Happy Thanksgiving, Barcelona!

Wednesday, our school/hotel threw a big banquet to celebrate Thanksgiving. I am sure they know that Thanksgiving was on Thursday, but I think they were DSCF6730making it possible for us to have our turkey and eat it too. It was lovely. Great food. Great wine. Candle lit. Decorations. They went all out. Not quite an at home thanksgiving meal, but delicious.

Then, I set about finding a way for my friend, Allie, to come to Barcelona with us. Due to a crisis of events she was unable to go to Paris (her original Thanksgiving plans) and leaving her in Rome was not an option. Luckily everything worked out and she was on DSCF6724our flight at 8:30 pm. Whew!

Sitting on the plane was random, but Fran and I got to sit by each other. We were hoping to sit by someone interesting, and luckily did. We seem to always find cool people. We are a power team when it come to meeting new friends. A. Rocker got keyed in to basically our whole life stories (lucky him) and we learned his.

We arrived at our hostel at about 11 pm to find a gorgeous man sitting at the front desk who thankfully spoke English. DSCF6601Our room was surprisingly nice considering how cheap it was. Private bathroom, clean towels (new ones provided daily), and a terrace. Much better than the Florence one-star.

Over the course of the next few days, we managed to hit everything we wanted (minus this really cool fountain that we didn’t realize existed until the last night) while making the trip a true relaxing vacation. We slept in and we had fun.

Picasso Museum: Totally cool. Gave a discount because we are students. Audio tour was helpful. I think we could have spent a whole day there just looking. Loved his work before and love it more now. I DSCF6611must say he was a very talented and twisted man. His more erotic art made us all giggle like 6th graders.

Sagrada Familia: If you don’t know anything about this already, it is a church designed by Gaudi in the late 1800s and is still in construction today because it is just that cool (it is not expected to be finished until mid to late this century). This church blows my mind. It is inspired by nature and it pretty much the coolest thing I have ever seen. There is so much going on inside and out it wouldDSCN0429take me years to give a complete description and I still would miss stuff. An I Spy lovers’ dream.

Barri Gotic: This is the Gothic area of Barcelona. Love me some gargoyles.

La Rambla/Market: La Rambla is like the big tourist street of Barcelona. It leads to the sea. Lots to buy. Street performers galore. The Market was heaven under a tent. Delicious fruit, delicious food, delicious chocolate. Oh, and sangria and mojitos for cheap. We ate til our heart and stomachs content. May have gained 50 lbs from going there (not really). I found the perfect Saint Patty’s Day sunglasses.

DSCF6715Gaudi Park: Oh. My. Goodness. This guy really was amazing and his amazing-ness lives on. This park was full of sweet designs and architecture. The views were to die for. Again, I think we could have spent ages here if not for the sun setting too early. Phenom!

Razzmatazz: A 5-story club. Rooms for different music preferences. Great environment. Best exercise of my life. I DSCF6700don’t know if I have ever danced so much/hard in my life.

The Metro System: Fantastic. Easy to navigate. Clean.

I have the best friends in the world, and if not for them this trip would not have been near as fun. Thank you Allie, Fran, and Alicia!

I also want to take a moment to thank God for everything good in my life and helping me struggle through the rough patches and for providing me with people and things in my life that make me happy and guide me through life.

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Vatican Museum

Sistine Chapel

Finally got my butt to the Vatican Museum. I find it funny that it took two months to get there. Had such a good time. Saw so much. The Sistine Chapel is to die for!

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Southern Italy

Well, as an Italian assignment, I was asked to write a journal while we traveled southern Italy from November 1-5. I thought it would be cool to use that as a post, and see if people can figure it out. Please forgive grammar problems, we haven’t had the returned for corrections yet.

