Saturday, 25 July 2015

A Visit from Old Friends

Hello friends! So this week has been really interesting, mainly because it is the first week of my Business Law class. It's been an experience learning about American law in a classroom in Italy with Italians, especially since the American Constitution and American law is irrelevant to them. One thing that is really cool about the experience of learning about the Constitution with them in our class is that I have definitely looked at the Constitution from a different perspective, AKA the Italian perspective. The fact that they are so far removed from American law has added many interesting conversation/comparison pieces to the class that we wouldn't get the opportunity to have back in Greeley.

The other part of my week that has been fantastic is that my old friend from high school that was an exchange student in Colorado my senior year came down to visit me! It was really great getting to see Isabella again. She brought her friend, Ines, with her, and it was really great getting to know her. I had so much fun getting to show them around Trieste, and I realized that I've actually acclimated to Italian lifestyle and culture a little more than I thought I did. Being the one who knew what she was doing, and where to go was a liberating feeling that I haven't really experienced since I left the States. Overall, I would say that their visit was a success!

That was really all I did this week! Not really sure how the next week is going to go! I've only got around two weeks left in Italy, so I'll have to be sure to make them count!

Monday, 20 July 2015

When in Rome...

Hello all! At the moment I am back in Trieste, but over the last week we had our Inter-Italy trip where we visited Florence, Rome, and Naples over the course of 10 days. I think that this was my favorite trip so far, hands down. I think that this was in part due to the vast differences in culture from city to city. I'll go into a more in-depth analysis of the differences later on, but for now, I'll just tell you what we did.

In Rome, we hit most of the major tourist areas; the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Palatine Hill, and Vatican City. We also got the really cool opportunity to see the St Sebastian Catacombs, which are not as heavily traveled as the Colosseum. Rome was really interesting, especially since the city itself is really immersed in history, its like everywhere you look, you see a Roman ruin. It was also really interesting to see just how reliant on tourism Rome is. While I knew there would be a lot of tourists there, I didn't expect to see such a heavy influx of international visitors (silly me!). Another thing about Rome is that it is very hot, and very humid! That definitely made walking around the city during the day very difficult.
St Peter's Square
Spanish Steps
When we went to Naples, there wasn't much relief from the heat! It was definitely just as hot, if not hotter! The redeeming factor was that I got to go to Pompeii. In case none of you have ever been to Pompeii, it is single-handedly one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life! Granted I'm a bit biased as to what I find cool (anything historical always wins!). The ancient city is almost perfectly preserved, so we got to walk the same streets as the people of Pompeii thousands of years ago. The next day we headed to the island of Capri where we got to see the Blue Grotto. Something really interesting about the Blue Grotto is that the bright blue color of the water once you enter the cave is created by the sunlight outside the cave reflecting in. I have never seen water that shade of blue! After we visited the Grotto, we went to a beach in Capri and just relaxed! That was probably my favorite day of this entire Italy trip.
View of Vesuvius from Pompeii
Ocean off Capri

So now for some comparisons of the Italian cities. It is really interesting because each city is very different from one another. Rome was definitely what I expected, a big city. In Rome, it is definitely really easy to find someone who speaks English. Compared to Naples and Trieste, Rome was very Americanized. That was one of the only places I've been able to ask for a "split-check" and not be looked at strangely. Naples has some of the best Italian food I've had so far! The food is reason enough to visit Naples, but it's also nice because there weren't as many tourists as there were in Florence and Rome. In Florence, the atmosphere was much more relaxed than in Naples and Rome, definitely similar to Trieste in that way. Overall, it was such an amazing experience getting to see three of the biggest cities in Italy.

Well, now I am back in Trieste, and I've got to say that I definitely missed the quieter Italian life. Today, I started my Business Law class, and I am super excited to get to know the new Italians in our class. I can't believe that I'll be home in just over three weeks. Well that's all for now!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Ciao Accounting, Benvenuto a Florence

So to start off this post, let me just start off by celebrating the end of my accounting class! It's hard to believe that I learned a semesters worth of accounting in three weeks! I am just so glad that we've got a week off in between sessions to relax. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't relax; my solution: travel throughout Italy for a week!

The first stop on our "Inter-Italy Trip" was Florence. It was about a five hour train ride from Trieste to Florence, but that just gave me time to relax. We hit Florence, and automatically the differences between it and Trieste were evident. While Trieste is a smaller city, Florence is much bigger, yet it isn't as big as Rome. I was a bit unsatisfied with the fact that it seemed harder to find gelato in Florence than in Trieste, but, I somehow was able to get past that.

In Florence, we visited a lot of the main tourist points, the Accademia Gallery, Piazzale Michelangelo, and visited the city's fine leather shops (Florence is known for the quality of its leather). The statue David by Michelangelo is housed in the Accademia Gallery, and getting the opportunity to see a piece I have read about for years was amazing.

After we were done in Florence, we headed to Rome, which is way more humid, and way hotter! Since I've still got a little more time in Rome, I'll talk about it in a later post. Until then, ciao!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

London Calling

Hello all! So this last weekend we visited London! I will get to that later, but let me just say, time here in Europe has flown by! I cannot believe that I am almost done with my accounting class, it feels like we just started it yesterday. To be fair, it's only a three week class, but that's beside the point. I'm taking the final for it Thursday, so I'm going to be spending most of my time this week studying for it. It's a good thing that I was able to relax this weekend in London.

Let me just say that London is a beautiful city. Regardless of the fact that English history is my favorite subject in history, the city itself is awesome to walk around. We got to visit Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben all on the first day. Sadly, Buckingham Palace does not open for tours until the 27th of July so we only got to see it from the outside. Even though we couldn't go in, I still loved being near something so historic.
Buckingham Palace
The first day we walked about 11 miles (calculated on Google Maps after the fact), so for Day 2, I was exhausted. The most rejuvenating factor about Day 2 was that it was the 4th of July! The fact that there are so many Americans in London only helped bring the spirit of the 4th to Europe. We started the day off by going to the Tower Bridge, followed by visiting the Tower of London and seeing the Crown Jewels. Following that, we saw the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre which was amazing. We went to a classic British pub, and there we found the most refreshing sight on the 4th of July for an American: 4th of July decorations everywhere! It really made it feel like home for a little bit.
Tower Bridge and the Thames
Tower of London Entrance
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
To finish the day off we visited the London Eye, which was amazing because you could see all of London from the very top. To top it all of it was at sunset, so the view was spectacular. The perfect ending to the 4th of July was when we saw fireworks while in the Eye, from what we could only assume was the US Embassy. I'm not 100% positive that it was them, but it seemed appropriate. Overall, I would love to visit London again, and was a bit sad that we had to leave.
Sunset from the London Eye
That's all for me today, I have to go study so I can actually pass accounting. Until next time!

**I forgot to add in the initial post that when we went to see the crown jewels at the Tower of London, the baptismal items were gone from their spots. In their place was a sign that said "In Use". It occurred to us that we were in London for the christening of Princess Charlotte! I think that seeing the "In Use" sign was way cooler than seeing the actual items.**