and left through hallways, outside on scaffolding, and back in.. it was ridiculous and we thought we'd never make it..

once inside the sistine chapel there were people everywhere, mind you the space isn't really that large and they have guards everywhere telling you no pictures- and there are people walking around not even being discrete about it and pointing their cameras upward and using a flash - which destroys the artwork - people basically have no respect i've come to find.. but while we were in there for a short while after quite a long walk it was well worth it - and it was beautiful - however i attempted to take a picture when a security man stopped me dead in my tracks - i had missed the no picture sign because everywhere else it was only no flash - but some of the other girls got good ones so im going to steal theirs!

after walking through the sistine chapel we ventured into the carriage polladium - when we walked down the stairs i wasn't sure what to expect but it was the evolution of the pope mobile throughout all the popes - from horseback, to horse and carriage, to a variety of cars - clearly pretty dang cool! (yes lots of pictures of these)

we visited the egypt part of the museum here before racing to st. peters basilica to go inside there in hopes that the line was shorter - it only took about 15 mins for us to get into the basilica which was surprising after the length of the line we saw that morning. once inside we were awe struck - i took quite a few videos ill post some and quite a few pictures just of the amazingness of the inside - there is no words to describe this place and although a picture is worth a thousand words - these pictures are speechless. i dont even know where to being - lots of art work, sculptures, candles, shrine type things, pope and saints remains, lots of amazing things -- we even got to see La Pieta which was immaculate just stunning after seeing replicas in the other museums we had to find the real one -- we were still on the hunt for the vatican dowry since we heard how awesome it was..

and then behold off one side of st peters, there it was.. 4 euro for an audio tour and admission - we scooped up on that and walked around for like 2 hours, so many gorgeous things, gemstone studded, pope garbs, and books, tombs, tiaras, crowns, older pope's hats, pictures and things from pope john paul II and just wonderful things - just utterly wonderful! :) however we weren't able to pictures which was a bummer, but it was amazing to look at one of the coolest things we were able to see today

now time for my little rant - it is unbelievable about how disrespectful people are. i know i am catholic and vatican city is a very special place for my religion so i was very cautious about my knees and shoulders, not only of me but of the people i was going with since it's conservative and i wanted everyone to enjoy it and not worry about their clothing, taking pictures without the flash, and things like that to preserve the memory of what i believe - however no matter how many signs, or people telling other people to cover up or turn a flash off (i saw a museum man tell a guy no pictures while he was pointing his camera upward at the sistine chapel ceiling and have him still take a picture with the flash on right then, seriously) - they still wouldn't do it. i have just realized that although i have respect for my own things and other things that people believe in and show off, majority of the worlds population doesn't even care and still doesn't care when they are disrespectful.. i mean to them yes it might just be a museum or something else but just warning after warning and still not caring is a huge disappointment.. basically boo selfish humans.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 27 and 28

So, for may 27 - there was a huge soccer game between barcelona and manchester united for the championship - john cabot (who is extremely disorganized) warned us and sent us an email and told us not to go out and to dress in neutral colors - aka don't wear blue, red or green and don't go out anywhere unless you need to. at this point we found out the night of the 26th that the made rome a dry city until today the 28th. which is pretty funny.. but i guess they get crazy enough without it so having it served would make it worse.. so it was definitely a lazy day around our apartment and do some reading for class today - other than that there was no one outside when we finally did venture out to get food later on - the streets were clear and we stayed away from all the piazza's. so we def. laid low and didn't do anything to exciting - we made a list of places we would like to go see throughout rome during our time here.

for the 28th we woke up early and went to class this morning. we did a lot of walking up and down the same ruins which we had seen on some other tours we had gone on this past weekend. so it was interesting to learn the history but it was nothing super interesting. and we were exhausted but it seemed like forever, we did get out of class early though so that was pretty nice since we didn't get any breaks throughout the 3 hours of standing in the interesting rubble. after that we walked back to campus and had to pick up our paperwork which allows us to stay here in italy for the remaining 4 weeks we have left. and we stopped at the chinese place for lunch - which is nice when all we've been eating is pasta really.. we have no other big plans for tonight
tomorrow we are going to go to the vatican and see the museums, basilicas, and gardens and things like that - so that will be interesting and not places we get to go to during our class time.
Saturday we are going on an excursion through a company the university uses to go to the fashion outlets - which we are super excited for ;)
and sunday we are going on an event called 'under the tuscan sun' which we are going to tuscany for the day - and we will be seeing where they are filming the NewMoon movie from the twilight series - so maybe ill be lucky enough to see edward ;o) haha.. but it all should be very exciting and very interesting!

