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The Last Days

Like I promised, I’ve made the most of these last ten days in Copenhagen. It’s 2:30 AM on my last night, so I couldn’t help but give one last recap, as you know I love to do. Up till now, I’ve been too busy squeezing the worth out of every minute in Copenhagen, so I have barely opened my computer! Here’s the scoop on my last few days in the city I love.

1) The Arts & Culture House Art Show!

We were inspired by the Danish museum called the Louisiana, which has a temporary exhibit called Self Portraits. Like the artists featured there, we each created a self portrait to reflect our “i-DANE-ity” and how it has changed our concept of ourselves since we came to Copenhagen! Mine is called “Place Like Home” and reflects the importance of my family as they accompany me on my yellow brick road of sorts, finding out that maybe Dorothy was wrong…

The Arts & Culture House (left to right) Vince, Emma, Anna, me, Rebecca, Carrie, Adriana, Ariel, Jamie

The Arts & Culture House (left to right) Vince, Emma, Anna, me, Rebecca, Carrie, Adriana, Ariel, Jamie

Me with my project, which I titled "Place Like Home"

Me with my project, which I titled “Place Like Home”

THE CLOSE UP. Just so everyone knows, I made that shoe out of newspaper and tape ONLY. skillz.

THE CLOSE UP. Just so everyone knows, I made that shoe out of newspaper and tape ONLY. skillz.

Vince and his project, made from his favorite foods and their wrappers!

Vince and his project, made from his favorite foods and their wrappers!

2) Tivoli 

Christmas time in Tivoli is so magical! Everything is lit up, and there are Christmas markets and a special water fountain show in the evening. Tivoli is the second-oldest theme park in the world, and was an inspiration to Walt Disney!!

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how they REALLY make aebleskriver (the Danish pancake balls that are traditional Christmas food)

how they REALLY make aebleskriver (the Danish pancake balls that are traditional Christmas food)

3) Christmas in the streets

If you thought Copenhagen was adorable during the summer, the Christmas season has taken it to another level! It’s easier to deal with the lack of sunlight when there are Christmas lights EVERYWHERE!

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4) Christmas at Ravnsborggade

As an honorary housemate at Mia’s house, I was delighted to attend her house Christmas party, which of course turned into the most gigantic festival ever held. My favorite part was the wall papered in gift wrap for a backdrop for pictures! While my freezing cold shower prevented me from creating an acceptable hair style that night, I did enjoy taking silly pictures with my friends.

Dylan, Aimee, me, and Mia attempting to be serious, like in the TV show "Skins"

Dylan, Aimee, me, and Mia attempting to be serious, like in the TV show “Skins”

5) Saying Goodbye to my Visiting Family

My visiting family has been so good to me this semester. Between giving me an extra duvet for when Mia’s and my heat were broken, taking me to the zoo, cooking me Danish food, and showing me how to make Christmas decorations, they did everything they were supposed to and more! Their patience, hospitality, and genuine affection made this semester much more enjoyable. When I went to their house this Saturday to say goodbye (and meet some of their friends), I was heartbroken to leave them behind. Finn, Marie, Siri, and little Vigga, I’ll miss you when I go back to my real family!!

6) Sticks n’ Sushi atop the Tivoli Hotel

Lousie took us out to dinner at Sticks n’ Sushi, a high-end restaurant located at the top of the Tivoli Hotel that serves Asian food. Mostly sticks of meat and sushi rolls, this restaurant also had an extensive bar with swings on one side, that overlooked the canals and a gorgeous skyline. We spent a good portion of the meal taking turns to sit on the swings, gawking at the A-listers that Louise identified for us as Danish celebrities, and thanking God that we’d finally found some edible Asian food. It was devine.

7) Christiania Christmas Markets

The Christiania Christmas Markets take place in the Great Hall in Christiania. Vendors of jewelry, crafts, ornaments, clothing, and other miscellaneous goods all come together to sell their wares among some interesting food selections and even more interesting people. While it was crowded, I was intrigued by the low prices and immense selection of homemade Christmas gifts!

