Thursday, December 1, 2011

Berlin: Poor but Sexy

Ciao tutti!

So I just returned home from Berlin this past weekend and it was great! In reference to the title of this entry, poor but sexy is the city of Berlin's official slogan. My friends and I of course visited the East Side Gallery which I am in love with.. we actually went twice over the weekend. The paintings are just incredible and so symbolic. On the opposite side of the Berlin Wall you are actually allowed to write on it so me and my friends were able to sign the Berlin Wall :) We also went on a walking tour which allowed us to learn and see different spots we probably wouldn't have otherwise. We saw Checkpoint Charlie which was the American sector of what was once West Berlin, saw the spot where Hitler committed suicide (which is not a parking lot), saw Humbolt University and the World War II monuments. The city itself was a little bit run down but we stayed in a GREAT hostel (The Circus, for anyone interested) and it is so easy to get around Berlin using their public transportation systems. Of course I cannot forget to mention all of the souvenir shopping we did at the German Christmas Markets. They were fabulous! They are outdoor flea markets with all different German traditions.

This coming weekend I am going to visit Paris with all of my roommates! I am so excited because I keep hearing how magical and beautiful Paris is! However, it is bitter sweet since this is the last trip we will be taking :(. I cannot believe we only have 2 weeks left, time has never flown so quickly. Well I will report back after Paris!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A rainy day in Florence

Ciao tutti!

Another Monday here in Florence and the weather certainly does not help. The rain never makes anyone want to get out of bed, but I really shouldn't complain because it is still warmer here in Florence than at home in New York.

I just returned back from Amsterdam last night which was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! For anyone that is interested in traveling while studying abroad (which is pretty much everyone) I would insist that you visit Amsterdam. The city was just so beautiful, it looked a like something from a story book. The houses are all bunched together in front of all of the canals that Amsterdam is famous for, with huge windows that overlook the city that made me want to curl up next to with a good book!

We left Friday morning and arrived in the later afternoon and then left Sunday evening so we did not have too much time but I still thoroughly enjoyed my trip. We saw the Amsterdam Block, the famous windmills, the infamous Red Light District and the Anne Frank museum.

The people in Amsterdam were extremely friendly and helpful. Their city is just so clean as well, everyone rides bikes there and uses public transportation. The city is very laid back yet efficient at the same time. I can honestly say that I could very well see myself living in Amsterdam that how enjoyable my experience was.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Back to Reality... kind of

Ciao tutti!

I am back to reality today, meaning my vacation from my vacation is over! I went on a cruise with a bunch of my friends and had a blast! The ports were absolutely beautiful! Spain was by far my favorite ports of call, I really hope I get the opportunity to study there at some point in my academic career.

It does feel nice to be back in Florence even though it means that we have to go back to school. Florence really has become our home away from home because my roommates and I all agreed how great it was to get settled back into our apartment rather than sharing a tiny little cruise cabin.

Today is not only Monday but it is also Halloween! However, it Italy it is not celebrated like it is in the United States. In the States, Halloween is more for children to dress up and go trick-or-treating while the adults have some costume parties at night. Here, because there are many American students studying here the local bars run promotions for students to dress up which is nice but there is definitely a different feel about it. Halloween is on the up-rise here in Europe.

This coming weekend my friends and I are trying to plan a trip to Amsterdam! So hopefully all goes well and I will be able to tell you all about that trip. It is crazy to think about how quickly the time is flying here. There are only 6 weeks left! I have never experienced a semester passing so quickly, although I do think that by the time December 18 rolls around I will be ready to head back to the States and taste some delicious American coffee!!

Ci vediamo dopo,

Ahhh Midterms!

I cannot believe we are halfway through the semester! I know the semsters usually fly but this one has seriously been in the blink of an eye! So of course we are all going crazy pulling the usual "midterm all-nighters" but hey, well make it through. The best part of this all is that the end of the week starts our fall break! My roommates and I are going on a Mediterreanan cruise, that stops at Naples, Savona, Valencia (Spain), Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and Marseielle (France). There is a pretty big group of us going so we're all SO excited for this vacation, especially after midterms!

Two weeks ago, I had my best friend from New York come to visit so while he was here we did all the touristy things. We climbed to the top of the Duomo which I think is needless to say was absolutely breathtaking. We also went to the Uffizi and Piazza Michelangelo here in Firenze. One day over that weekend we took the train to Pisa and saw the leaning tower and hung out in the park there. The tower was actually a lot prettier than I had expected! Afterwards we took a train to Sienna and went to Piazza del Campo which was gorgeous! Afterwards, we ate at this little mom and pop restaurant right next to the bell tower in Piazza del Campo that was probably the best meal I have had since arriving in Italy. All in all, it was a good trip and so nice to see a familiar face from home.

Then this past weekend I went to Perugia for the Eurochocolate festival. It was started in 1994 because the founder was so inspired by Oktoberfest in Germany that he wanted to create one for chocolate. It was so delicious but by the end I had had my fill of chocolate. I was really glad I went though since it was a spur of the moment decision because I got to see Perugia which I might not have otherwise and experienced a once in a lifetime festival.

