Thursday, August 28, 2008

arrivederci roma!

Sadly, I am leaving Roma tomorrow morning, but happily, I am going to Firenze (plus, I will definitely be back to Roma a few times in the next 4 months). I am really excited to get to Firenze and finally unpack!!! 

Yesterday, Valerie, two of her roommates, and I went to the Vatican museums and saw the Sistine Chapel. Then they had to go to class and I got to tour St. Peter's Basilica. Not only that, I took a tour of the cupola (dome) and was able to get a birds-eye view of Roma. However, this was after a near panic attack because the way to the top of the dome is not too kind to people with claustrophobia. I managed to survive and make it to the top... and it was well worth it!
Here is the view from the top!
An "illegal" picture of the Sistine Chapel. 
Gnocchi, pasta, e Coca Cola Light!
Roman ruins.

Anyway, I am leaving for Firenze tomorrow and Valerie is coming with me to help me with all my crap and because she wants to see Firenze. Plus, I helped move her in, so I'm grateful that she can do the same for me! 


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

pictures, finally!

I was finally able to upload some of my pictures. I'll post the good ones and all of the other ones can be seen on my Facebook eventually. 

Me and Val at the Colosseum.

The Colosseum is so beautiful at night.

The Pantheon.

In Piazza Navona.

Our first gelati.

The Vatican.


Monday, August 25, 2008

roma: il buono ed il brutto

Things I like about Roma (il buono):

-water fountains everywhere that spout clean, cold water.
-walking everywhere.
-getting lost.
-espresso (un caffé, per favore!) and cappuccino.
-the bridges and churches and rooftop terraces. 
-HOBs (hella old buildings.. I'm talking like 2000 years-old). 
-naps after lunch.
-the Trevi Fountain.
-the Vatican at night.
-everything at night.

Things I don't like about Roma (il brutto):

-people who feed pigeons so they swarm.
-walking everywhere.
-getting lost.
-huge tour groups.
-mosquitos and their subsequent bites. 
-the fact that a lot of places are closed between 12 and 4pm every day and all day on Sundays. 


Sunday, August 24, 2008

ciao bella

Since my last post, I have done a lot of sightseeing in Roma. Yesterday, despite having a blister the size of a quarter on the ball of my left foot, I walked around the city and went to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. I absolutely loved the Trevi Fountain...and of course I threw a coin in! I also enjoyed the Spanish Steps, especially because I remembered that in the movie Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn, she gets her first gelato and eats it in front of the steps. So cool!

Yesterday I tagged along with Valerie's group because they got a guided tour through the Colosseum and the Forum by the professor of Ancient Roman Civilization. It was really helpful to have someone explain the ruins to us, considering when Valerie and I first saw them we said, 'Um.. there's one hella old building' and 'Here's some more old stuff.' Not very scholarly. Anyway, the Colosseum was amazing and since we went on a late tour, by the time we grabbed dinner afterward, it was dark outside so it looked even more beautiful.

I still haven't gone inside the Vatican, though practically every night Valerie and I have been sitting in front of it for a while because it's sort of in between her apartment and my hostel. It's really peaceful and beautiful at night. We were hoping to do the tour today, Sunday, but I guess the Vatican Museums {with the Sistine Chapel} are closed on Sundays. We'll have to do that another day then. Instead we are going to the Trastevere neighborhood, which is supposed to be really cute and my brother recommended a great pizza place around there.

Speaking of food, I had really good lasagne last night. It was so cheesy and creamy and the pasta tasted homemade and absolutely delicious! Yesterday was the first day I didn't have gelato... yikes! I have discovered a yogurt-flavored gelato that is like a really amazing and creamy version of Pinkberry. Obviously, it's way better and it almost has sort of a cheesecake-y quality about it.

Well, Val is supposed to be meeting me shortly, so I better run. Once I get my photos uploaded and I am not on the hostel's computer, I will definitely post some. I have so many already!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ciao from roma!

Val and I arrived safely and soundly in Roma and spent most of the day yesterday sleeping. The flight was fine and so was the Rome airport. Today we got our cell phones and got Val's key to her apartment. Unfortunately, I don't think I am going to be able to stay with her because it seems as though they have a strict 'no guest' policy, but we can assess the situation once she is settled. I don't mind staying in the hostel we are at but it will cost some euro...

I had my first Italian pizza for lunch yesterday and while it was very good, I'm sure it was not the best in Italy. We did have some AMAZING gelato today. My tiramisu one had fudge and lady fingers in it! Sooo good and much better than Naia in Berkeley.

I do not know how frequently I will be able to post while I am in Rome because I have limited internet access, but I just thought I'd do a quick post while I was at a computer.

