Thursday, December 29, 2011

Trip to the mountains





Nothing too eventful to report on, but had such a beautiful day in the mountains I just had to share. Monday was a holiday in Italy, so it was the perfect opportunity to take a little jaunt. There is a restaurant called Rifugio Kubelek near the town of Asiago. This place has the MOST amazing views, fantastic food, and just a great atmosphere to come and enjoy a nice day with friends. So with a group from Firenza, Padova, Reggio Emilia, and Vicenza, we made the most of a gorgeous sunny day. I had hoped to see Asiago as well, but by the time we made it over there it was dark, so that will be another field trip. It never fails to amaze me the amount of history every single place you go around here; once again this valley was a location of conflict during WWI, and as you look down the hillside you can see grave markers from nearly 100 years ago. Anyway, enjoy the views, and if anyone would like to visit for themselves, I will happily accompany you up there!






The altopiano di Asiago:

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Marostica and Bassano





Had a fabulous weekend with my friend Gloria. I've decided that when I visit other cities I want to go with a person who loves that city best. It seems to be a great way to learn about the place and be able to appreciate it even if I only have a little time. So Gloria's favorite city is Bassano del Grappa, and it's famous for...that's right, its grappa. It was also a point of conflicts in both World War I and II, and to this day you can see bullet holes in the wall next to the bridge from WWII. Very cool, way older and more interesting than anything I can show people back in the states. So they make fantastic liquore, and they are rich with history-what's not to love?

Marostica was an added bonus, seeing as it's on the way to Bassano, and-well, what's not to love about Marostica? Their most well-known draw is the live chess match they play every two years. I know what you're thinking: live chess match? I mean a chess match with actual human beings playing as each piece on the board. Rad, huh? The main piazza has a huge chess board actually laid into the pavement, and every other year in September they play a live "production." It's a huge deal for the town and a very cool, one-of-a-kind event to come and watch. But the city itself is so stunning too; it's a walled city that climbs up a steep hillside with a castle at the top and one down next to the piazza. You should see the place at night...

Sorry, I know it's a rather abrupt post, but it's very late and I've got to crash. Enjoy the pictures though, and I will share more stories soon!





Here are Marostica and Bassano:

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flood of 2010








It really didn't even make our news, but last November, Vicenza experienced severe rainstorms which caused unbelievable flooding. When my friends told me about it, I could hardly envision it. Here's some pictures I've seen or taken, with comparisons from last November and how it is today. Pretty unbelievable. The pictures of the river are from today; it's surreal to imagine how much water they had to get for this river to flood its banks. Be grateful for all you have today!

One fine winter day









I can hardly believe it's been five weeks since I left the states. It's good that time is passing quickly, but it also makes me very aware how much I have to grab every opportunity I can before the days pass me by. So today was my "day off" (those happen more by chance, like someone canceling our plans), which allowed me the morning to study and the afternoon to wander. I took my camera and did my best to take pictures but...you really can't do justice to the charm and grandeur of Italy. I chose to live in Vicenza last time I was here because the city just awe-inspires me. Every street you pick to walk down, every corner you turn, every time you look up at the city around you...I just can never breathe it all in to my full satisfaction. My strategy for wandering Vicenza: try and get lost. Wander is the perfect word: don't pick a destination, just see where you arrive. Don't go too fast, don't bother window shopping; the best things to see aren't on display or with a pricetag. I ride my bike because it gets me to centro storico (the historic center, inside the city walls) faster, but then I end up walking my bike all through the city because riding makes it pass too quickly. And that would mean I have to watch where I'm going too. So I really enjoy the tiny streets, and peeking in every open gate that leads to a grand courtyard inside. That's the crazy part. The streets seem narrow and it looks like the buildings are just jammed together, but then you look inside a large gate or arch, where a car is going in, and inside you see their hidden oasis, clean, calm, and not nearly as "jammed" as you'd think from the streets. I also love the parks in Vicenza. There's always other people, but they are always serene, quiet, respectful. It's like an outdoor library, minus the books. Everyone seems to know the silence code. I love it...did I mention that? So here's a few shots for you all to enjoy. I can't express enough to you how much you need to come and see it for yourself though.
I'm off to the mountains with some friends on the 26th, so I will post more fun after that. Have a great week!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friends



One of the best things about being here is the people, of course. I'm having so much fun seeing "old" friends and making new ones, especially in the English congregation here. Here's a couple shots of some of my buddies-and check out this enthusiastic singing! Gotta love the Africans...

A Girl Runs Through It (the valley, that is)





Welcome to my backyard. So I'm still not a runner (half marathon completed though!), but once again it is one of my only options for exercise. Not that the loop I have here for running is anything to complain about. Valle dei Vicari is literally just behind my house across the field, so where could be better to run? And it's SO much warmer than Watertown this time of year! No checking to make sure it's more than 20°F-yes! Hope you enjoy these shots of the valley-come run with me anytime!

Here's Valle dei Vicari:

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Welcome back!

video
As if getting a free flight anywhere wasn't enough, flying into Italy is SO beautiful. Even the flight attendant said I had the biggest smile of anyone on the plane-is no one else as excited as I am about living in ITALY?!?! Well then, I'll just keep smiling. Enjoy the view; I bet it will put a smile on your face too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The start of another journey

Well, I didn't know if it would ever come again, but due to some unfortunate circumstances (Rob bring gone for a year) and always taking opportunities when they come, here I am sitting in the Baltimore airport waiting to board my (free!!) flight back to Italy. Yes, I say back to Italy because it genuinely feels like I'm going home. I can hardly believe its been almost two years since I have seen my "family" and friends, and I am trying not to be too excited because I really want to sleep on the plane tonight. Had to share this highlight that I saw in the BWI airport though; definitely takes the cake for funniest sign I've seen. In case you can't tell, it's right above the bathroom sink. I will take more notes and pictures to send soon, and carry you all with me on my next adventure... :)