Ciao, Roma!

So even though this day hasnt started the greatest already (my two friends left this morning but the shuttle they ordered didnt show up and we ended up waiting outside for 45 minutes before they hailed a cab), I guess I’ll go on my farewell speech. 

As I sit in my apartment at 7:30 am, i look around at all of the emptiness that is here where just last night sat some great friends and great food. This has been the most amazing 4 weeks of my life. Im so grateful to everyone who made this possible and especially the people (both American and Italian) I met here that made this trip so much fun. Saying goodbye to them is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in awhile, especially considering how close we became and the idea that I dont know when I’ll see them again. This is the experience of a lifetime and the friendships made and experiences had here will remain with me forever. From Mario, the guy who split sleeping shifts with me in Heathrow on day 1 of my trip so our stuff wouldn’t get jacked, to Pat, the guy from Melbourne who hung out with us for awhile last night. From Gigo, my new Italian friend and bar owner, to Deanna, the girl who lived downstairs and kept us entertained on weekends with her craziness and passion for the art and history of Rome. Saying goodbye to this place and these people brings tears to my eyes (or maybe it’s saying goodbye to the food) but since I tossed a coin in the Trevi Fountain, I know I’ll be back. So caio, Roma. Until next time. 

Thanks for everything. 

Adam J. Westendorf

Last Week, Engage

So its the last week I’m in Rome. Its been surreal and sad to think about everything I’m leaving behind.

Lately, my art history class has been going to several museums and churches rather than slides in the classroom and it is awesome! Seeing these famous pieces of art by masters like Bernini, Carvaggio, Raphael, Michelangelo has been astounding. Its going to be different to not have the opportunity to take a bus to see such history. It is kind of an unforeseen expense though, so to all of you studying abroad, plan on having to spend money to go some of these places. Some of these places cost 10 Euro or so and we’ve been going for 2 weeks…

My Italian class is very fun, but I think my brain is full. Stuff that I had down pat is suddenly slipping between my fingers while trying to cram in more new words and new things. Its challenging, especially with as much homework as she gives us. But its easily worth the work.

Last weekend, we had a blast. We went to Viterbo and Tuscania (a small town, not tuscany) on Friday (My 21st birthday, no less) and had a cooking class with another Lorenzo di Medici campus professor. It was the best food I’ve had yet. He gave us his name and email and such so we can email him in case we want some recipes or something, which was really nice. After, we went to a medieval town and had a short history lesson and generally just spent time with everyone and hung out.

Saturday, we went to Naples! Well, kind of. We left at 7:30 am and we went to Pompeii and Sorrento, two areas right around Naples. Pompeii is self-explanatory and wicked cool. I had such a good time there and we all learned a lot. After the 2-hour Pompeii tour, we went to Sorrento, a town on the Coast. We swam in the ol’ Med Sea and it was the most amazing beach I’ve ever seen. Go to my FB page (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150873086621207.401597.671646206&type=3&l=6f3c6d5df7) and you can see how blue and clear the water was. You could see the bottom of the ocean from the top of the pier. It was amazing. We swam around, got some sun, did some fun stuff. After the beach, we went back to Naples and had Neapolitan gelato and pizza. It was really good and it turns out, artichokes and eggplants are pretty good on pizza… Then we had to catch a train back to Roma

Sunday, we went to another beach, Ostia, outside of Roma. The Ocean was rough and the waves were pounding us. Also, the beach was fine but when you got about chest/waist high, there were some sharp rocks at the bottom of the ocean. I cut up my feet pretty good. I do NOT recommend that place, which charged us 5 Euro to get into. Somehow we got separated from half of our group and they went to another part of the beach which was free. Apparently that beach was alot nicer because they said there were not any rocks anywhere, so I guess that could be fine.

Yesterday, We got the best gelato ever. Also the most interesting. A place called Il Gelato had some seriously good gelato and flavors like Habanero Pepper, Tomato, Parmesan, Red pepper, to go along with the fruity and creamy flavors most places have. It was actually pretty good. After the gelato, we made our way to a big wine shop so  some of us could get some wine to bring home and I also got some good olive oil to cook with when I get back. Im excited to cook with it.

So far today, We had class, which was alright. The big event is I decided to go to a true Italian barber who used a straight razor, Sweeney Todd style. It was luxurious and magical and any guys out there, you need to do it once, even if the barber isn’t Italian.

Well, that’s all for today. Off to study for finals!

All the pictures!

Good news for all my readers!

I figured out how to put my facebook gallery public. Booyah. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150873086621207.401597.671646206&type=3&l=6f3c6d5df7

Anywho, Just hanging out before class. I have a test in fifteen minutes and YOU, internet, are helping me procrastinate. Spent some time in class this morning seeing tons of fantastic art by masters of the Baroque period. Last night, we had Apertivos along the Tiber River. Apertivos is a kind of buffet-style dinner. You buy a drink at a bar and you get access to the buffet and it was sooo delicious.

Anyway, short post this time. Thought all 4 of my readers would want to see more pictures.

Fun in the Sun

Hello Internet.

