Archive for March, 2010

“It’s like, the Mecca of Art History”

Piazza Navona
Fountain in Piazza Navona

Oh wow. Today has been crazy! Dabney and I were up late into the night finishing the reading for our first seminar meeting in the morning, only to be somewhat rudely awakened at 7 AM by more traffic. I guess Romans don’t sleep in, eh? First seminar meeting was at 9 AM at the Rome Center, we had a brief siesta at 10:30 to grab coffee or fruit from the Campo de Fiori, and kept right along until almost 12:30. Honestly, the format was much like an ordinary art history class on campus, but perhaps of a higher caliber due to the focused nature of our group.

Afterwards, Kit, Kristin and I grabbed lunch at the Campo and journeyed to the TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) store to try and find a chiave mobile, literally “mobile key” (yes, we finally figured out what to call a wifi stick/USB modem thing), but it was almost twice as expensive as the WIND (a different carrier) store – regardless, Kit and Kristin gave me a tour of their apartment before Kit and I set out on a Roman adventure.

The Pantheon
The Pantheon

Pulcino delle Minerva (by Bernini), Piazza di S. Maria sopra Minerva

Sant'Ivo della Sapienza
Sant’Ivo della Sapienza (atrium)

Sant'Ivo della Sapienza, Dome
Sant’Ivo della Sapienza (interior//dome)

Fountains from Piazza Navona

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain by Bernini

Trevi Fountain, Bernini
Detail of the Trevi

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Primo giorno

Farnese Fountains, Palazzo Farnese, Italy, Rome, Italia, Roma, fountains, Farnese

Okay, last night I did not sleep nearly as well as I would have liked. The only physical disadvantage of our apartment is its location on a busy street and the silly garbage trucks make an unbelievable amount of noise at 6:30 – UGH.

Last night, Lauren called a cab for Maria and I and arrived at the apartment on Via Goffredo Mameli at around 11. We loaded our stuff into a teeny-tiny 8 square foot elevator and inched our way up to the tre piano (4th floor) and our lovely, lovely apartment. The building itself has a small atrium between the two ‘wings’, and our apartment has shuttered windows which open to both the atrium (east) and the via (west), as well as a balcony connected to the living room, which looks out over the street.

When I said, lovely, I meant it – we have a brand new kitchen with granite counters, built-in refrigerator and freezer, gas range, oven, dishwasher and a small washing machine (no dryer though – my poor jeans!). There are three bedrooms, two baths (one has a shower, another a full bath), a living room with a sofa, armchairs and a TV, connected to the kitchen. The doors are narrow, but the ceilings are high (14+ feet) and our bedroom features a built-in closet unit thing which is really cool, but the doors squeak like an injured animal – jeeze! The only downside to our apartment is the distinct lack of internet, but two girls have purchased wifi pens which receive the internet from satellite through a local mobile carrier (€0.50/hour — super cheap!) and they seem to working alright, but as a USB modem, they only serve one computer at a time – blah! Need to get one tomorrow!

After our meetings, Kristin, Kit and I went on an adventure for toiletries and internet sticks of our own (unsuccessfully), found the Via Argentina, Sant’Andrea della Valle (the facade of which is under construction – LAME) went grocery shopping, marveled at the Palazzo Farnese (French Embassy), then headed home.

Threw together a modified chicken pizzaiola tonight – dredged pieces of chicken breast in egg, then finely, finely grated parmesan, sauteed in olive oil, then covered with a sauce of stewed tomatoes, sauteed shallots and mushrooms – surprisingly good, relatively easy, and I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Tons and tons of reading for tomorrow, I’ll keep you posted!

Buona sera!

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Alright, leg 2 of this whole cumbersome process was lovely, mostly. First of all, British Airways has some of the nicest, most wonderful flight attendants ever.

We tried, unsuccessfully, to order a gluten free meal when we booked my flights, but what with the cabin crew strikes, evidently GF is not an option for this route- story of my life. However, once on board, the head crew member went out of his way (working his butt off!) to come up with something, to the point of asking other guests if they could give up their first choice from the dinner menu so that I could eat- tell me that doesn’t deserve a round of applause.

Club World fast-tracked me through security at Heathrow which was nice, but because our flight was an hour late, my layover was a little shorter than perhaps I would have liked – or so I thought. As it was, because of the crew strikes, British chartered my flight to Rome to EuroAtlantic and we ended up being almost an hour behind our scheduled take off, but only 15 minutes late on the ground. Neither Heathrow nor Fiumicino had free wifi, which was extremely inconvenient, but I was able to purchase a cell phone at Fiumicino and met up with another UW student who was studying at through the Classics department. We took the train into Trastevere and shared a cab to the Piazza del Biscione where I met with our TA, dropped off my bags and went to the Trattoria Moderna for a fantastic, fantastic dinner.

Let me regale you with a description of our dinner…
Primo: risotto with spiced sausage and radicchio
Secondo: veal and pork pizzaiola (tomato and caper sauce), with whipped potatoes and creamed spinach
Dolce: whole pears poached in red wine with star anise, cloves and cinnamon.

Jealous yet? Unfortunately, our apartment does not have internet, so while I’ve written this off-line, I won’t be able to post it until tomorrow. On the docket for Tuesday: Maria and I have to check in with the UW Rome Center (UWRC) and fill out some paperwork, then we have a 10AM meeting with all of the other programs for our Rome Center orientation, a brief meeting with Profs. Lingo and then — ! We’ll see!


Pictures of our apartment…

My little nook…

Our bedroom

Living Room


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All my bags are packed…

landscape, California, Sierra Nevadas, mountains

Well, D-day (that’s departure day, folks) has finally arrived! I’m writing to you from on-board flight 464 to Los Angeles via my iPhone and I’ll be sure to post from the British Airways lounge ASAP. I can honestly say, I don’t know what I would do without my phone. I know it sounds cheesy, and I do know what I used to do (sleep, read real books), but this whole process is just so much more pleasant. I can sit here and draft a post to you, dear reader; I can listen to the first several chapters of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden through LibriVox which, in addition to being much more interesting an experience, means I only have to carry a single, ahem slim (22.6 lbs is relatively slim, right?) carry-on; I can boost my Italian vocabulary and hear how different words and phrases are pronounced; and of course, I can play solitaire – in case I wasn’t sick enough. To be fair, I did sleep through the majority of the flight, but this gives me great hope for my second leg: LA to London, departing in 6:25 PM local time.

I have to say, LA is gorgeous. Admittedly, the palm trees don’t do much for me, but the bougainvillea and the wildflowers and the ridiculous number of swimming pools (do they reproduce on their own, or what?) is just charming. More than anything though, was the evidence of real suburbia: straight streets, lined with trees and single-family homes with groomed front lawns, real sidewalks, and mailboxes all in a row — nothing like Seattle suburbs, or those in Europe for that matter, and there’s something oddly comforting in the cliche… not to mention the beautiful blue ocean.

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