also next week - on June 2, they have a festival which is similar to our 4th of july - but its like a huge holiday all day celebrations so we don't have class and we are planning to go to the celebrations for some fun italian culture!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

tuesday - first day of class... boo!

So today - Tuesday - we've been here for 2 week so far - its amazing its gone by so fast - only 5 more weeks to have fun! but i do miss everyone at home and i didn't forget about you i promise!

well we woke up bright and early to go to class - and we walked to john cabot - we've decided the walk is like 2.5 miles and takes us about 30-35 mins.. which isn't horrible but could be worse..
we arrive on campus for class - and find out the room is changed - so we go in there, and we have class for a total of 4 hours on tuesday and thursday. We sit in this class room for 2 hours before actually going into the 'field' for our on-site class. so while we were in class and being bored- we kept noticing our prof would say 'as it were' like every other phrase, so we started to count - and we started about 45 mins late - and we counted for the rest of the time - and it was a tally of 72 times, so you only know what its going to be like every other day and can sympathize with me a little bit..
nearing the end of our classroom time - a professor comes in and is like i have this class room at 11 you need to leave - and our professor says don't get mad at me go talk to so and so - well he comes back 10 mins later and is like for real i ahve this class room you need to leave - and then shes like seriously go take it up with so and so - and he leaves and we end up running out the door 2 seconds later and hes on his way back in the class room with some older lady in tow to give our prof a piece of his mind.

so we walked around rome for the remaining two hours - to a bunch of places we had gone on, on our tours with Massimo this past weekend, and we went over very basic things - and we ended up walking past the Colosseum - which is like over an hour away from where we live - but we did stop by 'the mouth of truth' which has the urban legend that if you say a statement and put your hand in the mouth of this stone thing - and if you lie - it bites your hand and if you tell the truth your saved, however the urban legend is not in existence anymore because someone back in the day - lied and told the truth at once and it no longer had its magic touch.

we then walked back to our apartment - and Mandy is set on finding a cat that we've saw this one day - and she bought some cat litter, cat food, ect. she has named it prada and we've been looking for it every day and she is going to adopt it and bring it back to the states -well at least that's her plan we'll see how it goes from here..

we made our second Italian meal in our kitchen, and after i went to take a shower - come to find out - NO HOT WATER! - are you kidding me.. i was so mad.. and we still don't have hot water - 5 hours later. boo - so we're calling maintenance tomorrow!
we got ready to go to Campo Di Fiori for a night to hang out - and found out that the city is dry and they closed everything earlier - tomorrow there is a huge soccer game - Manchester united vs Barcelona and apparently its a huge game - we've been warned not to wear either teams colors, to not answer when we are asked who we cheer for, and to basically stay in our apartments tomorrow since it's going to be a mad house no matter where you go. we might go to a restaurant to find a tv so we can watch the game but other than that we will be steering clear of our Italian friends since they are very much enthusiastic about the game.


Monday, May 25, 2009


Today is monday - we met some girls over the weekend and at orientation - who said that we had class today for like an orientation/first day of class type thing- so we walked the half hour walk to john cabot this morning to find out john cabot screwed up and in real life we don't have class til tomorrow as we thought originally before talking to other people we found had the same class as after that we stopped at a fruit market, and tried to find the supermarket. tried is the key word - we couldn't find it and everyone made it sound oh so easy to find. well then we came back its about 10am at this point and we went back to bed til everyone got back from class at about noon or 1ish. we finally found the grocery store and bought soo many groceries for 40 euro which was awesome. and we came back chilled out for a little longer, and then made dinner - which was delicious!
we then walked over the river and through town to find 'the mouth of truth' well we found it alright, but its connected to the outside of the church so we weren't allowed to go in and see it however we were able to take pictures of it and we are going to go back one day probably to see it, which will be pretty cool.,
so were going to eat gelato, strawberries & nutella, and some popcorn tonight when we watch movies. :)
we really actually have class tomorrow morning at 9! eek first day of school!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Hello all,
i've found my address here in rome if you want to send me mail! :)

Jenna Darin
John Cabot University
Via Della Lungara 233
00165 Rome
Box 143

**i will be coming back to the states on June 29th**


Friday Night, Saturday And Sunday..

