Monday, February 13, 2012

somewhere in venice

At the beginning of Carnivale, we took a day trip to Venice for the festival. And, yet again, I was freezing my lil tush off, but I think we all had a nice time.

Masks were being sold all over the place, ranging from 4 Euros (obviously made in China) to over 100. I settled for a modestly-priced black and gold paper mache mask with feathers, but these lace ones pictured below were my favorites. Unfortunately, I couldn't justify spending over 20 Euros on a mask when I know I have much more shopping to do all over Europe later. C'est la vie.

I know all of these posts and photos are starting to look really similar (or just flat-out, the same), but I recently got back from Barcelona, so those will shake things up a bit!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

baby, it's cold outside

Actually, make that freezing. Tuscany is going through the coldest winter in 27 years and--trust me--American students are feeling it too. Our school arranged a Siena day trip this past weekend, with a tour and everything. I was really grateful to have such an opportunity to hear about Siena's rich history, but a lot of the information was overshadowed by the cold. I'm sad to admit I was one of those bratty kids muttering, "My fingers are about to fall off" every few minutes. Nevertheless, I did get to marvel at the beautiful scenery: Tuscan architecture under a blanket of snow. 

Sometimes I have "herpy" moments, and only recently found out that there is an "Il Duomo" in other cities, not just in Florence. So here's Siena's beautiful Duomo from the back. And a photo of the intricate ceiling detail inside the cathedral. (It's kind of funny I've been inside Siena's Duomo, but still haven't been inside Florence's.)

After our tour, we had three hours of free time. Unfortunately, the free time was from 1pm-4pm, and Italian stores are generally closed for lunch until 3pm, so we only had an hour to shop. We spent some time at leather stores, where you could most definitely tell was genuine leather from the strong smell. There were several cute figurine shops where locals sell their own work (like painted corkscrews). In the last hour, I found a ring that I gladly purchased for 20 Euros. Unfortunately, it isn't pictured below because we ran out in a hurry to catch the bus back to Florence.

This upcoming weekend--Venice for Carnivale!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

here we go again

I have a restless blog problem, where I simply can't just post on one blog or something because I keep thinking I'm missing out on something. I've spent the past two years on Tumblr and some time before that on Blogspot. I still can't figure out which is better, but I think I've come to the conclusion that they're just for two different things--and it's okay to have both. So here's to another try at Blogspot. Nice to see you again, old friend.

Anyway, I've been in Firenze, Italia for the past two weeks, and it's starting to feel more and more like home. I guess that says something about how I adapt easily to different environments. I've found my favorite grocery store (and the central market, if I'm feeling really ambitious about cooking). There are still random things that continue to shock me (such as the priciness of stationary and school supplies), and I'm still not sure how to buy milk, but it's not too difficult to get by.

the view from my room

the view from my room, a second angle

There are so many marketplaces around the city. Usually vendors sell random goods like leather bags, jewelry, spices, or Venetian masks. It's usually pretty crowded and touristy, but Claire and I went through one to go grocery shopping last Saturday. There were some really lovely things, but we decided we would have plenty of other opportunities (when we're not carrying bags full of oil and spices) to browse longer.