How many Italians can you fit in an elevator?

Well, at the Pontifical North American College: 8. 

We took a field trip there with my class on Tuesday to see where the American priests study just steps away from the Vatican (and overlooking my street).  There I noticed a contradiction in the elevator. The homemade sign outside the elevator said the limit capacity is 5 people.  Inside the elevator, a plaque states the limit capacity is 8 persone.  What’s the deal?

Our tour guide\priest cleared the confusion.

“8 persone italiane = 5 American men.”

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Ischia – or is it paradise?

Clearly too tired to think of a clever name, however appropriate it is. I had an amazing trip with my friends Momo, Gina, Tessie, and Liz.  Check out the pics…every day followed a loose schedule:

8ish wake up, spin or sleep in

10ish walk downstairs for a delicious breakfast, talk to Giuseppe (brother\co-owner of family hotel business) about plans for the day

walk around town, go to the famous baths, or go shopping (we had some fun in a closing lingerie shop and followed it with gelato)

return to hotel and siesta from 5ish-8ish…nap, read, snack, shower, sip wine, talk

9ish walk down the hill for an amazing dinner at the restaurant, always accompanied by a free gift of something specially made by the family business on the island (homemade wine, limoncello, jams, honey). We tried pesto pasta, a lemon pasta, flash-fried cucumbers with mint leaves, all types of pizza, eggplant and mozzarella, chocolate torte with ice cream, chocolate pear cake, calamari, and more.. oh lawddd

1130ish return home and crash

 

I will provide more details about the place we stayed later on for EVERYONE who must go there because the family was AMAZING.  We felt like we were at home and were being taken care of by these brothers.  It turns out that their family is one of the oldest on the island and used to own half of the mountain. They own 2 hotels and a hostel.  They were the most accommodating, caring people, they made you feel like family – so much so that we are all going to storm TripAdvisor and Facebook and Hostelworld with positive reviews.  I can’t wait to go back.

Check out the scruffiest pigeon you’ve ever seen in Naples, a dirty, chaotic anything-goes city with the BEST pizza where our waiter kissed Gina on the cheek several times on the return trip and the other waiter walked up and greeted us with “I love you.”  There’s a picture of ball on a boat, some pictures of the Seaside-like town, lots of views, a panorama from the seat of the spinning bike, one of my fave flowers (bird of paradise! They were almost as prevalent as lemon trees), a bunch of beach chairs at the baths, the hill down to the restaurant, and our last day soaking in the sun on the dock.

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Le Porte Belle

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Lago di Bolsena April 20-21

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How’s this laundry line pic Mom? I took it while looking for a breakfast place on Sunday morning with Gina. We ended up splitting a cornetto and a tramezzino on a bright yellow porch in town before joining Sara and Katie for our lakeside lunch

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Santa Cristina is known for the miraculous sacramental miracle of the host bleeding during transubstantiation in the hands of a doubting priest. We visited around 4:45 on Saturday and mass started 15 minutes later so we decided to stay…

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It turned out to be a mass AND a vow service for a new nun led by the bishop. It was really amazing – the woman spoke Italian but is African, and so she and her African sisters danced up and down the aisle.

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Lago di Bolsena

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Best of friends

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The coastline has a bike trail, Dad

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Sara and my second gelato in a row from the same place. The gelateria owners didn’t look at all surprised when we walked back in for more. I got pistacchio and orange\carrot\ginger the first time, and cinnamon and chocolate the second. Maddy, the choc tasted the same as at Gelato di Riso!

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They call the purple flowers Lila’

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Sara, our ISC

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Stumbled into a beautiful church on the hill of the town near the museum

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This is basically the whole tiny town

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supersize this one! The castle area was fun to walk through

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Sara, Gina, Katie

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HA caught Gina texting..I had to get a shot by the water

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Birthday lunch of fried seafood and spaghetti vongole (clams)

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The beautiful main road

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Our central hotel, Ai Capani (close enough)

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I took this for Dad because I thought it was a cycling crowd but it was just a group of men in sporty jackets

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Didn’t even look through the lens..

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The new sister is to the right of the altar, her superiors are signing some paper near the bishop at the altar

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Saturday gelato, Gina and Katie

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Gina

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Just arrived, lounging on the coastline while I was rock-hopping

 

Spring in Rome – Fish, Parks and a Grand Solo Adventure

Spring has sprung in Rome and I couldn’t be happier.  Here are a few pictures from the first few weekends in April that I stayed in Rome.  The first weekend, we ate out at Eataly for a night. Eataly is a restaurant\grocery store – the SUPEREST of the super groceries and bulk stores like Sams and Costco.  It is a transformed train station with four levels and moving walkways between each level, and there are a zillion types of Italian food everywhere.  Not as many samples as Sams, unfortunately, but if you walk up when particularly small restaurants are making Italian-style quesadillas and smile sweetly, you may find yourself with a slice of the crispiest, freshest, melt-y tomato-arugula-cheese morsel you’ve ever tasted.  When I ate that simple 3-ingredient quesadilla, all that characterizes Italian cooking made sense in my mouth. Carefully made, exactly proportioned, perfectly textured, simple and FRESH.  I asked our professor Giovanna whether Eataly was expensive, and she replied that it is less expensive than anywhere else for such high quality ingredients, but more expensive than your average grocery store.  The fish were fresh – can you tell?  My friend Momo and I split a platter of lightly fried seafood (white fish, shrimp, and calamari).  Oh yeah, and the Tuesday before that I went there for a beer tasting.  My favorite was the bread.  I can be patient for about 33 seconds of swirling and wafting and bubble-watching before the food hunt begins. The monk beer was alright too (third bottle from the left).

