Can you find my name?? Can't leave Cortona without signing the UGA flag in Lions Well!
Thursday, May 31, 2012
You never know what you might stumble upon walking around the historic Naples after a delicious seafood dinner. First we came upon an old castle. Taking pictures outside, we realized people were walking in, so we followed suit. There was an opera going on. In a castle's courtyard. And we could just walk right in and enjoy it! Moving on, we came upon an indoor city of sorts and all laid down to take pictures on the intricate tiled ground. Next thing we know, Italian boys (8-year-olds, of course) are right therr with us! Later, we literally stumbled into a man offering boat rides--at 11pm at night. In a small motor boat. You're only in Italy once! We all grabbed a Peroni beer and jumped in. Our adorable driver never took a cigarette out of his mouth and didn't speak a lick of English, but he was so funny and cute! I even it a sloppy, wet kiss on the way out...could've probably done without that. A random, unplanned night I will never forget.
While I have not hit the running trails as often as I'd like, I think this is the first place where running is truly enjoyable! Wild, red poppies growing everywhere, quaint houses of stone carved into the hillsides, and the most perfect weather. I never want to leave !
Friday, May 25, 2012
We toured one of Cortona’s most renowned wineries on Wednesday. Everything we have been learning in lectures finally clicked when we could see the vines, trellises, fermenting barrels, aging wines, etc. In addition to the detailed tour, we, of course, sampled the wine—including the sparkling! The owner, an attractive 30-year-old Italian (Momma Mia!), taught us a very valuable wine-opening technique…with a sword! A few in our group took turns opening the bottles. Stephanie can definitely claim the most dramatic opening.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Yes, that is 5 bottles of red wine, a variety of fruit and a splash of orange soda in a bucket in the woods. Like I have mentioned before, here in Cortona, we take our classroom wine lessons just about anywhere! We had a fun night in the park drinking Sangria and watching the sunset. Our plastic cups, blue bucket and 2 Euro wine may not scream classy, but with a view like we’ve got, you don’t need much else…
Monday, May 21, 2012
On Saturdays, la Piazza Republica turns into a giant market, overflowing with vendors selling clothes, shoes, fresh fruits and veggies, and even meats and seafood. I felt right at home—just another Saturday at the Farmers Market! You could literally get anything you wanted and it seemed that everyone in town was there shopping around. I purchased a couple soft scarves and drooled over a pair of 150 Euro leather boots. My conscious got the best of me, and I decided to sleep on it and wait until next weekend to make the decision…so far sleep has only led to dreaming about them!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
There is nothing like a Sunday night beer (Italian Peroni) and a futbol game at the pub! Almost reminds me of Pauleys back in Athens...Cortona has everything I want--well, except Chick-fil-A. That will definitely be the first stop I make when I am back on US soil: a number 1 with an upgrade of large fries and a Diet Coke! For now, my Nastro Azzurro will hold me over just fine!
Can you think of anything more precious than a little, old couple walking arm in arm through the cobblestone streets of Italy? It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of traveling—wanting to see and experience everything—that you forget to just enjoy the scenery around you, including the people. That is the great thing about studying abroad; you get to become truly immersed in the culture of the town. Cortona is a perfect place to get to know some of the locals by name. It has been so fun finding my favorite spots for coffee (Bar 500 has my Grande Skinny Cappuccino), before dinner wine (Enoteca and prosecco), running trails (that I have never actually run on yet), sandwich shops (Molesini's #6) and, of course, late night fun (cheer to The Lion's Well). We are trying a new chocolate shop tonight that I am sure will be added to the list soon...
We spent Wednesday exploring the city of Assisi. It is a beautiful town, climbing a huge hill like a flowering vine. The winding streets (le vie) and avenues (i viali) are filled with restaurants, sweet shops, leather stores, cathedrals and way too many tourist stops. That is the one thing I really hated to see: one tourist shop after another, all the same as the last, and all the same you've seen everywhere in the world. Luckily, all I had to do was look the other direction and see the most stunning views of the rolling countryside!
Typical classroom setting right? It is for us here in Cortona: fresh cheese, prosciutto, grilled eggplant and, of course, our delicious red wines. I can’t believe I’ve been brainwashed to think dark, stuffy classrooms are the norm for a good education! Each day we have a wine tasting where we identify characteristics of the wine and pair it with food.We’ve been learning so much about how to detect the aromas and tastes of wine. I can honestly say I love going to class! Plus, you will never find us complaining about homework—every night you can find my study-buddies and me brushing up on the previous class’s teachings. Cheers!
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Ciao! So, I've made it to Italy! A plane, two trains and a bus ride later, I found my new home away from home in Cortona. Not a shabby view, huh? Despite the fact fewer people spoke English than I expected, I managed to sign language my way through the many ticket purchases, terminals and finally up the long and VERY steep hill to the dorm. I came sweating and half limping, but arrived in one piece and still with enough energy to explore! The city is stunning. Surrounded by a stone wall, there are gorgeous 360 degree views from nearly every point. Of course, I had to get a double scoop of gelato for the walk. Besides the blueberry and chocolate gelato, I bought a bar of olive oil soap. Scrub-a-dub-dub!
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Well, it's official! Someone let me wear a crooked cap in my graduation pictures! It's bad enough I am missing actual UGA convocation and I had to borrow a cap and gown for photographic reasons, but then for the cap to be crooked, too? My mom's worse nightmare has come true... In all serious, though, today was the defining moment when it felt real; I am done with college, graduating. Tomorrow I going to Atlanta to house hunt, Thursday I walk at Grady's ceremony and Friday I'm off to Italy--big girl stuff. So, obviously I had to drown this terrible thought with one more night at Bourbon Street- Athens infamous freshman bar! Let the caps be crooked and the good times roll...
Monday, May 7, 2012
Throughout my life, my mom and I have always shared special traditions--nothing fancy, but moments that have meant the most to me. As a little girl, we would get Sonic limeades after my gymnastics practices; in middle and high school we would drink diet coke and watch Oprah after school; now that I'm 22 and graduating college, we are drinking margaritas and Dos Equis together on Cinco de Mayo! Though our drink of choice has changed over the years, and my future is full of uncertainty, I know one thing that will remain constant is our ability to enjoy simple moments and a cool drink!
Thursday, May 3, 2012
One week from today I will be crossing the stage for Grady College's graduation ceremony. ONE WEEK! I love this picture of Athens' Twilight bike race last week. With the Georgia Theatre in the background, the riders are just a blur in the scenery. I have been one of those cyclers these past four years at UGA. Racing around, speeding towards the finish line. Now the end is in sight and I wish I could slam on the brakes and start over! I should have stayed a victory lap...