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Rome and Florence June 5, 2012

Posted by kroberts36 in Travel Log.
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Hello!! This is my first post to this blog, as I am just now getting access to the internet – something that I was not expecting to be so difficult!  I am in Florence, Italy now, my second city of the eight I will be visiting over these four weeks before living in Oxford for the remainder of the summer.  We arrived here on Saturday, after stopping in Siena on our way from Rome.  I really enjoyed Siena, especially the Cathedral with its elaborate decoration and gorgeous black and white marble.  I got a chance to walk around on my own after I accidentally lost my group, but ended up really enjoying the freedom and independence. 

Rome was also fantastic – as always – where we did things like visit the Colesseum, Roman Forum, Vatican City, The Borghese Gallery, and more.  Since I had been to Rome just last year, it was great being familiar with our first city and being able to navigate around, as well as revisit my favorite works of art (especially Caravaggio’s paintings and the Sistine Chapel).  I had a fantastic meal with two courses of pasta at a small place near the Pantheon.  I think the small, family run restaurants that only seat fewer than 20 customers are my favorite, and it doesn’t get better than homemade Italian pasta!!  One new thing I did in Rome was visit the Castle San Angelo during some free time and climb to the top winding through a fortress containing the tomb of Hadrian to an outdoor terrace with a breathtaking view of the entire city!

Yesterday in Florence we visited the Uffizi, and I got to see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus – something I have been dreaming of doing ever since studying it in high school!  Later in the day I went to church at the Florence Cathedral and got the chance to sit in mass under the iconic Duomo.  The cathedral and duomo are stunning on the exterior, with elaborate colored marble, statues, and every inch containing some type of decoration.  However, I was surprised at the lack of decoration on the interior of the cathedral.  But the acoustics of the organ during the service and looking up into the massive dome made up for it!  We went to a concert tonight, which was surprisingly extremely fun! The music, though orchestral, was relatively modern and upbeat – no one in the group even had any trouble staying awake!  Plus, the soloist performer, who played a bandoneon, was so passionate about his playing that he would move his body expressively as he played and even shouted out in the middle of songs and once kicked over his music stand accidentally! At the end of the concert, the conductor got the entire audience to clap along with two songs, which was very fun and energizing, things none of us were expecting to experience last night.

Today marks one week since we left for our European adventure, and it is hard to believe it has only been one week.  Already everyone in my group of 50 has become friends and begun hanging out together.  So far everyone gets along and I find I can talk to anyone so easily.  I knew we would all become close by the end, but I didn’t fully believe it could happen.  Well, I sure do believe it now, I genuinely enjoy being with every person in our group and I can’t wait to continue our trip and grow even closer with my 50 new friends!

(**Note – this was actually written last Monday, May 28, but I was unable to post it until now.)

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1. Chaffee - June 5, 2012

Be sure to look for the golden doors of Lorenzo Ghiberti!


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