Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pisa, Where It's OK To Act Like A Weirdo

During the epic journey that was SB '12, we stopped in Pisa for a day, as our bus left us in Pisa at 9 am, but our flight to Paris from Pisa did not leave until 4. Thus, after changing and freshening up at the bar where we ate breakfast (I'm fairly certain that the owner hated us by the time we left... sorry I'm currently homeless right now, overpriced bar guy!), we headed to the town's main attraction, the tower.

Ciao, tower!

It turns out there's a reason that Pisa is only known for it's tower - there's pretty much nothing else to do there. However, just sitting in front of the tower is quite fun, especially since it was an absolutely wonderful day! It's extremely amusing to watch all the tourists take pictures in front of the tower, and of course we did a photo-shoot of our own.

Everyone, pose!

Couldn't resist.

I don't know if you can tell in these photos, but the tower really does lean quite a lot, and in fact, it looks pretty goofy. There was one point during the day that I just started laughing at it: "What are you doing, tower? Why are you so silly? Stand up straight! You look ridiculous!"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Naples, Or That Time I Was A Vagrant

Mamma mia, I'm a terrible blogger! I would say I've been too busy over the weekend, but let's be real here - I was "busy" sleeping until 1 om and watching almost a full season of Mad Men. So, really, I'm just molto pigra. However, I am now attempting to actually be productive, so, ready, set, go, Naples story time!

Kyle, Sarah, and I kicked off our trip by taking the midnight bus to Napoli. The less said about this bus ride, the better, but let it be known that if a sleep-deprived college student is unable sleep somewhere, that place is a very special place indeed. Anyways, the bus dropped us off at Napoli's train station at the unseemly hour of 5:45. Blah. We looked for a bathroom, but guess what? The bathrooms at that train station don't open until 8 am, and then you have to pay a euro to use them! Hooray! I love bathrooms that cost money and that also close during the night! OH WAIT. I don't love them at all! Being thus bathroom deprived, we plopped our cold, sleepy selves down in a semi-warm cafe, and proceeded to sleep... until were woken up by a policeman standing over us and repeating, "Non dorme! Non dorme!" (Don't sleep!) Basically, we were told we couldn't be vagrants. Whoops!

Sarah and I: vagrants

Once Napoli finally woke up for the day (and the bathrooms opened), we wandered through a few Napolitan streets before deciding that what we really wanted was the beach, and so we grabbed a train to Sorrento, a town on the coast of the Bay of Naples. I am not exaggerating when I say that Sorrento is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been - I would go back in a heartbeat if I ever had the chance. The combination of the bluest blue ocean, craggy cliffs, pastel buildings, and a thick covering of citrus trees makes for a truly wonderful sight.

Stop it, Sorrento. You'll make the other towns jealous.

Vesuvio, chilling.

After our sleepless night, we very much wanted to relax, so we acquired limoncello and found a beach. It's possible that this beach was not meant for tourists, and was instead a beach for actual fishermen. OH WELL.

Kyle and Sarah testing the water (freddo!)

After beaching it up, we headed for our hostel, which was in yet another town, about a 30 minute bus ride from Sorrento. Once we arrived at the hostel we realized that we were literally the only ones there. Awkward! Moreover, we were the only tourists in town, and small towns like this one completely shut down in the tourist off-season, meaning that there were more cats than people. However, we did get our own tiny little house! And for cheaps!

Kyle says ciao from our casa!

Ghost town

After sleeping the sleep of the dead, we got up and traveled to POMPEII! I was slightly excited about Pompeii. And by slightly excited I mean I was freaking the freak out.

See? Freaking out.

I wandered through the streets of Pompeii in a haze of dorky bliss, marveling at the history. I was surprised by how little everything is guarded - on several occasions we felt like we couldn't see something close enough, so we hopped some fences to get closer. I know. Bad. But we wanted to get the best view of everything possible! You're only in Pompeii once, and there was literally no one making sure that people weren't getting into places they weren't supposed to be. Our motto while there: "I don't care! I'm in Pompeii!"

Sarah being illegal.


