Weekend Outings

1/21/18- Rome, Italy

It seems misleading to call any weekend uneventful, especially here in Rome. Though it may feel that the three-day weekend was uneventful, the amount of history seen and culture absorbed is something I will still be wrapping my head around upon my return to the States.

Friday was a relatively relaxing day as we woke up late.  With the remainder of the day, we did go to the school to try to crank out the majority of our schoolwork with a decent WiFi signal.  After our study session, we went to a place right by are school for dinner.  We ended up going to a restaurant  specializing in all sorts of custom pizzas and it did not disappoint any of us.  My four friends and I agreed that we had finally found our current favorite pizza here in Italy.

Saturday entailed a small group of us heading down to the center of Rome to finally see the Colosseum. Though I had been told that the building was much smaller than one would expect, it still was an impressive size, especially when you think of how old something like the Colosseum is.  After walking around the Colosseum and the areas around the Forum, we settled on a dinner spot overlooking the Roman landmark while eating penne with salmon. The growing trend seems to be that whether its McDonalds or restaurants at the Colosseum, food is just too good here.

Sunday I ventured over to the Vatican out of curiosity as to what Sunday was like there.  I wound up attending 10:30 mass in St. Peter’s. That was quite a treat to see the procession of the many priests and handful of bishops and the cardinal in attendance.  It was also an interesting experience to hear mass in Latin, though they were nice enough to provide multi lingual cheat sheets. As Pope Francis was in South America, there was no public address and blessing, so I still have that on a long list of things to do at the Vatican.

Overall, week 2 has been successful and the amazement from everything on this trip has not ceased, or even slowed. Next week should be fun, as we are planning some travelling. I’ll keep everyone posted.

-DJ

1st Week of Classes

1/18/18- Rome, Italy

So, today marks the end of our school week in Rome. Though it was a busy week of new classes and going through syllabi and sources, the week flew by. As we are now into the swing of things, we did not do any touristy things during the week, but hope to this weekend.

As for my classes, I loaded up on a lot of history courses in Rome. With the exception of Italian, my other three classes here are pertaining to history.  My two sections of Italian history seem daunting, but at the same time, the class seems structured around conversation and debate. This seems like a format that I will enjoy, rather than two back to back lectures.

My favorite class has to be Roman history. Though we only covered the syllabus and “da sources” as my Belgian born professor calls it, my professor’s desire to make witty remarks and tease his students makes our evening class much more enjoyable.

My Italian is still very elementary, but as of this being posted, have spent four hours of class time and this has at least alleviated any anxiety that used to set in when ordering food. It does seem that living in Italy is helping my language skills develop at a faster rate than in Pennsylvania

I hope to update everyone on some weekend events, and if the Wi-Fi is fast enough, hopefully photos as well.

-DJ

Time in Todi

1/13/18- Todi, Italy

To conclude our final day of orientation activities, Temple took the entire group studying in Rome to Todi, a hill town North of Rome by about 2 hours. We ended up arriving around 10:30 in the morning where we had some free time around the town exploring the sites.

According to our guides/professors, Todi is a town with predominantly Gothic roots.  The town still had two of their old churches in operation. These were especially interesting as they were still very ornate, but much starker in design than, newer churches designed centuries later.  The main draw was the pre renaissance art still visible on some places inside of the Basilica di San Fortunato.

After our walking around Todi and a small breakfast, we then drove another 30 minutes through the Umbria region of Italy to have lunch at Castello di Titignano. This old castle compound turned hotel was the location of the meal of a lifetime. For a couple of hours, we were served a traditional Italian meal with 12 courses. Though certain staples such as risotto, spaghetti, biscotti and Tiramisu were all fantastic, the various courses of local lamb, wild boar and deer, or Bambi as the waiters said multiple times, the meal, combined with the locations will be one that is hard to ever top.

The trip to the Umbria region was one that was both very exciting for me and my fellow Temple students, but it also provided everyone a nice way to relax as classes will start on Monday. I think it’s safe to say week one of my time in Italy has been something special.

