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Guido Watch '09

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the UK, kind of like the US

London, United Kingdom

The first day here was spent relaxing and sleeping. We were exhausted from lugging our bags all over Europe, from train station to hostel to train station etc. Staying in one place for 6 days is a nice change. The first thing we did was visit Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. It was a beautiful and hot day (who knew London weather could get into the 80s?) People were sunbathing all over the park. We went to the Orangerie near Kensington Palace and had afternoon tea. I also had a scone with clotted cream. It was all very British. Then we walked over to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Sadly, it closed before we had gone through every square inch. I have to settle for not having seen one or two rooms. Fish and chips were the mandatory dinner.
The next day we went to the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. I've been to London twice before this, but managed to miss this huge tourist attraction. The best part about it turned out not to be the music, the marching, or even the funny hats; it was the mounted policewoman doing crowd control in front of us. She was hilarious, and her horse was massive! Its hooves were bigger than my head! She kept walking it straight into the crowd to get people to move. They were terrified. The girls and I had a great vantage point for the ceremony at the railing next to the main entrance to the palace. The guards marched out only a couple feet from us. After this we walked through St. James Park to Westminster Abbey. I love this place. So many amazing people are buried/are honored here. There is Queen Elizabeth I, Edward the Confessor, and even Charles Darwin, to name a few! The first time I saw Darwin's marker on the floor of the Abbey, I was overjoyed. The father of evolution buried in one of the greatest churches in the world. Where else could you see that? And if you're a fan of The DaVinci Code, the monument to Newton is here, too. After the Abbey, we crossed the street to see Parliament and Big Ben before jumping on the subway to get food and rehydrate for the next day.
We walked to the British Museum on the 3rd. Heather was really excited to see the Egyptian collection. They even have mummies. One of which still has some of his hair! I always lose track of time while I'm there. They have so much wonderful stuff that I'm constantly sidetracked by something amazing in the next room. the BM takes up a lot of time, and our feet were pretty sore by the time we stepped back into the open air.
Saturday was another beautiful day. There were clouds and a breeze, but it was still warm enough for only a cardigan and shorts! I never thought I'd be this warm in London. The girls and I decided to go to the Tower of London for the day. They had a lot of fun visiting all of the places where the Tudors lived and had their scandals, as well as the Crown Jewels. This was my third visit to the Tower, and I still love it. I even bought a book about it so that the next time I'm there I can answer the Yeoman Warder tourguide's questions. Later on, we went to King's Cross train station to see Platform 9 3/4. Harry Potter fans will understand this one. In between platforms 9 and 10 there is a little sign with a cart sticking half way into the wall. It's so cool! Heather and I took some pictures "pushing" the cart. (Kahea isn't much of a Potter fan). Some other people showed up to do the same, and I realized that we were all adults! Those books make people do some crazy things.
The 5th was the Wimbledon final with Federer vs Roddick. So, of course, Kahea and I had to watch it. We spent the morning walking around the area near King's Cross, and the afternoon in a pub, drinking and watching the match. They played for over 4 hours! It was incredible! But, sadly, Roddick lost and we had to go to dinner dejected. We spent the evening packing up all of our stuff and trying to organize ourselves for the day ahead.
We woke up bright and early the next day to check out and hop on an underground train to the airport. It started raining, and I was happy we chose that day to leave. Everything went smoothly in the airport. We got to our terminal and waited to board. We ended up getting on the plane about half an hour late. I was a little worried about missing my connecting flight in Dallas since I still had to go through customs, but I was optimistic. Three and a half hours later, though, I knew I wasn't going to make it home that day. We were still on the plane sitting at the terminal. We learned after about 2 hours that there was some bad weather around Scotland, and the pilot didn't know when we would get to leave. Close to 4 hours later, we finally took off. The girls ended up missing their connecting flights too. There were a couple tears of frustration. My homesickness had been repressed for quite some time, and it managed to leak out on the plane. But by the time we got to Dallas, we were all resigned and back to being weary, but happy travelers. We went through customs and back through security before finding a nice place on the floor to curl up for the night. It was freezing cold, but Heather found some blankets to use. I was too tired and cold to care that I had no idea who had used them before or for what purpose. We slept for about 3 hours and then woke up around 4:50 to get the first food and coffee from Starbucks and McDonalds. We managed to get great seats together on the plane and we napped and chatted all the way home. Once back in Seattle, we hurried to baggage claim and I got to see my mom and sister. I was SO happy! Sadly, it was not to last. None of our bags had made it on the plane. Luckily, they ended up on the next flight, so we only had to wait another hour or so. The drive to Sequim and my parent's new house was a pretty one. I was in a bit of a haze from the past few days, but managed to take it all in. The house is beautiful, and so is the view. It's completely different from the house and town I grew up in, but as long as they're happy with it, so am I.
The girls got back to Richland safe, too. I am going to visit them in a few days before heading off to see my aunt and uncle in La Grande. Then I'm going up to the cabin to see my grandparents and be joined by the rest of the family later. I'm so excited to have real meals made for me again! Being spoiled isn't a bad thing if you really and truly appreciate it, and believe me, I do.

