Thursday, June 26, 2008

Trip to a winery

We (Jenn and I) are going back to the winery in Alba that I went to with USAC tomorrow, we found their website and it's pretty cool!

Check it out!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So we just got back from our weekend getaway in Rome. It was amazing!

Day 1
On our train ride down we made friends with two Italian children Alberto and Frederico 6 and 10 years old, respectively. Frederico was very talkative and played games with me like tic tac toe, hangman and we took turns practicing Italian and English together. He taught me colors, letters and numbers! When we arrived in Rome at the Termini (main terminal) it was only a ten minute walk to our hostel.

Our hostel was in a nice building with lions on the doors and inside it had pretty marble floors, ferns and then a little tiny elevator and I mean, tiny, it fit like two people that took us up to the fifth room where we had a nice little room. It was a little after noon and we decided to jump right and go sightseeing.

We went to the Colosseum which was so impressive up close and took the tour inside and went through the museum. We walked through the rest of the archaelogical ruins near the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus which is where they had the Chariot races and where part of the film Ben-Hur took place. We did a ton of walking and got a little sunburnt -- it was a very hot and humid day in Rome. We walked back towards the main Termini and had lunch in a little Ristorante -- my first meal in Italy which was some really good pasta. We also went and saw the Fontana de Trevi which is a very famous and beautiful fountain and then we also walked up the Spanish Steps and had some Gelato. We did a little more shopping around and then went back to the Hostel to clean up for dinner.

For dinner we went to another Ristorante downtown in Rome and shared a bottle of Chianti and some more pasta. We also strolled by the Repubblica a large column style building with a big piazza and modern romanesque fountain in front of it. The fountain is said to be modeled after two Roman sisters who posed for it.

Day 2
The next day we set out to do the rest of our sightseeing. We ended up buying a pass for a tour bus that you can "hop on and hop off" which worked out pretty well. It took us through the city with an audio guide and described the different architectural details of different parts of the city -- barpque, medieval, gothic, etc. There are so many little churches and beautiful things to see that you could probably spend weeks in Rome and not see it all.

We ended up at a really large Federal building...I wish I could remember the name but the pictures of it are really cool. You could see the burnt parts on the building from WWII. Anyway, we walked around that and went inside to the military museum which has lots of really cool artifacts and is really nice. After that we also checked out some egyptian obelisks, the remains of another archaelogical site and hopped back on the tour bus thing. We got off again at Castel Sant' Angelo which is a short distance from the Vatican. We had some really good pizza from a little stand and ate it on the steps of the Tiber river.

So we had to check out the Castel Sant' Angelo which was built by Hadrian in 135 AD as a masoleum and was later used as a military fortress and sometimes Popes would hide in it during times of turmoil. Its really pretty because the bridge leading up to it has all these statues of angels. Instead is a really beautiful statue of an angel done by Michaelangelo. The Castle itself is really neat, we got to go into the bottom and there are dungeons but we didn't see them. The rooms are huge and very ornate with frescoes on the ceilings and one room full of a huge cherrywood cabinent. Lots of artwork was on display also. In one room of the castle people were dressed up in costume and singing medieval hymns which was really neat to watch. The best part of the Castle was the view -- you could see the entire city and Taylor got a great panoramic of the city.

So we got back on the bus and headed to the next stops and ended up getting off at a church called St.Mary's Maggiore (I think thats how its spelled.) This church was really breathtaking on the inside because the ceiling was done in beautiful paintings and was covered in the first gold from the new Americas! Also this church is really old and was contributed to by a whole bunch of Popes so it is considered the best mix of many different architectural styles. That was the end of our sight seeing for Sunday because it was so hot and humid. We had kind of an expensive dinner at some place called the "Washington."

Day 3

Our last day in Rome we had to go to the Vatican. We got up at like 5:30am to get there really early which turned out really well because the place was pretty empty. The square in front of St. Peter's Basilica was empty too and we got some great pictures, oh and there were a ton of nuns going to the morning mass. Inside it was huge! The ceilings must have been like 100ft high and they were covered in frescoes, gold, and really ornate carvings and cornices. The Priests were giving the morning services in Latin and all the nuns where there -- so neat!

After that we went to the Musei Vaticani which led up the Sistine Chapel and all the other museums related to the Vatican. We saw too many tapestries, paintings, treasures, trinkets and other things to list so I will just say that the long corridor leading up the Sistine Chapel and the Sistine Chapel itself was very amazing. We also with the Posteo Vaticano and sent out some, some special people will get special blessed mail straight from the Vatican. After that it was back to Torino on a long and arduous train ride that got us here two hours late (and was not that fun...but if anyone asks me now I will just say we got a scenic tour of the Italian Riviera.)

So, that concludes our trip to the Eternal City. We had a great time and we are going to do some fun stuff here in Torino :)

Roma, Italia

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trip to the Beach

Yesterday (Sunday) we went to a small town on the coast of Italy called Alassio where we spent the day hanging out at the beach. The town was really nice, I went with Britney and Jaime because everyone else was somewhere else in Italy or Europe this weekend.

Here are some pictures:


Countdown to Jenn: 4 days!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Upcoming Weekend...