This past weekend, after my mid term, I went to Lago Albano (Idk how to spell it). It was BEAUTIFUL! If anyone is anywhere near Rome and has a few hours to spend at the beach, I HIGHLY recommend it. The water was unbelievably blue and clear. I was standing in water up to my chin and could see my feet at the bottom of the lake. The water was refreshing and cool on a hot day. The lake is situated in the crater of a volcano with beautiful towns and forestry while the summer home and observatory of the Pope was located on the hill above. I cannot stress enough how highly I recommend going to this lake. I will be making a return trip soon. I will be wearing more sunscreen the second time, though…\

This past week, my art history class has been visiting different ancient villas and churches in order to take in the art in its natural environment and context while learning about the history of the building and the time period it was created in. This class has been really educational, especially since I have never studied art history previously.  The downside to all the learning is a seven page paper, which I am currently procrastinating.

So far, my study abroad experience is around halfway over, and it has been the most unbelievable experience of my life. I’ve made so many new friends, both Italian and American. It has been so amazing to drink in all of the history and culture of Rome. This weekend is a trip to Naples and Pompeii!

Sorry For the Absence…

I meant to write another blog entry on Sunday after my quest to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. However, I forgot I have 4 tests this week. Its been pretty crazy.

The Vatican was absolutely astonishing. Unfortunately, the Pope was in his summer home, so there was no chance of catching a glimpse of him. Seeing the artwork of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini was a once in a lifetime experience and unbelievable to look upon. I didn’t think I would actually be able to experience something so amazing, but yet I did. It was surreal. The Sistine ceiling was even more amazing than any picture could have ever shown. The amount of artwork and dedication it took to paint that… It is such a masterpiece. Even trying to get to the chapel proper was a maze of artwork, sculptures, and historical artifacts based in the Catholic faith. I can’t continue to describe such an amazing experience, but I would highly recommend seeing the Sistine Chapel even if you only have a day or two to spend in Rome. Its unbelievable.

Also this week I had my first wine tasting with real Italian wines. The white wine was delicious, but the red was actually not good. Our “wine guide” admitted as much, saying “nothing is going to help that wine…”. She did recommend some wines to everyone, however, based upon what kind of tastes each person said they enjoyed.

Tomorrow, I have another Italian test, and my Art History Mid Term on Friday. I had a quiz on Monday and Tuesday as well. It has been a crazy week. My room mate is starting to get restless because I come home and study for a few hours while he stews in the room. I try to explain how much work I have, but he is taking only one class and is done every day by 11:30. I don’t think he understands.

 

PS, there is a picture, but it wont attach. Check the Images library/gallery/whatever for pics of the sistine chapel

When did this become Wizard of Oz themed?

Ive been crazy busy with classes. A couple hours of homework a day, three tests next week… This is definitely a Study Abroad and not just a vacation! What I’m learning is interesting though. Learning Italian after knowing some Spanish both helps and hurts. One one hand, several words are similar and I can get the meaning from what I already know. On the other, some pronunciations I have had from Spanish class hurt the pronunciation of Italian words. I can somewhat communicate with the local people now!

Everything I’m learning in Art History class is really interesting. The history that Roma is just saturated with is amazing. For example, I’m living across the road from where Bonito Mussolini lived during his reign during WWII. Walking around the city runs me into more history than I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in the States. Walking through the Villa Borghese (the “Central Park” of Roma) has museums with works from Bernini and tons of other famous Italian artists. Tomorrow I think I’ll visit St. Peter’s Basilica. Apparently no cameras are allowed, but I’ll picture anything I can.

Today I tasted veal. It was… Interesting. I don’t know how else to describe it. The food here in Italy is absolutely fantastic. Everything I’ve been led to believe. I had some eggplant parmigiana that was good. Even the stuff fro the grocery store tastes much more fresh than anything I could buy in the States. I ate the most delicious cake I’ve ever had today. House special of a place called Da Vincenzo. It was chocolate cream with strawberry cake and some vanilla-like custard as well, served on a plate sprinkled with powdered sugar and glazed all over with chocolate sauce. It was magical.

Last night, I found a local pub while wandering. It was filled with Steam Punk decorations and black lights everywhere. I befriended the owner (Luigi or Gigi as everyone called him) and a group of Italians and myself had a good time. Not drunk good time (though of course I had to have some wine), but It was fun being taught Italian by local Italians and the pub was really awesome.

Well, Until Next Time!

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Fountains and Steps and Colosseums! Oh My!

On Sunday, Our public transportation passes started up. We took full advantage. The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps… Rome truly is magical. Sunday night, Italy played Spain in the Euro finals. Of course we had to find a ristorante to dine with the locals, expecting to cheer. Unfortunately, Italia lost 4-0, and the public was not amused. I found this FANTASTIC pizza called Diavola. Its spiced salami, chilis, cheese, and some kind of tomato sauce… its magically delicious and every pizza joint (which is every street corner) has it. That and Suppli, red rice balled up wth mozzarella cheese and in the middle and marinara all over it, then coated in some kind of bread and deep fried. Mmmm….. Also, Gelato is better than anything anyone has ever said about it. Eating it daily is a hard thing to avoid, especially in the heat. Speaking of heat, wow its hot. 95 degrees with an 85% humidity means you can’t walk down the block without needing to change shirts twice.

The adventures have turned to sightseeing for now, but They’ll continue soon. With school having just started, I am in class from 9-3:30 every day studying Art History and Italian. Theyre fun, but going to be a lot of work….

Ciao! A piu tarde!

P.S. Heres a bonus picture of la fontana de trevi. When we go back at night, I’ll have a much more beautiful picture. The Trevi Fountain has a magical quality. If you toss a coin in, it guarantees a return trip to Rome. Well, Im off to plan my return trip…

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