Monday, June 4, 2012

Some Pictures from Rome

I thought I would post some of my favorite pictures from the trip thus far...just a few!

Swiss Alps from the plane. Even though this was taken
with my phone, it's still one of my favorites...those
mountains are so beautiful.

Gorgeous chandelier!

What talent Rome holds! It's everywhere!

How cute is this? I just don't think I'll ever have another
cappuccino that measures up.

Gosh, this was so precious. I took this when
we were doing some sketches under the bridge in the rain.

The Colosseum with some color! I was excited to get this shot.

An interesting angle of "The Wedding Cake Topper."

Some of the weirdest, prettiest plants I'd seen.

This church in Orvietto was magnificent!

Loved hanging out with Christine...because she does stuff
like this. "Huhh, huhh, huhh..."

Chaynce was one of the most charismatic guys
I've ever met in my life! Such a great addition to our group!

How could I NOT take a picture of this? Gosh, he's so adorable.
Jeremy has the cutest family!

I love the muted colors in captures
the night perfectly. This was one of my favorite
moments for some reason. It was so peaceful
as we walked home in the rain that night...and gorgeous.

The beach was so beautiful!

The gorgeous sunset!

This actually creeped me out when I saw the photo. Weird seagull
interrupting my time lapse video! Haha.

Fountain in Tivoli.

Jenny's "senior picture." I had was the perfect spot.

I had to get a close-up of Jenny. She is gorgeous! Best roommate evaaah.

I loved hanging out with these girls. Never a dull moment! So
glad I met such great friends.

My favorite so far! I always wanted to do a light trail photo and
I'm so glad I got to! Thanks for going out at night with me, Christine
and Paulina!

Monday, May 28, 2012

#13 - Life is full of surprises

I headed off to the cafe to start my day (today was Briana-meets-the-Pope-for-lunch-at-the-Vatican day). Our favorite cafe didn't even have one cornetto cioccolato, so Jenny and I went to "il cafffe con tre effe" (a little further down the street) to get a cappuccino and a croissant. We picked out our croissants and headed over to the bar to order our cappuccinos.

Pastry lady
We stood among a crowd of about 10 others, waiting to get their morning espresso or cafe latte. As the crowd surrounded us, Jenny's cappuccino was delivered to her in a plastic to-go cup from a man behind the counter. We like to put sugar in our cappuccino, so she removed the lid and put two packets of sugar in the cup.

I ordered my cappuccino while Jenny replaced the lid to hers. I said "cappuccino" and just as the gentleman turned away, a warm and now-sugary splash of a freshly brewed caffeinated beverage collided with my face. Half of Jenny's cappuccino had managed to make its way onto my face, into my hair, onto my scarf and my left jacket sleeve, while the other half splashed onto the floor and counter in the cafe. Needless to say, we were all surprised, especially the baristas, who looked as if it had never happened before.

Jenny had pressed too hard on the lid, causing a cappuccino explosion. After the shock died down, we laughed it off (and so did the baristas) and she was given another cappuccino. Jenny went to the cashier to pay for hers and wait for me. I received my cappuccino and poured in my three packets of sugar (because I can have three packets of sugar if I want).

I simultaneously grabbed my pastry bag and replaced my cappuccino lid, without realizing how hard I must have been pushing on the top of my to-go cup. Before I knew it, my cappuccino was all over the counter and the floor of the cafe within two minutes of Jenny's initial explosion, but this time, the employees didn't think it was as comical. I felt terrible, but couldn't help but laugh at the coincidence and the utter embarrassment. I couldn't believe it and I honestly didn't know what to do.

There were people all around me and there was cappuccino on the floor. I grabbed the tiny napkins and tried to mop up some of the mess, but gave up when people started giving me mean glares. I took my new cappuccino (layered with two cups for reinforcement) as the barrista pointed at it and told me in Italian "don't push on the top" and "don't take off the lid." I know he was thinking, "Americans..." So, sorry guys, I didn't make a good impression today. I paid for my drink and pastries and left.

