Monthly Archives: April 2010

I have been on a blogging ROLL

Why, you ask?

Because it’s finals time, and therefore I am procrastinating.

Author’s Note: While this picture is inarguably awesome, obviously the author was not too concerned with grammar. I am, however, and so must let all of you know that I am not responsible for the unfortunate usage of “your” in the aforementioned awesome picture.


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Conversation Preservation

The conversations I had today were pretty cool. They encompassed, in no particular order:

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Along came a spider…

I got bit by a spider or something or other last week (and it looks like I tasted good. There are like ten bites all in a little circle on my stomach) and it looks like they’re going to scar as they heal.

So far, no awesome superpowers have revealed themselves but I flick my wrists every night before bed, you know, just in case.

I was fine, even amused, about the giant scar I have on my leg from the motorcycle incident last summer. Good story of my own suburban stupidity.

I was fine, even excited, about the scar from fainting and needing stitches over my eye from last fall. I’d never had stitches before.

But I’m done with scars. I don’t want any other new and foreign marks on my body for a while! So please, little bites, heal nicely, even without all my American healing aids like neosporin and all that jazz. We’ve got to suffer through the natural way. Italian stuff costs like ten euro, so no dice.

Update: Went to an Italian soccer game today and got a lovely sunburn on one half of my body. Attractive.

DoubleUpdate: Ate rabbit for dinner. Think of that what you will.

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So NYU in Florence is super cool and gives the art history classes a budget for three days of field trips, meaning my Renaissance Art class took a one-day trip to Venice and a two-day, overnight trip to Rome! My class has about 15 people in it, so with us, the teacher, and our trip coordinator, we came out to 18 people (I guess that means my class has 16 people in it…). We got to stay in a super nice hotel, which was a welcome break from all the hostelling I’ve been doing, and had a HUGE free breakfast in the morning! Seriously some of the best pastries I’ve had in Europe. I’ve recently discovered a love of marmalade in my brioches after accidentally ordering it in Naples one morning.

Anyways, it was a long couple of days. We met at the train station to go to Rome at 7:50 am on Friday, then dropped off our bags in our hotel before immediately starting our tour. We saw the Pantheon, several churches, did a quick walking tour of Rome, and went inside two separate villas. Honestly it’s all pretty much a blur.

The Pantheon

Saturday we were at the Vatican Museum by 8:30 AM, winding our way through the huge lines. Thankfully NYU in Florence paid for our group reservations everywhere, so we never had to wait longer than about ten minutes, marching past all the poor people that had been in line for about an hour already at that point. My flash of guilt disappeared as soon as I thought about the tuition check my parents had sent out at the beginning of the semester. Seriously, NYU in Florence does such a better job at using their resources for the students. We get free museum passes, tons of day trips and activities to help us understand and participate in Florence, field days, speakers coming from all of the world…I understand that NYU in New York has a lot more students and has responsibilities all over the world, but the money they receive is proportionally more as well. Part of their supposed mission is to incorporate New York City into their student’s education, but they don’t make an effort to actively engage us in the city. They leave it all up to the students, and we do a good job of it, but I think they could do better, especially after being a part of the awesome NYU in Florence program, I wish JSex would swallow his pride and realize he could learn a little bit from the Florence President, David Travis. Who, by the way, has come into three out of four of my classes this semester to say hi and ask how we like the class. I’ve never even seen JSex in the Gallatin building, let alone interacting with the students.

Ok. Rant over. Back to Rome.

Saturday. Vatican Museum. The Sistine Chapel for the second time in my life. I definitely recognize how amazing it is that this was my second time viewing this incredible room, when most people will never get to see it in person at all. We spent so long in there, which was lovely as I can barely remember the first time I was there. This time I had a Renaissance Art PhD with me to tell me all about it, too. Amazing. After the museum we went into the Basilica to see the Pieta by Michelangelo.

We saw the Pieta when I was there when I was ten, and I remember thinking it was the most beautiful statue I have ever seen. After the trip ended, though, I could never remember where I saw it or if it was even real, so when the slide came up in my class a few weeks ago, it was pretty much the most exciting thing that has happened to me all semester. I’m not exaggerating. A work of art that really touched my soul when I was ten, that I then could remember so vaguely I thought it was a dream, turned out to be real. Not only real, but in Rome, and I was going to get to see it again. It was an incredible feeling.

St. Peter's Basilica

All the chairs still set up from Easter

My awesome class!

