Friday, July 10, 2009


So, this is all of the things I've done in Sorrento... they would have gone up one at a time, but the internet at this hotel is lame and they make us pay for it unless its after 9 pm, which... well that's when we go out so... here it is.

Friday July 3rd - Today we woke up and headed to our last site visit in Rome: The Capitoline Hill Museum. The museum is made up of two buildings and we started on the one on the right. I would give the cardinal direction, but I have no idea what it was. However, I do know that one of the buildings, where the mayor now works is overlooking the Roman Forum. Inside the museum were many different types of artifacts including busts, statues both bronze and marble, and mosaics. The most exciting aspect of the museum, or at least one of the most exciting, was the original of a statue that is on Brown’s campus on Lincoln Field. There was also a small remaining part of the temple of Jupiter as well just kind of sitting there in a giant way.

After the museum we did probably one of the coolest things we could have in Rome. We had an authentic Roman meal on the Via Appia. Although getting there was quite the task. We waited for (I think) an hour for a bus to come and bring us to the Via Appia, and it was HOT outside. Once there we had to walk a little further, but when we got there it was totally worth it. The restaurant had walls of an ancient mausoleum with tents as a ceiling. The first course consisted of two different types of pretty garlicy cheese that were just freaking fantastic, a piece of ham with honey, a piece of toast with sliced olives on it, and a biscuit of some sort. The second course was this ridiculously delicious piece of lasagna with ridiculously delicious cheese sauce. At our table there was always an extra plate of stuff, and I regrettably, or not so regrettably(?), downed that extra piece before the next course which was chicken in a fish sauce. There were too many bones in it and I was too full from the two pieces of lasagna to eat it. Finally the dessert was this egg/milk/pepper/something else piece of flan. I wasn’t a huge fan because of the texture. Anyway, after this amazing meal we had to wait about another 30 minutes for the bus to come again. I was exhausted at this point and went back to the Candia and took a nap, packed, and got ready to go out for our last night in Rome. All I’m going to say about that last night is that we went to the same club and I danced a lot…

Saturday July 4th – Today was bittersweet. We had to say goodbye to Ayden and Sarah since they were off on their way back to the states on Monday. We had a 4 hour bus ride where I slept most of the time since I didn’t sleep that much the night before. Half way through we stopped at an Autogrille or something like that. It was overwhelming. This place sold everything from computers to pizza and French fries to stuffed animals and magazines. After this we continued driving and I woke up when Cris started pointing out the freaking amazing view from the high twisting mountain. I won’t lie, I had to force myself to look out the window down the hill to the ocean and the trees and the view and the OCEAN and the TREES and VIEW. During this heavenly view though the bus driver was crazy and kept speeding up around corners. I swear we were going to fall off that cliff. Finally though we got into Sorrento and to our hotel, where we have air conditioning, but have to pay for the internet. You win some you lose some. We also won since the beach is right around the corner, the town is a 10 minute walk away, and there are so. Many. Lemons. Everything smells so damn good.

After Cris showed us around for a bit, a few of us looked around but eventually I ended up back at the hotel after eating out with Amy, Asia, Christina. We didn’t have the whole family because we lost Rachel somewhere along the way. It was good though. The pizza here is much better. After getting to the hotel I hung out on the terrace for a bit, but decided not to go out because I was really tired and wanted to be on my game for our first day off in Sorrento.

