Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Going Old School

So as you all can very well tell, I like to take pictures... But I don't just take pictures on a digital camera, I also lug around a 40 year old Nikon F2. I don't take as many pictures with my film as my digital, mainly because the weather conditions have to be perfect for me to bring it out. I just got all my negatives developed and I would like to share some of my film photos! These photos are all original coloring. No editing. They aren't necessarily in the order that they were taken, but hope you enjoy! Click on the first photo to see them in full size!

Amalfi Coast

The city of Amalfi

Piazza Navona
Ponte Sant'Angelo and Castel Sant'Angelo

The streets once spring had arrived!

Bernini's Angels on Ponte Sant'Angelo

My daily commute to school!
The Tiber River with the dome of St. Peters in the distance.

I just loved Piazza Navona!
Can you tell?

These were all taken on my last day in Rome...
Piazza del Popolo
The Spanish Steps

Via del Condotti leading up to the Spanish Steps

The column of Marcus Aurelius

Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio!
If you are planning a trip to Rome, put this
on your must see list!

The Victor Emmanuel Monument
My least favorite building in all of Rome.

Well that is the last of the pictures from my time in Europe! Like I previously stated, I plan on continuing this blog so check back periodically for more of my life adventures! I hope you all enjoyed the photos and the lengthy blog posts!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Final Adventure.... For Now!

Well it's about that time for me to say goodbye to a city I have fallen head over heels in love with and the people that made that happen! I'm am going to miss my "Italian mom" so much but I know that I will see her again! Just a recap of the last four months...

I landed in Rome on January 9 and started my Italian classes the following week. The first couple weekends I went on excursions sponsored by the school, one to Subiaco and Fumone and the other to Colonna and Arricia! Just so you know, Arricia is world renowned for their sausages! If you ever come to Italy, you must get Arricia sausages! Then for my first spring break, I spent 2 days in Venice during the world famous Carnevale festival! Then I went to Florence for 3 days and visited a friend and got to see all the Florence had to offer! Then back to the grind! I started my core courses as well as continuing Italian. I studied Ancient Roman Civilization and the Urban History of Rome! In those classes I was fortunate enough to see so many of Rome's great historical landmarks! I saw the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Baths of Caracalla, the EUR, and so many more! For my second spring break, I spent my week in London and Dublin. I also got to see Stonehenge outside of London and  Glendalough and Kilkenny outside of Dublin! I was able to experience the election of a new pope in Rome as well as Eastern Mass at the Vatican. And then I was invited out into the country for an Easter celebration by some new Italian friends! I went to visit Ostia Antica and Naples and Pompeii with my Ancient Roman Civilizations class! I went to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast! And to top it all off, I just got back from a week long cruise to the Easter Mediterranean! I visited Messina (Sicily), Athens (Greece), Kusadasi and Ephesus (Turkey), and Chania (Crete). I would say that I have had a full traveling experience! I have been to 22 cities in 6 different countries in the past 4 months! And I would do it all over again!

Hopefully you have been following from the beginning, but in case you haven't, you can go back and look through my previous blog posts for more pictures! I hope you are ready for some more writing and lots of pictures!

So I went from Civitavecchia to Messina in Sicily, then to Piraeus and Athens in Greece, then to Kusadasi and the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey, then to Chania in Crete!

The first day aboard was rather exciting and there was a beautiful sunset! We had a fantastic dinner, as we did every night, and then watched the Sailaway Parade and had some drinks while listening to some good music.
The sunset of the first day over the main deck of the ship!

The second day we were in Messina, a little port town in Sicily. It is the largest island in the Mediterranean with a population of over 5 million. I got off the boat and walked around the city, walking from church to church, hilltop to hilltop. Just a note, if you ever visit Messina and plan to walk, wear comfortable shoes, it's very hilly.

This astronomical clock does a little 15 minute
show at noon everyday
The inside of their oldest church. Built in the 1100s... Nothing
compared to Rome, but still impressive.

It felt like there were churches on every hilltop!

My wonderful roommate and traveling
companion over the last 4 months!
Compared to the city itself, our cruise ship was gigantic. From the
hills it looked like the cruise ship crashed into the port!

We decided to make wishes in a fountain in all the cities
we visited on our cruise much like you do in Rome with the
Trevi Fountain. I'm pretty sure most of the people watching
us thought we were crazy!
I just couldn't help take a picture of this!
This little old man and his little old wife
and their little old yellow car!
It was so precious!

Not a horrible view huh?

So after Messina we had a day at sea in order to get to Piraeus and Athens! We landed in the Port of Piraeus and then got tickets to the Hop On Hop Off bus that took us to Athens! We road around on the bus and took in the city and all it's history, saw the Acropolis and the Parthenon and then had lunch in the city center and then had to rush back to ship to board in time for departure.
The port city of Piraeus!

An anceint theater at the bottom of the stairs
leading up to the Acropolis!

A view of the ancient theater and the city center of Athens!
I really wanted a picture and then the tourists
appeared... This is my sad face.

The Parthenon in Athens! It was under construction as most
old things in Europe usually are.
A view of Athens from the Acropolis

The guards of the Temple to the Unknown Soldier right before their change! They wear skirts with 400 pleats and have to iron them all themselves every day. Also they have little puff balls on their shoes! Pretty awesome uniform!

