Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Buona Pasqua - and much more...

Thursday marked our first “official” day of Easter break. I started it off in the most relaxing mode possible. Morning at the market, followed by a day inside catching up on my journal for Marco’s class while listening to a thunderstorm… Yep! A thunderstorm! The first one since we’ve been here! It was pretty nice listening to it; reminded me of home :) The only other thing I did Thursday was run the rupe (have my time down to 29 minutes now!) and go to a concert with Nathan – another one as part of the series for Easter. This one was a duet with a violinist and a cello. It was a very nice concert!

Friday morning I woke up bright and early to go to Marmore Falls with Jessica, Danielle, Britney, Caroline, Sarah and Elise. It was awesome. Marmore Falls, in case you didn’t know, is the largest man-made water fall in the world! There is a park you hike through on a series of trails and it leads you up to the falls. Twice a day they release the waters and the waterfall gets HUGE! We made it up to the top in time to watch them release the water. It was a pretty cool sight to see! After watching it for a little bit we made our way back down the trail and through the park some more. We stopped here and there to admire all the small waterfalls that came off the big guy – and of course take advantage of some good photo opportunities!
 The big part of Marmore Falls
A smaller waterfall
After spending the afternoon hiking there, we made our way back home. Instead of getting off at Orvieto with everyone, however, I continued my travels to Castiglion Fiorentino. This is the city where a bunch of other K-Staters are studying; so I decided to go visit them and watch the big processional that goes on in their city. Matt showed me around the town, and I had dinner at their dining hall. It was a pretty nice little environment, kind of like a big family meal. After dinner we made our way out to watch the processional. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before; it was pretty amazing. Three men led it carrying huge wooden crosses – I don’t know how they managed to do this. Walking along side them and the whole processional were people in robes and hoods carrying torches to light the pathway. Behind the men with the cross were people carrying a coffin-like thing with Jesus laying on top, a group of people carrying a statue of Mary, two little boys carrying a cross, a man carrying a megaphone that repeated prayers, a band and then people from the city fell in behind them to follow the processional all the way around the city. It was so cool. We found a spot to sit up high where we could watch the whole thing; I was pretty amazed. Italians sure know how to do Easter right!
 Overlooking the city
Part of the Easter Processional
Saturday morning came, and I headed back to Orvieto. I decided to make it another relaxing day and spent some of it journaling some more. There was another concert in the Duomo so I decided to go to it – it’s free and I like music so why not?! We had to wait outside in the rain, and when I say rain I mean pouring rain. They finally let us in, and we waited for the concert to begin… late of course because we’re in Italy. We should know this by now! This concert was incredible; I think it was even better than the concert on Tuesday that was supposed to be THE concert. It was an orchestra and a choir together – directed by a 35 year old man from Iowa I might add (wooo Midwest!). I loved this concert – REALLY wish my music friends were here for this one!
Concert time
We made it back home – walked inside just as it started hailing! Yes, hail exists here too! Too much Kansas, too much Kansas! Haha. Luckily we were inside and could avoid it! We fixed a veggie pizza for dinner and ventured out for some gelato. The rain had let up for the most part and the sun was starting to poke out… you know what that means… a rainbow! After I finished my gelato I went rainbow chasing to try to get some pictures. I was taking pictures of one side when I realized it stretched all the way over the Duomo and into the valley behind our school. So I chased it farther and went to the overlook. I could see exactly where the rainbow ended. It was so beautiful! I just had to stand there and look for a while. Just when I thought Italy couldn’t get any more beautiful!
 Rainbow Chasin'
So beautiful after the storm
Sunday morning we woke up early to fix our dish for the Easter brunch we were having – a breakfast casserole recipe courtesy of Katie’s mom. We fixed it up and headed to Easter mass at the Duomo. We were hoping for a Cardinal or someone to lead the mass, but it wasn’t… however the priest was pretty entertaining. He was happy it was Easter, that was evident! Mass lasted a little over an hour, and then we headed over to brunch. This was a great idea. Everyone brought some food or drinks, and we had a huge potluck! There were biscuits and gravy, our casserole, scones, fruit, meat, cheese, veggies, juice and of course jellybeans. After eating all this food, we went straight home and all passed out for an Easter siesta. It was much needed! The rest of the day was spent in pretty much the same position relaxing and working on… yep you guessed it… Marco’s journal. You think I would learn to not procrastinate – but hey, when in Italy… or anywhere else I guess.. haha

Monday morning came and Katie and I decided to take a day trip adventure. We headed off to Cortona; this is another beautiful hill town in Tuscany. On the train ride, we had a small world run in. We sat next to a girl who lived in Overland Park before coming to Rome… crazy right? We talked the whole hour long train ride to Cortona about Kansas, Italy, school and everything else. It was pretty cool.

We got to Cortona, and there was supposed to be a bus to take us up the rather large hill to the city… but the bus didn’t exist. So we walked the 5+ kilometers uphill… one hour later, we made it to the city haha. And that wasn’t the end of our uphill travels – unfortunately the whole city is a hill. It was a really beautiful hill so I guess that made up for it. We walked around and saw a few really pretty churches and made our way up to the fortress that overlooked the city and rolling hills below. It was a very beautiful place to be. We made our way back down the hill and got some lunch (fresh peach juice is awesome by the way) and went to sit in a sunny piazza. It was so relaxing; what a beautiful town.
Climbin' to the top
We walked down the corso and admired the shops – leather and ceramics galore. 4:05 rolled around and we realized we wanted to catch the 4:30 train… so off we went. We started speed walking, but realized we weren’t going to make it if we kept going at that speed – so we started running. There were no sidewalks so we were running on the side of the road. Unfortunately, I wasn’t watching where I was stepping and didn’t see the dip in the ditch – you guessed what happened next… I ate it. Yep… took a little tumble. I had to lay on the ground for a few seconds to catch my breath again, but got back up and started running – gotta catch the train, worry about the hip later! Haha. We made the train with about 5 minutes to spare! That has to be a new record… We made it home and spent the rest of the night relaxing and journaling. We had already gotten our exercise for the day so the rupe wasn’t needed! Haha.

Today was spent in class with Marco, booking flights for after school trips and taking a little trip with our Italian class to the theater in town. We went to watch the showing about the frescoes by Luca Signorelli in the Duomo. It was a series of videos with music to give you a better understanding of what you were looking at. It was in Italian, but for the most part we got the idea! After the show we were able to walk around and tour the theater a little bit before being dismissed from class. I went for a run around the rupe, had a good dinner consisting of fruit and potato pizza and have been working on getting up to date with my journal, blog and pictures. So much to do! This shouldn’t be happening right?? I’m in Italy!
Beautiful Cortona

Long enough post for now… Ciao!

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