We met up with the rest of our group in front of our apartment. I waited until I got on the tram to put sugar into my drink, and I drank it as soon as I did so I didn't have to worry about any more cappuccino surprises.

Spotted sleeve
With my first 20 minutes out the door consisting of two exploding cappuccinos and almost missing the tram, I wasn't sure how the rest of the day would go. After a long day at the Vatican, I decided to relax in my apartment. I took a long nap, got dinner from a small restaurant a couple blocks away, and watched a movie in bed, safe from exploding drinks and from walking street vendors asking me to purchase an umbrella every ten seconds.




Saturday, May 26, 2012

#12 Don't always take their word for it

When you stroll into Olive Garden for a family outing, you expect a taste of Italy, right? Zip through Fazoli's and pick up some delicious Italian goodness. "Italian food" has always been one of my favorites. I have always enjoyed lasagna, fettuccine alfredo, ravioli, spaghetti, pepperoni calzones, and pizza. I fully expected those dishes in Italy, only BETTER...because I'm in Italy.

You hear people say "Italy has the best food ever"...don't always take their word for it. I might be the most picky eater in the word, and I am probably just used to the Americanized versions of "Italian food," but - don't hit me - I really don't care for the food here. To make my point evident, here are some examples of authentic Italian meals straight from Rome and my kind-of-harsh opinions on them (don't think I'm a pessimist, but as already mentioned, I'm really picky...).

My first meal in Rome was only 3 Euros. It wasn't that
bad, and it had bacon in it, so I was pretty happy. It did,
however, make me worry about the food here and how
much I was going to like it...
This was pretty good pasta with red sauce, and I
didn't have to pay for it because Jeremy bought
everyone's food. I'm not complaining about this one!
Ham and cheese on bruscetta. The bread was soggy
(I think they soaked it in broth or something) and
I'm very picky about ham. I could only eat
two of these. EEEEEW. I was definitely my second least
favorite dish here.
Carbonara is probably one of the better things I have had here,
but it doesn't have much taste to me. Jeremy suggested I get
this because I was craving some alfredo. (They don't have alfredo
here...nothing even close! Why do Italian restaurants serve
it in America?) It had a "white sauce" which is probably the
closest thing I could get to alfredo. It wasn't close,
but it was pretty good and it did have lots of cheese! Mmm.
I decided to get daring on one of my more recent meals.
We went to a Chinese restaurant. I wasn't really sure what to order
because I had no idea what anything looked like;
thank you American Chinese restaurants for putting pictures
on your menus. I got BBQ looked
just like Zach's "spicy chicken" so I am suspicious as to whether
it is not the same dish with a different name. I did, however, pick out
all the chicken and drench it in soy sauce.
This takes the cake as the worst dish I've had here. And I really
tried to eat it! It was spinach lasagne...and it was the most
appetizing thing on the menu...EW.
This was a ham and cheese panini from a really cheap place. It was
pretty bland and almost tasted burnt, but it wasn't terrible and it was
probably worth the money.
This panini is THE best thing I've had here and I think I paid
2.50 Euro for it from a street vendor on my way home from
the Colosseo. It had spicy salami, so it tasted almost like pepperoni.
(They don't have pepperoni in Rome! "Peperoni" here means pepper.)
This potato pizza was very bland, kind of like eating soggy crackers with
sliced potatoes on them. Okay, that was over-exaggerated,
but I didn't like it very much. Like most other pizzas here, it didn't
have sauce, and didn't have enough cheese for my taste. I love cheese.
This was carbonara, too, and it didn't have much of a taste.
It was pretty good. If you like noodles with a little bit of
parmesian, you'd like it.
Now, these...these are the exceptions: pastries, tiramisu, and gelato. I will REALLY miss these.

