Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Rapid rundown

Ok, so I don't know about you, but this semester was the fastest of my life. No joke. It seems like I just boarded a plane bound for Rome and now I'm home for Christmas. I'm excited to be home, don't get me wrong, but this past semester was fabulous and I was/am sad to see it end. So, let's take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights of these last 3 months, shall we?

         --Students arrived
         --Friends Lisa and Ben visited. Since they'd both been to Rome before, I was able to show them a piece of "my" Rome. I love showing off this incredible city!

         --Went to Bologna and Ravenna with two friends and one of my students. Let's just say that the trip to Bologna was well....never ending. We took the train to Bologna only to have it hit something in a tunnel about 45 minutes outside of Rome and stopped. And there we sat for 3 hours. Yes, three HOURS. Without any information or anything. Well, except for the free soda we got. Then, they turned the train around and sent us back to Rome only to put us back on a slow train. All in all, we arrived in Bologna much later than we'd expected. Since it was closing in on 6:30 by the time we were able to get out to see anything, most everything, ie. churches, museums, etc, was closing for the day. So, we spent our time at Tony's eating the most amazing Bolognese of my life. Of course, we were in Bologna, so I wouldn't expect anything less!

The next day my friends returned to Rome and my student and I forged ahead to Ravenna to check out the mosaics. Can I just say WOW?? Absolutely, positively unbelievable! They were so gorgeous and I am still floored by what people were able to create out of tiny pieces of glass.

We had a great time exploring the tiny town, and not just because there was an international bread festival that weekend! No, the churches were breathtaking. Of course, this wouldn't be Italy without some sort of we discovered the next day when we went to board our train to Bologna in order to catch our train back to Rome. There was a large line of people in the train station; much too large for a normal Sunday. We got in line...and that's when I heard the word I hate: Scopiero. Strike. Yep, Trenitalia personnel were on strike. What does this mean? No trains; at least no regional trains. What to do? What to do! The man at the counter, thankfully, was very nice and rather helpful. He told us that there may (or may not be) a train later in the afternoon. So, we waited. And finally, and with much thanksgiving, we boarded the train bound for Bologna and arrived back in Rome 3 hours late. It was a great weekend....just not a good weekend for train travel.
--My cousin, Brooke, arrived for her first European adventure! We spent some time together in Rome, Florence, and then she went to Venice by herself for a couple of days before we went to...Barcelona! I first visited Spain in 2000 while my sister was studying in Granada and Barcelona was the only major Spanish city left on my list. So, we headed to Barcelona with Sean and Joy for 4 days.
La Sagrada Familia
What an incredible city! It was filled with so much to see, do, and eat! The architecture (muchas gracias, Gaudi!) was not to be believed. Seriously, I don't understand the imagination or gift behind Gaudi's genius. So, so, so cool!

My favorite thing, though, was the day that we saw the Barcelonans (is that even a word?!) gather together in front of the Cathedral and dance the Sardana. It was so cool! Here's how this works: an orchestra plays whatever music it is that one plays to do the Sardana, then one by one people begin to gather in a circle and dance.

November: (I don't even know where November went!!)
--Venice: As always, the 10th weekend of the semester found us in Venezia. I never get tired of that city and wandering around. I discovered some new gems on my own, and Joy, Sean, and I went to the island of Torcello to look at some beautiful mosaics.

--Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving remains one of my favorite days with students. We celebrated a week late as we were in Venice over Thanksgiving. Still, we wanted the students to have a piece of home. As always, I ordered our turkey about two weeks ahead from the butcher. I asked for a 12 kilo turkey (about 24 pounds) and as always, they gave me a 30 pound, 8 ounce turkey. Ahhh! That's too big for the oven bag! You should have seen the eyes of all of the nonne (Italian grandmothers) in the butcher shop. I thought they'd pop out of their heads! They couldn't believe that I was cooking an entire turkey or that we would eat the whole thing. As always, students signed up for parts of the meal to make/help out with. We had a ton of food, but it was all soooo good...and eaten quickly. One of my students made the most incredible apple pies! They even had fun dough shapes on the top of the pie. She has some made pie making skills. We spent the rest of the evening putting up our Christmas tree and decorations, and watching Elf. Once again, it was a memorable evening.
--Vienna: Well, this weekend getaway deserves its own post....

post signature

No comments:

Post a Comment