Monday, April 4, 2011

Bologna and other AFSers :)

Me and my host mom on top of duomo
Today's monday. a week from this past weekend, i guess about 10 days ago, my fam and i went to Bologna. Friday right after school i went home and ate and my host mom and i were on our way (by train and only train) to bologna. We took the train from ghemme(my new village, which by the way i love, for some reason that no one understands haha) to novara, novara to milan. There we had about 2 hours until our massive fast train from milan to bologna goes(actually the end of the line goes to salerno, all the way near napoli!) Also here in milan my host sister Vale met with us. but she waas finishing up school stuff when we arrived, so we went around centro and ate panzerotti, the famous folded pizza thingies. they are amazing, heaven in my mouth.. :)

went on the top of duomo(i go to milan a lot, been to centro a lot, but never been to the top before) and it was beautiful! took lots of pics(which i will put up hopefully tomorrow) Took lots of pictures! and it was absolutely a beautiful day!

Me and other Seattlite
Little did i know it was the week of an exchange week for a post near milan. one of my fellow Seattle friends also through afs(who now lives in rome for the exchange) was there for his exchange week(remember mine was in sardegna) and he happened to be on the top of duomo that same hour that same day(the exchange weeks have programs of activities to do everyday of that week) and we ran into each other! it was rreally good to catch up and itt was really cool to just run into someone like that that i know from seattle! what a coincidence!

Rushed back to the station, met my sister, took the train. I slept.. i love sleep. italy makes me tired. Got to Bologna, it was about 6 in the afternoon. walked around a bit(beautiful city!) found the hot and washed up. out and met with my host dad(thereason we went to bologna is because my host dad has a business meeting type thing there. and my family decided it'd be a awesome idea to go since also they havent ever seen or been to bologna!

Had dinner(also with other people who work in the same field as my host dad, as far as im aware. but they are like from norway. but they live in italy, and they work here. i dont know it sort of confuses me, i just go with it) and we went to this restaurant, and i ate lasagne. but not normal lasagne, BOLOGNA lasagne! bologna is famous for its meat, and the lasagne was the best lasagne ive ever had! (oh and the restaurant had a hole in the floor, covered with glass. and through it you could see ruins of ancient italy under, nothing big but still. EVERTHING IS ANCIENT AND BEAUTIFUL IN ITALY!) its especially interesting to me since im a hsitory freak. but yeah this gives another point. these ruins are justn everywhere like its normal.
aka good night, good dinner, bologna is awesome.
Walked back home, the streets were live with university students(bologna is also famous and full of universities, i think i want to come back here for university) It was relly lively and lights everywhere :)

i think we would have stayed out but we were all dead tired. went back to the hotel and i immediatly fell asleep.
The next day, out and about. saw all the tourist sites, checked everything off our list! wandered the street markets(which are everywhere in italy, and are seriously the best things ever) and the markets in bologna are the best ive ever seen and been to. like seriously everything was so cheap... wooo shopping!

 <-------------- two famous towers, most famous thing in bologna. the one more to the left is crooked if you cant tell.. I think its famous for that xD

Me and my host sister Vale at the towers

After lunch, I met up with one of my friends. I have an american friend(the only other chinese american) who is now living in bologna. I got to meet up with her and that was really fun! (and another afser who i hadnt met before, a girl from finland) we wandered the streets, and caught up, and well really not much else becuase we had so little time, like one hour or an hour and a half. But it was just really nice to see her. Basically This weekend was another really cool weekend with my host fam :) i love them so much! they take me to see all these things, we get a long so well, they know i enjoy history and travelling. I dont know im just so happy with them! i like being with them, i like doing things with them. I'm so grateful im with this family now.

Seeing my seattle friend on the top of duomo, and being able to meet up with my friend in bologna was just icing on the cake :)

Prima Vera. 150 anniversario Unità di Italia!

