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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Home Again, Home Again...

We survived that whirlwind of a trip! Italy was beautiful and everyone enjoyed it! I was particularly proud of my student's who could answer many of the questions pertaining to the history of many of the many different places we visited, and recognize the mythology and literary ties that surrounded us.

I will be setting up a slideshow of pictures soon, so travellers, you will be able to click on the pictures you would like and download them into your own files.

I would love feedback from the trip from everyone so when I write up the forms for explorica I can include your opinions! Just e-mail them to me!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Bologna, Venice, Verona and Milan!

Internet has been sketchy for the last few days while we stayed in Jeselo, so here is the update!

After leaving Florence we headed North to Jeselo along the Adriatic Coast. It is a beautiful resort town, and would be super fun to stay in during the summer. We walked around, went to the beach, watched the brave souls jump into the cold winter water and basically just took it all in.

On our way to Venice we stopped in Bologna. It is a University town, so quiet hip! It's little stores and open markets were wonderful and we basically just wandered and sat and ate.
The next day we headed to Venice to spend the day. After seeing the main sites we took a Gondola ride. Expensive, but well worth it as the city looks completely different from the water. I strongly suggest getting away from the crowds after seeing San Marco's Square (Piazza San Marco), the churches and palace, and getting 'lost' on the rest of the island. It is truly beautiful and quiet in all the small courtyards.

Venice is actually a string of islands (~120 of them). We had to take a boat to the city and visited a glass blowing shop on the island of Murano. Murano glass is manufactured here and can't get any more athentic than this!

Today we stopped in Verona, visited Juliet's (Guillietta) balcony and courtyard, and touched her statue for good luck. There we had lunch and wandered around before heading for Milan.

There are all sorts of things to touch throughout Italy. In Rome it was the Trevi Fountain (to come back), in Florence it was a Boar's snout (to come back), In Verona Juliet's breast (for luck in love) and a mosaic Bull's testicle's with your right foot in Milan (for good luck and fertility).

In Milan we saw the major sites and then shopped! All through Italy one can find the major European designers, but Milan is the capital of fashion for much of Europe - it's even bigger than Paris. It was awesome to window shop (because that's all we could do realistically).

Tomorrow we head home! It has been a whirlwind of a trip, but we saw SOOOOO much! This was different than what I'm used to when I stay in basically one area and take trips from there, but it was an awesome taste (literally) of many of the Italian regions. We basically ate our way from Rome to Milan. Every calorie was worth it!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Florence was beautiful. After a walk around the city and a visit to a leather maker's workshop (afterall, Florence IS known for it's leather), we were able to spend all afternoon exploring and shopping on our own. Since the sun came out today it made it even more enjoyable!

Some saw the David, and some just the replica.Some walked to the top of The Douma and looked out over the city. It was fantastic.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


On our way to Florence today we stopped in Assisi. It was a small, rustic town on the top of a large hill. It was beautiful. We had a chance to eat lunch, shop a little and explore the Medivel Churches in the town. This is where St. Francis founded the Franciscan Monastic Order in the Middle Ages. It was great history lesson.
We also visited a ceramics workshop and store where we bought our weight in hand painted ceramics. This area is known for it's ceramics, chocolate, truffles and lace - all of which are traveling home with us as well.

Afterwards we headed to Florance for an awesome pizza dinner that ended with Cream Puffs!!! MMMMmmmmmmm!!!! Everyone is celebrating both the 150 years of Italian unity and St. Patrick's Day. It's awesome.

We also had a chance to check out the awesome leather that Florence is known for. Tomorrow we get to go shopping!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When It Rains in Rome...

...Buy an Umbrella! There will only be about 500 people asking you to buy one on the streets. May be the best 3 Euros I ever spent.

It rained a lot today, but everyone was a great sport and we saw everything we set out to see. The morning was spent at The Vatican Museums, The Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. The architecture and artwork is breathtaking.

We then went to the Colliseum and Roman Forums before heading out to the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and other major stopping points along the way. Rome is large city and there was so much to see!
The Pantheon is one of the greatest architectural wonders of the world with its giant dome and open ceiling. The rain was running through it today making it look even more awesome than it aleady is. It's amazing to think that this was built over 2000 years ago when modern building conveniences didn't exist, and yet today with all we have, there are prolems with keeping roads paved.

Everyone made wishes at Trevi Fountain. If you throw a penny in the fountain and make a wish you will one day come back to Rome. I certainly hope that is true because there is so much more to see in this beautiful city. The city is filled with fountains, most fed by the ancient aquaducts that run from 10 miles outside the city, built thousands of years ago to carry water into Rome. Kind of a cool concept to comprehend since it is very fresh, cold and sweet to drink!

The Colliseum is amazing. Trying to imagine it filled to capacity is hard to do - it's that big. There are so many new things happening with it, such as figuring out how the trap doors worked and where they were located, how the canopy was set in place, boggles the mind.
Tomorrow we head to Florence, stopping in Assisi along the way!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


We arrived safe in Rome this evening! It was about 10 am MST, but much later here. After dinner everyone is crashing!

Italy is celebrating 150 years of unity this Thursday so Italian pride is very noticable everywhere.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Buon Viaggio!

We're off! Next post: Rome!