That's what I get for not writing anything for a few weeks. Too too much has happened. Somebody somewhere decided it would be really fun to cram all the major papers and tests of the semester into the last 4 weeks, which is just cruel. It was nice to enjoy the rest of the time, but this is also a big travel time in the semester so it's just crazy all the time and everyone has reverted to normal school/stress out mode.
Some of the highlights of the past few weeks, though:
-Went to the wonderful little town of Pienza, home of pecorino cheese. Also where I spent too much money on cheese which I am still working on (but no regrets).
-Went to Orvieto for a day--a nice little town which sits up on a plateau of volcanic rock into which the Etruscans dug an intricate system of tunnels for their workshops. My friend Sarah and I took a somewhat lame tour of the underground. Our guide didn't really know any English except for the facts she told us, so whenever we asked a question she just said "Yes yes yes!". Not very helpful, but still an interesting tour. It was also a funky town with lots of interesting craft shops and very good white wine, so we had a blast.
-Went to Perugia, another college town like Siena, with some friends. Mostly we just wandered around, ate a nice long lunch outside, took some silly pictures, and went to an Italian pop-art exhibition.
This past weekend the whole group (all 19 of us) went to Venice and I couldn't have loved it more. We had great weather, which is apparently unusual for Venice, and plenty of free time to explore. With our teacher Peter we went to a Titian exhibit, a few churches, Peter's favorite sandwich and prosecco shop (sparkling white wine), and an art school. With the free time we wandered around and on Saturday afternoon I went to the island of San Michele, which is Venice's cemetery. Apparently this was a strange option and nobody wanted to come with me. They all wanted to shop for fake, cheap glass instead. I had a great time though. Overall, I really really loved Venice. There are no cars, little night life, and a diminishing population, so it's a pretty quiet place, especially at night. If you know me well, you know I love peace and quiet. So I loved Venice. The water, sunshine, bright colors, and British people I met on the vaporetto ("bus" system on the canals) probably helped. Here's the street where our hotel was (in a residential neighborhood):
After Venice I went to dinner in Bologna with the group and then back to Padua on Sunday morning to see some more art--the Arena Chapel with Giotto's wonderful frescoes. Padua was great, mainly because there was a lot of green space which I have really been craving lately. I got to one of the parks with my gelato and took my shoes off and squiggled my feet in the grass for the first time this semester. It was wonderful.
Well, so a lot has happened. And I've written some papers and what not as well. I'm exhausted. But there's still more to come! I can rest when I get home.