So two weeks ago, It was the 150th anniversary of Italy. UNITED Italy that is. (All the different parts were not together, the north used to be under austrian power, and the south under spanish) Italy is like one of the oldest countries ever, or the area, you could seriously find ruins if you dig a hole anywhere.(It's apparently difficult to build new stuff because if you dig and find something, which they almost always do, you have to stop, youre not allowed to destroy it and build any further) but Italy the country itself is actually really young, WE celebrated 150 years! so we didnt have school thursday, and for my school we didnt have it friday either because, my school doesnt have school saturday. Make sense. In my regione, the main city is Torino, which was the first capital of Italy. Soooo In Torino there was a BIG festa! fireworks and everything in the streets from like 10pm until 3 in the morning. But i couldnt go because it was a bit far, and it rained so.. since its a party in the streets.. idk. Just saying, think thats a bit interesting though, since its in my region. haha

Car made and desgined just for this occasion. saw in in a shoe store at mantova
Most of my schoolmates went to the disco since there wasnt any school. I instead went to a small concert, My friends host brother is in a band, and him and his friends are all music people. so we went to their small band concert thing. It was pretty chill

Anyways, point is, Italy is 150 years old now! And there are Italian flags everywhere! Now is the time where theres the most italian pride like ever everywhere. And now is also the time (for a number of people) to protest. my friend explained to me a group that dont want italy to be united, they go around and protest how different region should be apart, or how at least the south and north should be divided, as far as i understand. The south and north really dont like each other, its like a sort of competion i think. (The cultures and everything are SO different! I still wont get over how different my experience in sardegna was, for only one week there, verses my life here. ) But yeah they protest in this period on purpose, becuase they dont support it being united.

MANTOVA(march 17th-18th)

Thursday (since we didnt have school, haha! only awesome thing about my school!) my family and i(one of my sisters Ari, because the other had to stay in milan to study) left for mantova and sabbionetta. These two places near each other in lombardia, like 2 hours away from where I live. We went for a day in sabbionetta, and the evening and next day in mantova. Both are REALLY PRETTY! .(mantova, where romeo in romeo and juliet was banished.) we saw a castle and palaces, and there is this one room with the most beautiful painting ive ever seen! it was on the ceilling, with cupids and like the heavens(i think it was gods looking over, i dont remember)looking over. I wanted to take pictures but we had to turn everything off when we went in :(

This is a picture of the painting, but i had to get it off the internet lol
Center of Mantova

Typical cakes of Mantova
Went back home friday night, stopped in milan to get my other sister vale, and we ate dinner there, the BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD, then returned home. On this trip i saw so many things that were history and beautiful. Trips like this really make me fall in love with italy so much more. every where you go, everything is old, and beautiful

VERONA ( march 19th-20th)
Following day, saturday i went to verona. I went to visit one of my friends who went to Seattle last year on exchange, she is an italian from verona. Anyways My host mommy took me to the station at novara(main city of local chapter) and then i took the train to verona. My friend was in school(yeah thats right, were in italy, saturday school. its funnn haha.. well i can only imagine cuz in this case, my school is awesome.) so her mom met me at the station and she drove me around. She showed me some of the city. Then we met my friend back at their house. Had a yummy lunch, and hit the town. My friend lives right in the center of Verona, so we walked around, they know i like archaeology, so they showed me the archaeology museum. actually theres a lot of ruins in verona. theres the Arena

There's stuff in the Arena because they were preparing for a concert
The ruins are seriously everywhere. Theres like random holes in the ground just so you can look down and see the ruins. It's actually really fascinating, to think about how old this place really is, and how you can just look down beneath you and see these ancient artifacts of the past. how often do you get a chance to just wander the streets and look down and see that?! Maybe its just abnormally interesting for me because i want to be an archaeologist xD Anyways. I actually went to see Juliets house, like in the movie Letters to Juliet, and took pictures of the famous statue and the love writing everywhere, I waited in line like all the other tourists and I TOUCHED JULIETS BOSOM! hahahhah. so yeah
Verona is sooo pretty! this was basically one of the best weekends ever! Cute trip with my family to mantova, and the next day went to visit one of my friends :) i got to see a lot of things and it was a beautiful weekend! the weather was absolutly perfect!
View from the top of a hill where there is an austrian castle. View of all of Verona :)

Ciaoo Rachael

A presto