8) Traditional Danish Christmas Dinner

If you thought I was all Christmas-ed out, you were wrong! Yesterday, Louise (my SRA and favorite Danish friend) slaved away in the kitchen to make our house a REAL DANISH CHRISTMAS DINNER! There was roast duck and pork (yummy pork skins, too, Dad), boiled potatoes, caramelized potatoes, cooked pickled purple cabbage, cold purple cabbage salad with oranges and pomegranate, Danish version of Waldorf salad, homemade pickles… so much food! I tried everything, but my favorite was the cold purple cabbage salad. We also drank Exotic Fanta, which everyone jokes should be attached to me in an IV because I absolutely love it! After the meal, we played the rice pudding game, which is actually more like torture. There was a HUGE bowl of Danish rice pudding in the middle of the table. Now, this dish is made with chopped almonds in it. The object of the game is to find the ONE WHOLE ALMOND in the pudding. Everyone has to eat the pudding until someone finds the almond. For each of the twelve people eating, that meant two full bowls of pudding if we were to get to the bottom of the bowl. AND WE ALMOST HAD TO, because MIA found the almond in the first five minutes AND HID IT UNDER HER TONGUE until everyone was literally falling off their chairs with fullness and taking shots of the pudding to try and make it go down easier. CRAZY DANES and their games. For her almond discovery, Mia won a pig made out of marzipan. Dumb prize, serves her right for making us so full!!

 

Other than that, I’ve been spending as much time as I can just talking to my friends and enjoying their company. I cannot express how much I have come to appreciate the people I have met here. We have seen each other through adjustment issues, mood swings, love problems, and all the other drama that inevitably happens within a semester. Although I never could have predicted it, I will come home with even more amazing people in my life. Somehow, I sincerely doubt that there is a luckier person on this planet than me. I’ve experienced so many different cultures, made new friends, and discovered a new home. I’m in love with Copenhagen. My journey is not over, it is just beginning.

Much love.

Christmas in Copenhagen

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Copenhagen.

I have never seen a population of people so excited for a holiday. Though the Danes are not religious, they celebrate Christmas for practically the entire winter! As Honorary Danes, my friends and I have been participating in all the Christmas hoorah, and it has been magical.

Christmas decorations on Stroget

Christmas decorations on Stroget

Window displays at Illum to rival Macy's in New York City

Window displays at Illum to rival Macy’s in New York City

There are Christmas markets everywhere, which we visit every chance we get. Living in city center has yet another benefit of keeping me close to all the festive decorations and markets!

Christmas market on Stroget

Christmas market on Stroget

Christmas Market on Stroget

Christmas Market on Stroget

"Christmas in Nyhavn"

“Christmas in Nyhavn”

This past Thursday, we had Christmas Hygge in our house. Louise and Vince got a tree, which we decorated as the Danes do, crafting stars and hearts to hang.

The only man on the floor, doing his manly business. Sassing all the way, of course.

The only man on the floor, doing his manly business. Sassing all the way, of course.

Christmas Hygge!

Christmas Hygge!

Christmas living room! Complete with Tuborg J-Day sign, Christmas tree, and fireplace TV.

Christmas living room! Complete with Tuborg J-Day sign, Christmas tree, and fireplace TV.

We also made Christmas cookies and drank Glogg (“gloog”), the famous Danish Christmas drink. It’s warm red wine infused sangria-style with cinnamon, slivered almonds, and raisins. Pretty good!

"Glogg" Danish Christmas wine

“Glogg” Danish Christmas wine

Danish cookie recipe.. we needed a little assistance from Louise

traditional cookie recipe.. we needed a little assistance from Louise to read it

Friday night was the last night of November. During our celebration, it snowed! Of course, we ran outside to frolic in the fluff.

