Thursday, May 7, 2009

and the study part is over...

Yesterday, our final studio project of the semester was due, and with that I finished the study part of my experience abroad this semester. Critiques were surprisingly relatively painless, and today has just been a clean up and pack day. Saturday I leave in the morning for Basel, Switzerland.
These are some photos of the 2 "beautiful drawings" that I recently finished for my watercolor class this semester:
This one is of Venezia (Venice).
and, this one is of Prague.

Last night was the last meeting with our church family here in Orvieto. Over the semester they have welcomed us into their family and it was really hard to say goodbye last night. I think that they will be the one thing that I will miss most about Italy right now. It has been such a blessing to see their love for the Lord over the semester! I hope in the future I will have the opportunity to come back and see them again!
After the church service, they prepared an awesome meal that we enjoyed together and presented the four of us with hand painted ceramic mugs from Orvieto. My friend Andrew had his camera, and took lots of pictures, so hopefully I will be able to get some of them to post sometime.

I don't know how much access that I will have to update this while I am traveling until the 26th of May, so check my flickr for new photos!
The itinerary for my post-travels:
Basel, Switzerland
meet Melissa in Frankfurt, stay in Dusseldorf,
Brussels, Belgium
London, Great Britain
Paris, France

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Things are wrapping up

Sadly, my time this semester in Italy is coming to an end. A few of my classes are already over and I go on my last field trip of the semester on Tuesday. Then I just have to finish some larger "beautiful drawings" and then a studio project and we are done on the 8th. This is bittersweet because while I am sad to leave Italy, I am super excited for my after travel plans, especially since Melissa will be joining me!
Sorry that I haven't finished putting pictures up about my spring break, but I think now it is time to move on to more recent things.
The most recent field trip that I went on was to Perugia, the capital of Umbria. It has been more difficult to get many pictures due to my camera screen being broken, but luckily that has not impacted the quality of the photos, I am just surprised if they turn out. Perugia was enjoyable and we had lots of fun (and learning, of course).
Since most of my roommates went to Milano for design week this weekend, Christie and I decided to take a hike to "La Rocca," where you can see a great view of all of Orvieto.
Here is La Rocca from a distance...
and, here is me with Orvieto in the background on top. Overall a lovely hike, and beautiful weather to hike in.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break Part 3

From Verona we took a night train to Vienna, Austria. We had a room to the four of us with beds!
We arrived in Vienna at 8:30 in the morning, to a little bit of rain, but nothing too bad. We stayed in Vienna for 2 nights at a very nice hostel with a very nice view of the city.
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Our hostel in Vienna.
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The view from our hostel in Vienna. It was rainy/cloudy most of the time we were there but that didn't stop us from enjoying our time!
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This was my favorite building that we visited while in Vienna. It in English is called the Donau City Church by architect Heinz Tesar. The inside of it was my favorite part. I also really enjoyed our tour of the Spanish Riding School, but unfortunately we weren't allowed to take pictures.
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I love the warm feeling of the wood and all of the natural light that the small circular windows let in.
By the time we were in Vienna, we were ready for a break from Italian food. We found some great Viennese food the first night that we were there, and then the second night we stumbled upon a Mexican Restaurant. (We had been craving mexican for 2 or 3 weeks). Then the next morning we left for Budapest.
Budapest met us with amazing food, an amazingly located hostel, some awesome museums, and a day at the public baths, so overall, a great time!
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This is our hostel...
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...and this is the view from our hostel window. St. Stephen's Basilica and piazza!
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We happened to walk by as people were arriving for some event at the museum. If you look close you can see one of the men that was twirling fire.
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A view of the stained glass skylight in the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Break Part 2

So, from where I left of from the last entry about Spring Break, we went from Venezia (Venice) to the Brion Cemetary (designed by a modern Italian Architect, Carlo Scarpa) and Vicenza for a couple of hours and then on to Verona for 2 nights.
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The Doge's Palace with St. Marks in the background. (Venezia)
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Believe it or not, this is part of the Brion Cemetary.
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This is Al in Vicenza. We had so little time there, that we saw a few of the Palladian Buildings there, but spent most of our time in a park enjoying the awesome weather.
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Wendy (right) and Christie (left) even did some acrobatics in the park.
Then onto Verona, which I loved! I really had no expectation of what Verona was going to be like, but it was awesome, as well as the 60-70 degree weather!
My favorite day was the last full day we spent there, in which we spent most of the day outside. The day was comprised of amazing gelato, a lot of park time, and an amazing sunset!
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Here is some of the group that watched the sunset, closest first: Brad P, Eric S, Sam, and Wendy. (with Al and part of Christie in the back)
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I love this piazza in Verona. We spent a lot of time here.
Well, that concludes the first week of spring break in Italy. Part 3 hopefully to come soon!