-DJ

Spending Time Around The Vatican

1/11/18- Rome, Italy

This week of orientation has been a bit of adjustment to living in Rome.  While I have been able to ask for cappuccino É un Cornetto, the language barrier is very much still a hurdle I soon hope to overcome.  As a part of the orientation we went on a walk around the area surrounding our Temple building seeing different shops, and again practicing what I would call very bad Italian.

As today was a lighter day of orientation, a few friends and I walked back from Temple Rome to our residence.  This 1.5 mile walk has been a nice walk when the weather is cooperating and has also been a great source of exercise to burn off all the extra calories from all of the food we have been eating.

After a later lunch around 3, my friends and I decided we should go over to Vatican City, as we live about a block outside of the northern wall. To say we were all amazed at the beauty, grandeur and the holy feeling the Basilica held within all in our group, Catholics, and non-Catholics alike.  It was a truly massive building in size, making us spend about 2 hours outside in the square and inside the building walking around, observing the various sculptures, and relics. I hope to post some pictures both to my Instagram and eventually to a gallery on the blog as well.

Unlike many who have visited Rome and the Vatican, we did not feel compelled to do everything in one day. Seeing the Basilica was such an awesome experience as we were able to take in a lot of the sites inside made us appreciate the place that we were at, and made us want to return several times for different tours of the different parts that the Vatican offers to tourists.

After returning, we decided to try a restaurant down the street from our residence to “Birreria Old Trafford” we were looked to find some sort of early dinner snack. We were happy to find such a great restaurant, both in cuisine and experience and decided to actually get dinner there.  The place was run by an old Italian couple, with the husband running the bar and the wife cooking in the kitchen.  After we ordered our paninos, we were given free gnocchi with our dinner, which was a great surprise! As the entire experience in the little restaurant was fantastic for us, we think that this may be our go to spot for dinner throughout the semester.

A fun day was needed, especially going into tomorrow which will again be a very busy day with orientation and some paperwork we need to fill out. I will be sure to keep you all posted.

-DJ

Day 1 Exploration

1/10/18- Rome, Italy

So, we have been in Rome for just over 24 hours at the time of this being posted, and it has been a wild day so far.  After getting to the airport in Rome Alex and I ran into our other roommate Wynn where we also came into some issues with Alex’s baggage not arriving. Though it should arrive in the morning, it has been a hassle for him.

Once in Rome, we settled in to our apartment at the Residence Candia, just a few blocks North of the Vatican walls. The place is a little on the small side, but as we have come to learn that this is the norm in Italia.

After a very, very needed rest last night, we had a full day of orientation meetings and a  crash course Italian. Though these events were of some help, it was nice to get out and explore during our free time.

I spent some time in and around Piazza del Popolo, which is on the northern edge of the Aurelian walls, just South of our campus building. It was the first time entering this part of the city and it was extremely picturesque.

As the Romans do, we ate dinner extremely late. As an old soul, late lunch is one of the best meals, which makes, the 8PM/9PM dinner time extremely tough personally.  We went to a restaurant call La Fornace. Though the slight anxiety of not knowing much Italian and trying to order food in broken Italian and some English, the Gnocchi, mussels, and especially the tiramisu made up for the nervousness. It truly was one of the best meals I have ever had.

It seems like the semester is off to such a great start. The scenery, food, and of course the coffee is fantastic and it seems like this trip should a great time.

-DJ

The Adventure Begins

1/8/18- Kennett Square, USA

After long anticipation and a fair amount of planning, Alex and I left Kennett around 11 AM for Newark Liberty Airport for our flight to Frankfurt, and eventually Rome.

The first day of travelling always seems to be a very stressful experience.  The first second, and occasionally third check to make sure the clothes are packed, phone, computer, and camera are all charged, and the good ol’ passport is with you can wear on someone, especially when the return flight is for another 16 weeks.

Though the lines, the extremely long lines eventually break and one can repack their bag after passing through security, it is all worth it for the thrill of travelling.

While it’s been a great Christmas break with friends and family is the coolest town, which I will miss dearly, this homebody is ready to see Rome, Italy, and the rest of Europe.  I appreciate all of the well wishes and hope to keep in touch with everyone.

Keep checking back here for more updates on my travels.

-DJ