Sunday July 5th – Waking up around 11 was wonderful. After waking up I went out into town with Sara and Artemis and we looked around at all the little shops and headed to lunch. The olives on the pizza I had here were the best olives I’ve ever had. They didn’t taste like regular olives. I want them all the time now. Following this I went back to the Candia and chilled for a bit with the roomie, Luke, while we waited for stores to reopen from siesta. Again around 6 I went out with Artemis and Sara and we eventually met up with Luke and Brian for lunch where I had yet another amazing pizza with kiwi and pineapple. The pineapple was to die for. Ugh. I never want fruit in America again. After this we decided to just walk, and we did. We walked past these medieval (?) ruins, and kept walking up the hill until we reached another amazing view of the city and ocean near a lemon/olive/grape grove. Walking down was a little scary as cars and vespas were coming at us all over the place. Luckily we all made it back safely and headed back to the candia after grabbing some limoncello/bubblegum gelato. I didn’t know it was bubblegum until after I had purchased it. I still loved it though. Finally, after another fun night on the terrace I went to sleep to prepare for Pompeii. And luckily I did because we spent six hours there in the sun…

Monday July 6th – 7 am the alarm clock goes off and I’m excited to go to the amazing breakfast we have here, but not excited to be up at 7 am. 7:30 rolls around and I get up and go downstairs to eat. There was sooooooooooooo much food. Croissonts, meat, cheese, bread, eggs, fruit, juice, cereal, jam, Nutella, everything! I made a sandwich to eat while at Pompeii because there is no way in hell I’m paying for food out there! We set off to walk to the train station where we took an hour train to Pompeii. It was about 10 am when we arrived. After another 30 minutes of organizing, talking, and getting into the actual area we started off into the main forum. The area here is way more preserved than what I expected. Apparently, for us at least, Vesuvius erupting was a great thing! So much was still there, it appeared as though everything was there except the roofs of the buildings! The place was also just ginormous. There were so many buildings, and roads, and columns, and mosaics, and frescos. On top of the stuff we’ve already seen other places, there were the plaster people and dogs, or people and dogs who had disintegrated, but someone was able to make plaster copies of them because of the way the ash and rocks preserved everything. We looked around for 6 hours. I was exhausted. Absolutely exhausted. Getting on the train and sitting down was glorious. After arriving home an hour later I showered and tried to nap, but failed miserably. At 8:30 Amy and Rachel and I went to dinner at a restaurant down a side street. I ordered just the basic margherita pizza and a large beer. I’ve discovered after being here that I want to always have olive oil and balsamic in my house with bread because its just absolutely amazing. After we were finished about 1.5 hours later the waiter brought out free shots of limoncello. I had both mine and Rachel’s because she couldn’t really stomach the stuff. After this we wandered around trying to find a cool bar to sit at. We ended up at a place that was a Disco/Bar/Lounge, although I’m not sure where the disco part came in because there wasn’t any place to dance. The place was furnished in all white and glass and there were red, purple, and blue lights all around the bar. They had a 5 Euro sex on the beach deal, so of course I opted for that to get the most bang for my buck. The man sitting next to Amy at the bar was just sitting on his computer playing some online poker… it was random. After this we met up with Artemis, Sara, Luke, and Brian and sat at a restaurant in the main square for a few drinks. We were having a good time and thinking about leaving when out of nowhere the lights went out all over the plaza and a siren started going off. We weren’t sure if we were supposed to run, be okay with it, or scream in panic. Apparently we were supposed to just be okay with it. Apparently this happens a lot when too many lights are on, or something like that. The waiter tried telling Brian what was happening, and that was his explanation. The alarm was maybe for a shop whose workers lived near it and would need to take care of the fish or other frozen or cold items in case something like this were to happen. After it ended, it started up 2 more times. Quite annoying really. Finally we started heading home on the small streets and of course the lights go off again all down the street so we used the small flashlights on our phone to light the path. This was… less than a desirable environment to be in, although the ocean did look quite beautiful with no lights on around us. We got back to our hotel and I slept until 7:20 the next morning.

Tuesday July 7th – After another amazing breakfast we headed out to Herculaneum, a site that was even more well preserved than Pompeii, although it doesn’t receive the same PR (as my dad said), probably because it just isn’t as massive as Pompeii. Here though there were amazing frescos that were really well preserved as well as mosaics, roofs, baths, and villas. Probably my favorite part of Herculaneum was seeing the fascinating, vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges that were used together, even on some of the columns. After Christina and Asia’s presentation it was nice to be “efficient” and get through all of the place in a timely manner and not having to wait for stragglers all the time. After Herc we went to Oplontis, another extremely well preserved villa because it was covered by both the ash from Mount Vesuvius and then covered by the lava as well. This place had the most astounding frescos ever. EVER. It was beautiful and small and quick, but so interesting. Its so wonderful seeing the small things like this that I would never know to visit if I were to have not taken this class.

