28 September 2009

Pisa Party

I haven't updated my blog in awhile partially because I've been sick and partially because I've been too lazy to photoshop my pictures. My lack of motivation probably stems from me being sick so I'll blame it on that. I'll start my adventures of last week starting friday. Friday I woke up to a text message saying "corey! come to pisa!" Sounds good to me. I woke up Matt and asked him if he wanted to come with me to pisa and he had nothing planned either so he came with me. On our way out the door we ran into the girls who live below us and they said they were going to pisa too. Pisa party. We left for the train station, got our tickets, and jumped on the train just as it was about to leave. Pretty soon Matt and I learned that we have to validate our tickets before we get on the train. The ticket checker was pretty cute though (although she wasn't the nicest person) so Matt and I tried talking her out of giving us a 5 euro fine for not having validated tickets. Needless to say it didn't work and she fined us anyways. Our charming smiles didn't work. We got to pisa and gave our best guess to where our destination was. Without having to ask we made it and it seemed to be in such a random area. It was really cool though. We took pictures of the cathedral, the tower, and the baptistery, then had lunch in this little cafe. We bought tickets to go in the cathedral and just before going in the battery on my camera died. perfect. It was incredible inside though. Huge gold ceilings, paintings dating back to the 13oo's, tombs, a silver plated skull, and such detailed marble sculptures everywhere. It's pretty cool going to my art history class and learning about greek and roman architecture and being like " oh I was there last weekend" or "that place is right by my apartment". No big deal. I just found out I'm a 5 minute walk from the real statue of david. Just another day in Italy.

17 September 2009

Walking off the map.

I finished class early this morning and everyone was still in class till later in the day. With nothing to do I decided to go on a walk... which turned out to be an understatement. I crossed the river and walked up to the Piazza de Michelangelo. You could see all of Florence... Everyone was still in class so I decided to walk a bit further up. I found a church called Bascilica di San Miniato al Monte. I ended up first walking into the cemetery which is kinda scary when you're by yourself and there's huge statues of people and angels. I finished walking around and found the front of the church. There was a sign out front but I don't understand Italian and had no idea if I was allowed to go inside. So I did. It was incredible inside. I found this room that said 1 euro to enter but no one was in there so I went in anyways. It was a high ceiling room that looked like a praying area? I don't know but I felt weird so quickly took pictures which turned out blurry and went back into the main part of the church. Once again this church was very dimly lit so I had to use pillars and gates to mount my camera. I then found a downstairs area with yet another Italian sign. With no idea what it was telling me I went down anyways. Down there were a couple confession booths and the tomb of San Miniato who I guess what killed by the Romans. I then left and with still more time to spare walked futher up the hill to the top seeing the other side of the mountain. At this point I was completely lost and after looking at my map found out I walked out of it. With no idea where to go I kept on trucking down random streets and found myself on the other side of the church I was at. I walked down the hill I came and took a detour back home to see more of the city. I probably walked a total of 6 to 7 miles. By the time I got home my roommates were making some pasta for lunch. Perfect timing.

16 September 2009

Umbrellas are for dreamers.

My weeks are so eventful it's really hard to think of what I did the last couple days. They seem so long ago. Monday I went to my classes which in the middle of started to pour rain and lightning. Luckily by the time I got out of my 6 hours of class it was a slight drizzle. Then it was time to head to the wine club, which on the way of our ten minute walk, started to pour rain again. Kelley was nice enough to share her umbrella, but I still looked like I decided to take a bath in my clothes. This is when I decided I should invest in an umbrella, which I did the next day. We learned about red wines and drank a couple different kinds and ate food. It was good. Tuesday I had class, went to the baptistery next to the duomo which was built in the 5th century. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but it was so spectacular that I had to go back the next day and pay 4 euros. But it was so worth it. I also went into the duomo which was also amazing. However the lighting was dim so I had to use the floor and my umbrella to prop up my camera so my pictures didn't come out blurry. I miss my tripod. On tuesday Matt and I signed up for Oktoberfest. Fun. Then we went to this sandwich shop where they had really good sandwiches and french fries. I missed french fries. They also made fun of us asking for ranch and the guy almost seemed offended when we told him how good pizza and ranch are together. Then later that night after my cooking class, we went to this restaurant where they were going to have a Mexican chef cooking Mexican food. I missed Mexican food too. Unfortunately the Mexican food was just rice and beans and some meat. No tacos? Some Mexican girls and a Columbian girl in my cooking class were telling me about this good Mexican restaurant though so maybe I'll try that soon. Anyways, today I decided that the photography club was overrated so I decided to switch into the soccer club with my roommates. Best decision ever. We played soccer tonight on a tiny wet field with no rules and a crammed field. We had a ball (no pun intended?)

