Friday, February 10, 2012

Ciao Bella!

As I left Germany Monday morning I was anticipating warmer weather on my arrival in Italy, boy was I mistaken. Italy has been colder and has had more snow this year than in about ten years. Apart from the weather Italy is exactly what you imagine.... My first night I stayed in Torino at a hostel tucked away on a little street. After finishing my first Italian pizza ( yes I ate it all ) I went back to the hostel and coincidentally the girl sharing my room was a dancer as well! Thank goodness she speaks Italian and was able to find our way to the audition because I most definitely would have been lost. That night I took the train to Genova to stay with Alberto! Genova is very small and incredibly old. Everywhere you turn you see the most beautiful paintings on the walls, architecture, fountains and courtyards. We dropped off my things and then spent the night wandering and eating our way through Genova. Our first stop was this tiny restaurant where we had a glass of barbera. During the hours of 4 and 10 in Italy if you go somewhere to get a drink, for free they bring you out meats, breads and cheeses. So for 6 euros you can enjoy a perfect glass of wine and a delicious assortment of food. We then walked through the maze of streets and went to get the famous focaccia that is sold all throughout Italy.  Before dinner ( still more food! ) we took the "elevator to paradise" an elevator you take to the top level of the city and can see all of Genova from. Breathtaking. He then showed me Columbus's house of birth. Yes, Christopher Columbus. That is how old Genova is. For dinner Alberto took me to this little Italian pizzeria which is known for its extremely cracker thin crust. The next morning I met Alberto's friend Camilla who spent the day taking me to see the rest of Genova. She took me through churches and mansions and courtyards. It is so amazing how this architecture and history is part of everyday life and so normal to see.  Peeping through an archway while walking down a street I saw a fountain built like a waterfall in the side of the building, with huge icicles hanging down it making it glisten in the light. That afternoon I hopped on the train to Milan. When I arrived Giovanni ( Alberto's  friend ) met me at the station and we immediately went sight seeing! He took me to see the Gateway to Rome, the Duomo and the Galleria Vittirio Emanuele where on a part of the marble floor there is a mosaic of a bull and it is custom for good luck to put your heel on the balls of the bull and spin around three times. So naturally I did. The next morning I took on Milan alone and revisited the Duomo so I could go inside. The Duomo has just recently been uncovered from renovation. How do you explain something so immense and intricate? A picture - That should help.... the top of the Duomo is the highest point in Milan. A short walk from the Duomo is Piazza Scala with the famous statue of Leonardo Da Vinci.

   I headed to the train station that afternoon to go to Bologna to see the Waller's! I met Todd at the Neptune statue in the main square of Bologna. Expecting a snow storm in Bologna we rushed back to his house to pack up the kids, jumped in the car and drove to their beach house. The storm hit this town as well ( Cervia ) and the people here have not seen this much snow in ten years or more! This morning we drove into town to pick up grocery's for the weekend and made a pit stop at the beach. It was so windy but so pretty. The beach is normally 50 meters from the dunes but today the water was all the way up to the dunes! In town we got coffee and Italian pastry's ( cream puffs, almond cookies ) then I got to explore the Italian grocery. I love seeing what different countries grocery stores are like. The full squid in the fish section and then the frozen clams next to the frozen pizzas were the winners. 

Since I had been in Germany for the majority of my first month in Europe naturally German is what I have picked up and how I respond to things like yes, no, thank you, hello, goodbye, etc. and I keep responding to people in Italy in German... So confusing for everybody having an American girl speak German in Italy.

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