The next day we were in Turkey! At the insistence of my father, I signed up for a shore excursion from the cruise ship which turned out to be quite nice. We took a bus from Kusadasi to the ancient city of Ephesus. One thing I have learned is no matter where you go, if you ask a local citizen, they will tell you they were the ones who started everything, and I mean everything... it's pretty great! Anyway, so we walked through Ephesus with our guide and then got a private tour of a Turkish rug store with a demonstration of how the rugs are made and why they are so expensive. Fun fact about Turkey.... did you know that most of Turkey is in Asia Minor. I had no idea until the tour guide told me. He said that Turkey is known as a European country but only about 3% of the country is actually in Europe.
The ancient city of Ephesus. Me with
some old stuff. :)


And there were cats everywhere!
People were even feeding them... 

The ancient library of Ephesus. At the time, it was the 3rd
largest library in the world housing 60,000 scrolls! The library
of Alexandria had over 1 million. Crazy right?

The ancient library
And the theater

Then it was off the rug shop. We got to see how they spin the silk
from the cocoons. The owner of the shop even gave me one to keep.
In order to get the most out of the cocoon, they kill the moth before
it breaks through so I have a cocoon with a silk moth in it. 

Our demonstration of how Turkish rugs are made.
They just kept piling on more and more rugs! They were
absolutely beautiful but the owner of the shop was pretty
intense. He said that the larger silk rugs could take up to a
year to make because everything is made my hand. I definitely
wouldn't want that job.

The port of Kusadasi! They had a bunch of bizarre's but they
had a lot of creepy guys so I avoided those!

I managed to make it back onto the boat before the rain started.
This was my view of Kusadasi from my little reading corner on the 14th floor!
My book of choice for this cruise was Memoirs of a Geisha. If you haven't
read it, you should get on that!

And the last port was Chania, Crete by far my favorite of the stops! Unfortunately the day didn't start out so well... We decided to get up early because we didn't have very much time in port and had to be back on board by 2:30. We woke up early, got dressed and went upstairs to get breakfast and found out that there was a rain storm. It was POURING!!!!! We were so upset because the weather has been awful in so many of the places we have visited and we were looking forward to Mediterranean weather but didn't really get it. We decided to go back to bed for a few hours. When we got back up, the rain had stopped and in the next few hours the sun came out but there were still some annoying big rain drops that fell sporadically throughout the day. Anyway, so after the rain stopped, we got off the boat and took a bus to the city center where we wandered around through all the bizarre's and did some souvenir shopping, mailed some postcards and enjoyed the beautiful harbor!
While walking around we stumbled upon this little path with wild
flowers, graffiti and REALLY BIG ANTS! I mean HUGE!
The view of Chania from the top of
the little hill! 

Remember how I said we made wishes at fountains
in every city we went to... This is Rose making
her wish in Chania!
The beautiful harbor of Chania! I was so bummed we got so
little time to see it! I bet the sunset is wonderful. I will
definitely be returning here one day. I mean a did toss a
coin in a fountain so it has to come true. Right?

The harbor of Chania with it's colorful buildings and beautiful sky!
We saw this guy on the way back to the ship.
He was painting a mural on the side of a
building... Only in Europe!

The last day at sea was spent finishing my book and enjoying the view. It was so windy I spent most of the time in my favorite reading spot listening to live music, people watching and enjoying my book. 

When I wasn't wandering around and exploring the unknown, I was enjoying lots of stuff on the ship. We went dancing in "The Dungeon Disco", I know the name is strange. We actually went to a silent party where everyone was given headphones and the club was silent and everyone danced while listening to headphones. Then you could take the headphones off and watch everyone else dancing to no music. It was pretty great! We enjoyed some 70's music during the "70's Disco Inferno Street Party". I actually got a free glow in the dark ring. I might be re-gifting that one... just kidding, but not really :) I went to see the "Ice Dancin' Spectacular" which was actually quite impressive. The ice rink was so tiny and yet they were still able to do flips and jumps and all kinds of good stuff. I watched a couple classic cruise shows with girls in big fluffy hats and singing and dancing. All the good stuff! Every night I enjoyed walking through that days art exhibit and went to watch the silent auction on the last day. The most expensive piece they had was an Alexandra Nechita priced at $78,000, but they kept insisting that everything was affordable! Haha... funny joke. Here are some fun pictures from the ship.
We were serrenaded by the wait staff of the formal dining room on
multiple occasions! 
One of our three towel animals. This one was
named Bruce. We also had an elephant and a
gorilla I named Joe.

The final show on the last day!
My favorite reading spot on the 14th deck.
I watched the sunset here while listening to
live music. Not a bad life...
My cruise dinner family on the last night! The girls at the back
were from New York, the couple to the right were from Oregon,
and the mother and son on the left were from Ohio and Alaska
and then there was Rose and I from California. I think we had
most of the country covered... :) I love meeting new people!

If you are all lucky, you may get one more blog post before I leave because I intend on visiting one more gallery plus I have 2 more days before I leave for California so I'm sure there will be some wandering being done. But I have decided that I am going to continue this blog to document all my travels throughout my life. It will be a way for me to share my life with all my friends and family around the world! Who knows where my next adventure will take me. Until next time! Arrivederci!!!!!!