Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Italy and Hungarian Superstitions

Happy New Year!!!!
How’s the accordion shop? Are you missing the puppies? Have you sent out any new query letters? Figured out what to do with Don’t Forget the Hummingbirds, sans zombies? (I almost just capitalized zombies – what is the world coming to?!) Anything else new and exciting?
I learned some fun New Year facts a la Hungary. 1) The way you spend New Year’s day is the way you’ll spend the rest of the year. So I hope that your day was full of happiness and excitement! 2) Don’t do laundry on New Year or bad things will happen which I think is a kind of fantastic superstition because I need no excuse to not want to do the laundry! 3) Eating pork on New Year’s eve is lucky, but I don’t eat pork so I had chicken which means I’ll be poor this year, but this is not unexpected being a full time student perhaps though I’ll be more careful in the future :p
Italy was exquisite!
I flew into Rome late on the 17th made it to the hostel crashed and woke up to catch the train to Venice. I spent two days in Venice, got lost in the wondering streets, met a few American’s in my hostel and split a gondola ride still expensive, and no singing (the guide said we would have needed to give him a lot of wine before that would happen!), but beautiful nonetheless and I adored every single shop and every stand with a mask even sort of displayed and felt a very strong desire which I barely squelched to walk around singing Masquerade from Phantom.

Then I said farewell to Venice and made it to Verona safe and sound but without the benefit of wireless and at the cost of a late ethics paper… Still, totally worth it. In Verona I saw the House of Juliette and the archeology museum, as well as several spectacular churches, and an outdoor garden that transported me back to all of my favorite regency novels. I wish I knew how much I was going to love Verona I would have stayed another day, but I did not know so I basically ran to the station to catch my train to Florence.

And just as a side note the train system in Italy is lovely and cheap and easy to navigate and though I got lost a lot of times it was never at the train station and never resulted at ending up in a random city.  Also, there is almost always internet access and a place to plug in your computer ah, 21st century travel!
In Florence the hostel was awfully cold, but the people were nice the linens clean and the shower hot and I don’t think you can ask much more of a 7 euro a night facility. The owner kept trying to get me to go out drinking with him and he was quite young and not totally unattractive, but I got a weird vibe off of him and so I insisted that I just wanted to sleep. Florence was my art city and I saw more exhibitions than I care to list off, but I did have a favorite location and that was the piazza Pitti. The gardens, even in winter, were mesmerizing and I spent all morning walking around admiring the statues and thinking that I should probably make enough money to afford a backyard. They also has the modern art museum which has some early impressionism and a wonderful costume gallery that left me itching to be back on stage. Ok so I fibbed I will tell you about one exhibition it was called Money and Beauty and it was about the rise of the florin as the first real currency and the changes this meant for the social hierarchy as well as the church and how they bent their own rules to prosper as well. It was incredibly interesting and I read every single plaque – they were in Italian and English - yay for tourism!!

(P.S. The David in the pictures is simply the replica sadly no pictures were allowed of the origional as was the cause with the Venus and several other pieces oh museums and they're silly rules :p)

Somehow while booking my hostels I missed a night and so instead of staying in Florence one more day and making an excursion I simply booked a hostel in Pisa. I got to the hostel early and decided that I’d pay the 5 euro to ride to Siena – it’s a good thing that the ride through Tuscany was enough to take my breath away because when I got to Siena I promptly got lost, dropped my map, and wandered aimlessly for three hours until I found my way back to the train station. Needless to say there wasn’t a lot of sightseeing, but it was an adventure and even wandering the streets was a day well spent.

I left my luggage with the hostel the next day so that I could explore Pisa which basically met I just wanted to see the tower, but I got turned around and ended up at this amazing little medieval church with the most beautiful stained glass window I’ve ever seen that wasn’t even on the tourist map. I’ll post a picture, but it doesn’t do it justice… I did make it to the tower about 20 minutes later and it wasn’t nearly as overrated as I has expected it to be – quite a beautiful area actually. Then I got on a train and was off to Rome, but we passed the sea and I’ve decided when its warm I will be returning to check out the coast of Italy and if the train ride was any indication of its majesty I may never leave!

I got to Rome late on Christmas Eve and checked into the hostel and slept quite soundly, but was up at 7:30 like I was home for Christmas and couldn’t wait to get downstairs. Of course I couldn’t get back to sleep so I read and then took a walk around the area I was staying in – nothing was open so I didn’t even try to take the metro into the city center – and I waited until six and skyped with the family. I spent my last two days exploring Rome. It wasn’t nearly as wonderful as I expected it to be but I did see a really awesome Socialist Realism exhibit and some great Russian photography. I did the Vatican and the Coliseum and the Fountain de Trevi – you know all the spots you here about and say one day... – but I was slightly disappointed. It was lovely, if I had an opportunity to go back I would, but it was a letdown compared to Verona or Florence. I think it was the overall atmosphere because it certainly wasn't for lack of (beautiful) things to see... 

My friend Christine from Elmira is hear for the week and were headed to Vienna and Bratislava for a few days so my next blog will be full of more pictures!
Let’s set up a writing day or send one another pictures and write an across the ocean flash, please (I’m still convinced we can make it into a book and sell it for our first million!) :)
Miss you lots!

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