Now it’s the evening and I’m relaxing before dinner and the next two days where we will be going to the museum in Naples on Wednesday and Capri, our last visit ever, on Thursday.

Wednesday/Thursday 8th and 9th – Wednesday we went to a museum in Naples to look at statuary, frescoes, and mosaics, pretty much a culmination of everything we’ve learned and seen in the class about art. It was a nice quick beautiful trip. Very fitting for our last museum visit.

All I’m saying about Thursday: Capri. Top of the World. Heaven. Views that would have made me cry had I not controlled it. So upset I can’t visit whenever I want.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One Week at a Time

So, the one thing I've really learned about Rome as a city now, is that its extremely difficult to know when things will and won't be open. Last night, a few of us decided to try go out since we only had three nights left in this Italian city. After some uh... hanging out in the kitchen we went to the nearest night bus to take us to Trastevere. After waiting a good 20 minutes, the bus just went right by us! No hesitation or anything. It was the most annoying thing in the world. So, Artemis, Amy, and Brian decided to leave and Luke and I walked to Trastever. On the way his sandal broke, he cut his toe, and when we got there everything was closed and we ended up just walking back. It was still nice though.

Sleep at 3:00 am.

Today we had to meet Sarah and Cris at the Colosseum at 9. Getting up proved to be a task. After we got there we went to the place across from the Colosseum where the gladiators would live and train. It was disappointingly very dirty because of the bars near it. After that we went to the Trajan markets where Erin and Malachy, the two short term lovers, presented on the area. Then we went to the Roman Forum again and went into Augustus' house which was closed the other day when we tried to go.

Now, I just had the most awkward, well not the MOST awkward, but the maids came to clean, and I didn't want to be here while they did so becuase the kitchen was a mess. So, I ran out quickly and literally stood on the floor above waiting for them to be done, when that took forever I walked outside for a bit, and after that they were FINALLY done.

Now, I must take a nap.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cheesecake Gelato = Heaven in a Cup

Sunday. The biggest day of this trip related to any actual work. Lily and I gave our presentation on Theatres. The group went to Ostia Antica, an old used to be port city. So far after being in two villas, I've realized these are definitely some of the coolest places since you actually get to see how a place was set up, how it functions, and all of the different buildings and the way they were used. The most unique part of the day was however, giving a presentation on theatres at the theatre in Ostia Antica. We started out by performing a part of the beginning of Oedipus Rex, perfectly, of course. Then onto the boring part of the presentation spitting facts to people. Followed by another exciting part where we grabbed two of the guys from the audience to perform a second part of Oedipus Rex where Oedipus and Jocasta realize they're married and related... It was hilarious watching two of the more awkward guys, because only men were actors, perform this part of the play. They performed marvelously. After that we had to continue presenting in the beating sun, which I didn't mind because I'm getting so tan.

The next day and half were quite uneventful. I had dinner with my friends Sunday night and attempted to go out. We found a club called Beige, hung out there for a while, then headed home.

Monday I was able to sleep in until noon. It. Was. Amazing. I can't believe I've been getting up so early this entire trip and going hard all day/night. I took all of Monday to rest and relax, especially since it was a holiday, the Feast of St. Paul, and everything was closed.

Today, Tuesday, June 30th, we had our last day of classroom lecture. It wasn't that long. We were all going a little nuts. After that I met a friend from Brown who is doing another program in Rome for gelato and just some chill down time.

Then. Dinner. Followed by THE BEST GELATO IN THE WORLD. Cheesecake with blueberry. I can't even explain. It was heavenly.