After the Basilica (btw, did you know if the building is called a basilica, it’s because it houses the ashes of a Saint?), we had lunch, then saw the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and other really old stuff that used to be pagan and has seen been hastily turned catholic. At about 5 we returned to the hotel, where I hung out with my class until they left on the train. I then walked from that lovely place to my hostel, back to reality with six beds in the room and no mirror in the bathroom.

But staying an extra day gave me a chance to meet Lisa by the Trevi Fountain that night, where we ate dinner and debated for about ten minutes which shoulder to throw our pennies over. I think we chose to throw with the right hand over the left shoulder. The next day Lisa got up early to see a bunch of the stuff I had seen with my class and I headed to the Caravaggio exhibit in Rome. It’s been big news, as about ninety percent of his few masterpieces are all in the same building right now, which never happens in case the building catches fire or something. The show was incredible, though crowded and full of very pushy, large men who didn’t mind literally pushing me out of the way with their hands in order to place their large girth in front of a painting, then profess loudly that Caravaggio must have been gay. No joke.

Also, the Disney Store, Roman style

I met Lisa at the Spanish steps for lunch (which btw, apparently Romans do not call the Spanish steps. I asked a policewoman where the Spanish steps were, but in Italian, and she literally couldn’t answer me because she was laughing so hard. Rude, and also made me so self conscious about my Italian that I asked the next police officer I found in English.), then spent several hours just walking around the city. It was nice to be back in an actual city, big enough that I was able to get myself good and lost just to wander before finding my way back to the train station.

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Seeing as the volcanic explosion in Iceland sadly thwarted my attempt to spend the weekend in Paris with Kelsey, I have time to update!

For Easter weekend (April 1-5), Lisa and I headed down to Naples and met Kelsey, who was on spring break. We went on a cool tour underground in the aqueduct system, called the Sottoterrano (literally translating to under-ground) built several thousand years ago by the Greeks. It was used as their water system for hundreds of years, and during WWII was used as a hiding place for the citizens of the city to avoid bombings.

We walked all around Naples that day and then had the BEST pizza of our lives. Seriously, we spent about five minutes after putting the first bite in our mouths going “Oh. My God. Ohmygod. Oh my God!” So. Good.

The next day was spent in Pompeii, which was beautifully sunny and wonderful. We got there super early after successfully figuring out the somewhat weird subway/train fusion system they have going on over there. We looked around…

…had lunch, then took a two hour nap in the grassy field of the amphitheater. Which, by the way, could seat like 10,000 people or something impressive.

On Sunday, Easter, we took a ferry out to Capri! So beautiful, and definitely gave the feeling of the Italian Greek islands. We took a cable car and a bus all the way to the top of the island, then walked alllllll the way down on the longest flight of stairs I’ve ever seen. We passed a few suckers making their way up on the the way and were very happy that we weren’t them.

We hopped back on the ferry in time to not only have dinner at the pizza place I mentioned before, but a late lunch as well (yes, the same pizza place TWICE in one day), but as it was Easter, EVERYTHING was closed! There was literally nothing open! We bought bags of chips at the only place we found to eat for lunch and dinner, but the man who owns the hostel we were staying at actually made dinner for everyone, since nothing was open. Our epic pizza plans were thwarted. It’s a sore subject, so I won’t bring it up again.

The next day, everything was STILL CLOSED! We were leaving in the early afternoon, so it wasn’t a big deal, but the only place for food that was open only sold cornettos and brioches (Italian pastries) and gelato. So we had brioche and gelato for breakfast. Yum.

We got on the train back to Florence around 2 or so, ending our weekend in Naples! It was a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Well, I guess if I lived right next to that pizza place, I might.

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Greece is the word: Santorini

We only had roughly twenty-four hours in Santorini, so this one will mercifully be briefer for the three people that are actually interested.

We hopped on the ferry at noon, arrived in Santorini at 3:30, walked off the pier and accepted the first offer of a room in the main town of Fira. Sleeping arrangements: done. This hotel also drove us up the cliffside in their scary van. Transportation to top of huge mountain: done. They also told us they would drive us back down to the ferry the next day. Guarantee of getting back to Athens the next day so that we wouldn’t have to set up a shed on Santorini and start spearheading fish for sustenance: done.

Then we looked around.

And that pretty much sums up our 24 hours in Santorini. We walked around, watched the sunset, slept, went to the beach, slept on the beach, caught the ferry and slept on the way back to Athens. What a stressful trip.

Basic message: Go. To. Greece.

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