permalink written by  kalib on July 7, 2009 from London, United Kingdom
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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Those Darn Frenchies

Paris, France

The overnight train was a new experience for me. There were two sets of bunks in a carriage with three each. We got pillows, sheets and a blanket. Laying down, rather than sitting up trying to sleep was a welcome change. I kept waking up because of how bouncy the train was, but I managed to get almost a decent night’s sleep over the ten hour ride. Once in Paris, we walked to our hostel, stored our bags (check-in wasn’t until 4pm), dried off the sweat from the 85 degree weather, and set off for the long walk to the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. We got groceries on the way, and ended up in the park in front of the Eiffel Tower for most of the afternoon and evening. We even took naps on the grass. We waited for the tower to light up after dusk and then headed back to the hostel. Ending up with another room to ourselves capped off a great night. The next day we walked down to Notre Dame. Not being able to spend money unless absolutely necessary really limits what we can do, but walking around Paris was still amazing. Now, it’s time for the last leg of our journey in London!

permalink written by  kalib on June 29, 2009 from Paris, France
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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Beer and Pretzels

Munich, Germany

It’s surprising how fast people fall in love with Germany. The first time I came two summers ago, I was immediately smitten. Two seconds after stepping into our first beer hall, Heather and Kahea were head-over-heels. There’s just something about this place. It’s clean, it’s calm, the people are nice, the weather is nice, it’s just…nice. We walked around what turned out to be the red-light district the first night after the beer hall and my failed attempt at drinking a pint myself. The next day we walked to Marienplatz and the shopping streets nearby. We did a lot of shopping, but only a little spending. At dinner time we walked to the Hofbrauhaus. Heather and I had two of those huge steins with Radler, a mix of beer and lemonade. They are so good! And it’s the only way I can consume that much beer. Four German guys around our age sat at our table (a Normal custom in beer halls). We could tell that they were making fun of us quite often, but didn’t think that they spoke English. They seemed harmless enough, and we finally broke the barrier when I said something in German after one of them took a sneaky picture of me. We ended up having a lot of fun drinking and talking the rest of the night. Oh, and it turns out three of them did speak English, very well. After we left, Heather saw a Hofbrauhaus stein on a phonebooth! I have no idea how someone snuck it out, because there are so many guards. But we quickly dumped it out and stuffed it in my purse. I wish I had one too! The next day we did some more walking around downtown and then caught an overnight train to Paris!

permalink written by  kalib on June 28, 2009 from Munich, Germany
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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The City of Gondolas

Venice, Italy

To sum up Venice in one word, I would say “unique.” I don’t think there is another place in the world like it. When you step out of the train station, you are confronted by water lapping at the steps. There aren’t taxis, there are water-taxis. There aren’t buses, there are ferries. And there aren’t ambulances, there are boats! Seeing water slamming into partially sunken, old front doors is quite strange. And each building is different. They have beautiful, ornate windows; and some even have paintings covering the front wall. We were staying at a budget hotel on one of the islands near the main part of town. Sadly, the ferry costs 6.50euros for each ride! There was some confusion getting to our hotel, but eventually we found it. Then we got BACK on the ferry and went to the main island to do the tourist thing. The Bridge of Sighs was almost completely covered by scaffolding and an advertisement. But St. Mark’s Square was luckily still visible. It was a beautiful place. Heather and I fed the pigeons and had some land on our hands. It was a bit freaky, but fun. While walking away, however, I had a pigeon fly at my face and try to land on my shoulder. Its feet got stuck in my sweater and I panicked a little. I think I gave the people around me some entertainment by yelling and flopping around trying to get it dislodged from my clothing. It eventually got free, but I didn’t feed the pigeons again. The girls and I did a lot of souvenir shopping. I bought a new Venitian glass ring, and we got presents for our family and friends. I’m glad we only stayed there one night, though. All of the sights can easily be seen in one afternoon, and the only other thing to do is shop. High-end shops are absolutely everywhere. I could only afford the gelato. Getting back to our hotel that night was wonderful. We were exhausted from traveling and walking all day. The only bad thing was the mosquitoes who found their way into our room that night. I woke up with ten bites, Heather had two, and Kahea had six. Now, it’s time for Munich!

