Spring Break: Part 3

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In our final leg of our adventure we headed to Dublin, the land of my people! We intentionally missed St. Patricks Day by a day to avoid the chaos and arrived in a some what calmer Ireland.

We arrived and found food and then proceeded to the Guinness Factory! It was a fairly leisurely walk to the factory and we bought tickets before hand so we didn’t wait very long. Now I am not a huge fan of Guinness itself, I know blasphemous, but I still wanted to see the factory and here the story of this insanely successful Irish company.

The factory and exhibit was so interesting and really designed well. We spent a good four hours walking around, learning to pour the perfect pint, and accidentally meeting up with some of our guy friends in the gravity bar on the top floor. On a side note the gravity bar was awesome because it provided a 360 degree view of Dublin, quite lovely. We of course hit up the retail area for souvenirs and gifts, this is where my trip to Dublin got interesting….

I just happened to be perusing around the upstairs area and I went to walk around a display and didn’t see the footing, tripped over the ledge and face planted on the floor! So picture me sprawled over the floor right as I was going to talk to my friends so I am basically at their feet and then of course there is a random lady right there as well. Of course Renee and Lindsey who were standing there couldn’t stop laughing and the lady was very concerned for my well being. I¬† tried telling her I was fine through my tears from laughing so hard but I think she was still a little worried.

In my usual fashion I also happened to take out a few shot glasses with me when I fell. Luckily the guy working there understood and didn’t make me pay for them.

So after a raucous time at the Guinness Factory we headed back to change and get some dinner!

I had some extremely delicious fish and chips at the bar below our hostel and then we proceeded to mingle and hang out for the night. We met a group of guys that consisted of two Irishmen and an Australian, it sounds like a bad joke I know, and it kind of was hahaha

 

The next two days we invested in a ticket that allowed us to use a bus system at our leisure to tour all of the wonderful sites of Ireland! We spent time in all of the famous land marks and cathedrals and enjoyed the parks and the zoo Dublin had to offer. It really was a great two days taking in the culture and learning history from each site.

On our last day we decided to take a day trip outside of the city to see some beautiful Irish countryside! We took a day tour to Kilkenny, Glendalough, and stopped in the Wicklow mountains. It was a really awesome day tour, we saw a castle and toured some caves and took in the beautiful countryside. We did encounter some rain so we hauled up in a hotel and drank some tea for a few hours. Still worth our trip out of Dublin!

It was our last night in Dublin and we had a 6:30 flight back to Rome the next morning, so we decided to get some rest and pack….yeah right! We stayed out and had fun until the bar closed and then proceeded to the airport with our faces painted with glittery shamrocks, a lovely event from the evening, and then headed back to our home in Orvieto!

All in all spring break was amazing and wonderful and I am still in disbelief that I just went to all those places!

I am glad to be back in Orvieto only if to be able to do laundry! In reality though it is nice to be back here, I did miss my Orvieto quite a bit!

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Spring Break : Part 2

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For the second part of our spring break adventure we headed to Holland! Specifically Amsterdam, and before all of you out there start getting the giggles, because yes we all know what Amsterdam is known for, no that is NOT why we went. We all had Amsterdam in mind as a destination for one main reason, Anne Frank.

All of us have grown up with story and as young women I think we all relate in ways to her story. The Anne Frank House and Museum was our first stop in our two day excursion of Amsterdam. Our experience there was unforgettable. We bought our tickets before hand so we didn’t have to wait in line and we got a 30 minute introduction to the house and the history of the Frank family.

The procession through the house was intense, I don’t think we spoke to each other once except for when I of course hit my knee really hard on the staircase, but we were all reverent and stunned into silence.

After our tour we decided to have a pick me up of sorts and get some sweets and coffee. I didn’t really expect Amsterdam to be as beautiful as it was. I was so enchanted by this city and the dutch row houses with the interlacing canals, it was really wonderful. Also the dutch culture loves their French fries so of course I really chose to embrace this. I actually only got fries once and did not choose to eat them traditionally with mayonnaise, ew….

Other attractions on our list were the Van Gogh museum which was wonderful, I am a fan of impressionism so I really enjoyed this. Kelsey and I also decided to spend some time in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, which does sound corny but it was actually really fun and definitely worth it! The rest of our time during the day was spent doing some more shopping and drinking one of the best chai teas I have ever had and just taking in Amsterdam, the good, the weird, and the just plain bizarre.

On our last night we had a Red Light District Tour set up. I was a little hesitant at first since its the Red Light District but our tour guide was a really nice older women who was from the states but had been living as a artist in Amsterdam for about 26 years! She had a lot to say about the history of the district and about the current proceedings of the area. It was definitely a little weird and not necessarily in my comfort zone but I learned a lot about the history of the city so I would say it was worth it.

After our tour we had a little fun and sat at a bar across from some “shop windows” and watch guys go in and out and timed how long the average customer would be inside. I know its sadistic and wrong and very inappropriate but hey when in Amsterdam…..

The next day we were off to our final destination and my homeland……….Africa!

 

Just kidding we went to Ireland, duh!!

 

Spring Break : Part 1

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Our spring break began when we were released in Venice from our class trip. From Venice my roommates and I went to Milan for the night to basically sleep because we were waking up early the next morning to day trip to Lugano, Switzerland.

