Halloween my roommate and I dressed up like dominoes. It was cute. Especially for makeshift costumes. I need a project or a puzzle or something. I suppose I should be working on my next painting assignment and I do have several papers due. I should make myself useful and get on that stuff. I just need anything to pass the time. I hate my roommates. I've tolerated them for 2 months now and I think I'm to my breaking point where I can't pretend to like them anymore. I just have absolutely nothing in common with them. I can't talk about music because they listen to nothing thats not on a disney soundtrack (this is not a joke), they've never even heard of the most famous bands I like. I can't talk about movies because they ONLY watch romantic comedies. Nothing I say they even understand. For example, I said catamaran yesterday and then I had to explain what that was and they still were calling it a "speed boat". And this is with everything. I say kitch and they don't know what that is, or straight edge. Or ANYTHING. I feel like I'm roommates with Brendan Fraiser from Blast From the Past except they don't even know about the past. My roommates have never even heard the name Janis Joplin before this trip. Have I lived on a different planet this whole time? If its not in the Bible they've never heard of it. And they all have everything in common it seems. I've made several futile efforts to seriously try and push through and I just end up annoyed again. So if you can imagine how stressed I am by my inability to relate or bond with anyone on this trip, you may understand why I am ready to come home.
Anyway. I suppose I have no other choice but to stay here and trek through this. I just want everyone to know how much I miss making a statement and people actually understanding what I have to say. I feel like I can't be myself here, I can't have a conversation about anything I'm interested in. Even Greek mythology, I was trying to explain the story behind the Trojan war because my roommate was watching Troy. And she insisted on asking me who Troy was. I couldn't have told her less than five times that Troy was a place and she just couldn't get it. I just can't take it anymore. I think I'm going crazy. Or at least I'm going to burry myself in the studio until december. Maybe I'll actually start making art thats worth my time. Yeah right.
So in Madrid, I got to go to some cool museums including the Reina Sofia which is where Guernica is located along with a billion other Picasso paintings. Also, I got to go to the Prado Museum which is where the 3rd of May is located which is a famous painting by Francisco de Goya who I learned a lot about in my Spanish classes back in high school so it was cool to see that. I wasn't feeling up to code for most of my time in Madrid. Also, in Milan where we had to catch our last train back to Florence, we missed it by two minutes. So we had to stay overnight in the Milan train station. It was humbling to say the least. It was also cold and miserable and boring. I think thats how I got so sick. I am very sick right now. I haven't been to school in two days. I can't sleep or stop coughing. And staying home in bed is very boring here. All the tv is in Italian. Anywho. I think I'm just going to give up being sick and fight back. Today I'm going to do everything I would normally do during the day. Also, I am going to try to find a Halloween Costume.
So after tapas on the 19 which was whatever day, Sunday maybe? I got super sick, like puking-my-guts-up-all-night-long sick. So the last two days I´ve been weak to say the least. Luckily, we did all the heavy touring the days before. Monday, or yesterday, we went to the Picasso Museum so if you know anything about me and my art loving you know that he is my favorite. He spent a lot of his life in Barcelona so they had a whole museum dedicated to his early works. In case you didn´t know, Picasso was a fabulous realism painter. I believe he invented cubism out of boredom. He could paint people and faces and everything like it was second nature. He needed cubism and the abstraction as a challenge. This is all just what I think, I didn´t read this anywhere, so don´t quote me. haha
Anywho, after Picasso Museum we went to Láquarium de Barcelona which just so happens to be the largest aquarium in Europe. It was pretty rad but still small in comparison to the Baltimore Aquarium. Hate to tell you folks but as far as I´ve seen aquariums don´t get much better than ours. Though the seward aquarium with Jay in Alaska is up there for me because of all the direct contact with sea life. This aquarium in Barcelona was a tad small for being the largest in Europe. Sorry, Jay but the coral wasn´t reall there either which disappointed me. However, what didn´t disappoint me was the 75 meter walk way that was completely encased inside of a tank of sharks... so you walk through this hallway and sharks and stingrays and various other fish are swimming to your left, right, and even overhead. It was cool very cool. And there was a picasso fish! google him, hes cute and totally deserves the name.
