Hey everyone! Or mom,
Sorry its been a while since I've posted, like a week, but wifi sucks and a lot has happened so I've been forgetful. When I last left off I was about to go on a tour of Trastevere which is a neighborhood below the Tiberina river in Rome. This is a very old neighborhood that has been occupied by several different groups like the jewish, who have moved to the ghetto (which is not like an American ghetto), and was once to main area of Rome. This neighborhood is absolutely beautiful and home to some of the oldeest churches. One church we went into, the Saint Maria, I think, is one of the oldest built during the Byzantine empire, so this church is decorated with tiles and mosaics rather than frescos. Unlike painters and sculptors of the renaissance period, these pieces last much much longer and are able to withstand more than the frescos paintings which are crumbling and always having to be restored.
On Thursday I left for Bologna. This is a beautiful city but very different from Rome. People o not always try to sell you things, get you to go in their restaurants, have gelato on every corner, etc. You also more italians milling about than tourists. At first my group didnt know what to do and after asking someone at a tourist information place, we got a map that had a path drawn out for us for eight places to visit in three hours, we did it in four. This included churches, museums, the oldest university, etc.
On Friday we went to Venice. We had the worst time trying to find our placeto stay the night, we were going camping in a bungalo, I did not pick, and we walked for maybe 45 min to find it in 80 degree whether. But the camp ground was actually really nice, there was a restuarant and pool, we had a shower in our bungalo which is like a shed with 3 beds/cots with mattresses, and air conditioning. At four pm we got shuttle passes to go from our palce of stay, camp jolly, and then after being confused tourists figured out we had to take a people mover, train for people, and walked through the island first taking in everything before buying anything. There are tons of souvenir stands and venice is very expensive. Really we just walked around and checked everything out, then went back and ate dinner together in our bungalo of sandwhichs, gelato, chips, and pop. On saturday we went over to the island again and we went in churches, especially the basilica which was gorgeous but also not as ornate as in Rome. We also walked around more of the island and of course we on a gondale ride, which are extremely expensive if you ever go, go in large groups. But it was worth it, we were able to go into the residential area where it was calm and quiet, and the gondalier was very helpful pointing out littl places and giving historical information. I also did a lot of shopping, of course being me, this place was my spot. We also got caught in the rain, the pouring rain, and had to run to the people mover and go back to the camp site. On sunday we were suppose to go to verona but a scheduled strike was occurring and trains were only going to major cities, it would have been helpful to know this before buying the train ticket to verona and watching as the next 3 trains got canceled. But we were able to get a refund for our rome tickets. On monday, in between the rain, I walked around the north part of rome and went to a few more churches I haven't seen yet, a crypt which we accidently stumbled upon, it was kinda creepy, and again got caught in the rain.
Today we took a tour of the Vatican, it was extremely busy, but beautiful. There is so much history there and it was amazing to see the different museums, which host some of the most famous paintings like the philosphers fresco by Michaelangelo, and of course the Sistine Chapel, smaller than I thought, and I snuck a picture since we aren't allowed to take photos, and the basilica, which is the biggest church I have ever seen in my life. It was beautiful as thought and was definetly an experience worth doing.
Now off to do the homework I should have done a long time ago!!
Love you all!!