Nothing pastry-wise tastes this good at home. Chocolate cornettos.
I will miss my favorite pastry shop right down the street.
I will definitely miss authentic tiramisu.
And I will miss gelato.
...Especially chocolate-covered gelato.
I know I just complained a lot, but I really do miss the food back home including our "Italian food" with pepperonis and alfredo. I'm pretty sure I've lost 10 pounds between smaller meals and walking so much.

I'm worried I will gain it all back when I get home because I began to comprise a list of things I want when I get back to the states. I soon realized the list was basically a list of my favorite foods. Upon my arrival in the states, I will soon have the following:

  • 1 soft taco supreme with no lettuce or tomato and 1 Doritos locos taco supreme with no lettuce or tomato from Taco Bell
  • El Patio beef nachos
  • Fazoli's breadsticks
  • My granny's chicken and dumplings
  • Steak and A1 sauce
  • Shell macaroni and cheese
  • A pepperoni calzone
  • A scrambled egg sandwich
  • Loaded baked potato
  • Biscuits
  • A soft pretzel with salt and mustard
  • Sesame chicken from Sakura

Mmmmmm. We've got it made in America when it comes to food choices! Can't wait to get back to eat some good ole southern cookin'...Taco Bell, here I come!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

#11 - Be confident

If I've learned anything in Rome, it's this: you must be confident in your decisions.

Be confident or you will get run over. If you step out too soon or too late into the streets of terror, you are doomed. BUT, if you are aware of your surroundings, you can confidently walk in the direction of the closest sale without being flattened by a leather-jacketed biker or a 60 mph (100 kph) taxi filled with tourists snapping pictures through the window glass.

Be confident that you can say some Italian words correctly, so when you need medicine for your throat, you can actually receive the proper care. Thankfully, I did!

I may or may not have spent a lot of money in the past few days with this "confidence method"...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

#10 - Don't settle

When it comes to things you really want in life, you shouldn't settle for less than you deserve.
Definitely don't settle when it comes to important life decisions like finding a husband, a job, or a nice trench coat.
20 Euros...I AM SO EXCITED!
Today, Christine and I went to the flea market right outside of our apartment stretched forever! It's the largest flea market in Rome and obviously so - we spent 6 hours there! It was huge! I dished out about 70 Euros and got some really good stuff.

A look to the left...
A look to the right...
It goes on for further than you can see from here! We had so much fun laughing with and at the vendors and the weather was perfect. It was such a great day to spend walking at our own pace and being emerged in the culture. We used lots of Italian today...Christine and I are getting excited about our expanding vocabulary! We also learned to haggle the prices down with the vendors. We may or may not have bought...

A table of clocks...all of them.
Gas masks...we actually need these in some parts of the city...
Bedazzled jeans. Check those out...

GULP. What?!

Clothes and scarves and hats!

Okay, it's probably obvious what I bought: the gas masks.

What a great day to shop...I loved it! Thanks for going with me Christine!




Saturday, May 19, 2012

#9 - Sometimes, shoes matter

When packing for Rome, I thought immediately to bring tennis shoes and a pair of walking sandals.

The first few days, I wore my sandals. They had lots of straps and were very light and comfortable; perfect for walking! Ha...

BUT...after those first few days, the top of my left foot began to hurt extremely badly on the top of my foot where my sandal straps crossed - to the point where I couldn't walk anymore. My foot felt bruised, it was swollen, and I was worried that I wouldn't get to do anything else for the rest of the trip.

I took it easy for a few days, taking taxis, trams, and metros. Then I switched to my tennis shoes, and began to walk with a limp (swag), to relieve pressure on my left foot. However, due to the increased pressure on my right foot and the hard impact on the cobblestone, my right ankle began to feel like it was going to pull or twist when I stepped. Awesome.

Thankfully, today we found a farmacia; the pharmacist said an ankle wrap would help me to keep from twisting my ankle and relieve some pressure.

So far, so good. I hope my feet get better. Next time, I'll shoes only! 

For now, I'll continue embarrassing fellow classmates with the dorky, unattractive, yet extremely helpful new addition to my wardrobe.