Everyone seems to have either a 3 or 4 day week end this week, which is pretty awesome. Two ofgirls across the hall with a couple guys from upstairs are going to Florence this weekend andshould be getting back sometime on Sunday. The girls from upstairs (Jess and Cassie) are going toRome and should be back sometime on Monday. So it looks like the only ones left downtown thisweekend will be myself, Britney and Jaime, possible one of the guys from upstairs but I'm notsure. I think we are going to go check out some of the museums in town (there are tons) we talkedabout going to the Cinema museum and maybe the Egyptian one again (Britney hasn't seen the dead bodies yet lol). We are also planning on going to the beach on Sunday. I think we are going to either Genova or some other beach town near by (about an hour train ride).

So far this week it's been pretty nice, (it has been raining a lot in the past couple of weeks, almost non stop a couple days). But this week has been pretty nice, it was really warm yesterday and only rained for about an hour in the afternoon (of course the hour we went for a walk without an umbrella).

Next Week:
I don't have class on Friday or Monday so for me it's a four day weekend, which is nice because class is pretty tough. But I do think I am going to go in and see a tutor on Monday since I don't have class. And we have a midterm on Tuesday so that's probably what I will be spending my time on on Monday.

Countdown till Jenn comes!: 8 days

Best Gelati!

This place has the best gelati (ice cream) in Torino! Molto bene!
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Monday, June 9, 2008

New Italian Shoes

Bought some new shoes yesterday at the mall.... pretty sweet they are "Made in Italy" and have leather insides... :-) my other walking shoes were getting pretty grubby so I've been looking.
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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Trip to Alba (Wine Country)

Today we took a "field trip" to a city about an hour outside of Torino, called Alba. It's in what they call "Piedmont" which is generally the wine country in this part of Italy. It was extremely beautiful, there were orchards for as far as the eye could see.

First we stopped in the actual city of Alba, and visited an outdoor market. I bought a new belt, which is made of "Italian Leather" and made in Italy, it's pretty nice. The market was huge and there was everything, from toys for little kids to hardware, to clothes and fruits and veggies. A couple of the girls bought new purses and a few also bought some scarves, so for the rest of the day they were all wearing them, it was pretty funny. After walking around the market for about an hour I found Cassie and Brittney and we decided we had pretty much seen the market and decided to go find a cafe. We found this really nice little cafe down the street, Cassie had a glass of wine, Brittney had a shot of espresso and I had a hot chocolate (they are really thick, really hot, and really rich). After hanging out at the cafe for about an hour and eating some antipasto (appetizers) we met back up with the rest of the group to head off to the winery.

About 10 minutes later we pulled into this small little farm/winery where we had lunch. It was really good, the USAC people are really good friends with the family that owns it. We had a ton of appetizers, cheese, salami, bread, Italian salsa and some other stuff. We also had some white wine, because apparently, you are supposed to drink white wine with appetizers. I tried some, it was pretty strong but not too bad.

Then for the main course we had some really good pasta which had ground beef in it. With this course we had some red wine. There were about three different types of red wine circulating the tables, one was called "Dolcetto d'Alla, which was really good, very smooth and it didn't have too much of an after burn. The other one I tried was called Cial, which I didn't like very much, it was a little stronger and a lot more dry. And the third I didn't get to try.

After we were all done with the pasta, the hosts passed out some cookies that were all different flavors, like peach and grape and a ton of other flavors, I tried the amaretto flavor, but it was really strong and pretty rich. With the cookies we had a different type of wine, what they call a dessert wine, which is sweet. This probably my favorite wine of the day, it tasted almost like a soft drink because it had a small amount of carbonation but it also was really sweet.

I ended up leaving with two bottles of Dolcetto d'Alba, a bottle of the sweet wine called Spasus and another red wine called Nesbiolo d'Alba, which I was recommended because it was like the Dolcetto but better. These are mostly gifts but I'll keep secret who gets what ;).

After leaving the winery we headed about 15 minutes down the road and up a hill to a castle that is about 600 years old. The castle was kind of boring but the scenery was the best part because you could see the entire valley and all the surrounding mounts from the top of this hill. I have plenty of pictures!

Overall it was a pretty fun day, got some really good food, some good wine and a great look at the Italian countryside, which most of us decided would be a great place to live!

Alba - Piedmont

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Muzeo Egizie

Jaime and me went to the Egyptian Museum in Torino on Sunday, it's supposed to be the second biggest in the world next to the one in Cairo. It was pretty cool, as you can see from the picture, they had mummies on display, it was pretty creepy. I was going to go on Saturday but me and the person I went with (not Jaime) couldn't find it, turns out we were like a block away at one point.

Museo Egizie

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day Trip to Venice!

Check out the link below to see the photos from my trip to Venice! It was a really nice place, very beautiful city, but there were tons of tourists and all these little crappy touristy booths with junk. Once we figured out how to get away from that area of town it was really nice. The whole place is pretty expensive, it took us an hour to find a place that we didn't have to sit down at (because they charge you more) and all I got was a big thing of water and a chicken sandwich and it was 7E! We saw tons of gondolas, but didn't get a chance to see how much they are, I'm sure they are a pretty Euro. Instead of like a normal bus system they have a boat bus system where you ride this big boat up and down the canal, or you can take a very expensive taxi ride, which again is in a boat. I saw more Americans on this little day trip than I had all week, so it's defiantly more touristy than Torino.