Thursday, August 27, 2009

Switzerland and the rest of August

Sorry to lump it all together like that, but that's kind of the way the rest of my month has gone. Not that it hasn't been great; I've enjoyed every day of it. But it's been a lot more low-key, and not a lot of pictures to take. After Rome, I came back up to Decima, to stay with some of the people I worked with. Not having anticipated as long of a break as I got, I hadn't made plans to travel with anyone (not to mention that August can be a tough month to travel in Italy-everyone goes on vacation to the sea). So I took advantage of the time to rest, work on my Italian, and hang out with some of the nicest people in the nicest places I've been so far. I've been back and forth between Vicenza-looking to get some work after summer-and Decima-just outside Bologna, and the nicest community I've found yet. In Decima, there was an opera one night in the piazza in front of the church. It was such a memorable experience; so perfect for the whole situation. A small community coming together for a cultural event on a beautiful summer evening-who could ask for more? Some of my students were performing in it as well, so that made it even better for me.

After that, I ventured off to Switzerland for a few days. I decided to land in Lugano, for convenience and scenery, and was not disappointed by either. It's a small town, very accesible for tourists on foot, and in late August it's a great choice for some fresh air and outdoors. I spent a couple days hiking, making more new friends, and remembering why I fell in love with Switzerland 7 years ago. As much as I love Italian culture, language, and food, I think Switzerland will always be at the top of my list for best scenery in the world. (Ridiculously overpriced and a little stuffy, but with scenery like that, you can't expect everything to be perfect.) So here's some shots from the rest of my break (my director's adorable daughter with her enormous waterlily!), the opera, and Lugano. I will be returning to camps on Monday, and will be starting again just outside of Vicenza. I'll keep you all posted as the week goes on. I have three weeks left of camp, and then we'll see what happens....

Here is Lugano:

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Special Post: For all my Farmer's Market Lovers

Okay, so this one goes out to my Farmer's Market groupies back home (you all know who you are, we always talk about going to the market and how much we love it...). Some of you had said you could imagine the markets in Italy would be great, and you were absolutely right. The markets here are a bit different though. They aren't just fruits and vegetables, they are an endless sea of tents with everything a person could possibly want. So, while it doesn't need much explanation, here are some shots from some of the great markets I've found. From Perugia, to Roma, to Bologna, I hope you enjoy. And I promise, I'm eating all the great, local produce I can get my hands on for all of you. :)


So, my first week of real vacation in Italy and I go to Rome. Even I thought I was a little crazy at first, seeing as I had spent the last five weeks in smaller towns, enjoying the calmer side of life in Italy. Well, it didn't take me long to adjust to Rome, I must admit. As hesitant as I was, the city grows on you quickly. Public transportation is a breeze, the people are easy to like, and the history and sites are......breathtaking. It's funny, though, as much as I'd heard of Rome I really had no idea what I wanted to see. But thanks to some other tutors I was staying with, and enough time to see more than just the biggest tourist attractions, I really got to make the most of my week.

We spent an afternoon touring Ostia Antica, about a half hour metro ride outside of the city. The Roman Ruins are impressive right in the heart of Rome, but if you want a quieter and more in depth look at what the powerful empire used to be, Ostia is a great place to go. I hit up the Colosseum, of course, and the Roman ruins, hung out on the Spanish steps for an evening, walked the ancient Appian Way, went to Vatican City at the break of day (thanks to my friend's wise guide book-it said get up early and beat the crowds, it's worth it-and it was), wandered around and found some great food in Trastevere, found some fabulous street markets, and of course got to attend my religious convention (the whole reason for my going to Rome that week). My absolute favorite though was Trevi Fountain. I can't tell you why, but there was just something absolutely enticing about it. Even as drenched with tourists as it was, I still found it to be my favorite place to go and sit and just soak in life in Rome. I've got more pictures than this blog could fit, so I'm just putting a few of the best. Hope you enjoy!

Just in case you don't know, here's Rome:

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Last stop: Vicenza

Well, it's not really the last stop, but it was my last camp before a very, very long break. I had asked for the first week of August off, but then found out I would be on hold for three weeks....which has turned in to four. But I'm about to head back to camp, and I figured I was well overdue to update my blog by now. So here we go, back to Vicenza...

Vicenza proved to be my favorite city overall. The town is a moderate size, the architecture fantastic (thanks to Palladio), and I get to ride my bike everywhere! I was sent here for two weeks, and got placed with the nicest family. They have two of the sweetest girls, and live just outside of town. It's peaceful, beautiful, and I get to go running almost everyday. I worked with 8th and 9th graders my first week, and my second week with 3rd grade. The kids were all so sweet, and the older ones extremely good with their english. Some of them even came to assist the second week with the younger students, I was so excited! Anyway, I've posted some pics of the town and my family, and one of my students who was wearing a "Sonoma Marin Fair" shirt at class one day-I couldn't believe it! Thanks to globalized marketing, even Italians advertise for our area now. :) I'll keep this one short so I don't take all your time for reading the rest. August has been amazing....

Here is Vicenza:

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