Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while! We haven’t really done a whole lot except sit and relax and enjoy Rome. I did however go visit some my wonderful friends in Germany! So this was an excellent end to an incredible trip.
I haven’t seen them in years, and the funniest part is that while I have known all of them, and most of them come from the same town; they didn’t even know each other. By the time I left, they all knew each other, and to an extent I believe that some of them became very good friends! I stayed with Julia Braun, and her parents were absolutely the most wonderful hosts anybody could ask for.
I wanted to end my blog on a short and sweet note. I fell in love with a city, that I hope to return to. I fell in love with a group of people, that I will ALWAYS keep close to my heart. And I learned to love myself, which I think is something I have been trying to do for a long, long time. The people I have met, and the places I have been, have reminded me what I have to give this world. And I hope there are more wonderful things to come <3 Ciao!
Experience is what you get while looking for something else. - Frederico Fellini
Yesterday we had an afternoon planned trip to Trastevere, a district of Rome loaded with bars and restaurants and eclectic people. (Ellen you would have died with happiness.) We had NO IDEA that we would have stumbled upon a film set!!! It was so cool. The man I spoke to, Silvano, told us that the film was for tv and it was called Il Dio che Aiutare. (Keep in mind that he only spoke Italian, and I only understood bits and pieces of what he was saying. But he was the security guard, and he had ACTUALLY worked for Fellini many years ago! I thought that was so cool. He said Fellini was a wonderful man, and I believed he said something about having him over his house for dinner. (if you don’t know who Fellini is, imagine havingg… Martin Scorsese over for dinner. BLOWS YOUR MIND.)
He was saying that they had two cameras, and they were filming the scene from different angles. I told him we were film students from America, and he seemed impressed that we knew what was going on. They can’t really close the streets off to film like they can in America because the streets are so small, and everybody uses them. So we were allowed to watch! I didn’t have my camera so I don’t have any pictures, but it was so cool to see how universal film really is. Everybody who works in film speaks the same language, no matter what country you are from. Maybe that’s why I want to be in entertainment so badly!
Long time no talk! But I’m back, and going to do my best to recap the last week or so. The past two days have been rainy, but let’s take it back to last week!
To prepare for our trip to the Coliseum, we had movie night at Randy’s! Randy’s quaint apartment provided coke, home made antipasti, and friends for an evening of “The Gladiator.” I truly had forgotten how sad that movie was, and grateful that I was able to cry. I hadn’t cried in so long! It was like a waterfall dammed up for weeks. I suppose that’s a good thing, but sometimes you just have to cry! We were supposed to watch the movie for historical accuracy. We weren’t supposed to follow the story line, but we were supposed to look at how the director tried to maintain the accuracy of what went on at the festivities. But nothing could prepare me for the actual thing!
It was ridiculously hot outside. We had this sweet little tour guide who preferred to talk into a little microphone than to us directly. But since she didn’t know how to use the actual device I spent more time trying to understand what she was saying! The coliseum was colossal, and I was amazed as to the reasons it was torn apart. There are holes everywhere in the coliseum, because all of the marble that was used to build the coliseum was recycled into other buildings in Rome. The things they are still finding there amaze me. They’ve recently discovered animal bones, human bones; which is giving them more insight as to what precisely went on there! There is a rumor that at one point they attempted to fill the stage arena with water to stage a sea battle for the enjoyment of the spectators. I’m not sure if I believe that though, because with the weight of the water it doesn’t seem possible! But WIR (When in Rome), anything is possible!
Uhm…Whatchu say?! ^^
Something REALLY interesting must have been going on in the corner of this picture… I have that dumb look on my face.
After that we proceeded on to the Roman Forum. My absolute favorite part about that was learning about the history of the vestal virgins. These were women, selected at ages 6-10 to be apart of this religious protection of the fire of Rome. This was to reassure the people of Rome of the Roman Empire’s power. They swear themselves off from men, and were some of the only people permitted to live in the forum. I was told that any woman who broke the bylaws of being a vestal virgin were considered criminals and executed at the games. (Side note, humans are disgusting. We have always been into violence, and I’ve accepted the fact that even though we are educated, we are still primal creatures.)
Our final visit was to the Pantheon. Truly a beautiful building, I was too hot to really appreciate it. But it is perfectly preserved, and the hole in the center alludes to what the light of heaven looks like! We were so hungry though, and that pretty much finished our day.
Our next class field trip was to Cinecitta! This is the Roman Hollywood. When we got there though we realized there was a strike going on. The workers of Cinecitta were protesting the closing of it. Apparently companies wants to by the studio out and turn it into a spa resort. The tour guide that brought us around blames it on the fact that the new management has not personal attachment to Cinecitta. This marvelous place was the stomping ground for a famous director by the name of Fellini. He wrote some fantastic Italian movies, and staged most of them right there in Cinecitta.