Well. lets begin with friday- we went to the opera - it was amazing of course we couldn't understand what they were saying but we got the basic understanding of the opera and it was wonderful to watch.. elaborate costumes and great music and just wonderful - i would totally go again :)
we also found a chinese restaurant by our apartment which is surprisingly good - but yes it does have a typical chinese restaurant name - China Garden lol.. oh well it was good and nice to finally find some chicken since it seems to be in short supply around here.. they're big fish eaters and pasta (duh!)

saturday - we planned on going to the 10am tour of the fountains of rome, and over slept so we went to the 3 pm tour - it was really cool our guide's name was Massimo and he showed us all around town, the various embassies, and fountains everywhere it was really cool - until we got to the spanish steps about an hour or so walk away from our apartments and university and he was like alright i'm going to let you go here, have a nice day - we all stared at him and were like.. WAIT - WHAT?! your just going to leave us here in the middle of the spanish steps where we have no idea where we are? hes like well to go home you go that way - and he proceeded to walk the other direction - talk about survival of the fittest haha.. mandy, kendra, and i were able to navigate a huge group of us back to town and near our apartments where we indulged in chinese food once again - seriously it's either pasta, pizza, fish, or chinese here.. i mean we've found a mcdonalds and vowed to go there once before we leave but i mean really... who knows?!
Last night we decided to walk to the Colosseum - which was really cool at night- and quite a far walk - it was a lot of fun to see it and find it - again kendra, mandy and i navigated everyone back home -- you would think these people would learn how to read a map??
we also did our first load of laundry - i know sounds dumb but the laundry machines here are much different and there is no dryer - so i've been waiting for my clothes to dry for the past day - contrary to popular belief we are not allowed to hang our clothes outside our apartment - surprised me too - apparently it is viewed as unsightly and we aren't allowed to - can get ticketed for ect.. sucky..
one perk of walking around town is there are fountains everywhere that are safe to drink out of - like any fountain with water in rome you can dunk a waterbottle into or drench yourself with water and its like legit. so thats nice you only have to buy one waterbottle or bring one with you - since 'natural water' is like 1 to 2 euros a bottle.
Finally sunday - we promised we'd go to the 10 am tour today since it was scorching hot during the tour yesterday - so we got out of bed, got ready super quick, and headed to campus to meet massimo again for our tour of ancient rome. the tour was pretty awesome - lots of cool sites and places you would never think we'd be able to go with out paying for a ticket or something - so that was really cool - and we did make it to the colosseum today but we didn't go inside, so it was cool to see from the outside - we just need to buy tickets to go in it, and we are going to do that fairly soon when we have a day off to wander around town. on our journey back we stopped and had some food and are now back in our apartment cooling off, getting ready to take naps and chill for the rest of the evening - classes begin tomorrow --ugh!

Friday, May 22, 2009

may 22nd

So we've been in rome all day today - we went to orientation for the university, and a housing orientation. Lots of good tips regarding the locals, how to dress, how to act, how to use the 7ft long key they gave us.. They also gave us free lunch of PIZZA - surprise right - but pizza's delicious here so A.o.k. by me :)
we found out about some side trips and classes offered by the university.
they are offering a cooking class and a wine tasting. they've outsourced to a company which will offer us day trips and weekend trips so we are planning on going to the designer outlets and tuscany next weekend, and some other trips to Capri and Cinque Terra. we are really excited they should be a good time and they are mostly paid except for additional expenses which isn't a big deal - it'll just be nice not to plan a weekend or a trip or anything and just be told where to go.
We just made some pasta and ate our bread and nutella, the university left us a care package with food in it! so we haven't had to go grocery shoppin yet which is really nice
we are getting ready to go to the OPERA! woo a real italian opera - i am super excited it should be a lot of fun!! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

apartment pictures :)