I could keep going with the Pompeii pictures, but I don't want to bore you. I just wanted to let it be known that I highly enjoyed myself there, to the point that I almost exploded.

We headed back to Naples after Pompeii, where we treated ourselves to real Napolitan pizza - pizza was invented in Naples! We found a little place that a website recommended, and it turns out that the website listed it for a reason. This place was hopping with Italians (always a good sign), and only served pizza margherita and pizza marinara - also a good sign. Let me tell you, the stuff was delicious. I practically inhaled my pizza.

Seriously, so much nom happened.

Full of pizza goodness, we went back to the train station (our home!) and waited in our old resting place, the cafe, until midnight, when we hopped on to yet another overnight bus, this one bound for Pisa!

Up next: Pisa, Paris, and Rome!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quick Update!

Ciao lovelies! I'm home safe and sound, but I'm currently dying of homework, seeing as I have a couple of psychotic professors who do things like assign a presentation and a paper the Monday and Tuesday after spring break. Until I can post for real, here's a little video I made in Rome, in the piazza outside my hotel!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Are you doing anything this week?" "Oh, you know, just visiting Naples, Paris, and Rome. Whatever."

What I'm currently experiencing: midterms. Thus the lack of posts. I kind of forgot that actual schoolwork was involved in this whole study abroad business... it was a rude surprise that yes, I am still capable of procrastinating my way into 5 hours or less of sleep per night during midterms.

However, lots of fun things are happening! My suitemate Sarah is currently visiting me (HOORAY!), and we leave tomorrow for NAPLES for my spring break. On the midnight bus. It's fine. We just won't ever ever sleep ever ever again. Ever. (Did I mention I'm never sleeping again? I did? Ok, I just wanted to make sure everyone understands. It's not like I'm making a big deal about it or anything.)

However, the NAPLES part of that sentence was the most important part. Because hello Pompeii! Hello beach! I think the weather might possibly hate us, but I'm just going to go ahead and pretend that if I believe that it will be sunny and 60+, then it will be. Obviously.

After Naples comes Paris, then Rome. WHAT. I'll be gone for 10 days, and I'm beyond excited. It's highly possible that I'm going to die of happiness on this trip, because not only do I get to indulge my passion for Classics (aaaahhhh Pompeii and Rome aahhhhh), but I also get to see ALL OF THE ART! Seriously. My two requirements for Paris are the Louvre and Versailles, and my two art requirements for Rome are the Vatican (duh) and the Borghese, because asd;lfjsl;fjalfjsdl;kfaj Bernini. I don't know if y'all know Bernini, but he created some of the most beautiful statues in the history of ever. Plus MICHELANGELO, only my other favorite person ever. I'm slightly (ok more than slightly) worried that I'm going to start crying in front of his Pieta in Rome. It's fine. If you need me, I'll be the one sobbing in front of the statue. Don't worry. I'm not weird.

Ciao for 10 days, ragazzi!

View of the Mediterranean from Carnevale in Viareggio last weekend.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Firenze, Take 2

I found my new favorite place in Florence! Last Friday I took a field trip to Florence to tour the Salvatore Ferragamo museum (for the non-fashion-obsessed, he is a huge shoe designer, and invented the wedge and the stiletto heels - grazie, Salvatore!), and afterwards, after coming oh so close to buying a beautiful leather cross-body bag, I wandered into the Boboli gardens of the Palazzo Pitti.

These gardens were slightly like Versailles, if Versailles had Italian trees everywhere and was built on a big ol' hill. After walking through some of it, my friends and I found some grass and promptly soaked up the sun for an hour or two. It was glorious, especially since the weather was nice enough that I could take off my sweater. Crazy talk!

Palazzo Pitti from the gardens

Ari and Hannah, being cute

Neptune founain

Crazy pretty view of Florence

I want to go back every time I'm in Florence. Who knew that there was such a lovely green place in the middle of all that brick and stone? (Not to diss on the brick and stone, of course. Florence is so beautiful that I occasionally feel as though I've walked into a fairy tale.)

Did I mention that I saw the Ponte Vecchio too? So medieval I could hardly stand it.