Feelin’ Brand New

CIAO!

How goes it? The first half of my week has been utterly ridiculous with projects and quizzes, but as of about an hour ago, I’m done with class for the week! And I am feeling GOOD and refreshed and ready for life!  And also I’ve got a liiiittle tiny bit of time to update the ol’ blog. Awesome!

This week was lame. A lighting showroom design project due Wednesday, with most of the work occurring Tuesday night, an art history quiz Wednesday night, that was not studied for on account of the design project…. woops… (Time management is not my strong point). But that’s all done with now, and I’m still alive, so all is well. And even better–class is canceled both Thursday and Friday for me! Hallelujah! This is such a good thing because my roommates and I are moving to a new apartment closer to our school on Friday, which is awesome, but means I have to pack all my stuff, plus all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the last two months…. Hope it all fits in my suitcase!

Holy COW am I behind in my blogging…. I’ve still got to tell you about Florence, which was all the way back to the weekend of October 16.  Let’s just say… TOP weekend!  I went with my roommate/good friend Heather and we had the best time! Friday we got into Florence around 5pm, found our hostel, then went exploring.  Our hostel was in the perfect location–only about a two minute walk to the historical sights of Florence–the Duomo and the Baptistry–so we went and found those, but unfortunately they closed to the public at 5pm–just missed it.  A little disappointed, we continued our exploring.  We walked past so many high-end retail stores (Hermes of Paris, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and countless others) that made me feel so out of place–not to mention poor!  We kept on walking until we found Florence’s famous open-air leather market!  I was in hog-heaven.  There were so many beautiful leather purses and wallets and jackets and so many beautiful scarves and souvenirs as far as the eye could see!! I got suckered in and spent too much money, but boy was it cool.

About a month before, we had made reservations for a Tuscan bicycle tour  at the recommendation of my friend Kristin who did the same tour last summer, so that occupied the majority of our Saturday. We had so much fun! Probably one of the best days I’ve had over here, and that’s saying a lot–I’ve had a LOT of good days! (Thanks Kristin :))  We met the tour leaders at 10am in Florence where we were then driven about 40 minutes outside of Florence to a castle in the countryside.  A duke and duchess live in this castle, which also doubles as a winery.  We got to tour the castle/winery, sample some delicious wine and olive oil, and climb to the top of the castle to see some breathtaking views of the Tuscan countryside! BEAUTIFUL!

Florence's Duomo--pretty impressive

Florence's Duomo, impressive!

DSC04530

Heather and I with one of the tour guides

The castle we toured!

The castle we toured!

After touring the winery, we hopped on the bicycles and started pedaling… The journey was about 13 miles, a big circle through the countryside and back to the castle.  I was a little (a lot) nervous since I haven’t had my rear on a bicycle seat in probably five years, but I survived the day and got a decent workout, too! We stopped halfway for some pasta, wine, and tiramisu (refuel the carbs, if you will), then dragged ourselves and our full bellies back to our bicycles to finish up the ride.  All in all it was a fantastic day, and I’d recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat! Tuscan Bike Tours: One day tours through Chianti–look into it next time you’re in Firenze!

Beautiful views of the Chianti region of Tuscany

Beautiful views of the Chianti region of Tuscany

About a month before, we had made reservations for a Tuscan bicycle tour  at the recommendation of my friend Kristin who did the same tour last summer, so that occupied the majority of our Saturday. We had so much fun! Probably one of the best days I’ve had over here, and that’s saying a lot–I’ve had a LOT of good days! (Thanks Kristin :))  We met the tour leaders at 10am in Florence where we were then driven about 40 minutes outside of Florence to a castle in the countryside.  A duke and duchess live in this castle, which also doubles as a winery.  We got to tour the castle/winery, sample some delicious wine and olive oil, and climb to the top of the castle to see some breathtaking views of the Tuscan countryside! BEAUTIFUL!

After the bike tour we headed back to Florence to get cleaned up and head out to do some more shopping and dining, and experience the night life scene in Florence.  After dinner we walked aimlessly (always my favorite)–we found an awesome carousel that I just loved and took way too many pictures of! After dragging myself away from that, we walked about ten more steps to another piazza where a man was playing his guitar and singing some of my favorite songs (Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, Simon & Garfunkle’s ‘The Sound of Silence’, some Beatles)–very cool.  After dragging myself away from THAT, things got even cooler.  Heather and I were walking along a side street when we heard music, so naturally we followed the sound until we reached a small church that was nestled in the side of a building.  Inside was the most beautiful, powerful, breath-taking, dynamic organ music I’ve ever heard.  I don’t know if being in Italy made it that much more profound for me or what it was, but I sat myself down in one of the pews and just opened my ears to the music, which in turn opened my heart, and I felt like God was sitting right there next to me with His arm around my shoulder.  I loved that.