The place was pretty spectacular. Right now they are filming the showtime show The Borgias there, so there were actors and crew milling around the space. It was really cool, and I might start watching the show as a result of it. Going onto the set was really cool. Everything looks so real, but when you punch a wall or tap the ground, you realize it’s mostly Styrofoam and plaster.
We saw the set of the History Channel “Rome” series, and the replicas were impeccable. The roads were even plaster casted at the Roman forum in the center of Rome and recreated so that the sounds were the same. I mean, who thinks of that?! That’s absolutely incredible.
If it does close I will be sad to see it leave, it’s so sad when people negate the importance of history. Unfortunately you see this ignorance all over Rome; graffiti is everywhere, and buildings are just absolutely trashed in some areas.
The rest of the week was a walk around, relaxing week. Friday we were off to Florence!
So we arrive at the train station after having taken the fast train. (The view was beautiful, and we got a taste of the countryside. LOVE IT) At the actual train station we called a cab and said, Hotel Victora please! Misunderstanding me, we were brought to a Hotel Vittoria, which was the wrong hotel. But thank you Mr. Basile! The actual Hotel Victoria was beautiful and right next to the Leather Markets. I love going to markets like that! You meet the most interesting people, and I only like buying things from people who I get a story from. For example, I got a leather bound book from a young man who makes them with his uncle and cousins for a living. He was trying to teach me Italian, but to be honest, I’m getting sick of talking in the language. My brain constantly has to be listening, and I have a short attention span enough as it is!
On Saturday we went to the Verrazzano vineyard. It was probably the most beautiful thing I have seen on the trip. There were bees everywhere, flowers in bloom and a crazy British tour guide named Jillian! I’m happy we chose this vineyard though, because it has special historical ties to New York. APPARENTLY, the people who founded the castle and lived in it also were technically the first people to discover New York! And that is why we have the Verrazzano bridge.
(Side note, watching the Roman Open City movie right now, absolutely mortifying. Italian movies are horrifying.)
We learned how to do a proper wine tasting! My mother would be so proud. I smelled, and gurgled the wine like a pro. Unfortunately, wine was the only thing I drank that day so I was admittedly a little off kilter for the rest of the afternoon.
That night we explored! We stumbled upon the Duomo, a beautiful church in Florence. It is all marble, and positively took my breath away. Nick Ranelle and I properly sang songs in honor of her beautifulness. We never got to climb the tower, but even just seeing it was enough to make me a happy clam.
“El Duomo, El Duomo, El Duomooooooooo” (To Con Te Partiro)
“Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful? Isn’t she precious? Over a thousand years old… I never thought I’d ever see, Something as fine as she… Isn’t she lovely El Duomooo” (to isn’t she lovely”
We also went out to dinner at this very fancy restaurant. The food was excellent and there was a jazz singer playing RNB throwbacks. I think that the Italians think their American music is hip, but what they don’t understand is that Johnny B Good is probably a song for another generation. I danced with this adorable little older man, and realized that I need to spruce up my ballroom dancing skills. Majorly.
My friend Erin and I went exploring into the city and found the Florence lucky boar! Or at least that’s what we assumed. We saw everybody rubbing his nose and taking pictures, and we felt we should act accordingly. Seeing that people were looking at us funny, we thought maybe we were wrong and walked away quickly!
It was such an amazing weekend, until we got to the train. Ms. Menery was right when she said that the trains here were crazy! The tickets were all out of wack, everybody was a mess, and I kept yelling Jesus Christ Becca! (Inside joke, but in a nut shell it’s very easy to joke and blame Becca for everything :-p)
It was such an amazing weekend, but when I say Rome is my home, Rome is definitely my home in Italy. I’m always happy to come back here. I love it here.
I am so sorry. I have been very busy. I will have a new blog up this evening!
Do me a FLAVOR…
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The Amalfi Weekend!
Long time no see! Here I am, being lazy again. Writing just isn’t my forte, but here I go again!
After a very long bus ride we arrive with our new friend and tour guide Allie to the 7 hostels. Words cannot even describe the condition of this 11 star hostel. It was by far the coolest building I have ever been into! Rooftop bars and live bands; it was definitely something out of a movie! We had an early turn-in for the big day trip to Capri.
