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Italy Study Abroad Trip 2011 - Rachel Lemke

June 4~ Day 24… Our journey home

June 21st, 2011

From hotel to home… a 27 hours trip!!! Emily and I dosed most of the way home as we laughed at the wonderful memories we had made and the stories we will tell one another’s children when we are older.

The memories from this trip are ones that I will cherish forever. Thanks to all the people on this trip for making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Dr. Erdogmus, You have an amazing program and you truly led us on an amazing tour of Italy! We had a great time with you and you taught us so much! Thank you so much!!!

We never had a great chance to say goodbye to everyone, so for those I did not say so to, Thank you for a WONDEFUL trip! I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you! Prego and arrivaderci!!!!!!

June 3~ Day 23

June 21st, 2011

Today is our long journey back to Rome and our final day in Italy… so sad! Our hotel has an issue with water so we are staying in a hotel across the river and much closer to ancient Rome and the sights we wanted to see again. We broke off to do our own thing for the few remaining hours before going out for the last time! :(

We had a great last outing in Rome. It was a great way to wind up the trip! Now a few hours of sleep before a LONG, LONG, LONG journey home!

June 2~ Day 22

June 21st, 2011

8:15 breakfast and off to the ancient Ruins of Pompaii. this afternoon we will go to Paestrum to view the Greek Temples. Pompaii was very cool to see. They had the most amazing lemonade here! I had TWO! Yummy! Another fantastic meal at the farmhouse where we enjoyed the final group dinner of the trip. This was so unreal that our trip was winding to an end. Its hard to believe I met these people only three weeks before because we were all laughing as if we were life long buddies. I will never forget the memories I have from this trip! This has truly been a once in a lifetime experience and I am so grateful for everything I have gotten to see and everyone I have met!

June 1~ Day 21

June 21st, 2011

Today was another travel day. We started the morning with our tour of the theater… in Italian. We were lucky enough to have someone in the group and Dr. Erdogmus translating the important stuff to us. From here, we headed to the airport and were off to Paestrum for our farmhouse stay! After HOURS on the bus, we got to the cutest little farmhouse ever! We were escorted by employees to our rooms that were decorated in a very casual, farm style. Linsey, Sara, Emily, and I are rooming together again for another wonderful night! We had a group dinner at the hotel. They had three men serve us food! Pasta, sausage, and fried artichokes for the two main courses with toffee ice cream for dessert. I love the small, secluded feeling of this place! We played cards and then called it a night to prepare for a busy day in Pompaii tomorrow.

May 31~ Day 20

June 21st, 2011

Today we toured Palermo. We went to the Duomo where Liz gave her speech. the church was beautiful! We went to the beach for a picnic and climbed on some rocks for a while. We had a great time picnicing on the rocks. Ryan showed off his wilderness-man skills by making a spear out of a bamboo shoot using only a butter knife… pretty impressive!

We had such a good time on the beach that we missed the theater. Guess we will hit that tomorrow. A few of us decided to hit the beach that was “20 minutes away”. After walking for an hour, we finally decided to turn around and head back! The group dinner was AMAZING! We went to travel-agent Jeff’s favorite restaurant and had the most amazing food of my life at Cin Cin’s (how many times have I said that about the food here??? its amazing!) We started with octopus in an eggplant sauce. Next was a risotto with asperagas and shrimp. Finally, we had sward fish and zuccini. For dessert,w e had a fance wine flavored ice cream. Everything was absolutely marvelous! Jeff knew the owner so we got to see the kitchen which was so fun to see! The owner’s mom cooks everything herself. So cool!

May 30~ Day 19

June 21st, 2011

Happy Memorial Day! the day started ealy due to some Assisi noise. All four of us were ready to rock and roll early today and had a great time taunting eachother until breakfast! I lucked out with roommates! Breakfast made the day even better! (Two kinds of chocolate cake! What could be better!) We went to a few churches of St. Francis and Clara. Assisi is one giant hill! The whole time we climb, I thought of the fun in going DOWN the hill!