Rome has turned out to be amazing so far. The apartment we're in is gorgeous, im with mandy, kendra and two other girls from grandvalley, which is super cool.. Our apartment is like a 30 min walk from the university however we dont have class there - our class is onsite at the different monuments. its nice to have a bathroom and internet in our apartment at our disposal to use no big deal... i was expecting some small place for our apartment but this place is wonderful i will def. post pictures so you get the idea, but check in with the university went smoothly and we have tickets to attend the opera tomorrow which is exciting.. the only bummer we have to this all is that we're supposed to have a RA meeting tomorrow so we'll see if we can switch things around and talk to our RA and make different arrangements. We had to take our ID pictures today which i wasn't really ready for since i spent the day on a plane and in an airport but oh well..
speaking of the airport people are only allowed 20 kilos per person well i was over that so i had to pay more fees which cost about the same as my ticket which really made me angry - but they put us on an earlier flight which was nice so we arrived in rome earlier than expected, were picked up by the university and taken from there. Right now its about 6:15 and we're getting ready to go out and find some food! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

venice picturesss

final day in venice

Venice today was good. We slept in and decided to go to the Island later than before, we figured that this would be good to avoid the heat, and we would be able to eat a ‘big Italian lunch’ there. Plus kendra’s foot was really hurting so we thought the less we walked around today the better since we walked around for like 8 hours yesterday.

We slept in til 12 here, so 6am at home and got ready and got on the 1 o clock ferry. When we arrived on the island we went to a cute little restraint and since we aren’t really on Italian time or American time for meals anymore we were wthe only ones in the restruant which was good but bad too since it seemed like the people were watching our every move, but we got decent service. The way they do it over here is you don’t leave a tip you are charged a service fee so they don’t really have to treat you good since they’re getting money anyways. And its usually like 12% so they’re getting pretty decent money.. We decided to ‘eat like the Italians do’ and we have no idea how they do it, you get two entrees so like a pasta dish and a meat dish. So we all ordered a pasta dish and a fish (sea bass) dish. Well we didn’t know we were allowed to pick out the fish we wanted but the waiter brought three fish out on a plate for approval. I said I don’t like to look at my food before I eat it sooo it looks fine.. and Kendra was grossed out so we just said ok and our pasta came out – delicious – and then next came our fish.. which we could barely eat any of since we were soooo full.. well.. then come the bill after we sat there for about 2 hours trying to stuff our selves sinc everything tasted so good.. and its 122 euros for the three of us?!?! We were like uhh what?! Well they figure the price of the fish by how much it weighs. So our fish entrees were like 28 euros each.. woops talk about an expensive lunch… delicious but expensive so we’ll never do that again.. pizza it is! J

After that we decided well we just spent 40 euros each on lunch and we are NOT going to buy anything else other than gelato for dessert.. so we walked around and sat in a church that turned into a violin display place and then got some gelato and got on the 530 ferry back to the mainland. Our room was a sauna no surprise there.. its just a question of how hot not is it going to be hot.. and we left to play some cards and then watched the end of slumdog millionaire, and now are sitting in the cafĂ© getting some pizza before the ‘beach party’ the Camping fusina has tonight. People are walking around in coconut bikini’s and Hawaiian print shirts.. so apparently they get really into it??

We can’t wait for tomorrow to get on the plane and go to ROME! Where we will finally be able to unpack our things and hopefully it won’t be as buggy.. we know its going to be hot, we’re prepared for that.. but the bugs can go farr away.. The plane ride is only 50 mins long and the university is going to pick us up from the airport and take us to the university (which from what I hear is really small) and we’ll check in and get our housing, which we are all hoping we’re rooming together since we’ve requested it, and we’ve spent this whole week together it would be really nice J And we have a four day orientation to the city and the university, I can’t believe how quickly this past week has gone by but I’m really excited to be acquainted with some other GVSU and MSU students. So that’s about it, I’m going to eat some pizza so ill write more tomorrow or the next time im around internet!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