I do like Roma, but we have not been to any tourist areas and I would like to go to the Vatican and the Trevi Fountain (among other places) and I definitely have the time to do that before I get to Firenze! Roma is nice, but I feel like Firenze will be my home sweet home away from home.


P.S. My cell phone number is 3663661865 and Val's is 3387840570 and you have to dial 011-39 before those numbers.

Monday, August 18, 2008

andiamo a roma!

The time has finally come for Valerie and I to say "ciao" to the States and make our way across the Atlantic Ocean to Rome. Our flight is tomorrow at 9:00AM out of LAX and we arrive in Rome at 8:50AM on Tuesday, August 19th. Aaaack! I'm very nervous for the flight because I don't particularly enjoy flying.... hopefully everything will be okay. 

Here's the address where letters and envelopes can be sent to me (but not packages... I have to find out the deal with that): 

Lisa Marie Bayless
c/o CEA Florence GlobalCampus
Piazza della Repubblica, 6
50123 Firenze, Italia

(There you go, Michkie.)

Alright, time for packing/bed/freaking out. Hopefully I can post when I arrive at the hostel with free internet! 


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

leaving for LA tomorrow!

Wow... it's finally here! I am leaving for LA tomorrow afternoon and I am excited to see all my LA-area friends, some of whom I haven't seen since May! 

I am continuing to pack all my stuff. Finishing up today involves doing a bunch of laundry and then realizing that nothing more will fit. Yikes! Well as Tim Gunn (woo! PR is on tonight) says, I'll have to "make it work!" 

In other exciting news, I was finally able to pinpoint where exactly my family was from in Italy. I knew we were from Genova (Genoa), but I found that my great great grandparents were born in a village about 30 miles away called Terrarossa. These are parents of my father's mother's father (confusing?). Anyway, I thought that was cool. We don't know where exactly in Italy the blood-related family on my mom's side is from because she was adopted. I forget where my grandpa's family (not blood-related) is from in Italy... I'll have to call him and find out. Anyway, here's a map of Genova and Terrarossa... hopefully I can visit!

View Larger Map

I finally bought travel books, since I couldn't commit to one before. I ended up getting Florence Lonely Planet and Florence & Tuscany DK Travel Guide. I started to read them, but it's very overwhelming! I also bought a book to read on the plane called Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach. It has a pretty cover and it's about a woman who travels to Paris, Oxford, and Milan... very relevant to me! I hope it's good. That's pretty much the only book I am bringing right now, besides the 1st and 3rd Harry books which I am bringing in case I have a panic attack on my flight to Roma. Maybe I'll find some books at the airport... but I really need to get a book of crossword puzzles at Kepler's tonight. 

Well time for more laundry/packing! Let's see if I can fit everything or if i have to repack my entire wardrobe...


Friday, August 8, 2008

getting close: one week to go!

So I told myself that I was going to go to bed early tonight.... or at least I was going to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for a good 3 hours and then go to bed, but neither of these scenarios transpired. Instead, I spent about 2.5 hours looking at all sorts of things.. a few of which were related to my trip..

First, I spent about 45 minutes on Google maps because I got the address of my apartment in Firenze. It is Via dei Banchi, 6, 50123. Below is a satellite view. If you zoom in, you will see that my apartment is only 2 blocks away from the Duomo! And I am close to the train station, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Boboli Gardens (which are supposed to be amazing). 

View Larger Map

Second, I was checking out hotels and hostels for both Roma and Firenze ("sidebar"--I have decided to name all of the Italian cities in their Italian names for the purpose of this blog). Valerie and I are going to be arriving a day before her program starts, which means she doesn't have housing until the following day. I was also thinking of getting to Firenze a day early because I have to meet someone at my apartment at 11:30AM to get my key, and it doesn't really sound appealing to take the train from Roma to Firenze at 8AM. 

Third, I was on my assorted "daily" sites such as Facebook, lolcatz, and Perez Hilton for a good long while.. not. very. stimulating.

In other news, I began to pack today and it actually wasn't as traumatizing as I thought it would be. I am bringing 2 normal-sized suitcases, 1 duffel, and a backpack. I found these compressor bags called "Space Bags" that you pack, zip, and push all the air out and they work much much better than I thought the would and they have made a lot of extra space. I had to laugh at myself, because I am a dork and I labeled each bag with what is inside. Honestly though, once you shove 4 black pieces of clothing in one bag, you don't know wtf is in there, so labeling it totally made sense. It was just very "Monica"/OCD of me to do it. 

Anyway, time for Harry & bed.