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pausing in a snowstorm for a photo op...

pausing in a snowstorm for a photo op…

And the next morning…

from my window

from my window

in my courtyard

in my courtyard

Since then, it’s been snowing instead of raining every day, which is much more picturesque to say the least. December literally brought a beautiful winter wonderland!

Just when I thought there was nothing else to look forward to, I heard about the Christmas tree lighting at City Hall! There was a parade from Nyhavn, and then “Santa” climbed a gigantic cherry picker to light the top of the tree WITH A BLOW TORCH that he swung around and lit the star with. I honestly thought the tree would catch on fire, but no one else seemed concerned…

after the lighting

after the lighting

Yesterday, while I was walking to class, I stumbled upon some ice sculptors in the square. I swear Copenhagen is real-life Whoville! It’s never ending!!

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Finally, last night, DIS took the Arts & Culture House to Tivoli for the 30th anniversary Crazy Christmas Cabaret. It was called HitchCock Up! and starred Vivienne McKee, whose Crazy Christmas Cabarets have attained a cult following over the past 30 years. I can understand why, they’re hilarious!!

Inside Tivoli

Inside Tivoli

CHRISTMAS IN COPENHAGEN IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!

Much love.

Things We Take For Granted in America & at Villanova

If you think American life is boring and annoying, you’re not alone. A bunch of people here hate on America and think they are going to turn into a real live European (or even a Dane!) just because they’re studying abroad.

While I think there is some value in appreciating the Danish culture and taking aspects of it home, I disagree with this “high on study abroad” attitude. America is a considerable part of who we are, from our habits to our values.

Now that Mia and I  have spent much time outside of America, we have thought about the things we miss about living in America, at Villanova, with our friends and family surrounding us. In a particularly long ab ride, we decided to write them down for our readers!

Take a look at Mia’s and My Compiled List of Things We Take For Granted. (click on the words, they’re a link!)

Warning: More lists to come, this is how I process things.

Much love.

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving started for me on Wednesday and ended on Friday (of course). I didn’t mean to make it happen, but I’ve had so much to be thankful for these past few days that I just had to extend the holiday.

On Wednesday night, we made our own Thanksgiving dinner at Mia’s house. There were 22 people in attendance, including everyone who lives in Mia’s house, me, and my friend Anna. The spearheads of this operation were Emily, Mia, and Aimee, who did most of the cooking and coordinated other contributions. Mine was home-made cranberry sauce. Jhon and I also whipped up some cinnamon butter and helped with the mashed taters (so yummy). It was SUCH a HYGGE night!! I am so thankful to have all these great friends!

Group shot of everyone (minus Jhon) in Mia’s house, my second home. LOVE THEM ALL!

My contribution: homemade cranberry sauce (since Denmark doesn’t have it)

this captures the moment well

Thankful for this girl ❤

Emily, Mia, and Aimee: the three moms with their pies

picture-perfect “hygge” (Danish concept of cozy)

 

 

 

Thursday, I woke up still full (typical Thanksgiving problems). It was kind of a rough day because I missed my family and friends on this American holiday, and everyone in Denmark was acting like nothing was happening. I know that Christmas decorations are up, and they look great, but it’s just not the same. Thanksgiving is a day to spend walking around the house in slippers, cooking with people you love, listening to “Alice’s Restaraunt” (Dad & Ben!), failing at pecan pie… and instead I was expected to be in class. EWW.

Luckily, I had pre-arranged a coffee date with Anders Larson, a man who teaches and works in Housing at DIS. I never would have done this, but Nancy strongly suggested that I meet him, as he was one of her favorite people here. Let me tell you, I’m SO glad I listened to her. Anders is the coolest! He’s super cute, so easy to talk to, and as a real Dane, he knows what’s up around Copenhagen. Even better, we met up with his friend and colleague Lauren Chaney, who is a Villanova alum and has been traveling the world since she graduated ten years ago! It was nice to spend time chatting with such cool people, and I was reminded that there are so many people I have yet to meet here. With only 22 days left, it’s easy to check out mentally, but I won’t do that yet. There is too much I’d miss out on!