After the aquarium we wasted time before our overnight train to Madrid. The train was.... small and cramped and we couldn´t check into our hostel until 12 this morning and our train got in at 7:30 so we found a dunkin donuts to hang out in and looked at some shops. We were gross and had a film of it all over us. We dined at an amazing vegetarian restaraunt for lunch and then I took a nap because I´m still not up to code from being poisoned. hah. But tonight we´re going to watch flamenco dancing for real. Fun stuff.
On a side note: I have to mention how amazingly easy it is to travel in Europe. We have had absolutely no idea how to get anywhere and we have figured out trains, buses and planes with relative ease. Not to mention its really cheap. If there is one thing America is lacking that Europe is not, its definitely the ease of use of public transportion. When will we get on board...? (haha that was my lame attempt at a joke, in case you missed it.)
Things I miss about America:
Everything works, hair dryers, washers, stoves, and any other random thing.
Food that isn´t deep fried.
People that smile at you.
Understanding what people are saying to you.
Knowing exactly how to tip.
Being around people I actually like, and love.
Being able to sit down to shave my legs in the shower.
Not having a ¨"Poop shelf" in the toilet.
Free tap water.
Not having to exchange your money. Especially when its not in your favor.
and thats all I have for now. I should get off so someone else can use the puter.
- Location:Cat Hostel, Madrid, Spain
- Music:I think that they´re playing Gavin Degraw. (if thats how you spell his name)
Friday I left to visit Spain for my 10 day break. My first stop is Barcelona, a beautiful city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. From the first moment I stepped into this amazing city, I fell in love. I fell in love with the beautiful architecture, the beach, the presence of trees and green things all over the city, the people, and the adorable accent. People from Spain speak spanish as though they have a lisp and its really cute. Friday we got in late so we only had time for a Tapas dinner. Tapas is style of serving food, you order many appetizer sized plates of food and share them among a table. Some of the delicious tapas Ive come to enjoy are patatas bravas, which are potato wedges with a cream sauce drizzled on top with hot sauce to follow, and chorizo, which are mini spicy sausages and they are amazing.
Saturday we just roamed around and essentially found ourselves busy doing nothing. Its so easy to do nothing here. We just wander and look at all the amazing blend of gothic and modern architecture which is rad. Not to mention there is a little street band playing their music on every block, some of which could include a man playing a soothing melody on the spanish guitar, or a group playing spanish flamenco. Its all fun. We met some people watching a band play and one of them happened to be a bartender at this back alley skate boarder bar and so we met up with them later and got free drinks all night. Kristina found her self a sexy spaniard to make out with. I, however, talked to a swedish cook who had a twin brother. We mostly just talked about cooking delicious things and how funny people are when they are trying to hook up with someone at a bar.
Sunday was nice, we found a nice spot for lunch on the beach and ate some delicious paella which is a classic spanish dish. Its a plate of spanish rice topped with many many things from the sea, including but not limited to scallops, shrimps, mussels, clams, chorizo, chicken etc, etc. Very delicious. The waiter gave us free drinks to follow. We left lunch very drunk somehow. haha. We then stumbled over to this tower that has a tram that glides across to another tower so that you can get a good view of the city. It was nice. A nap and then more tapas for dinner.
Today, Monday was a Gaudi day. An Antonio Gaudi to be more specific. Gaudi is an Spanish architect that has many amazing buildings around the city of Barcelona. I have a hunch that his architecture is what spawned the term "gaudy". I cant explain his work with words. It seems very fairy tale like. If you want to know what I saw today (until I can upload photos) just google these terms; Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Batllo, just to name a few. I am most certainly in love with this city.
Tonight we plan on going to get more tapas (go figure) and watch some Spanish Flamenco dancing!
So I waited a while to update everyone, sorry!
Last Saturday we went to a vineyard and it was so cool. We got to pick grapes from the vines and eat them and they were quite delectable. We then had this fabulous 4 course lunch with some really extraordinary chocolate covered baked pears for desert. Yeah, I'm learning how to make those for sure. We then got a lesson on the wine making processes and I may have bought some things some people may be interested in....
