Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wait... Studio??

Ok... I know it's been a while.. I haven't had much time-studio project has been consuming my time this week... yes, we do have to do work while we're here.. But, here it is. Be prepared to read! Enjoy!
Tuesday night (Feb. 28) Zeppelin’s threw a Mexican fiesta for us! It was some great Mexican food.. not quite as good as Tijuana, but still mighty tasty! It was a shorter dinner than usual, which was okay with me; five hour dinners aren’t always good! We found out that our friends studying in at Santa Chiara were going to be visiting us Wednesday! So we got to studio all excited to see our friends, got our seminar changed from that afternoon to Thursday morning so we could hang out with them and got fancied up for the yearly tradition of the Orvieto v. Castiglione soccer game.
Mexican Dinner :)
We met up first and went to lunch at Sfizio’s – an awesome restaurant with the best pizza I’ve had since I’ve been here! We devoured our lunch and headed to the soccer field. It was mainly girls (Orvieto) vs. boys (Castiglione). Guess who won? Mmmm hmmmm… Orvieto by 1! It was a fun time had by all :) After the game we hung out on the field and soaked up some rays, it was a beautiful day! Then we headed out to show some of the people around town. We walked around the edge of the city and ended up on the west side of town just in time for sunset. It was beautiful. Everyone wanted to get dinner before the group left, so where did everyone want to go? Sfizio’s again! Haha. I got carbonara instead of pizza this time, and it was just as delicious! We finished up and said so long to our friends – it was great to see them again! Now we just need to plan our trip to visit them!
Thursday I finally woke up early, like I had been intending all week, and hit the rupe. I was sore from the soccer game so I was worried about my pace.. however, I beat it by three minutes! Ran it in 32 minutes instead of 35! I was pretty proud of myself. And decided I liked running in the morning – it makes me juiced for the day because I conquered the rupe, so I can do anything! Haha. We went to seminar and then had the rest of the beautiful day off. You know what that means… Gelato! The place that is right next to our house finally opened up for tourist season – dangerous for us -  so we hit it up. I love gelato…
Friday = field trip day to Assisi! We loaded the bus and headed out at 8am…ish. It was a relatively short ride to get there. I don’t quite know what my expectations were of the city, but it was absolutely beautiful. In my opinion, it gives Orvieto a run for its money. They are beautiful for different reasons though so I can like them both! :) Assisi is also Marco’s hometown, so of course he would live in such a beautiful place! We started the tour off with, you guessed it, a church! San Francesco. It was really pretty amazing. There is a crypt underground below the church with the tomb of Saint Francis. It was so awesome; it felt so powerful. I walked around it, and then I just had to sit and look and pray to myself. It was incredible. The church is then made up of two different churches, a lower church and an upper church built right on top. The lower church had a bunch of frescoes on the ceilings and a really incredible altar placed right above the crypt. I wish we could have taken pictures inside because my words can’t describe it in the way it felt. The upper church was more simple and also had a bunch of frescoes lining the walls. The church was all in all pretty amazing; freezing cold, but amazing.
San Francesco
After the church, Marco took us on a hike up the hill on the longest road in Assisi. He said it was like Broadway, but not really… We also learned that he doesn’t like kids... We were walking down the road and there were a group of high school kids coming along and he called them the antipasti of the barbarians and called them little devils. Haha. Marco is quite the character! He took us along up the hill to another church where we were dismissed. Hungry, like usual at the end of the tour, we went off in search of food, shops and a castle. We came across an olive wood store ran by the cutest little old lady; I was able to knock out a couple of souvenirs here. Then with our purchases she gave us a cute little bracelet.