Just to top off the night, we spent Thursday night as we would on Thanksgiving Eve in CT. My dancing shoes are a little worn out now, let’s just say.

Friday, I thought the festivities would be over… but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I got an email about a package, and had been expecting my mom to send me my favorite sweater. Instead, I got TWO HUGE PACKAGES!

THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM AND ANNE!!! Opening these boxes seriously felt like Christmas and took away any lingering sadness I had that I was missing out on Black Friday shopping, another HUGE family tradition. I got a little taste of the wardrobe I miss at home, since my mom got me a million sweaters and legwarmers, an Alex & Ani (the teacher apple), and other stuff. Thanks Mom! And Anne got me a ridiculous amount of great American stuff, including A WHOLE JAR OF PEANUTBUTTER, DUNKIN COFFEE, AND HOMEMADE BROWNIES!! I haven’t smelled a brownie in months. THANK YOU SO MUCH ANNE!!

Really, it all comes back to being thankful. I have never before in my life had so many reasons to be thankful. It hits me just about every day, even when I’m sad or missing home. I am thankful for my wonderful, supportive family, my absolutely amazing friends, and of course, this experience. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Much love.

WINTER WELCOME WEEK

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I’ve invented a holiday! It’s called WINTER WELCOME WEEK, and here’s how it came to be:

As you probably have guessed, I’m a big proponent of celebration of any sort. I also have seasonal depression. Living in Denmark has not been so bad darkness-wise, until now, and I know it’s only going to get worse. So, to give myself a little pick me up, and combine my American culture with the Danish culture, I invented WINTER WELCOME WEEK. Mia even had a visitor from Villanova, Caroline, who got to experience this holiday with us!

This Wednesday was Halloween in America, which has always been a huge deal to me. Dressing up was one of my favorite childhood activities, but I never grew out of it. Luckily, American college life supports me in this. In Copenhagen, I hadn’t really planned on dressing up (still trying to be a Dane sometimes), but at the last minute, my RA Louise and I got a little too into making a toilet paper dress…

…and I ended up a Mummy Cheerleader. Louise even made the dress so I could use the little ladies room, it was really an ingenious design! I got TP pom poms and a bow, and I was off to the few bars that support Americans on Halloween!

be scaredddd

bow!

Thanks for sneaking up on me, Caroline.

me, Caroline (tiger), and Mia (kitty)

laughing too hard to run!

Needless to say, Halloween was so great that we couldn’t stop there. Mia and I did not go to classes on Thursday (you can’t do anything productive during WINTER WELCOME WEEK) and showed Caroline around Copenhagen. I went back to my favorite place, Nyhavn, and Kongs Nytorv (a cool square nearby). We went shopping on Stroget (the pedestrian shopping street) and I got an infinity scarf and crepes with banana and nutella (YUM). It was a relaxing day for us. At night, I made my mom’s famous eggplant, and everyone helped me bread, fry, and eat! Vince, Marina, Mia, Caroline, and I had a hyggeligt night in, complete with candles, which I am now addicted to.

Me (in my winter jacket!!), Caroline, and Mia

the making of a crepe

YUM people. Crepes are bangin’

In Denmark, they don’t celebrate Halloween OR Thanksgiving, and so there isn’t much to look forward to in the winter besides Christmas. The Danes counter this depressing thought with their own holiday, called J Dag (“J-Day”) to kick off the Christmas season. On J-Day (the first Friday in November), at 8:59 PM, giant delivery trucks arrive at all the prominent bars to unload the brand new Christmas beer! Up until this moment, no one has even seen the can, so it’s a huge deal for all Danes. After that, Christmas decorations start to pop up all around town, and playing Christmas music is officially acceptable. It’s kind of like when Starbucks comes out with Red Cups for the holiday season, except everyone gets drunk for this. Louise got us tickets to her university’s J-Dag party (which would also be my school if I went to college here), so I went with Vince and Emma. (Earlier that night, we had heard Vince sing in a recital for the Copenhagen music school, which is a HUGE honor, so we were also celebrating that. He’s super talented.) You’ll notice, the pictures from this night are few and low-quality, my apologies!

