Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Viareggio Beach Trip!

This past weekend we took a day trip to Viareggio beach on the western coast of Italy and it was amazing! By the time we got there it was beautiful out and the water was the perfect temperature for swimming. It was incredible to be swimming and see snow capped mountains right on the horizon, definitely not something you’d see on the north shore of Long Island. As we were first testing out the waters we made yet another new discovery—there was a huge jellyfish floating around which I later learned is called the Medusa jellyfish. Huge. Also something you’d never see around Long Island, and I’m sure everyone could tell as much from my reaction to it. The life guard on the other hand just came up, flipped it over, and carried it off like a basketball. No, thank you. That was the extent of our run ins with fauna for the day, and getting to swim in the Mediterranean was a really nice break from our first week of classes!

Viareggio was a great beach town to walk around in, too. For lunch my friends and I explored local restaurants right on the beach and the one we chose, just like everywhere else I’ve eaten so far in Italy, was delicious— I had gnocchi with tomato sauce and basil. Naturally, gelato followed.

Leaving Viareggio wasn’t as easy as getting there. For one, no one wanted to leave the beautiful beach and town. Secondly, we ended up having to wait at the train station for the train strike to end before one rolled in that could get us back to Firenze. Luckily we didn’t have to wait long, but it was an experience nonetheless.

Like my weekend excursion, my time spent in Florence and in class has been awesome. I feel like I’m learning nonstop every day, and its great. Two of the classes I’m taking at FUA are cooking classes through APICIUS, and they do not even feel like classes, they’re just so much fun. With the exception of baking cakes, brownies, and cookies, I’m not exactly an expert in the kitchen—just ask my family—but at this rate I’ll be returning home a culinary master. So far we’ve made a delicious lemon tart, an Easter tart with spinach, artichoke, and hard boiled egg filling, and eggplant parmesan. Man oh man. And the best part is that we get to eat our results at the end of class. My other classes are just as fun, if not as filling, and the majority of the time the subjects are so interesting it doesn’t even feel like I’m in a classroom. One thing I’m not going to be able to get used to is learning Italian history IN Italy. What. A. Privilege. Everything I’m learning has only made me appreciate the city around me more, and I love practicing my very limited Italian with the locals—I’m getting good at ordering panini… lots of practice. As long as you make the effort, people are more than happy to help you learn and talk with you. The same goes for the students traveling abroad with me; I’ve never met a group of nicer, more outgoing people than those I’ve met this semester and it’s been remarkably easy to get to know and become friends with everyone.

This upcoming weekend a group of us will be taking a day trip to Cinque Terre so I’ll keep you updated on how it goes! Ciao for now!

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