venice pictures :)

venice day 3

soo.. well another day in venice. we woke up super early - because we were suppppposed to chekc out of our camp ground and check back in - butt.. they are letting us stay in teh same disgusting cabin - trust me the other ones are the same since we already switched because our first one was ant infested.. buttt anyways.. so we went to venice island today again and it was fun we did a lot of scoping out the stands and today we acutally made some purchases, i bought a mask.. well 2 ones too tiny to wear, a necklace, and some wine glasses made on merona island but anyways all good purchases. yesterday since we are such cute americans the guy gave us some free keychains for our phone but they're pretty sweet.. and we got panini's to go which were delicious.. and we just did some sight seeings and got asked if we'd like to go on a gondola ride about 5374837 times.
venice is gorgeous and just like everything you see in the pictures.. we are going to go back to the island tomorrow and see if we can get to merona and barona - barona island is the one that makes lace.. but we are going to sight see and shop and stuff again tomorrow for our last day here.. we were supposed to be on a train to florence today but we decided to stay in venice for 4 days rather than just two... we've been finding a bunch of fun things to do today and we're glad we stayed.. also.. we are really excited to go to Rome on thursday for a final change of pace. it's been nice traveling around but dragging our luggage, getting on trains, waiting for buses, and going on buses and spending lots of money is just getting old so we're ready to settle in and unpack our suitcases for the first offical time!! :) woohoo!! after this i know i wont take internet, phone or running water for godsakes for granted, this has been pretty difficult..

im pretty sur ei've said it before but all they play is american music here. its kinda crazy because its like were at home when we are out of our room in the bar and stuff but its cool since we know all the words i guess.. but i was expecting to hear some cool italian music.

we got some emails from john cabot - which is the university were studyin at in Rome and we foudn out they are going to take us to the designer outlets which is pretty cool and they offer like cooking classes and stuff.. which will be fun to do..
but i only have a few more mins of interrnet, ill post some pictures! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

venice island

venice day 2

so were in venice. but when were out of the disgusting place were staying in, its much better like you have no idea haha.. so thats the key -we've figured it out, only 2 1/2 more days left!
today we went to venice island and it was awesome - gondola's everywhere, and we basically walked around and found the Basicalla there and it was great til we got to the door and i realized i had my backpack apparently your not allowed to bring them in so i had to find this place to check it but it was soo randomly placed and far away i felt like i was getting lost and i couldn't find it then some guy that spoke spanish to me knew where to put them and i just pointed and then he's like oh really i do speak english i was thinkin gohhhhhh jerk.. but he helped me out so i got over it, we went to put our bags down and of course the inside of the basicalla was gorgeous painted all over the place on the ceiling everywhere greatness, but it took like 5 misn to get through the whole thing - well the part they let you go with out paying more money and then we were out it literally took me 10 mins to find the place where to check my bag and we weren't in the church for more than 5 haha.. awesome NOT! but after that we wlaked to some of the street vendors which had great things and we just kinda checked things out for today were going to go back tommorrow to see and probably purchase things.. and then we ate some lunch it was good pizza again - you would think i was sick of pizza but im not yet!! :) its just too good here i dont think ill be able to eat american pizza every again!
we were on the hunt for a glass blowing plalce and in the mean time we got some GELATO! :) yummmy!! but finnally we did find one of the glass places -- it was amazing we watched a guy mold some galss and then we walked through the whole store - kendra bought somehting for her mom but we just looked around and then when we were checking out the guy gave us these key chain things for our 'cell phones' but they're super cool and have glass beads on them
otherwise things here are pretty good we made it back to the 'mainland' and we watched a movie and are now just getting ready to hang out - were so ready to be in rome to have steady life and see the sights there and shop there, but venice has been pretty great so far so no complaints!! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

pictures of milan && venice

one side of the room

our door way

other side of the room - i just had to spin around for this.. :-\
kendra very puzzled at why our room is soo TINY!

outside of our 'cabin'
maybe you'll realize how small this is when i say it!