Now, filling out this blog and getting ready for my last 3 days in Rome!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vatican City/Hadrian's Villa

Well Thursday night was a huge success. Most of us all helped prepare a whole lotta food including two kinds of pasta, pasta sauce, potatoes, green beans, bruschetta, melon wrapped with prosciutto, and I think a couple other things. Oh! Apple Torte. It was Asia's 20th birthday and we all had a blast taking lots of photos and eating.

After this we pulled out the bottle of absinthe we had bought a few days ago for this special occasion. Although I hate the taste of licorice, this wasn't half bad when done in small amounts with lots of sugar and water added. At this point we were on the terrace of our residence listening to music, dancing, and having an all around merry time. Eventually though we had to head to bed to get up to see the Vatican the next day!

Well, we felt like we got to sleep in today since we didn't have to meet our profs until 9:45. I'm sickened/its kinda nice that 9:45 is sleeping in for me now. Well, we went into the Vatican museum and were extremely lucky. Cris, my professor, was able to get us into a closed off hallway which held the Augusts Prima Porta (, which is the statue on Wriston Quad on Brown's campus. It was so funny watching people on the outside either A) try get in or B) just take a picture of the hallway. After that we walked around looking at other statues and Cris talked about them. One disgusting thing about the Vatican, since its a private museum, is that they don't have to label anything, nor do they keep anything nice. All of the statues were so dusty or covered in webs. But once I got over that it was definitley cool to see everything in there.

Following the statues, I didn't have much time left because Lily and I had to rush to get to the Accent center (our school building) to finish up our project. But I of course went to the Sistine Chapel before that. The pathway from the museum to the temple is ridiculously long and filled with too many gift shops along the way. There were many halls with so much amazing artwork, but then once you got closer to the actual chapel, there were all of these displays of apparently modern Christian art, none of which was interesting or good. Finally though we arrived at the Sistine Chapel. I didn't realize how high the ceiling was and how far away the amazing art would be! It was pretty astounding though. Definitely hard to describe in words on here. If you're reading this then all I can say is that you must go. (Although be prepared for your neck to be sore for the rest of the day after staring up at everything for so long! I have no idea how that could be painted so well...)

Rest of the day was filled with finishing my project and resting.

Today, Saturday the 27th, we woke up around 8 to get to Hadrian's villa, which was huge. There were so many buildings to see and Sara and Luke gave a presentation on it the entire time explaining all of the different buildings and what we think they were used for even though we can't be exaclty sure. Also, the Romans were so advanced that they could heat staircases.... just insane.

After this we went to Tivoli, a small mountain town near Hadrian's villa to a museum with these expansive gardens and fountains. Pictures will be on facebook very soon. Hopefully today since I'm essentially done with all of my work!!!

For now, eat, nap, pictures, rest up for one more day of site visiting before a complete day off!

"She asked me how to spell orange"

So, it has been a while since I've posted. That's mostly because this has been a pretty uneventful week outside of the trips we've taken. I had a paper due on Friday on a mosaic in one of the museums we went to and then I had to finish getting ready for a presentation by Friday as well, which I will be giving tomorrow at Ostia Antica on theatres inside the theatre there! So anyway...

To recap:

Scholar's Lounge = boring. I've finally reached the point with the people I'm with that I haven't stopped being nice, but I have started telling them off when they're being annoying. Its a problem, but at the same time completely necessary for my sanity. I really tried to bond with the guys I'm on the trip with, but it just didn't happen. I'm not really upset about this though. I can deal with idiots for 2 more weeks. Plus they didn't have hamburgers and the fries were terrible.

After that I really just came back to the Candia and slept to be ready for the next day’s adventure to the Auditorium of Maecenas, which is completely closed off now, but originally had the side opposite what looked like a stand of seats wide open because the Romans appreciated natural beauty as well as being extremely adept engineers. In this place people would perform poetry with such an amazing view behind them. Sarah read a poem from Horace trying to give us a sense of what it would have been like. After that we went to the Aqueducts where Bobbi and Jason gave a very informative presentation.

