Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday Milan

Monday September 13th was an eventful day.
We ( my roommates and I) rose at 7 and headed into town, where we caught the 8:00 am train to Milan. Three hours and two coffees and some reading later, we arrived at the gorgeous fashion capital.
After taking the metro ( so chic it even has a station called "ZARA") the sight ahead was the granduer and vast archiac design of the duomo.

They should really warn you, for as you climb the steps out of teh underground train around the city the glorious majestic church rises out above you. The piazza is scattered with tourists and fashion capital natives as the bustling life continues. To our right is a grand arch in which stores such as Prada, Louis Vioutton and the most stylish Macdonalds I have ever seen, dwell. To our left is a grand screen playing advertisements and projecting it's Italian messages to the Piazza. It's an outstanding contrast to the ancient duomo that shadows over the Piazza and the statue in it. Complete with lions and a horses.




Not much else of the city of Milan was seen. In the barely there rain and warm weather of a ( not yet vile) September, we walked the small european streets, spotting vespas and small cars the like. We reached the main shopping street, with stores of brands and also office towers of the store companies. We shopped ( un po') a little and mainly walked along the city streets, taking in the sights. I purchased a pair of flip flops that read (E Poi Amore) "And then love" for 3E and am sad to say that is the only thing I purchased in Milan, fashion capital, already advertising fashion shows for next year.

We passed a beautiful courtyard, with few steps leading up to it and grand arches of wall surrounding it, guarding it from the rain. I've been told it was used for fashion shows before, as a make shift catwalk and wanted to strut my stuff there, where the people sat, smoking, chatting and enjoying their pizza.

After the limited shopping, we explored the university, with it's grandiose beautiful courtyards, many levels and bustling student life was exhilarating. We stopped for a cafe along the way, to recharge with a cappuccino and continued on exploring the glorious university.
Afterwards, we walked the city until night fell, explored the different landmarks and took poor photos in the darkness, finding fountains, theatres, cathedrals and a buffet game festival, from which I got some lollipops.

Milan is gorgeous, bustling and a must see for all fashion or Italy travel enthusiasts.

Ciao!


Piazza in Milan.
Triumphal Arch on Duomo Piazza
Duomo Piazza Statue, with Ray Ban logo in the background.
Duomo Milan
Duomo Milan as the sun it setting.

Here is a video of us at Milan for you to enjoy.
Thanks for reading.

video

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beautiful Bologna


About a week and a day ago, I arrived in the gorgeously quaint Italian city of Bologna.
It's bustling with student life everywhere you turn, old Italian men lounge outside of cafes in the middle of the afternoon, complete with their cigarettes and wine and tourists flog the streets with maps and gelato ( a must have).

On the first day, I was simply exhausted from a long day of traveling, with a 3 hour lay over in Rome, carting my huge heavy suitcases. I arrived near 7 pm in Bologna and then caught a bus with my roommate, back to Via Stalingrado, which will house me for the next year. Then, after a shower, they suggested "we go out". A few minutes past nine, we set out to explore the town. The busy night life is nothing compared to what I'm told will be when all the students arrive. Young people scantily clad pass us in packs, heading to bars or clubs for the monday evening. Others just sit around, enjoying a late dinner in the Greek restaurants or authentic Italian ones as well. We meet up with a group of people, walking around the city, exploring and walking for what seems like hours. We find the main Piazza and many attractions and I think to myself how I'll never be able to return since It's nearing eleven pm and I am simply too exhausted to follow the street names. At half past eleven,we all lament and complain that we are exhausted, our feet are killing us and we trek back a near half hour walk to reach home.
I've never slept so well as that night.

The second day, I accompanied my roommate to her mother's house for a home cooked lunch ( not Italian, I'll confess but more German and Persian, since that is her origin) and enjoyed the day with my roommate and her mother, not exploring the city.
That night we attended a function pertaining to our faith ( Baha'i) and I was able to revel at the sheer grandiosity of the fact that there really are Baha'is everywhere. Like minded people who share the same thoughts and values, even if not the same language. I practiced some italian, communicating with maybe 5 of the 20 people in the room and felt welcomed home, but still in too much disbelief.