The walk on "Broadway"
We moved on to grab a quick lunch and start our hike up to the castle at the top of the hill. It was such a beautiful day for a hike; we made it up to the top and had to stop to just overlook the valley and hills surrounding us. It was such a beautiful sight to see. We made it up to the castle and got in for only 3.50.. yay for student discounts! The inside was awesome; well we didn’t really get inside to actual rooms, but what we did get to see was incredible. There were some “secret passageways” we took and ended up on 3 different towers and could see all of Assisi. From one of the exits outside we climbed onto the roof… which may or may not have been allowed, but no one was there to tell us otherwise! ;) We are climbers…
Tunnel in the Castle
After the castle we made our way back down the hill to catch the train to our next destination.. Perugia! We were off to a great start. Caught the bus, got to the train station, bought our tickets and had time to spare. We waited… and waited… and waited… our train was a no show. :( But no fear, one came a little while after that! So we did board and get to Perugia. After we got off the train our next task was finding our hotel. Perugia is a big hill… the train station is at the bottom of it… our hotel was at the top. So, being our adventurous selves, we attempted to read the map and walk it. We thought we were on track; we stopped at a supermarket to grab some goodies for the night and just asked to make sure we were on the right track. We weren’t… we were WAAYYY off. But they were helpful enough to point us to a bus stop and told us what bus would take us.
The bus arrived, and we got on.. we were definitely out of the way because the bus ride seemed pretty long. We got off the bus where the supermarket lady told us to and saw a sign with our hotel name on it. So naturally, we followed it. It of course led us down some dark alleys so we started doubting ourselves. We turned back and ran into someone to give us directions.. he pointed us back down the alley. We went the way he said and just saw a bunch of old creepy buildings that couldn’t possibly have been a hotel. We made our way out on the main street, still lost, and I asked someone else again for directions. She pointed me down the street; I tried to understand her Italian. I got the important words and we eventually found it! And guess what… it was definitely one of the creepy buildings we saw in the creepy, dark alley. Haha. But even though the outside looked creepy, the inside was pretty nice! We just decided it gave the hotel character. :)
Our hotel.. not creepy right?
We settled in and went to dinner at the restaurant right next to the hotel, since we got a 10% discount for staying there :) Then went back to freshen up and explore Perugia at night. We wandered around for a while and came across the main piazza. It was really pretty cool because it was packed with people! That’s not something I have seen anywhere… except for Orvieto on market days only. But this was just a regular day, and people actually used the piazza.
Pretty overlook :)
The next day we got around and went to explore the city during the day. I don’t know quite what my expectations were for Perugia, but they were exceeded. It was a pretty beautiful place. We went to the bottom of the hill and had lunch… at McDonalds :) But don’t worry, I ate there in Italian style – with a Baci McFlurry. For those of you who are wondering what Baci is, it is a wonderful little chocolate made in Perugia. Sooooo good! I might have to bring some home to share… if you’re lucky. After lunch we decided to try our luck and hike back up the hill. We managed to actually follow the map correctly this time and made it to the top! There were some great overlooks and even an underground tunnel system that we came across. It was a pretty cool experience.
Came across this little gem..
We went and saw the fountain Marco always talks about, and did a little shopping before heading back to the hotel for a short siesta. We got our lazy selves back up and went to dinner at a cool restaurant the lady at the hotel suggested. It was delicious! I had gnocchetti with a cheesy sauce and chunks of bacon in it and a pear salad. Ashley’s tummy was happy :) After a long day of hiking and a big dinner, we were tired… called it a night. We awoke the next morning and wanted to go see what the university was like since Perugia is a college town. We were only able to find a couple buildings that weren’t so incredible before we gave up and decided to head home. We had more luck getting home than we did getting to Perugia, so that was good!
We made it back with plenty of time left in the day to relax, and I got to skype with my parents and my big sis! Studio was on my mind some because our project is due tomorrow… but I decided to procrastinate one more day. Haha. The rest of the week has been spent in studio or at home working on the ol’ project. Pulled a couple late nights, but no all nighters! I can’t remember last time I didn’t have to pull an all nighter before a project was due! But I’m all finished now with plenty of time to spare.. now just ready for the next two weeks! 5 days in the north (Verona, Vicenza and Venice) and then a week of travels to Paris, Barcelona and Madrid. Things are about to get awesome! I think this has gotten long enough… the computer is coming with me on the trips so stay tuned for my 14 days of travelling!
At an overlook - Orvieto.. This way!

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