Sunday, 13 November 2011

October 23, 2011

Gelato is amazing it is my favourite Italian food. The flavours are so real and it's so light and easy to eat not heavy like ice cream. Yesterday I had limone and hazelnut. Both were delicious but I really liked the hazelnut the best. The other day I had pistachio and it was really good too. I'm sorry it wasn't orzo, I ment to say ouzo or licorice flavour. The licorice flavour want bad at all it was mild and very good.

Last night for dinner we had a group meal of regional dishes. We had risotto with pumpkin and gorgonzola chesse for a starter, it was so very good you would have liked it. For the main we had roast beef on polenta with gravey over top. The meat was really good, it was nice and tender, the polenta was different it didn't have a lot of flavour and it's texture was a bit strange, but it was good to try. For dessert we had a traditional bread pudding, it was so good. To finish dinner everyone got a shot of lemoncello, it was very good, very sweet, I think it was homemade.

Yesterday we rode a cable car first to see the alpine garden where the views of the lake were suppose to be spectacular, and althought the views were still nice the clowds were low so the view was a little obstructed. Then we went back to the cable car and rode it up further, at the next stop we took a chair lift to the peak. It was a lot colder on the top of the mountain, however there was no snow yet. At the top of the mountain there was a ride kind of like a gravity fed rollercoaster, kind of like what they have at Blue Mountain, that you could take down to the bottom of the chair lift and back up called Alpyland. I didn't go on it because as you know I am a chicken, but most others went on it. When rode the chair lift down to the bottom we stopped at a chaltet restauraunt and got a hot chocolate with whip cream on top of it. It was one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had, it was made with one of those coffee machines that they use in the fancy coffee shops in Peterborough. I loved the restauraunt, it had been in the family for 120 years and in opperation for over 100 years. While we were waiting to go back down the cable car at the inbetween cable car stop we went and saw some horses that were at a farm near the stop. In general I loved going up to the mountain I loved the cold feeling and then warming up and the atmosphere up there it was so nice and quited and natural, Although the views were not the greatest it was still such a good experience for me.

After we came down the mountian we walked to the next town Streasa for lunch. There were so many very fancy looking hotels there it was amazing. Morgan, Dave and I had lunch at a restauraunt called the black cat, I had a panini with grilled eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and chesse it was very good.

Today we have a free day. I think I am going to do some laundry in the sink maybe, do some computer stuff, and some homework. The homework has not been so bad yet, there is just one assignment so far, although the scary homework teachers have not yet arrived.

I have not learned very mugh Italian yet just the imortant things like hi, buy, thankyou, your welcome, and some others. I am sure I will learn more, but I doubt I will ever be able to speak full sentences. It does feel like it has been so much longer since I have been here, I can hardly believe it has only been a week.

November 10, 2011

On Tuesday we went to a villa in country surrounding Florence to see a garden with a tour guide. After we walked around Florence again and after lunch we went to the Uffizi gallery. In the gallery we saw many famous and important paintings. We saw Botochelli's Birth of Venus and Springtime. We also saw Raffael and Leonardo paintings and one painting by Michalangelo. For lunch I had pasta in spicy sauce to start, chicken scallop for the main course, and espresso to finish.

Yesterday we went to Frisole which is a small town just outside of Florence. It was originally an Etruscan town and then a Roman town. While there we went to an old curch and monestary. After we went to a Roman amphatheter and bath. Then we went to a 1913 villa that is owned by Duke University. For lunch we had a traditional Tuscan apatizer that included toasted bread one liverwurst on it, one with sausage spread on it, and one bruschetta. The appatizer also included fried mozzerella, two types of salami and proschutto.

Today we went to two large villas in Florance Villa Barbarini and Boboli gardens at the Pitti Palace. The Boboli garden was very large and both had good views of the area. Today for lunch I had ravioli in rose sauce, gelatto, and cappuchino.

Tomorrow we go to the town of Lucca wich is abour an hour away.

November 7, 2011

So on Friday we went to Ravenna. We had to meet the bus at 6:30 in the morning and drive for two and a half hours. Ravenna is on the east coast of Italy, somewhat close to Venice. It is a lot different from the other Italian cities that we have been too. Ravenna is a lot newer, many of its buildings were bombed in World War Two and newer buildings were put up as replacements. However in Ravenna we visited some of the oldest churches in existence, I think some or all of them might be UNESCO world heritage sites. Ravenna was the last capital of the Roman Empire and was controlled by the Byzantines. The first church we went to was built in the 4th century and has in it some of the most famous mosaics in the world. The other churches and one of the tombs we went to also had very famous mosaics in them. These mosaics are huge, much bigger in real life then they appear to be in books. They are also much more spectacular in person, they are amazing, they sparkle and shimmer, pictures do not do them justice. I really enjoyed going to this city, although there were tourists, it was significantly less touristy than Florence, it seemed to be a very quiet city. While there we also visited Dante's tomb, he is very important to the Italian culture, he helped to found their official language and flag through one of his books.