1 Novembre 2011

Abbiamo dovuto alzarsi presto per il lungo viaggio a Pompeii. Ho dormito molto tempo sul bus. Quando mi sono svegliata, ho sorpreso da una bella vista. Il mare alla mia destra e il vulcano alla mia sinistra. Ho sorpreso che qualcosa di spaventoso un’intera regione, ma ѐ stato bello. Quando siamo arrivati a Pompeii, ho diviso in gruppi. Mi piaceva vedere tante cose che studiavo a mie lezioni. Ero triste quando ho visto i calchi in gesso di persone hanno trovato durante gli scavi. Ci hanno detto che erano probabilmente schiavi hanno incatenato nelle case dei loro proprietari. Mentre i proprietari hanno fuggito gli schiavi sono lasciati a proteggere la casa dai ladri. Molto crudele. Non posso immaginaredi lasciare gli uomini, donne e bambini a morire. Mi sentirei colpavole. Dopo un molto lungo giorno noi siamo andati in albergo e subito io sono andata a letto. Ho bisogno di dormire.

2 Novembre 2011

Oggi abbiamo sorpreso quando siamo arrivati ​​al museo archeologico. Di solito ѐ chuiso il martedì, ma perché ieri è stata una vacanza il museo ha deciso di chiudere anche oggi. Dunque, siamo andati a Cuma subito. i solito non mi piace quando il mio programma è cambiato, ma oggi non volevo andare in un museo. Alcuni studenti erano nervosi perchè avevano presentazioni orali al museo, ma Dr. Prebys loro ha detto noi ritourniamo a venerdi. Sono felice che la mia presentazione non è stato modificato. Cuma era bella. Mi piace natura, ma non mi piace gli insetti. E poi abbiamo avuto il pomeriggio libera. Ho pranzato con i miei amici. Era delizioso. E abbiamo avuto una bella vista, perché il mare vicino a noi. La passeggiata per l’hotel è stato spaventoso.

3 Novembre 2011

Abbiamo avuto un lungo viaggio a Paestum oggi. Abbiamo guidato per la Costiera Amalfitana. È molto bello. Le parole non possono dire come mi sentivo. Ho avuto alcune buone foto, ma le foto non sono le stesse. Ho dovuto fare una presentazione a Paestum. Ero molto nervosa, ma penso che io sono brava.

4 Novembre 2011

Oggi siamo andati a due musei. Il primo museo era bello, ma il secondo museo era molto bello. Aveva molte l’arte del Rinascimento. L’arte del Rinascimento ѐ il mio preferito. Ho comprato la costume per il viaggio a Capri ieri. È molto brutto, ma era solo dieci euro. Non vedo l’ora di andare a Capri ieri.

5 Novembre 2011

Non abbiamo potuto andare a Capri, perché fa tempo brutto. Sono triste. Volevo andare a Capri. Siamo ritournati a Roma.

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Ciao, Firenze!

Wow! Apologies for the delay in posting…again. Oh the woes of a busy, study-abroad student in Rome. Well, a couple weekends ago I went with some friends to Florence. I took a train by myself to meet some girls that had left earlier in the day. And as evidenced by this blog post, I am still alive and succeeded to get there safely. We sprung for a one-star hotel which turned out to be awful. Guess you do get what you pay for. The toilet paper was decorated with little flower designs and the sheets were clean, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

The first night we had a fabulous dinner. Amazing! I had an amazing wood slab piled high with hamburger, pork chops, thick bacon still on the bone, and ribs. For anyone that knows me, you know that I was in heaven.

The next day we headed bright and early to the Duomo. Its the cathedral church of Florence and is actually called Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Duomo is much easier though. This cathedral is actually one of the largest churches in Italy, and yes, it was HUMUNGOUS. We took a tour to take a closer look at the BEAUTIFUL ceiling, and then to stand outside the dome and look out at all of Florence (which is kinda small really).

After that we went to the market. Lots and lots and lots and lots of leather and fun galore. Even though I didn’t intend to buy anything, the shopaholic in me couldn’t resist, and I got myself a fabulous deal on a leather jacket and a wallet. The smell of leather is just to difficult to avoid when its wafting from all directions.

Then we went to the Academia which houses Michelangelo’s Davide. He is HUGE. Much larger than any of us thought. I figured he’d be life-size, or maybe a tad bigger, but wow he was a giant. Seventeen feet tall to be exact. And, he was beautiful. Its amazing anyone could sculpt anything that large out of marble let alone make it look good. David seemed very attractive and Michelangelo deserves a high-five for that beautifully sculpted behind. Of course, there was many other cool pieces of artwork displayed and neato things to see, but honestly, I was really only interested in that.