Tuborg Julebryg (yule-brew)

Getting pumped at 9 PM

Louise, me, and half of Vince

Louiseeee my favorite Dane, my RA

This would be one of my classrooms!

If you thought WINTER WELCOME WEEK was coming to an end, think again. Saturday was Sensation White!! Literally everyone in Europe came to Copenhagen for Sensation–there ended up being over 20,000 people there. Basically, Sensation is a giant world-traveling rave where everyone dresses in white, there is a lineup of electronic/house music DJs, circus performers, and light shows from giant structures placed throughout the stadium. If you’re having a hard time conceptualizing it, watch this quick video that Sensation put out before the event: CLICK HERE. At raves, you’re not supposed to wear real people clothes, so I got a giant t-shirt from H & M and my roommate here made it into a dress for me. I wore cheap little white sneakers (which ended up black with grime), white tights, glitterglitterglitter all over, and a white heart painted around my eye. At the start of the pre-party at Mia’s, I look sort of like a person, but by the time we left for Sensation, the glitter was out of control and we had all painted each other’s faces (that’s where I got my heart). Sensation itself was, well, indescribable. Some people say it’s not their scene, but the loud music and dancing put me in a happy place. I think I get that from my mom (love you LB).

I don’t think you readers know Emily, but she’s the best.

Sensation, like a boss.

during the light show

candid captured by Aimee, told you I love this kind of thing!

With the end of Sensation came the wrap-up of WINTER WELCOME WEEK. Sunday family dinner with my housemates brought it all together with some cozy community bonding, and of course more candles.

I don’t know how I will celebrate WINTER WELCOME WEEK in America, but it will definitely be a permanent fixture in my life from now on.

This might have been the best week of my semester, but then again, I’m always saying that…

Much love.

Sending Me Presents!

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Brittany Giugno has hopped on the present bandwagon and sent me a present!

In this glorious box, I received AMERICAN COFFEE, JIF PEANUTBUTTER, AND GRANOLA BARS! Since yesterday when I picked it up, I have taken pictures obsessively, including these:

Thank you, Britt, for making my life a little better with some of the things you Americans take for granted. I love you and miss you like crazy!!

To all other readers (besides Ceil and LB, who have also sent me gifts): YOU ARE SLACKING.  I think it’s time you showed me how much you appreciate my blog by sending along some goodies to Briana Bogue c/o DIS, Vestergade 7, Copenhagen K, 1456, Denmark. I like tea, craisins, warm socks and scarves, and of course, peanut butter. But by all means, feel free to get creative.

Much love!

Long Study Tour to Milan, Italy

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Last week, my Positive Psychology class took our long study tour to Milan, Italy.

Class photo!

While it was definitely an academic tour, with lectures at the university by prominent figures in positive psychology, DIS did a great job of planning so it didn’t just feel like a week-long class. Some of our academic visits were creative applications of positive psych, like the spent in a meditation center of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.

We got to spend time exploring the city of Milan, eating Italian food, and even climbed to the roof of Il Duomo, a famous and beautifully built church in the center of the city!

Our hotel, Hotel Bernina, got to know each of us loud Americans very well during the night hours when we got knocks on our doors telling us to quiet down! Oops!

Inside La Galleria, a cross-shaped building lined with shops like Louis Vuitton.