Over the next few days, I explored near our house, buying the necessary things, pasta, cheese, an adaptor, a light bulb and other things. I cooked my own pasta, adorned with cheese and fresh vegetables and took a few days to relax.

Following that, I got lost in the city. In truth I was exploring and finding my way by myself. I took in the city, traveling through the packed market with 5E shoes and blankets, leather coats for 20 and assorted jewelry .past countless pizzerias, sandwiched by stores like Zara or HM which don't seem to fit the beautiful archaic buildings that house the commercial enterprises. On one of these such days, I finally adventured over to the University, snapping a thousand photos of the busts of Dante and Nicholas Copernicus near a class room. I met with my advisor for exchange and asked those burning questions, but one no one can answer, and it goes something like:


"What have I done to deserve such good fortune? How am I ALLOWED to be in Italy right now?"



Most days are spent exploring, getting lost in the city while consuming vast amounts of gelato and ignoring the comments of "CHE BELLA" that are yelled. The city was surrounded by a wall in ancient times. Now just the portals remain, used by locals for meeting places or in explanations of directions.
I explore the town myself, walking almost 3 hours a day and return in the evening to relax, enjoy a home made pasta meal and to regain my strength, for the next day of exploring, bartering in the markets, snapping embarrassing tourist photos of the grand building and their perfect balconies or simply of the things that I find so amusingly different from my usual realm of life.

I go to sleep with a smile ( an exhausted smile) on my face every night and wake up to the sound of cars and Italians yelling to each other over balconies while they go for their morning coffee and cigarette.

The little things don't bother me here. A loss of direction, a thunder storm or a late bus- things that would annoy me anywhere else are bypassed quickly with a smile and an exclamation, usually:

It's fine, I'M IN ITALY.







Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dreams Do Come True

I came to Italy 7 years ago and have since wanted to return.
Tomorrow, I will be flying

Athens- Rome
Rome three hour layover
Rome- Bologna.


In short, my dream of 7 years will be coming true tomorrow.
It's a momentous dream.
I wonder, will I be able to sleep tonight?

Friday, September 3, 2010

MARK THE DATE

TODAY, I have fallen in love.


With STUDYING!
( you honestly think I would blog about my romantic life!?)

I am 3 days away from Bologna and I do believe that it has HIT ME.
Today, I practiced some dialogues, quizzed myself on quizlet( a god send!) and wrote some notes from my textbook.

While I was listening to these dialogues, I could not stop SMILING! It's like when you get your braces off and you cannot stop your mouth from smiling? That is exactly what happened.
I was sitting here, reciting some mundane dialogue about Giovanna and Francesca purchasing a gift for Guiliana and I couldn't get the smile off my face.
This is a spectacular thing to be sure.
Here I am sitting in Athens, studying Italian with a broad smile on my face, so excited for what's to come.


Oh Mio Dio! Che bouna fortuna che io posso andare a Bologna!

Time to get back to studying!

Some new words recently learned:

Foulard- Scarf
Faccia- Face
Zanzara- Mosquito
Formica- Ant
Ombra- Shadow
Urlo- Howl


And I cannot wait to see "Going the Distance" someday soon in Bologna.
Or as it is in Italian "Love over a thousand miles"

Ciao!

Poem for Poseidon



The Temple’s columns, so strong and mighty
Drift up over the sea
A hushed breeze calms the waves
As the setting sun lays to rest the same way
As any other hot athenian day

The tourists gather,
Waiting for hours to see the transformation
Of the sun
Red to yellow, yellow to gold
In a place that’s as beautiful as is old.

The glorious history that shakes the ground
Imagining the process to build such a world
The time spent on each and every block
The granite stone crushing the men
As we can barely imagine what it was like back then


Trapped in a world of history
Forever wondering what it was really like
The hot sun filled scorching day
A glimpse into forgotten time
Paying little more than a dime

Time to go, as the sun had set
The temple stands tall, columns as old as sand
They’ve seen history, lives, wars
More than I could ever know
And yet I can’t believe I have to go

This place captivates me to my core
And I think, I’ll come back one day
Then maybe ill know the history these walls hold
The stories the columns could tell
That indeed, would be impossible to sell.