After a slice of pizza, we were on the road again. This time: 4 hours back to Rome and then a flight to Palermo. We started our bus trip with some group games of Taboo and Madgab. We arrived at the airport 3 hours early and played some cards to pass the time! We made it through security without a problem and waited at our terminal for another our. The Italians did their best to push us out of the way as we scanned our tickets. I was one of the last people in the plane and was seated next to two Italian men in their 40′s. They spoke no English, I spoke no Italian, and we had ag reat time! We laughted as we tried to communicate things like where we were from, where to eat in Palermo, what alcohol to drink, what flavors of ice cream to try, and things of that sort. It was a blast! There were several “Non capisco”s exchanged (I don’t understand in Italian… one of the 5 phrases I perfected on this trip) Every part of the trip was fuN! Even the 90 minute delay for a 45 minute flight! (Due to technical difficulties). As we landed, all the Italians clapped and cheered… is that normal?!?!? As we got off, I heard Ryan’s tales of being bumped by the rambunxious couple going at in next to him and Emily’s stories of the teenage Italian she exchanged email addresses with. A nice sit-down meal for dinner was the pefect way to round off a fun day!

May 29~ Day 18

June 21st, 2011

A quick torture museum (on of three in the town… maybe a little creepy) led us to our goodbyes with San Gimginano and led us to Siena. Today was our stair-master day! We climbed one tower in San Gimginano, then dominated hundreds more in Siena! We went to the Piazza, Duomo, and other church attractions while in Siena and then left for Assisi only hours later! Crazy! This trip is really beginning to fly by!

May 28~ Day 17

June 21st, 2011

Our bus marathon begins today! We left Milan for Pisa today. We are hitting up the bus tour portion of our trip and hitting several cities each day. Our first stop is about four hours away. It amazing me that we are seeing Pisa in four hours! Walking up to leaning tower of Pisa was extremely cool! As you climbed the tower, you could feel the slant as you rounded the low corner. We will be pro’s at spiral staircases by the end of this trip! After some pizza, we headed for the bus and another small, adorable and perfect town that we coined “San JimmyJohn’s” in our inability to pronounce San Gimginano. This city was positioned at the top of a mountain (really a hill) and was absolutely GORGEOUS!!! Emily, Linsey, Sara, and I got the lucky view of the mountains outside our room window. We spent several hours relaxing on our balcony that evening. I would love to stay here for weeks! Room 60 of La Castina is amazing! We had another group dinner. We started with risotto with asperagus. Next was a pesto filled ravioli. When we expected dissert to appear, a veal and spinich course appeared, followed by cheesecake covered in fruit! YUM! We were all stuffed and decided to wander around. We found a great lookout spot and relaxed together, soaking in our surroundings. It was truly amazing and seemed so unreal that we could be sitting in sucha beautiful place with such great people around us! I hope to keep several of these people as life long friends!

May 27~ Day 16

June 21st, 2011

Our second day off from the program and we definitely took advantage of it! I slept in until almost ten and then worked on various other projects that needed done. We wandered out to get groceries and made another great dinner at the hostel. We are finally becoming pros on our last day here! A bunch of us played a few card games and then went out for another night of seeing Milan. It was another night I will never forget! We have all become such good friends already!

May 26~ Day 15… VENICE!

June 21st, 2011

To Venice we go! A big group of us planned our own trip to Venice on our free day! Good choice! This was my favorite day of the trip! I have always dreamed of going to Venice! The three hour train ride was filled with laughts, rummy, and pumpkin seeds with Emily, Amanda, and Ryan. Fun with friends makes time fly! From the moment we stepped off the train, everyone was so excited! We wandered the streets for quite a while and hit up the market where I got some good glass gifts. After some searching, we found how to get to Lido island… a GREAT discovery!!! By the time we hit the coast to leave for the beach, our group had dwindled from 17 to 6… yea we lost a few along the way! The “metro system” in Venice was my favorite part! There were several different lines leading to who-knows-where! We figured out how to get tickets and headed over. As we walked, we were greeted by more and more shirtless men: a sure sign we were getting closer! After a gelatto stop, we were greeted by a huge sign : “Free Beach.” A college kid’s dream! It wasn’t more than two mintues before Steve, Drew, and Ryan were sprinting for the water as Emily, Amanda, and I set up towels and such. This was Emily’s first time seeing “the ocean.” Which she was sure was ocean and NOT sea! When the guys finally returned fromt he “ocean” to watch our stuff, the girls Baywatched it out, eating it completely on our way out! Emily took in some water. “the ocean is so salty!” she says! We had a great time soaking in the sun, splashin’ around, meeting our tow Italian creepers who we call DaVinci and Michelangelo, and spending time with friends! We hated to leave the beach and put it off as much as possible. We got to the train station to find all those we had lost along the way! Everyone had found their way. Go us!!! More cards on the way home. At attempted movie back at the hostel left me out cold while everyone dozed through the movie! Today was a GREAT day!!! I would do it over and over again without changing a thing!