If any of you are wondering... we survived the earthquake

The earthquake did not affect us much here, although some people from our program did feel it a little bit. I did happen to wake up about the time that it happened, but I don't remember feeling anything and none of my roommates do either.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Break Part 1

Well, we made it back from spring break, which was awesome! The first week was part of the program, so we started out on a tourbus and stopped at the church of the autostrada, which is right outside of Florence on the autostrada (highway).
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After that stop, we made our way to Venice. We had been told not to expect it to be nice the entire time that we were there, but we experienced beautiful weather and not too many tourists (still plenty though). I really liked Venice! The colors of the buildings against the water of the lagoon are amazing, and it is like no other place in Italy.
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Well, that is all the pictures that I can get to work for this part.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On the Way...

In less than 8 hours I will be on a train to Vienna! Venice, Vicenza, and Verona have been fun, but it is super exciting to be leaving Italy for a short while! We are taking a night train to Vienna, so I will wake up there! (yea for getting a good deal on couchettes!) Later in the week we head to Budapest, and then Prague, both by train. Then we fly back to Rome.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Break

Even with a short studio project thrown in the mix, these past two weeks have been extremely fun! Dinner is always one of the highlights of the day and we enjoy coming up with things on the fly without exact recipes. Elise, a friend from K-State that is studying abroad in France, came to stay with us this past week and we came up with some of my favorite meals as of yet! One being cheese fondue followed by chocolate dessert fondue, and later in the week stuffed mushrooms with risotto. (hopefully I can get some photos up after spring break)

The beginning of the week was pretty rainy, but the last 3 days have been absolutely beautiful and we have taken advantage of the sun!

The next two weeks include a program trip to Venice, Verona and Vicenza and then we have a week for spring break. Our plans for spring break include taking a night train to Vienna, Austria, Budapest, Hungary, and finally Prague, Czech Republic where we will take a flight back to Rome. I am looking forward to it! As I am not bringing my laptop with me though, I won't have as easy access to the internet, so I won't probably be able to update until I get back.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Don't let the Palm trees fool you...

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Amalfi was not as warm in February as the palm trees in my pictures make it look, but it was a very enjoyable trip. Early Wednesday morning we left Orvieto for a 5.5 hour tour-bus drive down to Pompeii, where we encountered something very unexpected: snow. So, now I can proudly say that I have seen snow in Pompeii, a feat not accomplished by many tourists. Luckily the snow and rain did not stick around for too long, and during our short 2.5 hour visit we were able to enjoy the ruins some.
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The amphitheater in Pompeii. Not one of the most complicated, but one of the best preserved.

Our arrival in Amalfi was preceded by a lovely, winding and at some points terrifying drive on the coastal highway. It still blows my mind that our tour-bus was able to make some of those turns!
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I took this on the bus ride down, unfortuneately it was pretty much impossible to capture the total amazingness of the experience and the costal highway, but here is a glimpse.
That night we asked about a good place for seafood and enjoyed some amazing spaghetti with oysters and capers in it. It was very delicious.
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The next morning we awoke to the bright sun and slightly warmer temperatures and we set out to see Ravello on high recommendation from Marco.
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The view was amazing! The higher elevation did come with cooler temperatures and early in the day snow on the ground, but the day was beautiful. To get back to Amalfi, we dicided to take a stair-filled path down, which was very steep and very beautiful, but definitely had an impact on our legs the next day!
The next day we left Amalfi and headed to the History Museum in Naples to see some of the things in Pompeii that they thought people would steal from the ruins. Next we departed from the group heading back to Orvieto on the bus and headed to Sorrento where we stayed for 2 more nights in this awesome little bed and breakfast in an orange and lemon grove. We even had fresh-squeezed orange juice both mornings!

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The next day we took a ferry to Capri to see some of the sights that Marco told us about, Villa San Michele in Anicapri and the ruins of roman emperor Tibirius' Villa.
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Al and me on the way to Capri.
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Again, we were blessed with another beautiful day! The water around Capri was amazingly turquiose and I enjoyed it a lot!
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The awesome view from the ferry as we said goodbye to Capri.
Finally after another amazing breakfast from our place in Capri we headed back to Orvieto on our most interesting train ride yet. Apparently the car that we had seat reservations in did not exsist on that train, so we got to use some of our Italian skills to figure that out, moved around a lot and met a lot of people. Thankfully it was not a big deal in the end and we ended up being allowed to sit in first class for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I really enjoy Florence! We spent two nights this weekend at a very nice hostel, Plus Florence. In the morning on Friday, we went to the Uffizi Gallery with our professor, Marco. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed in any of the museums that we went to in Florence.