milan to venice

So today was quite the adventure. first we realized we coudlnt' check into our new place in venice til 2 pm so we slept in and took a taxi to the train station to hop on a train (yes it is that easy surprisingly) and we made it on the train no problem and when we got to our destination of Menstra. we got off and went looking for the bus station to take the bus to our "camping fuscina" and we foudn the bus, bought our tickets, and watched the bus ride by since we weren't entirely sure and they didn't even stop so we waited another hour for the bus to come back... apparently they don't stop like the rapid does at school, you need to flag them down and then they'll stop for you.. next. when we were riding the bus we were talking to some other people who were traveling with backpacks and they were staying at the same place and we were like oh cool blahblah.. so thennnn i was like oh great, we finally pass our place,, were super excited after this long journey and its like a campsite, like literally a campsite with some trailers. by campsite i mean the whole nine yards - bugs like whoa, trailer/camper like things, actual campsites, restraunt, and a building for both bathrooms and showers that are not really that close to our 'trailer' it stinks to say the least - my idea as with mandy and kendra's idea of camping is staying at a hotel.
the best part of this all is were only here til thursday so we're going to do our best to last that long and we've found a few good ways to do it. get on the ferry to venice at 8 am when the first one leaves and come back on the last one back at 8:30pm so we don't have to endure doing notihng, i will post pictures for sure, and then.. in addition to taht we have to pay to use the interent, which sucks but is totally worth it to keep me in contact with teh world becasue sitting in my room doing nothing isn't really all too fun either.
well tomorrow morning the fun things will be happening when we make it over to the island for sight seeing and shopping :) we'll have plenty of time to plan tonight..
we had our first official italian pasta dishes today - mandy got pesto which looked amazing, kendra and i both had 'ragu' well meat sauce which looked to be ground beef cooked in oil. it was good but nothing like american meat sauce - where there's actually like sauce to the sauce..

i know it sounds like a lotta complaints. and i know i should be happy and i am its jsut not anything like where we were staying in milan - which to this looks like a four star hotel compared to here.. and well we were completely blindsides by this and we're all not huge fans of wilderness to say the least! k im posting pictures as you read!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sight Seeing in Milan

So today we decided to be touristy and do some sight seeing. we ventured a far way well a half hour/40 min walk to Castello Sforzesco - it was really cool and creepy. we got to look at lots of artifacts, paintings, muscial instruments, and Egyptian things. All extremely interesting, we also met some people from Canada, who were amazed we were from Michigan - and told us about the Detroit Red Wings :) in addition to that when we were walking around the Gardini there was a couple and their bridal party - consisting of one groomsmen and bridesmaid - taking pictures all over the place.
Next we decided to go to Pinacoteca di Brera tolook at the art work. We saw work by Raphael and other famous artists. We wanted to take pictures of some of the art work, Kendra did try and the museum lady came running from down the hall screaming No Photographia! We thought it might be ok since we were allowed to take pictures in the Castello without a flash no big deal.. but i guess HUGE deal. I mean I do understand they're important pictures and they probably get ruined when taking pictures all the time
Finally we got to sit down and eat some lunch. it was pretty good we had panini's and pizza. we're going to get some pasta one of these days!

In addition too all the excitment today - we've changed our plans for the next few days. instead of going to Venice for 2 days and Florence for 2 days. we've decided to stay in Venice for 4 days before going to Rome for classes. Why? Because they make public transportation sound so easy here, really not soo much. So we've opted for the easy way giving ourselves more time to see the sights and experience the life. We've also assumed that John Cabot ( our university ) will offer a trip there, or maybe we'll get a group together and go visit there on a weekend rather than stressing a lot right now.

Well were going to go shopping around the local shops now and were off to Venice tomorrow morning!! :0)

Friday, May 15, 2009

more milano pictures! :)

kendra and i - el duomo in the background!!

the first official lunch in milan!

prada anyone?

santa maria della suffragio - fancy place near our hotel!

the sign for the place we ate lunch! :)

pictures of milano! :o)

mandy and i eating pizza margherita

gelato!! :)

ferrari dragster at the ferrari store :)

el duomo!
arch way leading to the most wonderful shopping - lv, prada, ect :)