In between the two site visits we went to THE most incredible bakery to which I’ve ever been. I bought some cake roll with jelly rolled in between and fruit on top. It was, for lack of a better word, orgasmic. Again, I’m never eating fruit in the states because it is just so much better here.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I spent most of it in my room writing a paper and doing research on theatres, on which I’m presenting on Sunday now instead of Monday because of some Holiday the Italians have and thus closing all museums.

(Not to jump around in my day too much but…)

I had a great dinner with Asia, Christina and Amy. It was just simply noodles with pesto, tomato sauce, olive oil, and cheese, but the company was the best. We talked for so long. It was definitely one of the best social meals I’ve had this entire trip.

Today, Thursday the 25th, we visited the Pyramid, (Pyramids: No longer just for Egyptians!) of Gaius Cestius and the remains of the Aurelian Walls. For as grand as the pyramid is, we only were able to go into a tiny room with a tiny entrance. Inside though there were great 3rd style paintings and evidence of looting. The next place, Monte Testaccio, was a place where they would bring huge vases once filled with olive oil and other goods and smash them because they assumed that they weren’t good for anything anymore. We literally were walking on broken pottery (This was all too appropriate as we heard the song Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox in the cafĂ© only 30 minutes before this). The mountain was made of this pottery. They haven’t even gone down to see just how old it dates back to, but they assume a long time since the mountain is so high.

Came back again today to try do more work only to discover that the internet here sucks. It has been out most of the day and I have been able to do very little research, although I was able to finish my paper completely. It is the birthday of one of the girls on the trip who is only turning 20, which just makes me feel old since I’ll be 22 in a little over a month. Tonight we’re all pitching in to make a huge dinner for all of us, and then perhaps going out afterwards since we don’t have to be at the Vatican until 9:45 tomorrow. Yes… 9:45 has become sleeping in for me. I can’t believe it myself. Well, I’m going to save this entry on Microsoft word since I can’t actually post it yet….


I should probably explain my title for this post.

One of my roommates asked me how to spell shower... as well as today asking why there were two paths (one clearly a ramp and the other stairs) and then again today asked if you go excavating if you get a hammer...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Apparently it CAN get cold in Italy...

Well, Sunday is our one day of no class so I slept in until noon. It. Was. Marvelous.

Jumping onto facebook as I normally do in the morning I noticed that Jen Jordt, a friend from SCL, had just arrived in Italy! I had completely forgotten that she was coming after all of the excitement of Fargo being here. We made a plan to meet and I went to where she was staying, in what used to be a nunnery. I had to use a new kind of public transit here called the FR train. Basically it seemed like a communter rail that goes farther out of the city. Luckily, she was only two stops away on this train. She and her new friend Brenda, from Florida and doing the same program Jen is, greeted me and we walked to go grab some gelato, where I tried what is probably going to be one of my favorite kinds of gelato: Pink Grapefruit. After this we walked to go see where she's staying and it started raining at this time, which is weird, because I was told that it wasn't going to rain at all while here! We tried waiting the rain out in her lobby, when we left though it was still raining. Now, I've never considered myself that randomly lucky of a person on a day to day basis, but this trip has proven me completely wrong the entire time and even with something so insignificant as having to walk in the rain, I was lucky enough to find a semi-broken umbrella on the ground! It opened and that's all that mattered to me! It won't shut now, but... I'm okay with it.

The rest of the day was uneventful as I started work on my paper and then just grabbed some more gelato later.

*Warning* --> this next paragraph is purely the mandatory academic portion. Feel free to skip.

Monday we had class at 9 again in the classroom. We learned about the different emperors and their apparently screwed up lives. With all the problems those emporers had personally I'm amazed the empire stayed alive at all. Then we looked at some art and learned about the different art styles used during these emperors. After that Sarah gave a lecture on the Roman calendar and how Caesar changed it, and then Augustus made it extremely Augustan-centric, by using his name to designate the year always.