Well, I better get back to studying now! Wish me luck on these exams!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ciao da Firenze

Hi guys,

My name is Lindsay La Marca and I am currently attending Florence University of the Arts and I absolutely love it so far! Firstly, I want to apologize for the late posting, as we had some confusion with the blog for a while there. Secondly, I will introduce myself a little bit. I am a senior at Stony Brook University, double majoring in Italian and Spanish with a minor in Political Science. I live at home with my parents on Long Island and commute to Stony Brook, so living abroad is all the more different seeing as this is my first time really on my own. So we have all been in Florence a little over a month now and I think I speak for everyone when I say we are finally settled in. We now know the best route to go to school or have discovered our favorite gelateria (which is WONDERFUL by the way). Thus far, the courses have proven to be very interesting, however challenging, and the professors all extremely helpful and nice. Just this past weekend the entire Stony Brook Program went on a trip to Sicily which was so nice! IT was wonderful to see an island so beautiful and scenic and yet so different from the city of Florence. The part I enjoyed most about the trip was that this vacation was the first time the entire Stony Brook program spent a lot of quality time together. Before this we all hung out with our respective groups but being together in the same hotel really helped bring us together! I suppose I will end with that but be sure to look out for a post next week, as this weekend I plan on doing all of the touristy things, like going to the top of the Duomo!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Last weekend in Florence!

Ciao a tutti!

So, it's the final countdown now! Only 8 more days left in Florence! I've been sick with strep throat all week but I'm glad that I'm starting to feel better for my last weekend here! So many people are traveling this weekend, but I really think that everyone should just stay in Florence to appreciate where we've been for the whole semester. I'm gonna go to the Boboli Gardens tomorrow for the first time because it's pretty much everyone's favorite place to be in Florence and I'm really excited. I'm also gonna go to all of my favorite places this weekend because I have all of my finals next week and it's gonna be crazy between taking them and trying to pack everything up! It's gonna be really sad to eat the best food in the world for the last time this weekend! :(
Although I'm really going to miss living in Florence, I'm really excited to go home. It is really weird to think that I haven't seen my family, friends and dogs for almost four months! After you eat bread, pasta and gelato everyday you will kinda start to miss the comfort foods of home too and I can't wait to eat things like ridiculous cheeseburgers, bagels and some tacos back in New York.
This really was the best experience of my life and it gave me so many opportunities to travel and really learn a lot about my self. I discovered a new sense of independence from living in Italy and I really will miss it here.
For now, I have to start studying for all of my finals next week..ugh! I'll write soon! Ciao ciao!

-- Kelsey

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How long has it been anyway?

hey so this is kevin. Its been a while since I last updated. Looks like its been about a month. Sorry about that. I've been really busy. Sometimes life just catches up with you and something's gotta give, ya know. I've had to write papers, study for exams, normal college stuff. But when you're living here you are really on your own. You have an apartment that you share with other students, you have to manage your money, and find/cook food. You're living in a city, not a dorm. Actually, right now I'm cleaning up my apartment. But writing this is one of the many ways I've been putting it off.

Actually I knew it was time to clean when my parents came over to visit. My parents are teachers and since they had spring break last week, they decided to come over for a few days. Well when my dad came up to look at the apartment, he was clearly traumatized. There were dishes everywhere, there was trash, and the sewage system in my apartment is a little funky so you can guess what it smelled like. I'm pretty sure he convinced my mom not to come up since they didn't complain when I tried to avoid my apartment. But it was a nice visit and I was

looking forward to it for a while. I didn't have to pay for a single meal which was a great change of pace.

We even took a trip to Lucca which is a small town off to the west of Florence. Its a beautiful town perfect for a day trip. Its got a pretty cool history. Throughout the middle ages and the renaissance, the town put 1/3 of its money into building these impenetrable walls. Now that's a lot of money, imagine giving 1/3 of your money to the production of a wall. But because the walls were so impenetrable, the town was never invaded. No one even tried. When they loo
ked at the walls, the invaders would always say, "It isn't worth it, lets invade the next town." And when cannons and gun powder were used in warfare, the town knocked down its old walls and built new ones that could withstand cannon fire. The town remained free and was never invaded until Napoleon came to Italy. So when you go to Lucca, the incredibly old buildings and art are in great condition because the place was never invaded.
So now that things are winding down I'm starting to come to the realization of how much I am going to miss Italy. I was pretty homesick in the beginning. I didn't really miss anything specific about home except for the people. But going on spring break and traveling away from Italy has really developed a strong appreciation of the place. Like you realize how much you had only when you lose it. Well I got a taste of that during spring break and now I'm cherishing every moment I have in the country. But don't get me wrong, I'm excited to go back home. But I'm not excited to leave Italy.
Enough of that though, me procrastinating on my cleaning duties is beginning to upset my roommates. I'll write more later!