permalink written by  kalib on June 26, 2009 from Venice, Italy
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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Again in Roma

Rome, Italy

Staying with my Italian family again involved mostly sleep. I didn’t experience a single morning there. I knew traveling with the girls would wear me out. After a few days, and yet another tearful goodbye to the family, I hopped on a bus at midnight and made my way to Rome. You would think that after multiple nights spent in chairs that I would be used to it, but sadly that’s not the case, and I didn’t get much sleep at all. I did get to see another sunrise, though. After a lugging my suitcase through the metro system, I made it to my hostel and dropped off my stuff before going to the airport to meet Heather and Kahea. I ended up waiting for them for over two hours! It turned out that the airline had accidentally marked Kahea’s bag to be delivered the next day. She was a little stressed out, but handled it like a trooper. I had been pretty homesick the past week, but when I saw the girls, I was happy. I can handle being here another two weeks now. Immediately after getting our beds we set off for the Roman forums and the Coliseum. The girls were excited, but so tired they could hardly do anything but walk slowly and snap pictures. The Coliseum was still amazing. And Rome was still Rome, only hotter. I had only had about an hour of sleep the night before and the girls were faring even worse, so we went to bed early. Six o’clock to be exact. The next day, we woke up at a decent hour and went to the Vatican. We were all peppier and enjoyed ourselves. That place still blows my mind. Afterwards we ate pizza at the Largo Argentina, marveled at the Pantheon, and got gelato at my favorite place, Giolitti. I am going to miss that place. I am going to miss ALL these places. We spent the third day, the 24th, at the beach outside Rome. It was absolutely wonderful! A whole day lying on the beach next to the Mediterranean with my best friends is my idea of relaxation. Heather and I went swimming, which is when she stepped on a jellyfish. That part wasn’t so much fun, but we got some sort of Italian liquid for jellyfish stings that made her feel much better. Since she couldn’t walk, I went up to the bar to get her a Carona. The bartender asked me if I was sixteen, and didn’t believe me when I said I was twenty-one. It’s good to know that my (extremely) youthful looks are obvious in every country. Tomorrow we will be leaving Rome for Venice!

permalink written by  kalib on June 22, 2009 from Rome, Italy
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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The Island

Kerkyra, Greece

After Athens, I visited an island on the west side of the country called Corfu. The minute I got there, I was happy. It turns out I love small towns. I feel so much more comfortable and calm outside of the city. And Kerkyra is a beautiful place. The water is the most beautiful I have seen thus far. I was so excited to have a room in a real hotel. I had a bedroom and a bathroom all to myself! Those were the only two times that I have been alone, or will be alone, this entire trip in Europe. It was wonderful! I spent the first morning and afternoon at the water, lounging in the sun and swimming. I could even see fish around me when I was in the water! It was so cool! I (finally) got tan, too! My hair is almost completely blond now. No one is going to recognize me!
I walked around the town a little that night and wrote in my travel journal. I loved sitting by the water and the boats, smelling the sea and listening to the waves. I want to go back someday. The next day I walked around the town some more and sat by the water reading. There isn't much to tell from this part of my trip because I really didn't do anything. It was perfect!
I caught my ferry at 10pm and slept on and off for the rest of the night in a chair. I woke up to take pictures of the Sunrise and then went back to sleep. Once we got into Bari, Italy I made my way to the train station and then to Rogliano. I had to take 4 trains in 7 hours in order to get to Rogliano at a decent hour that day. It was a lot of travelling, but at least there was a home-cooked meal and a bed waiting for me at the end of it. I slept in until after 1pm the next day. I'm glad I have this time to relax before heading out on my next European adventure.

permalink written by  kalib on June 18, 2009 from Kerkyra, Greece
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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Athens, Greece