A carousel that I fell in love with

The carousel I fell in love with

Sunday we met up with a group from school to tour the Uffizi, which houses countless priceless works of art by the likes of Bernini, Caravaggio, da Vinci, and so on, and the Acadamia, which houses Michelangelo’s David.  Both were very impressive, and I’m glad to say I’ve personally seen what I used to only read about in books, but never imagined I’d actually get to see. Then again, I guess every day is kind of like that here in Rome! 🙂

David - Academia

Michelangelo's David (a friend snuck this pic!) He's 17 feet tall!

 After the Academia, Heather and I ran back to our hostel to collect our bags, then met the rest of the group back at the train station around 6pm to head back to Rome.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Rome, but sometimes it’s really hard to want to come back here after having such a great, quiet, adventurous weekend away!  I definitely loved Florence and hope to go back, as most of my weekend trips have been!

So that’s about it for catch-up… Tomorrow will bring sleeping in, homework, packing and complaining, as well as some fun Halloween events. Friday we move. Saturday will bring more homework. Sunday I believe we’re going to try and catch a futbol game (soccer!), and somewhere in there I hope to meet up with a friend from high school  who is studying abroad in London and here for the weekend! Next Wednesday will bring a field trip up north to Milan and Venice, with a possible side trip to Vicenza, then back home to Rome on Sunday!  No rest for the wicked–so I’d better get my winks in when I can (aka now, since it’s already 12:30am!)

Talk to you soon, thanks for reading 🙂

-J

Oh, and keep those posts coming, I love hearing from you–makes me feel like all this writing is worth my efforts!

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13 responses to “Feelin’ Brand New

  1. Miss you! So proud of you! Can’t wait to see you! Please come down to the deep south before you go off and graduate, and get a “real” job that holds you down! The girls always talk about you and still have a picture of you up !!!!

  2. What a fun weekend you had. Now that your “rear” is used to sitting on a bicycle seat, you and your friends ought to sign up for RAGBRAI!!!

  3. unless RAGBRAI has wine & pasta stops, i don’t think that bike tour prepared me for it 😉

  4. Hi Jen,
    I’ve been wanting to comment so now I’m giving it a try. You are having such a great experience, love reading/hearing about it. I want you to carve out some time when you get home to fill us in. I’m saying you need to come over quite often, since Dana won’t be home for the holidays. Rhonda is in Orlando w/Dana this weekend. I am going to H2O-loo tomorrow to see Meghan & Luke, to wetto do anything else.
    Do you think Michelangelo was a pervert?! Just asking:)

  5. Jeni,
    Another great trip! I remember seeing the statue of David. I thought it was fantastic! I also recall how great the leather shopping was. If I’m not mistaken, Chianti is also the name of a very good wine. I thought Florernce was also known for glass. You didn,t mention that.
    Granddad seems to be doing better. He said his doctor told him he is 100% better. That made him really happy. He really enjoyed your call last week. Let me know when you want to talk to him again. He would have loved the organ music. He used to listen to organ music full blast on the stereo. It about blew everyone else out of the house!
    How was Halloween night in the infirmary? Send some pictures so we can get a better sense of the place. Send some pictures of the residents in the “other” wing if you can without being too conspicuous.
    You haven’t missed too much here. It has been cold and rainy. We’ve had over 6 inches of rain in October. Three times the normal amount.
    I would like to see your designs for the lighting showroom. I would also be interested to see what the instructors thought was good. What a dumb assignment.
    Guess that’s it for now. Hang in there.
    Love,
    A. Sandy

  6. Hi Jeni,
    How are you? Looks like you’re having a fabulous time touring Italy. I love the blog – my mom recently passed it on to me. I’m enjoying all the stories. Take care & maybe I’ll see you soon.
    Katie

  7. I’ll do the bike trip ONLY if I can have the same cute tour guide! Glad to hear you got to move closer to your school. As you know I was in Orlando for a long week end with Dana. We had such a great time together! We shopped, we ate, we shopped, we were tourist and we shopped. Did I mention we went shopping?! Anyway it was a girly time 🙂 Love reading about all your adventures! Love Ya, Rhonda

  8. Tough couple of days @ work, j-jo. But, hey — some days are diamonds, some days are stones, right? Old guys still have to learn to take the good with the bad, and your writing surely helps me do that. Today, the boss and I are crankin’ ’round the hacienda, trying to get ready for the fam comin’ in. We’ll get done what we get done. Howzat? Keep writing, even if you have to shorten up on the entries.

  9. Well I’m pretty envious. Sounds like you are doing exactly what you need to be doing…… experiencing Italy every way you can. I hope to get there one day soon. Maybe you can give me lots of tips. Now when you want to do Paris..ring me up. I’m there with you!!!

    Have fun and don’t miss a trick!
    V

  10. I came by to check and see that I’ve not missed anything. Thought I’d send a hug while I was here though.
    Ciao!
    xx
    V

  11. Hello cousin 🙂

    Forgot about your blog until Sue reminded me! Glad you are having a blast. I miss you! When you come home we shall catch up over a nice brewski – hehehe.

  12. brewski??

  13. Hey, Lady…I check this thing like every day and again…no updates?! You know I’m trying to live vicariously through you. You’re killing me! 🙂 JK hope you’re having a blast this week and not working your butt off! 🙂

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