We arrived in Switzerland bright and early with a whopping 14 hours to kill before we were to head back to Milan for the night. You might be asking why did we not just stay in Switzerland? Because it is expensive, that’s why.

We stepped off the train and quickly found a place to store our bags and also quickly found ourselves in trouble when we deposited euros into the machine instead of francs and promptly broke the locker. What a great start right? Our problems were solved by red faced frustrated swiss-italian, its really hard to tell who is who in Lugano because it’s so close to the border, and went to exchange our currency.

As we wandered toward the city center we were all quickly enamored by the charming town of Lugano, and then we found the lake and were just completely awestruck!

Since we had so much time to kill we decided to¬†take a leisurely boat¬†ride to a nearby town¬†for lunch. The town was called Gandria and was basically nothing except the amazing restaurant we found that looked out onto the beautiful mountains and the lake. We spent about two hours just sitting and eating and sketching and¬†drinking wine. I would say that we stayed two hours because the view was amazingly beautiful but that wouldn’t¬†be the whole truth. While the scenery was a huge plus, the extremely attractive waiter pretty much sealed the deal on where we were to spend our time in Gandria.

After we arrived back in Lugano we did what all girls do, go shopping ūüôā¬† After we were exhausted from swiping our cards and carrying bags,¬†who are we kidding we can’t afford to shop that much, we proceeded to find a place to eat and I had the most delicious meal since lunch that day.

I had potatoes with cheese and an egg on top, so simple, yet so delicious and the combination had been dearly missed by my taste buds. Well fed and happy we headed back up to take a train back to Milan for the night. 

The next day we would head¬†on to our second destination, Amsterdam….¬†

Venice…..wow…..

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The last leg of the class trip was spent on the island of Venice! I had heard a few things about Venice in the past, mainly that it was stinky and sinking. I was more than pleasantly surprised when we arrived, Venice was so beautiful!

The city was built on marsh lands with stone and wooden pylons so it is a canal city. Every part of the city was beautiful, the buildings, the bridges, the water. At times it did stink but not anymore than when I get a whiff of manure at home so the beauty always outweighed the stench.

It also happened to be beautiful weather the time we were there so we spent a lot of time outside soaking up the sun. As a class we visited Doges palace and took a tour of the city, walking through the tiny winding streets and over the canals. One thing that some people might not know is that while there are bridges over these canals, they may not be what everyone thinks of as a typical bridge. These bridges are stepped so they are not just a single ramp but a few steps on either side, some more step than others, but all are stepped, these are Venetian bridges.

I would say that Venice has been one of my favorite Italian cities so far I would go back in a heartbeat. It was just so beautiful to look at, all of the boats and the water and the beautiful architecture, just wonderful!!!

After Venice my roommates and I headed out to the rest of Europe for our spring break adventure!!

A little bit about Vincenze

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Our second day of the class trip was spent in Vicenze. Vicenze is home to a lot of Palladio’s work so he was our main focus in this city. We visited Teatro Olimpica and Villa Rotunda.¬† We also visited Brion Cemetery by Carlo Scarpa.

Brion Cemetery was another remarkable work by Scarpa, very intricate and fascinating. Also narcissistic because this giant cemetery was for one family but whatever. I again took a little cat nap in the sun, always the highlight of my day, and then we headed back into town.

Teatro Olimpica was cool, the main object of focus was the built backdrop for the theatre. It was a beautiful work of art, built in perspective. Another work by Palladio was Villa Rotunda, after walking five different wrong ways to get there we finally found it and spent some time on the grounds and in the Villa. The most impressive thing about the Villa is how symmetrical it is. It was really remarkable to walk around the grounds and sit and sketch.

Before we got on the bus to go to Venice I stopped and played with some dogs that were in a yard right by our bus. I would like to say that the Villa was better but lets be real here nothing beats playing with a dog. 

Our next stop was Venice…

 

Let’s start at the beginning…

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About two weeks ago I left Orvieto to start an adventure throughout Europe! The first week was spent with my classmates in the north of Italy, on our first day we boarded a bus and headed to Verona.

On our way to Verona we stopped at the Chiesa dell’Autostrada, it was a beautiful modern church that basically looked like a bunch of concrete trees forming a canopy, really breathtaking.

We had only one stop in Verona, Castle Vecchio which was renovated by Carlo Scarpa. It was definitely interesting, a well done combination of the original architecture and the renovations done by Scarpa. The best thing I like about Scarpa is his attention to detail, as a whole his work looks amazing but is even more incredible when looked at in detail.

After touring the castle I decided to take a nap in the sun near some water on the grounds, best decision ever! It was glorious and wonderful, and then a group of us played hacky sack before we left..

The rest of the day was left to us to do what we wanted, so we headed to Juliet’s balcony. Now I am not big on the story of Romeo and Juliet, I personally think they were a bit moronic. I still appreciate the classic story and Shakespeare so I wanted to at least stop by and its free so why not?

The balcony was……gross. It was cute that the balcony had soft lighting and was hidden away and that couples had left locks on the gate nearby. But what they also left was chewing gum….everywhere. On the wall, on the tree, pretty much any surface possible….bleck.

This day happened to also be Lindsey ( one of my roommates and best friends) birthday!  We of course decided to have a nice dinner and just walk around Verona.

The next day we headed to Vicenza….

Pre-Post

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So I’ve been traveling for the past two weeks and I have a lot to write about! So look forward to loads of adventures to read about the upcoming weeks!