This we mostly have just done nothing and study for our midterms, however, I am leaving for Spain in 2 days! We have a ten day break starting on Friday and my roommate, Kristina and myself, we're going to Spain for the duration of those ten days. We are flying from Milan to Barcelona and staying there for 4 days and then taking the overnight train to Madrid and staying there for 4 days. I'm very excited for all of it, plus I'm definitely going to see Guernica! Live and in the flesh. Very exciting stuff. Last night I made dinner for my roommates and Boyd and Margo. I just finished my Art History Midterm and I'm not very sure at all how I did on it. But I'm very hungry and I must go get some lunch.... Still no one resonds hah.
BTW Here is a picture of my latest painting....
Wow. So I spent this past weekend in Venice. It was rather spectacular. I only spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there, but I did so many things. Firstly, let me describe Venice. In case you didn't know, Venice is made up of several different islands which you transport to by a boat. The boats work like buses. You buy a boat pass and wait at the station until your boat comes to take you to whichever stop you desire. These little boat buses are called "vaporetti". Its all very interesting and a little stressful. The vaporetti are very easy to use however, they are so crowded and crazy that it sort of turns into a miserable experience. But the few times we got to go on them sans mass crowds of tourists, it was beautimus to say the least. Our hotel was on Lido Island which was probably one of my favorite parts. It wasn't crazy and over crowded. It was small and quaint with lots and lots of green all around. On all the islands, there are canals as streets which is really neat. I did not, however ride a gondola. They were very expensive and I had to choose to either ride on a gondola or go to the Guggenheim. So I of course I picked the Guggenheim and I definitely do not regret that decision. But let me start at the beginning....
Friday we began our bus ride from Florence to Venice at 8 am and we arrived in Venice around noon. We got situated at our hotel on Lido Island and then we went to the first half of the Biennale. The Biennale is this extraordinary contemporary art festival that happens every two years in Venice (hence why it is call the Biennale; Bi annual) Every country that participates has their own exhibit in their own building in this giant park. Once you enter the festival you wander from building to building look at each country's featured artist. There was some srsly crazy things. I can't even explain. Contemporary Art is srsly something that is new to the art world. I felt as I was going through, that if they would have waited until night and told me it was a haunted house, I would have been beyond freaked out. haha. After the Biennale, we went back to the hotel and had dinner at this awesome Chinese food restaurant. I think I passed out around 9:30.
Saturday began with the second half of the Biennale which was on a different part of the Island. I found this really awesome tote bag that said "Its not you, its me" In English with Arabic written over top as reference to the Arabian exhibit. I've decided that as far as gifts go, I'm just going to pick up things that I like or see and use on my travels and then give them all away. I felt that would be more meaningful. Anywho, after that we went to Murano Island which is wear they blow glass and make the most extraordinary things. We got a demonstration of how they mold the glass to make these beautiful ceramics. It was very short demonstration which was kind of disappointing, but still cool nonetheless. After the glass making show in Murano we went back to the main island of Venice and wandered around until finally heading back and hanging out in Lido for the evening.
Sunday began with a tour of the Doge's Palace. Doge is Italian for Duke. We toured the prisons and courtrooms and it was really amazing. There is a bridge in the palace that has two small windows in it that prisoners would see their last glimps of the beautiful Venice before being sentenced. This bridge is called the Bridge of Sighs. Because the prisoners would look out the window, see their last glimps, give a big sigh and enter into the prison. They are restoring the bridge right now so its beauty is hidden behind all these stupid advertisements that are covering up the scaffolds. After the Palace we went to the Guggenheim in Venice. It was one of my favorite parts for sure. Basically, they made a modern art museum out of Peggy Guggenheim's house. Peggy collected a bunch of modern art and hung it in her house so her house is filled with Picasso, Kandinsky, Pollock and many more famous modern artists. I also learned that the word modern is used wrong a lot and I am guilty of this myself. Modern is a term to describe the art, architecture and movement that encompassed the late 1800's to the 1960's. Contemporary is the period after that that leads us up to today. Just a little interesting fact. So if you say that Ikea furniture is very modern, you're wrong. It's contemporary.hahah The Guggenheim was amazing to say the least, it was really cool to see some of my favorite artists' work live in the flesh. So, so cool. After the Guggenheim it was time to return to Florence. A very long bus ride home and here I am back at the apartment....
Uploading Pictures may take a while so I may do that another day. I am very sleepy.
Here is a link to my album in its entirety.