We had a group lunch while we were there. To start we has penne pasta in a bolognaise sauce, followed by a veil cutlet with potatoes (normally I would never eat veal but I felt I had to), and a coffee (espresso) to end. The lunch was very good, even if we were eating baby cow.

On the bus on the way home we had an 'exam' although it was really more like a quiz. I did pretty good. We got to mark our own tests, which I found questionable. When we got back to the hostel some of the group decided they wanted to go to the discotec space club, which is the dance club that the cast of Jersey Shore went to when they were here in the summer. The people who decided to go eventually convinced everyone in the group to go, including myself. Although I had my reservations and I didn't really want to go I went anyways and had fun. It was good to go out as a group and quite fun. I think maybe we should go out one night when I get back, just to see what it's like. The next two days we had off for free days so a bunch of the group decided to go to Venice on the train, so they were quite tiered in the morning. On the free days I didn't do much just walk around and shop. Last night, Sunday night a group of us walked to the other side of the river in Florence to a look out point where we could see the night lights of the city, it was very pretty although a horrible climb up the hill.

To day we walked again to the other side of the river where we were introduced to our next studio project, which is to design a square in front of an old church. Because it is the first monday of the month and on this monday a lot of things are closed we didn't have much to do in the morning but to get familiar with the studio site. This area is more for locals, there is a art school there so there are a lot of students that frequent the square and not a lot of tourists. While there Morgan and I were standing on the sidewalk outside a cafe a strange short man with a beard and a toque walked by and growled at us, it was hilarious, he walked by a second time and growled again. I now refer to him as Growling Man or Growls-a-lot.

After that we met up with a tour guide who showed us around and told us lots of interesting history about the city. She was a very good tour guide, I think she is either Australian or British and works also as an art restorer. I was thinking that it would be a fun job to be a tour guide. After lunch we went back to our side of the river where we went to a church/museum that has many important sculptures, some by Donatello. We then walked by some interesting and important buildings, including Dante's house and then we went into the second biggest church in Florence where Michelangelo and Galileo's tombs are.

For our group lunch today we had penne pasta in a rose sauce, followed by very thinly cut roast pork in gravy with potatoes, and to finish coffee (espresso) and dessert, we were allowed to choose our own. I chose and apple and walnut custard pie, it was soooo good. The entire meal was very good, one of the best if not the best that I have had so far I think.

November 1, 2011

Today we left Bologna and have arrived in Florence. We took one of those really fast trains, it took us only half an hour on the regular train it would have taken 2 hours. I am not sure what we are suppose to be doing tomorrow, but we have an assignment to finish up so maybe we will get a work day.

You asked before what lemoncello was. Well it is a alchoholic drink that is quite sweet and I think is typically served at the end of a meal. You also asked about the walking, we walk a lot and almost every day. Yesterday we walked from about 1:30 to 6:00 and that was not that busy a day we only went to a couple of places.

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween, or happy Italian day of the dead.

Yesterday we had a free day that we used for school work. Today we went into Bologna again. While there we went into another basilica church. We then climbed up one of the larger of the two towers that Bologna is famous for.

For dinner tonight there restaurant where we are staying had a pumpkin special, all of the courses had pumpkin in them. First the starter was a pumpkin bruschetta with onions and garlic, the second course was a pumpkin soup, and for dessert we had frozen pumpkin in ice cream. The dinner was very good.

Tomorrow we are leaving Bologna and going to Florence. We will be travelling by train which should take about half an hour.

Monday, 31 October 2011

October 29, 2011

Today we again went into the city of Bologna. We went to a number of churches, many of them very old. The one we stopped at was built between 400 and 800 a.d. We also went to a number of the free exhibits in the museums surrounding the piazza maggori. The one exhibit showed Etruscan artefacts that had been recovered in the area. Another exhibit showed the history of olive oil pressing from 1911 to present. We also went to probably one of the largest if not the largest park in Italy. In the park a lot of Etruscan artefacts and burial mounds were found. A burial crypt has been recreated in the park; I was kind of excited by that.

Tonight for dinner I had tortellini in a bolognaise sauce, it was very good, it was made with fresh pasta and was very filling.
I did laundry last night and found it actually kind of fun. It was nice to do something that was so routine and it was also nice to have fresh clean clothes afterwards, it felt good.   At the bar up the road on the night we got here had a drag queen show.

October 28, 2011

Today we walked around downtown Bologna. We went to the worlds oldest park although it's not that nice, and we walked around the university district. Bologna is where universities in the Western world started. Then we went to the midevel piazza down town, there we saw two towers, one leaning, and the huge basilica here, on the floor of the basilica is the first Gregorian calendar it kind of interesting. Bologna is such a different place from Verbania, it is so much more a working city, there are so many students and there are so many people and cars, but it's not too hard to get around. I had a pizza tonight for dinner, nothing too exciting.