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.

October 27, 2011

Unfortunately we were not able to go to the hostel in Levanto and willnot be able to go tot the Cinque Terra, as the area is in a state of disaster.On Tuesday that area recieved a lot of rain that washed out streets, trails, hydro, shops, and rail service. Therefore we decided it was best not to go into the area.

We instead have gone to Bolonga and will be staying here for three days. Tomorrow we are going on a walking tour of the historic downtown. After Bolonga we will be travelling on to Florence.

At the new hostel we are staying at we get little house like cabins that are quite nice, it's a bit like camping but better. Tonight for dinner we had penne pasta in a spicy tomato sauce to start, for the main course we had a regional specialty which was part of a back of a leg of beef or pork (I am not sure which) with potatoes, and for dessert we had tirimisu. It was a very good dinner, very filling.

This morning before we left Verbania we had a walking tour of Villa San Ramigio. The theme for the villas garden was feeling, it was suppose to be a garden of feelings. It was very pretty. We then took the bus to Bologna.

October 26, 2011

Yesterday we had a rain day so we didn't do much of anything. For dinner we went to a restauraunt and had some sort of pasta dish with of course bread and wine (red and white) and water (fizzante and natural). For dessert some had tirimisu and some had apple cake. I had tirimuisu and it was the best that I have ever had, it was amazing. It was so much better than anything you can buy in a store in Canada, you would have loved it. Today I had more gelato and it was still very good, I had hazel nut again because it's one of my favourites and I had melon, it was a cantalope melon flavour and it was amazing also.
Today we went to Orta. There we walked up a small mountain to see a saccramento to St. Francis of Assissi the patron saint of animals. The saccramento depicts the life of St. Francis and was ment to be a pilgimage for people who were too poor and too scared to go to Jereuselem. It was a very pretty place. We then went to an Italian cemetary to see what they are like. Apparently people are under community pressures to visit their dead family member and regularly tend their cemetary plots.
We then walked into the town of Orta which is on a lake. Orta is a UNESCO world heritage site and very few people drive in it. On some roads only people with special permits can drive on them and they can only get the permits if they live in the area. Buses and large vehicles cannote get down the narrow streets and are not allowed in town. the lack of traffic makes the town a very quiet and peacefull, it's a very calm sort of place.
After lunch we went to an island in the lake, Isola San Giulio, where we walked the path of silence and then went into a church where they have the glass coffin of San Giulio. He was a surprisingly short man. The path of silence was interesting, you are suppose to walk it in complete silence no speaking and there are little signs with sayings about the virtues of silence.
Tomorrow we are supose to tour a garden in the morning and then take a bus for 4 hours to a town near the Cinque Terre. However we don't know if that is going to happen now as there was a disaster there apparently. According to the news the area recieved 2 feet of rain in a couple of hours that caused flooding and washed out roads and rail lines, apparently there is no hydro or water there, and unfortunately some people were killed. Now I don't want you to become alarmed we will probably not be going there now, but I don't know for sure. We will probably just head to Florence a little early. Here are a couple of links to the story, , .

October 25, 2011

Yesterday we went on a walking tour of some of the residential neibourhoods in the town where we are staying. We looked at different villas and houses. Today is a rain day so we are just staying in and doing school work. Tomorrow we are taking a bus to Orta for the day. On Thursday we tour Villa San Ramegio and then take a bus to the next hostel that we will be staying at. The bus ride is suppose to take about 4 hours.

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. 

October 21, 2011

Today we went to Lake Como and went to a couple of villas and the town of Bellagio. We could also see George Cloony's house from where we where on the lake. Although it looked like he wasn't home, all the windows were closed and shuttered. Tomorrow we get to go on a gondala ride and see an alpine garden.

For lunch we had a salad, pasta, and gelato at a restauraunt in Bellagio. For dinner I had a panzerotti.

October 18th, 2011

The plain ride over was good. We arrived in Milan at about 12 noon but then had to wait around till 4 for some other people to arrive.

We then took a bus to Verbana wich took another couple of hours. The bus droped us off then we had to walk to the hostle, unfortunately this included going up a huge bumpy hill with our luggage, I thought someone was going to die of a hartattack. My lungs hurt after it.

Last night we had dinner at a local restaurante. We had lasagnia, roast beef and some strange dessert. Today we are going on a walking tour of the town and will have to do some measuring for an assignment.

October 20th, 2011

The hostel is different it's not too bad though, better than camping (although I do like camping). We are on the top floor, the girls share a room and the guys share a room. There are bunk beds in the rooms. We only have seven in our room, However the boys have 13. Unfortunately we have to share the bathroom with the boys. We did when we first got here have a nice big bathroom all to ourselves but some workers moved in and are staying for a while, so now we have to share with either the dirty boys or the old men. The other day we found a scorpion in the boys room and last night there was a smushed scorpion in the one bathroom, that was kind of scary. The hostel provides breakfast for us in the mornings which is good. No bacon and eggs, but a cappucino machine, yogurt, some pasteries and fruit. I usually take some stuff from breakfast for lunch.

It's strange in Italy, they eat dinner so much later here. They consider it unusual to have dinner before 8 at night. Most of the dinners are served in courses such as a starter, a main, and a dessert. In the afternoon many of the shops are closed usually between 12 and 3 so that the people can go home to have a meal and spend some time with their families.

Today we wen to Isola Bella, Isola Mandre and the Fishermans Island in the large lake here Lago Maggiore. The gardens and homes on the islands were spectacular, they were amazing. It was like stepping back in time, it was easy to imagine the people who might have lived there. The Fishermans Island is where the inhabitants of the other islands were sent when the family that owned them started to build thier villas. It was quite special too. The weather was so nice here to day, it was a bit cool only 14 but it was so sunny and there were no clowds, it was almost like Arizona except of course it wasn't the same without you.

Tomorrow we go to Lake Como, maybe I'll meet George Clooney there hahaha.

Pictures from today.....