Sorry this blog will be so short, but I'm very tired tonight and I need to get to bed. Hmmm.... This morning for my art history class we went to the Ufizzi Gallery. It was pretty awesome. There are so many paintings, its a bit overwhelming. The top floor was a little boring mostly because it was the same idea painted over and over again; Madonna and Jesus, painting after painting. All the while my teacher is explaining the subtle differences between each one. It wasn't the most exciting time. However, after class was over I stuck around and looked at the rest of the museum. The most famous paintings I saw were The Birth of Venus and La Primavera. Which are a some of my favorites. This is mostly due to my love for Greek and Roman mythology. Once we got to the second floor there were many Greek and Roman mythology paintings which were a lot more exciting, at least to me anyway. After class I ate a delicious Greek Burger at my favorite little cafe and then went to my painting class.
I painted from 4-10 tonight. I didn't even realize it. I'm not sure if I've mentioned my what I'm doing for my next assignment: out of focus, but I am doing a mosaic of Jason taking a photograph. Jason's face will be out of focus and the camera will be very detailed. Did I mention that this painting is about 5 feet by 4 feet? Yeah, its pretty big. I only have two and a half weeks to work on it so I am nervous that I wont be finished in time or that I won't be finished to my standards. We'll see....
In case you can't think of these paintings... maybe this will refresh you're memory!
The Birth of Venus
Okay, well I need to get to bed. So much for short, huh?
I'm so sleepy. I should really try to get more than 4 hours of sleep. You can blame Jason for that ; ). He keeps me up all night on the computer.
Today was boring. I had class and then came home and made some delicious tortellini. Instead of boiling it I just toss some olive oil, marinara sauce, salt, crushed red peppers, oregano, basil, and big chunks of garlic with the tortellini in a sauce pan and let it cook until most of the sauce is gone and the tortellini is slightly crisp and the garlic is golden. Its pretty much the most amazing thing ever. I made up this idea because I made a big pot of tortellini one day and so I put the left overs in the fridge. Well, we don't have a microwave so I had to heat it up somehow so I decided to cook it in a pan. And now I eat it almost everyday. Mostly because its cheap and delectable.
I'm still pretty tired. I think I may take a nap. I wish I had access to some sort of gym here. I'm getting lazy. This weekend is Venice!
Well, I had a beautiful weekend in Moneglia. I hiked the entire Cinque Terra trail, which is a 6 mile stretch along the mediterranean coast line that passes through 5 small towns. I can't remember the names of all of them but the last 3. First Town, Second Town, Corniglia, Vernazza, and lastly Monterrosso. The hike started out like cake and then exponentially got harder as we went on. It took us pretty much all day. By the time we got to Monterrosso we were so hot and tired, thank goodness there was this amazing beach at the foot of the trail's end. Sunday we just relaxed on our beach across from our hotel in Moneglia. We took some paddle boats out and snorkeled a bit and got a good tan. Can you believe it? Tanning in the end of September?? Still being able to swim in the ocean, or rather sea?? It was amazing to say the least. I'd have to say, if I were to move back to Italy, I would want to live in Moneglia. It was so beautiful and relatively tourist free, of course with the exception of our group.
Today we are going to the San Lorenzo church for my Art History class. Very exciting stuff. Kay, well, I'm off to class.....
P.S. Mom my phone needs more minutes so if you tried calling again, thats probably why I didn't answer. Also, if I haven't given you my number here in Italy, please do ask. However, it probably will cost you money so, I understand if you'd rather not. Kay, later gators. For real this time.
Some Pictures of the Cinque Terre Hike.
I'm here in Moneglia in Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is a stretch of 5 towns along the north-west coast of Italy. This place seems like a little vacation town, but for the Italians. There aren't any tourists in this particular town, but I'm sure there are plenty of them in other towns. Towns closer to Florence of course. But this place is amazingly beautiful. Tomorrow we are going hiking and kayaking and then probably beaching it and then dinner! Hopefully I'll get the picture thing worked out soon so I can post some.
Also, my mom wrote a poem for me so I thought I'd share it.
it’s nice to hear your voice
and feel your smile across the miles
it’s nice to know your having fun
soaking up European sun
eating ‘til your heart’s content
each day spent
for the next adventure, venturing
around the town
up and down
my baby girl, growing,
Turning out in the world
Love My Sunshine