Spinning around on the “most delicate” part of the mosaic bull that decorates the floor of the Galleria. Apparently three spins on your heel gives you luck and good fortune!

quick shot of me, HEY

The tram lines run all over the city and are a cute, efficient way to travel. We saw much of the city this way, and used the Metro as well.

fountain pic, classic

This old castle had a moat, which I think is fascinating. Cats live in there now. Ironic, since cats hate water.

Arc de Triumph, which has something to do with Napoleon

Il Duomo

Inside, leading up to the altar. AN ORIGINAL NAIL FROM JESUS’ CROSS is suspended above the altar!! You can see the small red light near the top of this picture–that’s where it is kept embedded within an ornate cross. To be in the presence of such an object was absolutely astonishing.

areas to light candles and pray were on the sides of the church

I decided to have a moment to myself, say a prayer for my family, and light a candle. I miss them so much at times like these.

My friend Chelsea snapped these photos when she saw me being a real person…

The bodies of a few Cardinals (or Archbishops?) are also here on display, which was both surreal and a reality check for me. I hope it’s okay that I posted this, I just wanted everyone to get the full effect of what I mean.

A pitcure from the roof of the Duomo. Of course on the day that we actually climbed it, it was cloudy out.

Close-up, you can see that atop each point, there are actually sculptures of saints! Remarkable.

Tori, me, Chelsea, Rachel, and Kelsea sitting on one of the windowsills on the roof of Il Duomo!

The classical music concert we attended as a class. Very entertaining and enriching, as I used to play the flute (through freshman year of high school).

Zoe, me, Chelsea, and Gabe enjoying intermission, with a phenomenal photobomb by Katie in the background

WINE TASTING UH HUH

Indulging in some Milanese drinks with Zoe, Chelsea, and Tori. They were delicious!

This is what happened when I tried to order that orange drink the next night at a different place… I got a giant green thing that was bigger than my face. But I was not complaining!

Cool lunch place, that served us an entire plate of meat as an appetizer with bread, fried sweetbread pockets, and chunks of parmesan cheese.

Although I am not a meat person, I did venture to try one of each of these, and actually liked some of it! Proud.

Couldn’t help myself with this stalker pic. When in Milan!

The beautiful town of Lake Como, which we visited on the last day of our trip. This picture does not do it justice. If you’re curious, google Lake Como and see why GEORGE CLOONEY owns a house here!

Lake Como

As you can see from all my pictures, my classmates and I enjoyed ourselves on this study tour. We became much closer as a result of living together for six days and sharing some truly hilarious experiences!

At the end of our trip, we did a Positive Psychology Intervention called the Compliment Bag, where each of us had our own bag, and every classmate would drop in a little note with a personalized compliment written on it. Because the compliments are anonymous, you don’t get to know who thinks what about you–it’s just a general confidence boost from everyone! Writing my compliments for my classmates was not difficult after all the fun we had together in Milan. The best part was reading all 27 compliments, which I saved in my room for a rainy day. I plan on doing this with every person I know when I come back to America, so brace yourselves!

This was my last time leaving Copenhagen for the rest of the semester. Overall, I flew on 14 planes this semester, so I am tired of checkin, security, and landing ear-popping! I’m excited to experience Copenhagen, as it has actually taken on the meaning of home for me. The third “travel break” provided by DIS will serve as a Staycation for me, where I will have the apartment to myself (with my SRA, Louise)! I can’t wait!

Much love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barcelona, London, & So Much Love

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Instead of trying to tell you about my trip to Barcelona and London, I have to show you.

These are two amazing cities. I really can’t express how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to travel here, but more importantly, how lucky I am to have two friends who flew from Philadelphia all the way to Barcelona to meet up with Mia and I. Marissa and Dee, I love you so much and I cannot wait to reunite with you at Villanova and live it up! There are no words to describe how much I love you.

Bitty, it’s safe to say I have joined you in your obsession with London. One day I hope I can take you there and we can experience the Brits together!

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Much love.

