Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Review of My Themes

The first theme that I chose for my blog was the theme of police in Rome. I chose this theme because this was one of the first things I noticed in Rome. I noticed that there were more police in this city then I had ever seen in any city in America. It gave me a feeling of security and also enticed me to learn more about the police force.

My second theme was the method of transportation of choice for many Romans: mopeds. I chose this theme because this was also something that I noticed immediately after arriving in Rome. Mopeds are everywhere and seem to be one of the most (if not THE most) efficient ways of getting around the city.

My third theme was one that was very simple for me to travel to every day: my apartment! Living in Santa Maria in Cappella turned out to be, at times, a trying experience. However, the rich history and interesting characters of the place really made it worth it.

Renting Mopeds

As soon as I first arrived in Rome, I noticed the overwhelming number of mopeds cruising around the cobblestone streets of the city. They were always flying by, sometimes jamming out to the radio or on a cell phone, with hair blowing in the wind (from under a helmet of course.) The people driving around on mopeds always made it look like such a fun way to get around the city. I wanted to rent a moped and drive around and explore Rome, but I never got around to it. In our Eyewitness Guide, there is information about renting a moped from various businesses. All you have to do is leave a credit card number or cash as a deposit when you pick up the moped. I guess this is something I'll have to save for my next visit to Rome!

Leaving Santa Maria in Cappella

Friday, I will be leaving my apartment for good. At first, it was really hard to get used to the apartment. This was the first time I EVER had to share a room with some one. Luckily, I got two great roommates (Ilana and Nicole V.) and everything worked out fine. Another thing that was hard to get used to were all the small problems that occurred during our stay. Showers not draining, faucets breaking, sinks leaking, almost NEVER having hot water and bugs constantly attacking you night and day were small annoyances that were hard for me to deal with some days. However, I am going to miss our apartment once I'm gone. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm going to miss our friendly doorman always saying a pleasant "Ciao!" to greet us. I'm also going to miss constantly having 12 amazing girls that I have become close with constantly around me. I'm going to miss the views from our windows and being able to wonder through a great neighborhood like Trastevere whatever night I feel like. It's safe to say that although I may have complained a lot over the past seven weeks, I'm definitely going to miss Rome!

Riot Police in Zurich

While I was in Switzerland this past weekend, there was a large festival in celebration of Euro Cup 2008. The night we were there, Czech Republic and Turkey had their playoff game. Because of this, there were crazy Europeans everywhere at the festival. Although a lot of them were intoxicated and REALLY dedicated to their teams, I still felt like nothing bad would happen like a riot or serious brawls. The reason? There were riot police EVERYWHERE. They were on nearly every corner and also patrolling up and down the road that the festival was on. They had full riot gear which consisted of large shin guards, loaded weapons and an array of other tools/weapons on their belts. The only thing that was missing that I've seen American riot police use are the giant shields to protect themselves. I guess they don't whip these out until it gets really out of hand!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Doria Pamphilj Gallery

Last Tuesday, I was able to go to the Doria Pamphilj Gallery with a few of my classmates. This is a gallery that is owned by the Doria Pamphilj family and is the same building as our classroom. Actually, our classroom is part of the palace where the family lived. I was trying to figure out what our classroom, office and computer lab could have been used for in the 17th-19th century when the family was still living there. I decided that it was used for the servants or maybe some sort of storage for the palace. One of my favorite pieces in the collection was a piece by Caravaggio called “Rest on the Flight into Egypt.” This is a painting from around the year 1600 and features the Holy Family resting while they are fleeing from Herod because he threatened to kill Jesus. This painting not only features the Holy Family, it also pictures an angel with its back facing us. The angel is playing music on a violin and is reading a score that is being held by Joseph. The attention to detail and the realness of the humans in the painting is mesmerizing. I also really enjoyed seeing the parts of the palace where the family used to live. It was neat to see the rooms that they used to sit in every day still preserved just as they were when they family was there.

Group Walk

Yesterday, my group spent the entire morning going to one place on each of our group member's walks. The walks that we had to design incorporated places that were related to one of our themes on our blogs. We began our walk by going to the main street in Trastevere called Vle. di Trastevere which was one of Shane’s places. After that, we went to the Villa Doria Pamphilj which was one of my places. This is one of the largest public parks in Rome and is still owned by the Doria Pamphilj family. It was nice to see Romans exercising and walking their dogs. This is a side of Rome I have never seen before. After that, we got lunch at the Pantheon which was one of the things on Melissa's walk. We then went to a coffee shop that is famous for having the best expresso in Rome which was one of Alyssa's places. Finally, we ended at Giolittis which Hilary told us is the most famous gelateria in Rome. I was really happy with our walk today because I went to a few places that I probably would not go to normally. It was nice to see the things that my classmates have been experiencing during their time in Rome.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mopeds.. in Gimmelwald?

This past weekend, three of my classmates and I went to Switzerland. On our second day in the country, we decided to go to a tiny town tucked away in the Alps called Gimmelwald. To get to this town, you had to take three difference trains, a bus, then a gondola (a huge cable car) to the top of the mountain. All of this traveling time is totally worth is because during it all, you're going through the heart of the Alps! Once you reach Gimmelwald, you realize that this is a "town" of only 130 people. There aren't televisions, newspapers... there isn't even a food store. Another thing that Gimmelwald doesn't have? CARS! No mopeds, cars, trucks.. nothing! Automobiles are not allowed in the town. The only people who have any kind of vehicles are farmers who get special permits to have tractors and stuff! I couldn't believe this until I saw a "road sign" that measure everything in how long it would take you to walk there. Thank God I brought my sneakers! I've included a picture of the hostel I stayed at and some of the view along with another picture of the street signs. Enjoy : )