Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 28: Spoleto

Yesterday I decided to take a quick day trip south to Spoleto.

Waiting at the train station....looking in the direction down the tracks to Spoleto.

Color story.

The duomo in each city seems to always be my favorite thing to see.

Especially the frescoes on the ceilings.

The bridge (you can see it in the picture I took below) was filled with etchings and graffiti. I found it beautiful with people declaring their love for one another. However, later I was told this bridge is a very popular bridge for people to commit suicide.

July 28: Spoleto

Close Up.

I forgot about the time that everyone in town literally disappears for the afternoon. From 1 pm - about 4pm you can hear voices of families in their homes through the streets eating lunch together. So instead of my plan to shop a little I headed back to the train station.

This street 3 hours before literally was filled with people. Not anymore! Just me.

So I pondered at the park instead.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Mare and Spello

Spello is a town about 5 kilometers from Foligno (biking distance in which I conquered) and is on top of a hill over-looking the countryside (very similar to Assisi but much smaller and quieter probably because you can't find it in many tour books). I wandered the city and ran into maybe 20 people (tourists and locals combined). The city is known for its small picturesque viewpoints. Local shop-owners sit in a near-by square talking to each other-only to get up and return if a shopper looks decently interested. I decided to read my book that day (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

This was the beach when we were in Genoa.


This past weekend I visited Genoa on the "mare" with the family. We shopped around Genoa for an afternoon where I was able to taste the famous foccacia that makes Genoa so famous. Chrisopher Columbus was born in Genoa (made to my knowledge that I wouldn't be alive if it weren't for Mr. Columbus by Maura). I had my first authentic pesto dish with gnocchi, two more big loafs of foccacia, brioche (croissant for breakfast) Chianti wine, and a big Caprese salad at the beach (unlike what is offered in America= hamburgers, chicken fingers, and french fries). All in all, the weekend was amazing and I shall be back soon.

Jim Morrison (There is a guitar festival in Genoa)

Duomo (the port city of Genoa was designed with tall buildings and narrow passage-ways to keep invaders out, which resulted in it being very hard to photograph buildings from far away)

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."

Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Inside the Temple of Minerva.

Caprese Panini from a slow-food enthusiast, "Friendly Fabrizio", as described in my tour book.

View of Assisi over the Umbria countryside.

Path through Assisi.

Waiting for the train back to Foligno.

July 22

Yesterday, I went to Assisi. I packed my backpack with my computer, all of my books, camera, wallet, etc. Jessica told me she hiked the way from the train station to the city itself and didn't take the bus. I got to the train station in Foligno and bought my ticket using the automatic ticket machine for the first time. It was easy! I had to wait almost an hour before the next train came so I read my travel book and planned what to do in Assisi. I got off the quick 15 minute train ride and started my two-mile venture to the center Assisi by foot, passing all of those waiting for the bus. I quickly realized in the 95 degree heat and beaming direct sunlight it may be a slow death.

The walk turned into a hike when I started to get closer. Assisi is on top of a big hill overlooking the Umbria countryside.

There was only one other person on the path up to Assisi and from a distance, I followed the old man. Suddenly I felt ok. By the time I reached the outer city walls of Assisi, I was completely drenched. In order to follow my tour book's guide through Assisi, I had to keep climbing up to the highest elevation and make my way down. This is part of the city wall on my climb up.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jessica's House

Colfiorito (Jessica's Countryside Home)

The big Italian lunch...I think we had four courses (not including gelato)...and of course started with pasta!

Maura & Marta



My "purse"

Trying to make it look girly.

July 17

"Last night for dinner I could smell something familiar cooking. I was excited to see it was puff pastry cooked with egg and prosciutto. I have never had that before but the puff pastry was something I definitely know. We also had a tortilla filled with proscuitto ham. After we ate tomatoes with olive oil. Then gelato for dessert!"

"For lunch today, Massimo made us bowtie (farfalle) pasta with feta cheese, arugala (rucola), and chunks of ham. Fresh grated cheese on top! Yum. I took this picture for you Bryant."

"Today, Massimo and I talked about American salad dressings and how we Americans have a hundred different types of dressings. Here in Italy they use only olive oil and balsamic. He said he remembered French dressing from when he went to the states. I told him most Americans don't have access to or choose to buy local foods so they disguise the flavor with dressings and spices. The food is very simple here, no disguises. The Italians do eat bigger portions here though. I think I am expanding my stomach. :( "

July 15

"I didn't finish telling what we did last night. For dinner we ate a type of meat like ham but from the cow (similar to prosciutto). It was placed on the plate with olive oil, radish and shaved Parmesan cheese. I ate it with fresh bread! So good...After we had salad with cucumber, radish and soggy bread mixed throughout (in Italy they soak break in water and crumble it in the tasted ok after I got over my dislike for soggy bread). While Maura prepared dinner in the kitchen, we had some break-through with her English. With the help of the English-Italian dictionary, we were able to talk about the vegetables and our likes and dislikes with food. Again, I had a Birra Moretti with dinner. For dessert we ate fresh apricots from their tree. I was impressed with the fact that Maura, speaking very little English, still says "very WELL" instead of the common mistake for Americans to say "I am very GOOD". I tried to express this fact at the dinner table. We also talked about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

"Today I went to the gym with Maura and Marta. It is the nicest gym I've ever been in. It has a full spa and showers plus all new equipment...the gym is brand new. First we did a step class with an instructer...a little hard for me to follow in Italiano. After I ran on the "joywalk" (treadmill...which is the same treadmill we have at the SCAD gym)-but in kilometers and Italian of course. I had no clue how fast I was running. But I got to look out the window over the Italian counrtyside and watch the trains pass by on their way to Rome. Really surreal."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Panino (sandwich) at the pool for lunch.