The Uffizi comprises of a lot of sculpture, which is what was originally in the hallways, and then the paintings were added later, as the original purpose of the now museum was for offices to do the “dirty work of government” as Marco put it. That is in fact what uffizi means in Italian, “offices.” The gallery now displays many important paintings including a large amount of byzantine art as well as one Michelangelo painting, which we fortunately got to see, but only by the hair of our chin due to a strike (I am getting used to the Italian’s affinity for these, not to say that I like the strikes though).
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A beautiful view from the Uffizi, apparently it is extremely difficult to get to this view during tourist season, so I felt really lucy to get such a beautiful shot!

After that we met up with a few of our fellow classmates that are studying in Castiglion Fiorentino because they were in Florence as well. In the afternoon, we decided to climb up the 463 (steep) steps to the top of the Brunelleschi’s revolutionary cupola. Keep in mind that there are no ADA requirements here, so most are without handrails and they only have them when you would absolutely need them! ( on a side-note: being in a place that often lacks the requirements for things that I have come to take for granted like handrails, the size of handrails, and the widths of doors and passage-ways, has made me appreciate some of the requirements that we do have in the states more).
Despite the long trek to get up to the top of the cupola and the 8.5 euro, it is worth it! We were blessed with amazing weather while we were on top, beautiful skies and nothing more than a light breeze!
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Here is a vista from on top of the dome… ah-mazing!
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And here I am standing with Allison.

The rest of the weekend we enjoyed beautiful (although colder than we have been used to) weather. Saturday included a visit to the Boboli Gardens, just outside of the Pitti Palace.
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Carrie made a friend at the gardens. This cat was very friendly to all the ladies of our group, but especially loved Carrie. It figures because she is allergic…

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Some of the ladies enjoying the Boboli gardens. Left to right, Wendy, Christie, Sam, and Al

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Quick Update

Lately, I have been keeping busy. Our first studio project is due on Monday, and while studio is not anywhere close to being as crazy as it is in manhattan, since we are staying in Florence all weekend, Sam and I are being wise with our time and trying to finish before we leave early tomorrow morning. Cooking class last Saturday was awesome, although I hope to never eat so much food in one day ever again. My favorite event so far, has been meeting with the Church here at the bottom of the mesa. I hope to write in more detail about this later, because I don't have the time to really explain the awesomeness of worshipping with other believers here! We met Pastore Massimo this past Sunday night, because he was not there the previous Sunday. They have been so gracious helping us find the songs in the hymnals and even gave us Bibles in Italian.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A few annotated pictures...

So, I have yet to really comment on my pictures, so I thought I would upload a few favs and explain them.
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This of course is of the Colleseum, and was taken on the second weekend that we went to Roma. The sky that day was amazing and I took a lot of pictures of it.
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This is Marco, our Italian history professor. He talks into the wisper unit microphone and we listen, even while we are walking to our next location. It makes travelling in a group of about 40 much easier and I am very grateful that we get to use them!
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Dinner! One of the highlights of every day. My roommates and I come up with things to cook that always taste delicious. (Right to left- Carrie, Al, Christie, Sam and Me!)
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Before we went to Rome for the second time, our professor Marco told us about Granita. The best place to have this is near the Pantheon, so of course we had to try some. So here we are waiting.

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This is granita. Frozen, shaved super-sweet espresso with panna (whipped cream). It was as amazing as Marco made it sound and definitely worth the 2.50.

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Piazza del Popolo, Roma at sunset. This is as we are heading to the train station at the end of the day. I definitely like Rome better the second time than the first.

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My absolute favorite picture that I have taken in Orvieto, as of yet. The light was perfect, as well as the clouds.
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Lately there has been a lot of fog around Orvieto, but It makes for awesome photos. I love that I get to see views like this practically everyday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

10 Observations about the Italians (so far)

1. Italians love dogs. Maybe cats too, but definitely not as much as dogs.

2. Italians actually use their strollers (even in the rain). Americans may own these but I am convinced that they only utilize them 1/10th of the time (if that) that Italians do. They even have special covers so that they can use them in the rain!

3. Right now at least, Italians love purple! See, I was just ahead of the curve in America!

4. Most Italians smoke. It seems like when we are walking outside, if you don't get behind at least 1 or 2 people smoking, there is something wrong. (or you are out during an undesignated time, see #8.)