We had dinner at a place that could not compete with the previous nights dinner and went to bed. I think it was a successful weekend, how bout you?

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Day Tour: Tarquinia and Cerveteri Part 2 (oops…forgot something)

I should also mention that I got to stick my toes into to Mediterranean Sea. It was beautiful! I can now check this off my bucket post. The joke of the day was trying to convince people it wasn’t the Mediterranean Sea…haha. Gullibility is so much fun.

Day Tour: Tarquinia and Cerveteri

We had an all day tour in Tarquinia and Cerveteri. This was super informative for those of us in the archeology class and art history class here at the Saint Mary’s Rome Program. The main focus: Etruscan tombs. I’ve been studying this stuff like crazy for the last month and now I got to see it in person. Now that is a cool feeling; standing right in front of the stuff you see in books. And just in time for mid-terms. These tours are turning out to be a real refresher.

These are tombs masked as mounds. Very cool inside I promise.

This cool guy is outlining his ancestry with a scroll.

Ancestor Urn (Likely for a warrior)

Awww...isn't this cute? It's an ancestor urn that looks like a hut!

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Roman Forum, Colosseum, Saint Peter’s Basilica, OH MY!

Roman Forum

Sorry for the delay in this post. I am a procrastinator. Who would have thought there would be so much to do in Rome :)? Last Saturday (like I said, apologies for the delay), we took a hike to the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Talk about jumping right into the tourist capitol of Rome. I’m sure many have seen my pictures on Facebook (at least I was on the ball with those), but now for my reflection, what I hope is the cool part.  The Roman Forum is the center of public life in ancient Rome. This is where the great-of-the-great hung out and where all political action took place. This is the site of elections, trials, speeches, basically everything cool happened here (minus what took place at the Colosseum, but I will get to that later). Monument, arches, statues, etc., are located here to commemorated the city’s great men (key-word: men, women were not notable at that time). It is located in the small valley between the Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill (Rome was built on seven hills, the Palatine Hill is said to be where Romulus chose to erect Rome). Today, it is full of cool ruins, fragments of ancient Roman architecture, and archeological excavations. And, along with that come loads of tourists, and, of course, Saint Mary’s students.

So just some of the super sweet things I saw at this place:

1) The Temple of Castor and Pollux– These twins share the same mother, but

Temple of Castor and Pollux

different fathers. Castor is the mortal son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux is the divine son of Zeus. These twins are also known as Gemini (yes, this is my astrological sign). When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. That’s what I call brotherly love.

The ashes of Julius Caesar were entombed here.

2) The Tomb of Julius Caesar- Super cool fun fact It is said that Julius Caesar was actually killed near our hotel and not in the forum. A pyre was then built in the Forum and his ashes were entombed. I am living where Julius Caesar died! “Et tu, Brute!” (Act III, Scene I)

3) Tiberius’s Palace- Located on Palatine Hill, this was his palace during the life of Christ.

Palace of Tiberius

Next stop was the Colosseum! This super-cool place was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater. It is capable of seating 50,000 spectators (really not that big considering the stadiums we have now). The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical Mythology. One’s seat represented status, so even though tickets were cheap, you sat where your status permitted. Very unlike today. The Colosseum symbolized unity and pride for the Roman citizens. As Dr. Hansen says, “Look at us! We are Romans!” Gladiators were like athletes and became famous for their victories. Going to the Colosseum was the highlight of entertainment at the time.

After all the walking, let me tell you, my feet were killing! But, it was worth it!

Yes, the Pope is standing in this window talking to the people of Rome!

Then, on Sunday, a small group of us journeyed to the Vatican for mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica. It has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. It is the burial site of Saint Peter, yes, Saint Peter, one of the twelve disciple of Jesus, and is said to be the first Bishop of Rome. Mass was beautiful. It was great to see so many come to celebrate God. I did get to see the Swiss Guard. I did receive communion. I did see the Pope!

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