Apparently, information wasn’t disclosed as to how much athletic training we needed to endure this trip, so off I go to Capri in my Romper and sandals, when I probably should have been wearing my Nike’s and a sweat band. Also to add, this was not the weekend to forget Dramamine, which I of course did. The day started off with a tour of the island, and this island took me aback. I called the cliffs that I saw “Land untouched by man.” It was truly a beautiful sight. I was so upset when I found out that we couldn’t enter the Blue Grotto, because the waves were just too high! Marisa said that that was a must see. Well I didn’t see.
When we got to port at the Porta Grande, we had the option of taking a bus to the middle of Capri, or walk a nice 15 minute walk. Of course, being the youthful sprites that we are chose the scenic walking passage. Little did I know that I would be experiencing 2 weeks of double session soccer training in 15 minutes! It was excruciating, and my body was receding into itself. When we reached the top, I was able to quench my thirst with some freshly squeezed juice and we proceeded to the bus that would take us to Ana Capri.
To give you a small tidbit of information, Ana Capri is the absolute top of civilization on the island! Most cars cannot make it through, but the view is absolutely beautiful! I was a little nervous when I was told we were going on a chairlift, but felt relieved to think that a couple of us would share the experience together. When Allie our trusted tour guide heard this, she exclaimed oh these chairlifts are not enclosed; and the rides are on person at a time…
(Holy Poop) ^^
WHAT?!?!?! I almost died inside, and threw one of those 12 year old temper tantrums in my brain. But I said to myself, Alexis you HAVE to do this. So after crying for the first 2 minutes I was able to look and see the beautiful view. I couldn’t believe how high up I was! The man passing me going down the chairlift had said,” Oh this goes much higher.” Yeah, thanks pahpi, because you can clearly see my death grip and that doesn’t make me feel any better.
Getting to the top, was 100% worth it. The view made me lose my breath. It was the very top of the island, and from the deck I could see Naples, Mt. Vesuvius, and Sorrento! I’m so glad I sucked it up.
Lunch was pretty good, I had never tried pork before since I came to Italy. The rest of the day really only consisted of shopping. I have a fun fact for you though! There is a store in Ana Capri that makes sandals for you; they are Italy renown and real leather.
That night our tour guide and her good friend Katie took us to this restaurant. At first, I thought we were eating inside, and then I discovered that our table was actually outside; under the lemon trees! It was beautiful, perfect for a couples date night alone. It was a great ending to a wonderful day!
The next day was a trip to Positano! Today was supposed to be a day filled with beaching, cliff jumping, and cave swimming. I only did one of the three, as my fears of being sucked into the water were completely reassured by some fellow boaters! I did jump off the boat though, which was a big step for me. HUGE! I watched people nearly drown in the choppy water, and then we went back to the beach! (Brief little tidbit, Positano is only 90 years old, but it’s a hot spot for destination weddings!)
So we get back to the beach and decide to go get lunch. I had to tell this young man that his backpack was open, and he told me the money was in the other pocket. Does it look like I’m going to steal anything??
After lunch Meagan and Erin decide they want to go paddle boarding, and asked that I take pictures! Seeing how far out they were, I decided to ask the dock boys if I could stand on the dock and take pictures. With a smile and a wave I found myself on a boat with a guy named Dario, chugging a beer and telling me we were going to get closer to take pictures of my friends. I was not chugging a beer, he was. Funny enough, I bumped into backpack guy on the beach again! Come to find, his name was Tuglia, and he worked at the red hotel. ($$$$$$) He was nice, and gave restaurant recommendations! However the highlight of my day, was the painter on the beach. It was a cute little old man in his 70’s hanging out making beautiful paintings. He started to show me his paintings, but when I told him I had no money he looked discouraged. I thought he was mad, but he walked over to find a broken painting, and just gave it to me! It was the sweetest thing I had experienced in a long time.
That night was a mess. I had decided that it would be an excellent idea to have a Mojito after a long day at the beach. I also decided it would be an even better idea to sing with the cover band that was playing on the rooftop of the bar. 7 minutes of video later, and I had sung a rousingly flat rendition of Heaven! By Bryan Adams. Anddd Goodnight!
Looks like he liked the microphone more than me…
The last day was the hiking of Vesuvius and Pompeii. I would say it was around 110 degrees, and I guzzled down at least 8 bottles of water! But to cut it short because I am so tired. It was absolutely incredible. We found out from a few scientists that said if in fact the volcano was going to erupt, that they probably wouldn’t let anybody know, because with the amount of people that live in that area it would cause way too much hysteria.
Pompeii was really interesting! (Marisa, the pizza was amazing) It was so hot I was falling all over the place, but everything my sister told me about Pompeii really made me appreciate it more. The people of Pompeii were massively advanced; it was so interesting to see what was lost in time! For example, the idea of 3-D drawing was totally lost in Pompeii and remained not discovered for thousands of years!