13 September 2009


Photocredit: Matt Garbutt

Started the day by going to a cafe to get an espresso and a water which should have cost 2 euros at the most. Turns out they charge a ridiculous fee to sit down and drink your espresso. Total came out to 5 euros. Then after hanging around for a bit, Matt and I went to the see the Fiorentina soccer game, complete with Fiorentina soccer jerseys. That was funny cause people would yell at us on the streets and cheer as they passed in their cars. When we got they stopped me and told me I couldn't bring in my camera and had to check it in into a white van that had a check in sign taped to it. I had my doubts if I'd ever see my camera again. But it ended up being fine because it began pouring rain halfway through. And luckily Matt was able to get his camera in so this picture is Matts. The game was funny though. We had good seats, which were, unfortunately, not where the huge fan crowd was. Italians are crazy about soccer though. Cheer and yell at the opposing team and chant every chance they get. As much as I tried I couldn't keep up with the chants, but I can yell in English pretty well. Also I'm starting to miss mexican food really bad.

12 September 2009

I've seen better days

Yesterday we went on a long journey through town to find a large supermarket similar to the one's in America. It was a nice little jaunt and after getting lost for a few blocks we finally had to ask someone where it was. We found it and got lots of food and stuff for our apartment and came back and made really good pasta. I also went to the outdoors market down the street to get some fruits... I learned that it's apparently not okay to touch the producers fruit after reading a sign that said, "touch my fruit and I will cut of your little hands". I went home happy knowing my hands wouldn't be cut off today. Today I walked around for a bit in town. Tomorrow I might go to the Florence soccer game, Pisa, or Siena. I'll let you know

Wishy washy

I washed my clothes for the first time. It was funny. Except for the fact that a pen broke while in the wash.

11 September 2009

sneaky sneakoscopes

End of my first week in Italy. Classes have started and they all seem really interesting. For my art history class, we go to a museum almost every week to look at the art pieces we're studying. Then on top of that, in my food of Italy class, were going to the European chocolate festival, a wine vineyard to taste wine, and a food and wine festival. I joined a photography club and slow drink wine club. My food of Italy teacher said to drink wine for every meal to "celebrate" the art of cooking. Monza ended up not working out because I would have had to overnight tickets to the school which might have been risky. Then if I went saturday, I wouldn't have a place to stay that night, and if I went sunday, I'd either have to miss a lot of the race or leave at 1 in the morning and change trains 4 times. Then on top of that the apparently really close train station is an hour and fifteen minute walk to the track, and taxis would probably be very hard to get. However there is a soccer game on sunday in Firenze so not all is lost? I'm trying to figure out what else to do this weekend... maybe hop on the train and go somewhere. Here's the rest of my pictures from the beginning of the trip.

Dora the explorer

I'm writing about this a week late but I feel it's blog worthy. This last weekend I went on a school trip to Portofino and the Cinque Terre. It was fantastico (thats fantastic in Italian). After a long bus ride down a windy and extremely skinny road we went to this little fisherman's village called Comogli I think. They had a really cool beach and a really cool marina. I explored for a bit and found a watch tower with a few cannons dating back to the 1500's. That was neat. Then we got on a boat and went to this monk village in San Fruttuoso. That was neat too. There was a watch tower for pirates and in the monk church there were monk tombs dating back to the 1200's. After that we got back on the boat and went to Portofino and I walked a lot along this old path up to this old light house and you could see the whole ocean and up the coast and all of Portofino. that was awesome. After that we got back on our boat went to a town to meet our bus and went to this town where I guess pesto was created. We had dinner of a pesto pasta dish followed by a veal and potatoes dish followed by this really good desert. Next day we went to the Cinque Terre and walked around in each town for a bit and walked to the last 2. I walked down Via De'l Amore back to the train that took us to our bus and went back to Firenze. Does anyone know how to add multiple pictures faster? It takes 5 minutes for 1 picture and says fail when I add more than 2. kilybye

07 September 2009

ciao. parli inglese?

After staying up for 32 hours straight, I finally made it to Italy. What an interesting experience trying to talk to people who don't speak english... Or trying to talk to people when I don't speak Italian. So far I've learned how to say hello, goodbye, good day, I don't understand, do you speak english, and some other nifty phrases. I try to speak Italian thinking people would appreciate me at least trying, but on occasion I'll get an english response "why are you going to speak Italian if you don't understand my response". I cooked for the first time, which came out as more of a plate of moosh rather than delicious noodles. But everything tastes better when you've had a bit of wine right? This weekend I went to the Cinque Terre and Portofino which were awesome. Hopefully the train stations won't be on strike anymore so I can go to the Italian grand prix. I tried to post pictures but they weren't working. let me try again