Second day at the pool, I made sure to buy an umbrella to rent so I wouldn't burn even more. It was over 100 degrees that day. We bought that soccer ball on the street to play with in the pool.

July 14

"Second full day in Foligno/Italia. Very productive in speaking some more Italian. Marta made me a cappucino this morning but they didn't have Special K cereal so I tried biscuits with chocolate chips with milk but they became soggy and I quickly tried to eat it. I had yogurt and hoped I wouldn't be hungry before lunch."

"Maura made rice with tuna, artichoke, egg, peppers and other veggies for lunch for us at the pool. So good and healthy. I haven't had pizza yet but Maura said Jessica and her family are going to meet us at a pizzeria tomorrow night for dinner. I can't wait! There is always something each day that makes me excited for tomorrow."

"Today Marta and I went to the pool for 7 hours. I got my first Italian burn. Hopefully it turns into my first Italian tan. :)"

Biking in Foligno

This is me dodging people and cars.

Swimming Cap

At the piscina, every one must wear a swimming cap to go in the water. It was very strange to have to do this in order to swim-I felt like I looked stupid but no one acted like I did.

July 13.

"I wanted to write a little more about last night since I was tired and didn't write much. My first impression of the family is great. Maura is very timid due to the language barrier but kept saying in Italian, "My Home is Your Home" and was eager to show me the house. They gave me Marta's room to stay in (which is a half floor in the house, like a loft with steep stairs, and her bathroom). In Italy (and Europe as well), everything is smaller than in the States...but I like it. It is a small country. Massimo has a very kind spirit and eagerly wants his children to learn English. He says it is necessary for the business world if they want to travel."

"Last night we had meat stuffed with cheese, ham and egg with zucchini for a side . After that, we ate insulate with fresh tomatoes and cheese with balsamic, olive oil and salt. I had a birra (beer) Moretti. Maura likes Moretti because it is her last name. It was a malt or darker beer which I like. The family was full of laughter while trying to speak in English. It is nice that they are basing the conversation around me and including me."

"Breakfast is quite different. This morning I woke up at 9 and unpacked an organized my things. When I came downstairs, breakfast was layed out on the table with a million different options to choose from. Marta and Mattia were very thoughtful of me and were eager for me to try everything. I chose to eat cereal (they had a version of special k) with milk. The milk here is layed out in the morning to reach room temperature for breakfast. I'll have to get used to that. I also ate nutella on a biscuit and espresso."

"Oh! I almost forgot to say what we ate for lunch today. Massimo comes home from work for lunch everyday for a few hours. Lunch is a big deal here. He made pasta (spaghetti) with pesto!!! We picked fresh tomatoes out of the garden and ate them with olive oil. Bread as well. Then a peach for dessert. What was eye opening for me was that Massimo asked Marta to brush her teeth. I asked him if they brush their teeth after meal and he said..."Oh yeah. Yes. Of Course!" I said "Oh!" then quietly brushed mine. I guess morning and night is not sufficient. He probably thinks Americans are unsanitary."

"Tomorrow we are going to the pool. We have to wear swimming caps in order to enter the water. Should be interesting! Off to listen to American music. Till tomorrow. Ciao!"

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 12: First Impression

"I arrived! Bought a train ticket to Foligno but Massimo and Marta were in Pisa to pick me up. Good thing I called Jessica (oh yeah...Jessica is the woman who got me to Italy in the first moms High School friend). Waste of a ticket but I'm glad I spent the car ride opening up and talking a little. I feel very welcomed here and mom, yes, we ate salad last! And watermelon for dessert :) Cant wait for tomorrow!"

What You Should Expect...

I have decided in order to update my family and friends about my trip to Italy, I needed a method of writing. I am new to keeping a journal but I have been writing in it every spare minute I have (which isn't much)...which brings me to the conclusion to capture glimpses of what is in my journal and quote it on my blog. But! There are some details you should know before I begin...

Uno. Maura=Mom, Massimo=Dad, Marta=Daughter (12), Mattia=Son (14)
Due. I am living in Foligno, Italy (Umbria Region) for one month...later updates will follow.
Tre. The only thing the family asks from me is to speak English with the children. I can do that. But I will try to do a lot more.
Quattro. There are no apostrophes on this Italian keyboard so please forgive me.
Cinque. Nevermind. Spell check fixes the apostrophes for me! (and helps me remember English while I'm speaking Italiano.)
Sei. Well there are no other details...I just wanted an excuse to write Sei. (I am learning to count in Italiano-I can only count to 15 though, or 14...I cant remember.)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Marta's idea to go to a photo booth...

On our walk to the Park in Foligno. Lots of space for pedestrians...less cars than in America.

They even have graffiti.


Marta's school in the centre of Foligno...wish our schools look like this.