*Back to the good stuff*

Well, that's not completely true... there really wasn't much good stuff that went on yesterday. It still wasn't super nice out and I just worked on my paper. We tried going out last night, but should have realized nothing's open on Monday night...

Today, class. Mostly just Major and Minor art during the period of the emperors. Then research. Nap. Blog. Now maybe going to Scholar's lounge again.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Soaking up the Italian Sun

8:00 am Bus ride to Sperlonga.

2 hours later we arrived at a small town and the huge bus had to climb up this extremely small town on a hill with very thin roads. I honestly can't believe we made it. I was scared for my life. I couldn't even look out the window I was so scared. Finally we got to the top of the hill where we could look down at the amazing city and the Mediterranean sea. It was absolutely fantastic. At this place we found a questionably feral kitten which Asia decided to take a picture with. It was extremely cute.

After this place we headed towards Sperlonga towards Tiberius' villa. This is easily the best place we've been to so far, minus the mosquitoes, which the others seemed to be attacked by more than I did... hopefully its something in my blood. Anyway, walking through what was actually a villa was cool, but after that we saw the grotto where Tiberius held dinner parties and damn, that place was beyond belief. In the water once stood a statue of Odysseus and his men being attacked by Scylla with Odyssues looking on. This statue was in the museum we went to right after. In another part of this cave was the statue of the Cyclops being blinded by Odysseus' men. On the top of this grotto overlooking the entire villa was a statue of Ganymede being carried off by Jupiter in the form of an eagle. The statue was acutally there now, although a recreation. The real one, or at least what's left of it, which was most of it, was in the museum. There were still fish in the pond where Tiberius' guests could actually pick out which fish they wanted to eat.

After looking at this and going through the small but incredible museum, we headed down to the beach for about 2 hours where I at least put my feet in the shimmering blue water, but instead of swimming laid out on the beach and tanned. I fell asleep on my stomach, as I'm ought to do apparently. Luckily though my back did not burn! I got really tan, and after shaving today discovered I have a beard tan line... Its awkward. :)

Tonight I had one of the best dinners of. my. life. Sara Hershman, the girl on the trip from Columbia, and her parents took the girls from the group, and me of course, out to dinner at this amazing restaurant. 4 course meal starting with grilled artichoke and breaded asparagus with mozzerella, and about 4 bottle of wine for the entire table. After that were 3 plates with different kinds of fish. Also just incredible. I had breaded lamb and I just about died after the first bite. I thought this was the end, but boy was I wrong. After this the waiter brought out dessert. Dessert consisted of Frutti di bosco, wild forest fruit, and ice cream. There were blackberries (my favorite) raspberries, blueberries, and tiny tiny strawberries. I put some kind of alcoholic dessert sauce on it as well, but I wasn't a huge fan. But the fruit itself. Well, lets just say I'm never eating fruit again in America. Ever. I can't even explain how thankful I am for this dinner from Sara's parents.

The rest of the night was a bust though. Many people wanted to go out, but it turned out to be one girl and guy lying to the entire group trying to get us to go out so that they could have alone time. Now, I would have been fine had they just asked for the room, but lying to me and the rest of the group encouraging us to go out after none of us wanted to is completely unacceptable. After leaving for over an hour I decided it was a waste of time and money to even try go out so I headed back to the room where I kicked the girl out of my room and my roommate wasn't too happy. I don't really care though. I realized I'm not here to make long lasting friends. Rome is the reason I'm here. The Roman's remains are the reason I'm here. Self-discovery is the reason I'm here. I'm not here to please everyone on the trip. I'm here for me and my education. This realization will probably carry me throughout the rest of the trip.

For now, I think I'll sleep. Tomorrow is our first day off this entire time. Hopefully I'll make it to mass to experience it in the Vatican city. Hopefully.