I’m too tired to continue writing, but all in all an amazing weekend! Props to Bus2Alps for amazing tour guides!
Viva a Roma! <3
Ok, So I’m the worst. Not only am I a bad writer, but I ALWAYS forget to write! So it’s a lose lose situation. But I am going to do my best to recap the last few days q (the q is contributed by Nick Ranelle) so you can live vicariously through me.
Two days ago: I uncovered the mysteries of the Roman Churches. There is something weirdly cult like about all these churches. I say this because there are these weird geometric shapes the correlate in the groundfloor of all of the churches.
The first church we stumbled upon was the Santo Maggori. I don’t know how you could “stumble upon it” because it is possibly one of the largest things I have ever seen in my life. I had to cover both my shoulders and my knees, with one scarf. I enjoyed my experience, but it looked like I was having a bladder problem my whole visit. The ceiling is made entirely of gold, and it was stunning! It was one of those places you really just wanted to sit and think about life in. But what was really interesting was all of the Hebrew stars that were in the church. I saw this video on youtube that explains everything geometrically about energy and the world. Watch it.
The next church we went into I am horrible and can’t remember the name of, but I’ll post a calendar so you can know exactly where I am at all times. We walked into the church and I noticed that everybody was sticking their hands into the water. So being the good protestant q (q is contributed by Nick Ranelle, he really has a lot to say.) that I am, I did the catholic thing and stuck my fingers inside. THERE WERE BUGS SWIMMING AROUND. Thoroughly disgusted my good friend Nick told me “There’s something freaky going on here.” I think after I explained the hidden history of the world and it made him a believer. ANYWAYS q (q contributed by nick ranelle) The catacombs in there were really freaky. Italian death gossip is so interesting.
The coolest part of the day though, was the Basilica. It is a church, on top of a church, and on top of a village. When a building wasn’t in use anymore, they would fill it in and build on top of it. The bottom floor was a village, with real running spring water. There were beautiful fresco’s in it that told the story of San. Clemente. Not having a tour guide, I listened to other people’s tour guides! Like the good American I am.
That night we went to the Azzuro Grotto. I’ll admit that the restaurant was really touristy, but my risotto was really good. It was a pretty low key night, but it was so nice to get to know everyone! Too much wine and limoncello for one lil lady.
One Day Ago: That day was pretty cool! Convincing Nick that we were going to the mall, off we went to explore the world’s first mall! A little lackluster, most stores were out of business, but the history was awesome! I met a boy my age whose name was Alessio, which is the man name to Alexis. So his name was Alexis. My Italian and English was bad that day, as he asked me if these people were a part of my class… I think I said ,”No, these are not my classroom.” Yeah… Well anywho he is a part of a Blues/Rock Band called Electric Superfuzz, they are AWESOME! Sicko is their hit song, listen to it sometime; I highly recommend it!
The wedding cake building was awesome too! It is very similar to the Unmarked Soldier Monument in America. It’s guarded by several guards, including my new Italian friend named Antonio. I had asked him if you had to sign up for the army when you were 18. He misunderstood me and told me that I couldn’t sign for the army. Does it look like I want to be in the army?? Anyways, we took photos and went back for dinner.
The dinner was all fishy. Raw fish, cooked fish, and Pranz. Their eyes were looking at me and I just couldn’t eat them! It was a super fishy dinner, however the Roset was delicious.
After dinner we went to this bar called the drunken ship? For followers who go to Hofstra, it was the Italian bar social. Bar Sociale! It was very American, and I think I preferred the bars on the river more!
Today was a pretty easy day. I had a rough morning, but I’d rather not talk about it! I realized today that I need to keep up with my Italian everyday, or I will always forget what I need to say. So Lex, Mae and I went to catch up late with the group. We never ended up finding them, but we found this beautiful upscale housing with very large old statues guarding the front. Also, Blood Orange Juice is highly recommended. Especially in Powerade form. DELICIOUS. I thought we were lost so I asked this nice woman to help me, and then I just ended up deciding we should head back. We went to a couple of stores near the university to shop for some much needed things. However, I realized that I hate spending tons of money, so I said no to this beautiful lilac dress that was dynamite! But anyway, back to my point. I turned the corner to the dressing room, and I found the SAME WOMAN q (The q is contributed by Nick Ranelle) trying on a shirt! She said to me in Italian, “Do I know you?!” We were both excited, she introduced herself, and I have my first female Italian friend Julia!
Note to everyone: When you want to say excited in Italian, do NOT say eccitata. It is the equivalent to “I am horny” in Italy, and you will get funny looks. Thank GOD people are willing to correct me, because it’s finally starting to make sense as to why the guys I meet here really seem to like me!