Italy in Pictures

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Italy in Pictures

I wish I looked more Italian for my trip to Italy, so they would have recognized me as one of their own. Regardless of whether or not the Romans knew, when I got there I felt like I was coming home. The first three hours I spent in Rome, everyone looked like someone I knew: Poppy, Mimi & Pop, Gram Elaine… It really just made me want to hug someone. After that homesick moment, I decided that I would come back some day with my family. Bogues, remember this. Terrusas, Meagan, you’re invited. We might even have to stay in the Ivanhoe Hostel, whose owner was nice enough to host free spaghetti and cocktail nights! The only problem, I had to speak to him in Spanish because I can’t speak Italian and he can’t speak English. Spanish was our halfway point.

As you may have guessed, my Italian trip was peppered with memorable moments and casually-not-casual food & culture creations. Instead of rambling on about them…

This is an example of how the ruins appear. This is an old house, with some of the walls still standing.

More ruins on the Palatine Hill, which is a wide-ranging group of ruins next to the Colosseum which includes the houses and gardens of emperors and aristocracy such as Augustus!

Tunnel connecting two of the emporer/noble’s houses underground

A relief from the original decor of the tunnel that connects two old castles underground

People actually uncovering ore ruins! It was so cool to see them carefully brushing at rocks and categorizing what they found.

Aimee and I in front of a wall overlooking Roma on the Palatine Hill

I think someone died, because there is a mound inside this alcove with fresh flowers on it. Maybe it was Caesar.

Part of the Roman Forum

Aimee and Ben under a tree on the pathway beside the river that runs through Rome. We had to cross it to get from the city center to the area with all the cheap and delicious restaurants, per the advice of Salvatore (the owner of our hostel). It was so worth it!

Trattoria Pizza da Gino alla Villetta. Our favorite restaurant. We went twice!

An eggplant pizza and a sausage pizza. These are personal ones! HUGE!

Aimee’s interesting pizza. This is how they make pizzas with multiple toppings of this meat/vegetable nature.

wineeee

Speaking of food, Dad, look what I found!

What the streets looked like in Rome, especially the cheap food section.

Typical restaurant

Penis pasta. Sorry, it was everywhere.

Rome has spacious, decorated squares called piazzas. They are close together within the city. Usually, each one has a church or important building, as well as a fountain. Artists and vendors set up their wares there to sell to tourists and locals that hang out in the piazza.

Piazza Navona

fountain in Piazza Navona

beautiful building in Piazza de Navona

Me in Piazza Navona

The Pantheon, which I did not know is a functioning church and final resting place of the famous painter, Rafael. His art is also featured within the structure, along with an altar and pews that people still seem to use.

Us in front of the Pantheon, but of course I got distracted. The people watching in Rome is just fabulous.

Much better. Group shot at the Pantheon!

couldn’t stop taking pictures of the streets in Rome, they were so cozy.

Such a cute little car. Dad, how about we get this one next 😉 ?

Dad, chestnuts!! I almost got some, but it wouldn’t have been the same.

 

The next day was Vatican Day for us! We tried to beat the line again, but taking the metro to the Vatican was a bad idea. We had to wait in line, but it was still fascinating! Here’s the entrance to the Vatican Museum! Which, by the way, is one of entrances into the walls surrounding the Vatican. NOTE: Women MUST cover their shoulders and knees when inside the Vatican. 

An exemplary ceiling in the Vatican Museum. Such craftsmanship.

Rafael. In the Vatican. Where I was! So crazy. 