5. Italians love their espresso. As they should, because it is so amazing!

6. It is the Italian way to strike unexpectedly (at least to us). They did this on the day that we were going to walk through the roman forun in Roma, but it worked out in the end because we went a different way with Marco that we wouldn't have had time to see otherwise.

7. Italian shoes are as beautiful as their reputation makes them out to be, but they are also as expensive as their reputation is.

8. There are unwritten rules in Italian society about what time everyone should be outside in the streets. Everyone in the city seems to be out socializing during these times. Right now the children are often dress up in costumes throwing confetti and spraying silly string at each other for (we think) carnivale.

9. Italian dogs in general are much more well behaved than their American counterparts. I see Italians with their dogs unleashed and they behave perfectly following them, not getting too far away, and it blows my mind.

10. Italians seem to love excuses to dress up their dogs and children. I have seen the most hilarious costumes on and for sale for both of these groups. My favorite of the children's costumes to date has been a 3 musketeer costume which was exquisite.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Roma, Roma!

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Originally uploaded by stephanie_pile
We went to Rome for the first time on Friday. We left early on the train in lower Orvieto. Marco our history professor was not on this trip, so our K-state professors treated it like an orientation to Rome and to help us learn how to travel on our own. So, we stopped shortly at a lot of the different major sites, to orient ourselves to the city. My roomates and I ended up staying the night this weekend, because Carrie has cooking class all day next saturday. We had a nice pizza dinner at a restaurant near our hostel, Ciao Roma!. Later that evening we visited the Colleseum at night while it was lightly raining. We ended up walking around the Roman Forum and up to the Capitoline hill, but then it started raining harder, so we headed back to the hostel. The next day we headed to St. Peters pretty early to hopefully "beat" the crowd. Luckily the line was not bad at all, although there were a lot of people there. Later our group split up even more. My group headed from there to the Vatican Museum, mainly to see the Sistine Chapel, which was really cool to see in person. Luckily, we got a 6 euro student discount at the museum, so instead of paying 14, we only paid 8. The Vatican Museum is huge and just to get to the Sistine Chapel with very few detours it took us around an hour and a half! I have loaded some pictures finally on my flickr site which you can find here: Unfortuneatley it is taking forever to upload pictures online, so I am having to be picky with the over 400 pictures that I have taken in 4 days.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Orvieto is Amazing!

So far, Italy has been amazing, probably better than I could ever have imagined. I still can't believe I am here! Our Appartment is adorable! We are extremely happy with it. It is really close to a lot of really cool shops and a piazza. For lunch today we had some amazing pizza for only 1 euro. I hope to add pictures soon. Oh on a side note, my birthday was pretty amazing too, besides being really tired. We ate some amazing italian food, first at the study center a light brunch and then a light dinner at Zepplins, the restaurant that I am are taking a cooking class at on the first Saturday in February. I can't wait for that. They split the group into four and so each group will learn a different menu. One of my roommates goes tomorrow, and the rest of us are excited to learn what she learns! On the docket for tomorrow is our first experience in the market, which is on Thursday and Saturday mornings. Then, I have my first class with our Italian History professore. On Friday we are taking our first field trip to Roma. I am not sure what all we are seeing as a group yet, because we will be going back the next weekend as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We Made It!

So we made it to Rome! Yea! Right now we are sitting in the airport waiting for the charter bus that will take us to Orvieto. The plane ride at the end was a little bumpy and I got a little sick, but I am feeling much better now on solid ground. I am looking forward to sharing my pictures with you soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Italia here I come!

The time has come! I can't believe it, I will be in Italy in a little over 24 hours. I leave today at 8:40 fly to DC and then fly to Rome around 4:30. I will be in Rome at 7:30 the next morning (My Birthday!) Arrivederci America!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Una Settimana! (One Week!)

This break is flying by! I am getting so excited. By this time next week I will be en route to Washington DC to meet all the rest of my friends and for my flight to Roma! This weekend was very productive in crossing of things off of my to do list! Yea! Also, I got to see two of my friends from school on their way to Colorado Springs to start their internships with emI (Engineering Ministries International) which will also in a week take them to Uganda and India! It was nice to see them. I hope you enjoy while I try to keep you up to date on my upcoming adventure!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Welcome! Italy count: 11 days

Bienvenuto to my blog! This is the place where I plan to keep you all up to date on my adventure in Italy! The clock is ticking and the 19th will be here before I even know it. I am getting excited, but there is still so much yet to do!