Sorry for the belated post! We are in the midst of the study part of study abroad! Nevertheless, I will update you on the events of the past week!
Wednesday 5/19/2010: Today was our first full day in Florence. Florence is very different from our little hill town Cortona. There are people everywhere and not everyone seems as friendly. We started the day off by visiting the Uffizi museum to see the Birth of Venus. We throughly enjoyed our time at the Uffizi because its name turned into a running joke, " Uffizi (ooo feetsy) stank." After mid morning coffee, we walked over to the Piazza della Signora Giambologna to see the Rape of the Sabine Woman statue. This statue is wonderful because it has no true front and displays 3 people in the statue. Afterwards,we saw the Brancacci Chapel, Santa Trinita, and Santa Maria Novella Chapels. After being dismissed, a small group of us explored the streets of Florence until dinner. The Puetts were kind enough to show us an old apothecary pharmacy where Michelangelo got his paints! So cool! We were in nerd heaven! Our group had dinner at 7:30 every night at a small trattoria across the street from our hotel. After dinner, Kayleigh, Ashley, Cassie, Tip, Pranav and I decided to roam around Florence and find " Da Duomo!" We ended up getting lost, finding a unique treasue called the Shots Cafe, but decided to make it an early night and head towards the hotel.
Thursday 5/20/2010: The morning in Florence began with a cappucino and crossiant at the hotel and then off to the Accademia to see Michelangelo's statue of David. We also saw the Medici Chapel, San Lorenzo and then we were dismissed for lunch. We decided to keep lunch light and explore the street market for souvenirs. After lunch, we made it to the OrSan Michele to see Doubting Thomas. After OrSan Michele we went to the Museo dell' Opera del Dumono to see a wooden carving of Mary Magdalen. Our final stop was to see the Baptistery at the Duomo, but Dr. Zuraw decided there were too many wild kids and dismissed us for the day. With our extra afternoon time, Kayleigh, Ashley and I found an H&M to spice up our wardrobes. We were getting very tired of seeing the same outfits over and over and over again. We shopped til we dropped, but came out with close to nothing. We headed to dinner and discovered that the food at the trattoria was better than Toninos, but the wine was worse.After dinner, Kayleigh, Ashley, Karolina, Tip and I went back to Shots Cafe for a few pre birthday drinks and card games. However, we began to realize that keeping up with Dr. Zuraw around Florence is quite difficult and decided to head to the hotel to Skype our loved ones.
Friday 5/21/2010: MY BIRTHDAY! The day began with an Italian serenade by the Puetts. They are a wonderful couple and made me feel very special. Im not going to bore everyone with the musuems we saw that day because I can't recall a lot of the information. However, we did see Michelangelo's apartment and the Santa Croce chapel where Michelangelo is buried. That day we discovered that are not able to pick wonderful restaurants while traveling. We had poor food , but great wine with great friends. We ended the day at the Baptistery where we were dismissed to catch a train to Cinque Terre. Almost 18 people from our program grabbed our bags and caught the 5:30 train to Pisa which connects with a train that heads to La Spezia and then we had to catch another local train to Riomaggiore, our town in Cinque Terre. Our group made the first train but realized that we only had 5 MINUTES to catch the train from Pisa to La Spezia. We jumped off our train while our friend Tommaso discovered our next train was leaving from platform 2. One thing to know that when you travel in Italy is to expect the worse and prepare the worse. We discovered there was two platform number 2s. Once we made this discovery our group hauled ass: yelling, panting, throwing bags, and losing shoes. We made valiant effort only to kiss our sweet little train goodbye. This prompted our crew to pop bottles of wine and celebrate my birthday for an hour while we waited for the next train to arrive. Once we caught the next train, it was smooth sailing to Riomaggiore. Kayleigh, Ashley, Cassie, and I met our landlord Simone who showed us to our winderful apartment that overlooked lemon trees and if you stood on your tip toes you could see the ocean.However, we realized that you didnt have to see the ocean to know you were at the beach. We were surrounded by waves crashing and the smell of the ocean. After unpacking, we headed into town to meet up with Tip and Pranav for dinner. Allie, Patricia, Shanise, and Allaynah were also staying in Riomaggiore, but had already eaten dinner. We had wonderful dinner of seafood, pasta, and wine while the girls oogled the first hot italian man weve seen. Listen Ladies, he .....looked...... GOOD. After dinner, we had an early night so we could get up early and explore our beach town.
Saturday 5/22/2010: We arose to hear the sounds of waves crashing and birds chirping. The other group of girls decided to catch up on sleep while the 4 "Pharm Girls" (our nickname) along with Tip and Pranav hiked up to a small castle to get some senic shots. One thing we noticed that hill towns dont play any games and its an eye opening experience to be drenched in sweat before 9am. After gettting our priceless portraits, we rolled down the hill to find the best pizza we have ever tasted. Foccacia bread, butter, and cheese with a beer. SO GOOD! We met up with the other girls and our group set out on an adventure.We decided to trek to the Madonna Chapel which is the highest point in Riomaggiore. We took the legit struggle bus there only to see a mountain of steps ahead. Once again, drenched in sweat. Two times before noon- forget the gym, travel to Italy. After getting down from the chapel, we headed to the marina side and laid amongst the rocks. Riomaggiore doesnt has a sand beach, but has a rock marina. We had a sip of wine and admired Italy's beautiful coast. After sunbathing, we all headed to our respective rooms to get ready for dinner and a night out. That night we branched out and tried stuffed beef, mussel pasta, and SQUID INK PASTA. This dish was Kayleighs and it was Black! Check out the pics! After dinner, we found a market that sold 3E wine and started off the night right. We headed to Bar Centrale ( thanks Rick Steves) which had amazing Mojitos and we caught part of the European Super Bowls of soccer (football). We saw grown Italian men cry and celebrated late into the night.
Sunday 5/23/2010: The morning after a late night we packed our bags. We were a little sad about leaving, happy to still be in Italy and a smidge dehydrated. We caught the 10:45 am train and made too many switches to remember. The only thing i know is that I have made wonderful new friends, created solid friendships with old friends, and made memories to last two lifetimes. We made it to Cortona just in time for dinner with some viticulture friends at La Grotta. We made it an early night, but managed to swap crazy stories from the week with Jo as she arrived from Pisa.
Monday: 5/24/2010- We really dont remember an stand out moments from this day except it was hard to sit through 4 hours of science lecture and Dr. Ivarie joined the teaching staff.
Tuesday 5/25/2010: Another full day of class and then celebrated my birthday with Jo! We had a great time- i think!
Wednesday 5/26/2010: The entire Cortona program was on the struggle bus. There was a lot of cold showers, blood shot eyes, and napping during class. However, it was totally worth it!
Thursday 5/27/2010: This day was devoted to study for our test the next day! Boo for studying but lets get real- we get to STUDY IN ITALY! I hope Pharmacy school can live up to these standards!
Friday 5/28/2010- Our last day in Cortona! The day started off with class and then a test at 4:30! After the test Ashley and I look at leather goods and wine while Kayleigh got ready for dinner. Ashley and I decided to go see Francis's house from Under the Tuscan sun! We walked through the beautiful park and walked over 45 minutes to see this house. Pretty, but far out of way! We made it to dinner at Toninos just in time where were took over the large circle table and played Paranoia. Ask me how to play later! After dinner, Ashley and I headed up the hill to get ready for a night out. We met our whole crew at the Lions well for laughs, good drinks, and some amercian music! It was a fun dance party, but we headed home at midnight to skype our families before we had to catch a 7:30 am bus to Rome!