I arrived in Athens and realized right away how much I disliked not knowing a single word of the language. I felt bad speaking completely in English, but there really wasn't much I could do about it. I made my way into the city from the airport, but had a hard time finding my hostel. I hadn't written down directions from the subway because I thought a map would suffice. However, my hostel was too far north from the center of the city to be on the map! I finally got there using my iPhone. It was getting dark by the time I got settled, so I only ventured out to the grocery store to get my dinner. I didn't feel like getting lost alone in a city I didn't know. The next day I spent 7 straight hours outside walking around the ancient ruins. I found out afterwards that it was about 93 degrees. I drank more water than I have this entire trip! The Acropolis was amazing. You could see the entire city circling it. In the Ancient Agora I made friends with a tortoise and then ate my apple while looking at the ruins. I lead a pretty interesting life, I must say. On the way home I did some shopping in a nice, air-conditioned store.
The next day I went to the archaeological museum. They had some amazing things. One of the rooms had artifacts from 2500-2300 BC! The Greeks have been producing beautiful art for longer than I had imagined possible. After getting my fill of ancient culture for the day, I went out to get some from the modern Greece. I went to a leather sandal-maker and bought a pair that I love. While I was there, a woman bought 7 pairs! And they aren't exactly cheap! I also found an english bookstore. I bougt Robinson Crusoe because I too was on a solo adventure which at one point involved a boat. Being alone in a foreign country wasn't as strange as I had anticipated. I didn't feel sad or alone at all. The only thing that was different was that I didn't feel safe being by myself after dark. I'm glad I decided to go despite my reservations.

permalink written by  kalib on June 13, 2009 from Athens, Greece
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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Summer's Beginning

Sorrento, Italy

After a very tearful goodbye to our family, Madeline, some other friends, and I hopped on a train to Naples. Madeline and I left our friends on the train because they were headed to Rome. It was really sad to leave them. We both cried quite a bit that day. But I decided not to cry anymore, and stuck to it pretty well. We met up with the other girls who we lived with in Rome and headed to Sorrento. Our hostel was really nice, but full of Americans who enjoyed partying quite a bit more than I do. We relaxed and walked around the town, saying goodbye to a different person every day. Eventually, only Zoe and I were left.
We went into Naples one afternoon to find a pizza place that my Italian friend told me about. Naples is the most diverse city in Italy that I have ever seen. It's crowded and a bit dirty, but I liked it. Although, it's famous for purse-snatchings. I kept mine close by at all times. The next day, she and I went to Pompeii, where I have wanted to go since I was little. It was amazing, and of course, sad. The town is huge! The bodies were incredible to see. On some of them you could still see their clothes.
We had spent the whole morning in the sun, and were quite hot and exhausted. So we decided to go down to the water and relax for the afternoon. Swimming in the Mediterranean is one of my favorite things. It's so salty that you float without any effort. And it's so clear that you can see straight to the bottom. We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the sun and swimming in the sea. It was wonderful. The next morning, I left bright and early for Athens.

permalink written by  kalib on June 10, 2009 from Sorrento, Italy
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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Taormina, Italy

