venerdì 27 giugno 2008


I hope that you have learned a few things from reading these blogs. I tried to cover three broad topics so that one could help to get a grasp on how things were over here. For cars I really hope that you learned a few things about cars in general, but more specifically how the automobile culture is in Italy. I hope that the Piazza Navona blog encouraged you to visit Italy’s piazzas, especially this one. Within the piazza blog there were many interesting facts, and a walkthrough on what you should be expecting see when visiting it, on top of that it should provide you with an example of how to size up other piazzas you may be visiting. The food blog was more just for fun than for informative. Upon reviewing my food blogs, you can witness the transgression of loving the local food to the homesickness of American food. As good was the food was, the mere fact that I had to stoop to the low of eating McDonald’s regularly is a testament to the inadequacies of Italy’s meat market. Besides just Rome, I tried to provide information on the other places I visited while studying abroad and compare them to my experiences in Rome. All in all, I hope that you learned some about both Europe, and how my mind works. I tried to make these a compilation of own experiences/opinions, and raw facts; this way you can see how I saw things, but I also tried to provide information for you to formulate your own opinions. Hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did.

Cafe Walk

Our walk this morning started at Campo de Fiori, while most people got some shopping done, I sat around the statue and conversed with Kelley about our weekends. After about ten minutes or so it was time to commence the walking. The first stop we had was La Tazza d’Oro Carley had suggested that we get a frozen coffee drink, but unfortunately I cannot handle things of that nature too early in the morning without getting food in my stomach first, so I did not partake. The next stop was the Antico Greco Caffe where Kelley also pointed out a talking statue, this particular one was used to converse with the statue at Camp de Fiori whence we started. The last stops were in the Piazza del Popolo. On the left side was the politically left wing Café Rosai, and opposite of that on the right was the right winged Café Canova. These cafes are hot spots with local politicians of their respective political views.

Museum of Roman Civilization...almost

We had some free days to check out sights that we wanted to visit at our own discretion, instead of with class. I had stumbled across this museum in the Eyewitness Guide. I blogged about it previously, but in case you missed it…it has 59 rooms of plaster casts, and scale models of what exactly Rome looked like in the year 400ad. I love the sights that there are to see in Rome, but I always wanted to see what they actually looked like in their prime. This museum looked like it would have everything that I was looking for.
In our first attempt, I never looked to see when it closed, Cole, Josie, and I went out to the EUR to see it, and while we were looking for the address in the book, we came across a little useful tidbit of information…the museum closes at 1:30. It was then 1:45, downtrodden; we got some McDonald’s and called it a day.
The next time we tried to go Josie and I went right after class with plenty of time to spare. We had the address down so we knew exactly where we were going. Upon arriving at the front doors we found that they were closed. We looked around for another entrance, but to no avail. There was a woman near by the first entrance we had tried so we asked her, she informed us that the museum closed at 12:30 that day, and it was 12:35. There was no reason provided for their closure, nor was there any mention of this inside the book. After that experience we decided it was just not meant to be, and canned the trip altogether.

Food: Marzipan Treats

I stopped off at a sweet store in one of the alleyways in Venice, and found tons of candies that looked delicious and were shaped like fruits. They were made out of marzipan, I knew I had heard of this, but I could not remember what it was. I bought a watermelon one to try it, and it turned out to be delicious. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that besides a little artificial flavoring they all tasted the same. Since they are all made out of the exact same thing, I guess that should be expected. So for future advice, do not go out spending a ton of money on buying all the different looking fruits expecting something different from each, keep in mind it is all marzipan so just buy a few.

Piazza Navona: Piazza San Marco

San Marco is apparently the only piazza in Venice. This is a big change from Rome since there are piazzas everywhere. The closest things to piazzas in Venice are the campos. The campos are quite numerous, but are considerably smaller than the piazzas. Piazza San Marco though was also a big change from the piazzas that I have grown acclimatized to in Rome. There were no street performers, and far, far fewer street vendors. The piazza consisted pretty much of just shops, and a few restaurants, quite a change from Piazza Navona especially. All in all, I would have to say that Piazza San Marco is definitely not up to part with Piazza Navona. The really awesome thing that does go on around there is that in the restaurants there are always musicians. Everywhere I went I could hear the Godfather theme song being played, which is always a treat to the ears.

Cars: Gondolas

In Venice on Thursday Josie and I took a gondola ride. This was certainly a different means of conveyance than we had been used to in Italy. The original price was 80 euro, but we got it down to 70, because that is all we had on us. The gondolier was obliging, but said we would have a half hour, instead of 40 minutes. It worked out though because he gave us the exact same tour as we would have gotten for 80 except he was just rowing faster. Where it really paid off at was since he was rowing so fast we caught up to another gondola going at the normal slower pace, since we were stuck behind them we got the last quarter of the trip behind the other gondola going at the normal pace. So for anyone planning on riding in a gondola definitely do not be afraid to either haggle, or get a discounted ride since a lot of them go on the same trip; you get the same tour, just sped up.

lunedì 23 giugno 2008

Cars: Country of Origin

While I was on the plane for Switzerland, I partook of the magazines they had available. One of the magazines had an article that gave me some startling information that I had not realized. The article was about how a man in India, I believe, bought Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford for $1.3 billion. I had never realized that Ford owned them at all, and was still under the impression that they were British. The article goes further and explains that as of now, England only has one domestic make and it is a small city car, like the Smart car. Apparently Bentley is owned by BMW, as with the Mini. Aston Martin is owned by several different European companies, and Rolls Royce is owned by another company that is escaping my memory at the moment (possibly Chinese?). So for future reference, be careful of what your buying, because it may not be what it seems.