At this point, I experienced the most profound moment on my journey, when I went inside the Sistine Chapel! Situated at the end of the train of rooms in the Vatican Museum, it is the climax of the entire exhibition. In our Augustinian Culture Seminar (freshman year-long required class) at Villanova, Dr. Kelley’s class explored religion through texts and Christian art–including art from the Sistine Chapel. At first, I didn’t even recognize the pieces we discussed, because every inch of the Chapel is covered in scenes, so the only thing I noticed were the harmonious colors and general forms. Michelangelo was a sculptor, so his people are painted in ideal form like sculptures would be, with expertly positioned flowing garments. The skilled artist’s use of color was such that the eye is prompted to move throughout the piece without being drawn to any one figure, at first. After a few minutes, however, I began to notice figures of importance, like Jesus and Moses. The scenes from Mount Sinai are on the walls, while stories of Jesus’ baptism and teachings are presented on the opposite wall. For me, the most amazing thing was the story of creation that graced the ceiling. From the separation of light and dark, to the creation of Eve, to the painting of Original Sin, Michelangelo’s masterpiece literally floored me. I had a stiff neck when I was done staring up at this inspired work. After almost an hour, I realized where I was, and had to exit the Sistine Chapel for fear of being kicked out by the guards to make room for new tourists. Unfortunately, no pictures were permitted, and I did not want to disrespect the art by attempting to capture it in such an elementary and ordinary way.

St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica!

Aimee and I with the Basilica

Basilica shot! Imagine the pope sitting up there addressing thousands of people. Even for non-Catholics, that must be an awe-inspiring sight to behold. We were going to try to get in, but by that time there was a line of a thousand people waiting outside, so we had to skip it.

Part of St. Peter’s Square (Did you know that some of the art here was created by a Danish sculptor?! The only non-Italian to be included here.)

Me climbing the Spanish steps. We had to wear pants to the Vatican, so climbing these stairs in the sun was kind of a sweaty experience… but worth it for the view from the top!

Aimee and I at the top of the Spanish Steps

The view of the Shopping Street from the Spanish Steps. The shopping here is CRAZY! Louis Vuitton and Prada are some of the names you’d recognize.

Finally, the Trevi Fountain. In the Lizzie McGuire Rome movie, this is where she meets Paolo (in case you didn’t know, this movie was a huge part of Meagan’s and my childhood)

Me & Aimee with the Trevi getting close to the fountain took a little time because…

…LOOK AT ALL THESE TOURISTS!!

Stopping at the bottom of the Trevi for a photo op! We hung out there for quite a while, listening to the water and taking pictures.

Throwing my Euro-penny into the Trevi Fountain! I made a wish!!

Aimee’s hilarious selfy in front of the Trevi. I couldn’t help taking a picture of her.

Me, Aimee, and Ben at the Trevi

Toshi and Marshall (two friends we made at our hostel) came with us for this day. They were both independent travelers for extended periods of time, backpacking through Europe.

us with Marshall

We used this building as a point of reference within Rome (since we didn’t have wifi, Aimee and I navigated our whole trip with a paper map–BE PROUD). It’s called Ill Vittoriano – Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II.

Il Vittoriano – Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, from the side. I have no idea why this monument is so grandiose.

Me with Angelo, who I later discovered knows Antonella back in CT! The first night, we randomly went to his gelato shop, where he passionately creates new flavors and makes everything by hand. He was so friendly, and we ended up going there every night!

My mondo cannoli. Chocolate chip filling, pistachio crust. It took me four sittings to eat this thing.

Look how huge it is!

The bluest of skies as we mounted the plane from the tarmac. This was the flight home from Milan (we flew from Rome to Milan on Saturday at 1 pm, then stayed in the Milan airport until our 7:30 am flight to Copenhagen on Sunday morning). While we saved upwards of $100 this way, it was a long night in the airport.

That, my friends, was my trip to Rome! I know it was a long one, but now you know everything! You’re a lucky bunch, you readers.

Much love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Grecian Memories

Posted on

The last day and a half in Greece blends together in my mind. We wandered much more, finding Zeus’s temple, popping in and out of shops, and eating our last Greek cuisine.

After this trip, it’s no wonder people go on vacation to exotic places like Greece all the time! I’m reconsidering the annual trip to Florida, as much as I love our little rented apartment in Indian Rocks Beach… All in all, I had a tremendous experience that will last me a lifetime. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better… ON TO ROME!

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