Also, please note that I’m getting a little more colloquial with my writing, loose and free. Viewer discretion is advised!
Note Note: I found the backs of the toilets today. ON THE CEILING. Literally blew my mind.
Now I’m on a bus, going to the Amalfi Coast, talking about throwback childhood things, such as Backyard Baseball, and old Disney! Scrivero in due oggi! Lifelong friends in four days :) Best feeling in the world. Ciao Ciao!
The first day of class was really exciting. Everybody had juices flowing everywhere in their brains, and I could tell it is going to be a good class! Randy is just so enthusiastic about all of this, and it’s really funny to see him play dad too. I say this because her daughter is here with the group, but I’ll write more about that later! This is a group filled with strong minds, and good work ethics. We had our groups assigned as social media teams, and I can assure you I already had a hundred things listed that I wanted to write about! That is always my problem with life. I want to do too much all at once. So I decided to put my ideas aside and let them come to me.
When we got to the Trevi Fountain, I teared up behind my sunglasses. My sister was right; it was probably the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. There was something so royally serene about it, I almost didn’t want to talk! I was told to make three wishes. Legend has it that you are supposed to wish for love, to come back, and either good health or something for good luck. But you know that feeling when you wish for something, but for a split second you were thinking of something else? For example, you were wishing for “insert boy’s name here” to like you, but for a second you thought,” hmmm. I could use a ham sandwich”. I think I did that once, so I’m hoping I’m not going to fall in love with prosciutto or something. I also had my first church experience here! I don’t remember the name of the church (my mistake) but I got to go in and see the intricate designs all over the walls. It seems like people back then had a fear of empty space…The priest even gave me a candy! He was very nice.
I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember the second building we went to, but I can assure you… much like a lot of structures in Rome… it was old! The pillars are so tall you feel like the smallest person ever! I was really appreciative of all the architectural structures I saw today, because the month before this trip I studied Roman art history of all things.
La Polizia! yay.
The Pantheon was MASSIVE. In pictures, it looks so much smaller! I should have expected nothing less. It was really cool because the building actually looks like two separate structures, I think it’s because the architects made a booboo when trying to design the dome in the Pantheon. It’s constantly being worked on to preserve the original structure. Seeing these buildings standing so tall and old always reminds me that we as people today only live for the here and now, and the people before us lived for the present and future.
There was a beautiful building we went to today called the Passa Navona! It’s a big shopping market area, with people selling paintings everywhere. The church over there was also beautiful! I wish I knew more about the history to share with you; nevertheless it was an aesthetically pleasing place. After a day of esploring it was time to head home to get ready for dinner! It’s funny, because many of the people who live in the St. Johns campus are not overly friendly it seems. By god I’m trying!
We went to dinner at this restaurant called Mazzini. One thing I definitely regret not paying attention to in Italian was the words for food. Everybody is always asking me what is this and what is this, and I can never tell them what! But I worked with the waiter and we came to some understanding. The food was DELICIOUS. I had the amitriciana, which happens to be pasta with red sauce and prosciutto/bacon meat. The wine was once again, amazing. It was awesome because we really tried getting to know each other last night! There were definitely some people I needed to learn more about. The waiter was so nice and gave us complimentary Limoncello! I had NO idea how strong limoncello was. I think I was actually washing down the Limoncello with my wine.
A shot of limoncello and 150 euros later, I had purchased dinner for all! Realizing how silly that was, everyone is now paying me back.
We met some people earlier who told us about a club by the Tigres River called club SHA, so we got our Monday best on….(hehe) and went to check it out!
Leather couches outside, Dj’s to my left and right, I felt like I was in heaven! I was so excited to make friends that didn’t speak English! Most people were really friendly. One man called me a choice word in Italian, not realizing that I understood him PERFECTLY. I properly responded with some choice words that he understood very well. Excuhuse my French.
I ended up sitting next to these two guys and attempting to impress them with my awesome language skills. Much to my surprise, one of them spoke English very well. They were named Marco and Mario. When they asked me what I did, I told them I was studying to be an actor. Marco said ah me too! Assuming (like my mother always tells me) that he was not telling the truth and that he was a silly boy I ignored the statement.
I WAS AN IDIOT. He is a beautiful (Sorry you know who :-p) actor in Italy, who does theatre and film! Here is his link, check him out. I asked him if I could interview him, but I’m not sure if he will oor not. I’m hoping!
Overall. A fantastic night. Note to all: Drinks here are A LOT stronger than over in America. I don’t stand a chance here. More to come tomorrow!
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