I woke up bright and early to catch the bus to Sicily Friday morning. We took over almost every seat! The countryside was beautiful. It didn't get dry until we were in Sicily. I was suprised by the amount of green. But there are cacti everywhere, as well as olive trees and old, stone farm houses. It took about 3 to 4 hours to get there, including a ferry ride. Taormina is beautiful. It’s a small town that sits on a cliff above the Mediterranean. There were tourists everywhere, but when you get past that, it’s really charming. We, being poor college students in Europe, stayed in a small town a few miles away called Giardini Naxos. It was on the water, which was perfect for what I wanted out of the trip: a tan. Before going to Sicily I made sure to buy sunscreen. It was 15 euro because hardly anyone here burns, but I needed it enough to pay that much. Our hostel was only about a ten-minute walk from the beach. We sunbathed a bit on Friday once we got settled, but there wasn’t enough time to do much else. About 13 of us from the program went out to pizza for dinner. It was amazing. I don’t know if I will ever be able to eat American pizza again. We went to the beach that night to just talk and watch the waves. I was so happy! Some of us ended up not going to bed until 5 in the morning. And the next day I woke up at 8:30 to go to Mt. Etna. Sadly, there were no buses there on that day. We still don’t know why. I’m sad that I didn’t get to hike the volcano. It would have been so cool! Instead we walked around Taormina in the pouring rain. Sicily is famous for its ceramics, and I found some pretty cool stuff. Madeline and I bought a bottle opener for our family in Rogliano. I almost spent a lot of money I don’t have on some amber earrings. They were so tempting! Instead I bought a cannoli, which is a hard pastry wrapped around sweet ricotta cheese, dipped in pistachios. AMAZING. Thinking about it right now has made my mouth water. I also had a blood-orange juice that was wonderful. They don’t seem to have regular orange juice in the south. All I’ve seen are blood-oranges. And I’m not complaining. I stayed up late again, but managed to get a nap in earlier in the day. On Sunday we went to the beach bright and early. On the way I bought water, strawberries, and a banana for my breakfast. It was a nice change not to be completely stuffed after a meal. We sunbathed for about 6 hours. It was wonderful. I even swam once. But the surf was rough and I had to swim far out to get away from the big waves. I came back in pretty fast because the water was sandy and all I could think of was that sharks like murky water. Those sharks always ruin my salt-water swims. And the Mediterranean is SALTY. After getting out I had dried salt stuck to my entire body. It looked like I was shedding my skin! The sun is also much stronger here than I have ever experienced in my life. I came to Italy as a brunette and am now very much a blond. After our day in the sun, I went to bed early. The next day Madeline and I headed up to Taormina early to get some gelato and sit at the piazza overlooking the water. It was an extremely hot day, and my gelato melted all over my skirt. But I didn’t really mind because it was so pretty. We left Sicily at about 2pm on Monday. We took the same bus route back to Rogliano, and it was still beautiful. My friend and I listened to Disney songs and sang the whole way back.
The last 4 weeks have been a bit of a blur. I don’t feel like I’ve been here very long, but school is out tomorrow. I can’t believe it. I have learned so much Italian staying with a family. I’m still not very good at conjugating verbs and tenses on the fly, but I think they understand me better now. I bought all of the train tickets I need for the next 4 weeks, and I decided to go to Greece…alone. It’s a pretty big decision for me because I tend to get really nervous about that sort of thing. But I’m excited to do something completely and utterly alone for once in my life. I don’t speak the language, I’ve never been there before, and I don’t know a single person. Wow.
Here is my schedule: on the 6th of June some friends and I are going to Sorrento. On the 10th I fly out of Naples into Athens. I will be there until the 13th, when I fly out of Athens to Corfu City in Corfu, an island on the west side of Greece. I will be there until the 15th, when I take a night ferry to Bari, Italy. It’s a 9 hour ferry ride on which I will be sitting outside. That is going to be an adventure in itself. I arrive in Bari on the 16th and take a train to Rogliano. I will be back here for about 4 days before I go to Rome on the 21st. My friends fly in on the morning of the 22nd. We will stay in Rome until the 25th, when we go to Venice. On the 26th we leave Venice for Munich. We will be there until the 28th when we take a night train to Paris. We leave Paris on the 30th for London. On the 6th of July we will fly home and get to Seattle on the 7th! I’m excited to do all of this stuff, but at the same time I miss home. I also don’t want to leave Rogliano. I love my family. Right now my little sister is sitting on my bed playing with my iPhone. I’m going to miss them a lot! But I guess I should be more excited since my summer officially starts in about 22 hours…I love not having finals!

permalink written by  kalib on June 3, 2009 from Taormina, Italy
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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Goin' South

Rogliano, Italy

It’s been a long time since I last updated this! They shut off the internet in our apartment during our last week in Rome. It wasn’t the best timing for me! And since then I haven’t had internet access until now.
Umbria was beautiful. We stayed in a villa and they fed us twice every day. I love not spending money on food! There were lilacs everywhere! And oddly, snails. Perugia is a really pretty place. I bet it’s gorgeous in the winter covered in snow. Nothing too important happened that weekend, though. It was mostly just a nice rest. The beds! The beds were like sleeping on clouds. I never wanted to get out from under the covers. It was difficult to go back to Rome and my cot.
On the 24th we went to the Roman Forums, the Palatine Hill, and the Coliseum. They were pretty amazing, of course. But we didn’t have time to go into the Palatine Gardens, which sounded like fun. I’m planning on going back there with my friends in June, so I can tell you all about it in a month or so. The Coliseum is still my favorite after seeing the inside. It’s definitely not a disappointment, and the crowds weren’t too bad. I had to take a second to picture it put together, but when I did my mind blew up a little bit. I just can’t imagine humans possessing the knowledge of how to build something like that over 2,000 years ago! Think about it! How in the world did they manage it!? I might need to go back and do some more pondering. But I would suggest that you watch Gladiator. It’s a great movie AND you get to see the Coliseum “as it was.”
We went to the Vatican Museum on the 30th of April. That place is always packed with people! I can’t imagine how bad it’s going to be in the summer. We didn’t have much time to look at things, so I don’t have a lot to say. I’m hoping to go back when my friends are here and see a lot more. The one thing we absolutely had to see was the Sistine Chapel. It took quite a while to get there, though. You end up walking in a slow-moving mass of people through a bunch of elaborately painted hallways and past massive sculptures. Eventually you get to Rafael’s rooms. He painted a sequence of beautiful rooms that are almost impossible to appreciate due to the amount of people constantly being crammed into them. There is a description of each in the middle, but getting to it can be difficult. Every room was hot enough to make me sweat within seconds and people were always pushing. If you can manage to find a nook off to the side, though, the paintings are beautiful. After walking past some modern religious art, you finally get to the Sistine Chapel. Everyone spills into this large room and immediately looks up. Every single surface of the chapel is painted, and the floor is covered in people. The whole room looks full. It’s a bit dizzying. At first I was extremely disappointed by the paintings. They looked disjointed and plain. But after finding a good spot on the floor where no one would bump into me, and really looking at Michelangelo’s work, I started to appreciate how amazing it was. The detail is hard to see because it’s so far away, but it really is beautiful. He did a fresco on the wall where you enter the chapel that, in my opinion, is underappreciated. If you get to hear some history about it, it’s pretty cool. His self-portrait in it is grim, but my favorite.
I was more than ready for some good Italian food after that experience, so my friends and I went to a little place called simply, “Pizzeria,” at the southern end of the Largo Argentina (where Julius Caesar was murdered, and where there are now countless cats). It was the best pizza I have ever had. I’m pretty sure it even trumped the pizza in Vernazza.
Since this was our last night in Rome, we decided to get gelato and hang out at the Coliseum. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to Rome. I loved living there. There was always something to see and do and learn. I felt like I had gotten to know my way around and I felt comfortable. It felt almost like home. The girls I lived with and I had become good friends and didn’t want to be without each other. But on the other hand, I couldn’t wait for the south of Italy. The air in Rome is extremely dirty, and city life can be draining. I was also looking forward to seeing a rural part of the country, and staying with a family for 5 weeks.
We left Rome on Friday the 1st of May for a small town in the south called Paestum. It’s right on the sea and has ancient Greek temples from the 6th century BC! The weather was beautiful and I LOVED it. The temples are in a field of wild grass and wheat and blend in perfectly. I was beyond happy to walk slowly around the ruins, through the grass, and just appreciate where I was and what I was seeing. At one point my friends and I stopped in the theatre and sat on the steps. I know I’ve said this a lot, but it was so cool! How often do you get to sit on the same seats, looking at the same view as ancient Greeks did over 2,500 years ago? I can’t believe I’m this lucky.
On the 2nd, we continued on to Rogliano, the small town in Calabria where we would be staying for the next 5 weeks. On the way I saw the most beautiful valley I have ever seen in my life. I don’t know what it’s called or where exactly it is, but I have already decided that I will find it again. It made me a little homesick, though. Seeing that sort of thing makes me want to show my parents, which in turn makes me miss them because they’re half a world away. But thanks to technology, after a quick text to the parentals, I felt much better.
That afternoon is a bit of a nervous haze. My friend Madeline (who lived with me in Rome) and I met our family and were immediately taken home. There are five of them total, Antonella and Cosimo, the parents; Michela who is 17; Francesco who is 12; and Annamaria who is 9. They have 2 cats, 3 pigs, chickens, rabbits, 2 dogs, a puppy, bees, and a horse. I love it here! Over these past two weeks I’ve gotten really close with the whole family. They are wonderful people. Cosimo keeps calling us his daughters and telling us that when we leave in June he won’t be able to eat anything because he will be too sad! They’ve thrown two parties for us and our friends where they made LOTS of food. One of them was at our house, and they made pizzas outside in a real pizza oven! The other was at their restaurant. I eat so much at lunch and dinner that I usually feel like throwing up after every meal! But they keep telling me I need to eat and that I can diet after the program when I’m in Greece. I can’t help but eat more! Antonella taught Madeline and me how to make gnocchi from scratch the other day! I hope I can recreate them at home. And she made the most amazing Tiramisu I have ever had! And the Canelloni! I barely fit my pants anymore…
Tomorrow I go to Taurmina in Sicily with almost everyone from the program. I am looking forward to evening out my tan, swimming, relaxing, and not eating for 3 days! I’m pretty sure I’m going to come home completely blonde. My hair is getting lighter every day, and I’m getting more freckles by the minute! You guys probably won’t recognize me!

permalink written by  kalib on May 14, 2009 from Rogliano, Italy
from the travel blog: Guido Watch '09
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Heading South?

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