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Then we went to a park that was having a chocolate festival (the third I’ve visited. Keep em comin, Europe) with a group on Saturday, April 13, and I snapped some pictures of a game that we have decided to popularize in the US – canoe polo, or kayak polo.  The rest of the pictures try to depict the atmosphere of these Italian parks.  Everyone is more laid-back in general than the US; people seem to move more slowly, but more deliberately, and I’ve heard that Italian children are cherished to the point of big-time spoiling.  Also, I bought a small Roman pineapple-custard cake to celebrate spring with my roommates from my fave pastry shop.

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Bubbles!

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Mom, look – it’s SO European

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Hellooooooo spring 🙂

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A bambino with his nonna and nonno

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My favorite dog of the day.

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Picnicking teens and families

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Sara ran over to the duckies, cooing, “Oh, carino!” as she usually does whenever we see small animals

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Maxx, Momo, and Gina watching canoe polo.

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Whoops, some picture of a garden in the Vatican slipped in there from our field study where we went on the Scavi tour (catacombs and pope’s tombs beneath the Vatican. SUPER COOL. I got as close to the body of St. Peter as you can, which is a walkway that allows you to see a candle marking his tomb)

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The third set of pictures is from my exploration day on Friday, April 19, when it was about 70 degrees F with sunshine, puffy white clouds, and the slightest of breezes.  I set out at 11 to FINALLY explore Castel Sant’Angelo (directly across from my school), and then I wandered through places that I always walk past but had never entered.  The Castel was first (you can see my school and part of my route home in the pictures!), and in one picture I zoomed on the Altare della Patria\Vittoriano (a.k.a. The National Monument of VIttorio Emmanuele II) in the distance with its chariot-topped roof.  I eventually make my way over there in flat-footed, blistering gladiator sandals which forced me to walk as slow as leisurely Romans.  On the way, I ate the best cannolo from the popular “hanging meat” bar by my school and also bought an American-style chocolate chip cookie from the Jewish ghetto area where we go for field studies in my Jews of Rome course (sadly it was not chewy, gooey, or chocolate-y – in fact, it was biscotti). Then I meandered past some ancient monuments, into some churches, ended up at some piazza a long stretch behind Piazza Venezia.  It was almost 5 pm and my adventurous attitude was being worn away by the leather straps on my feet.  I wanted to check out the street art in Piazza Navona, but some over-eager guy, unfortunately for him, wanted to walk with me on my wonderful day of wandering solo.  When he dragged me over to some street performer, he made the mistake of standing in front of me, so I slipped away while he was watching and walked home in the sunshine.  Ahh…

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restaurant atop Castel Sant’Angelo

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The Vittoriano monument in the distance on the left

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Jewish ghetto

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Part of my commute to school, seen from atop Castel

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Basilica near Vittoriano…not sure of name, but I like the chandeliers

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Sass

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The fourth statue made of St. Michael that is atop Vittoriano (others kept getting struck by lightning)

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Ceiling of a room in the castel

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Bridge of the Angels (more like bridge of the street performers). One street performer came over to me while I was searching through my purse and put a teeny colorful bird on my shoulder. Had to pay 10 cents. WORTH IT.

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Do we know this guy, Pete?

Buona Pasqua a tutti!

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Momtage: Kids These Days…

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Hofbrauhaus in Munich

Prost! and a bunch of other drinking songs. Our poor waiter had to continually kick people out of the tables to our left, which had a sign that CLEARLY said “Reserved.”

Last Stop – Munich

Munich time

Sunshine til Dachau

Recover with beer and food

Jolly Hofbrauhaus

Glockenspiel

 

 

Not many pictures from Munich because we spent a lot of time at Dachau and I didn’t take out my camera there.

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Rathaus Glockenspiel in Marienplatz

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FLYING BUTTRESSES

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RAWR

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Can you see our reflection? This is from our walk on Good Friday, when no stores were open

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Dinner on Thursday night at Hofbrauhaus

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MMM MM Good, Hofbrauhaus

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Prost!

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I did finish it, but mine was half lemonade. Mom’s on the other hand…

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Glockenspiel. We never saw it work unfortunately

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Marienplatz – I spy Mom

 

 

 

 

The Hills are Aliveeee in Salzburg

Snowy Salz’

Trapped in train – Bitte!

Wake hotel, guilt, music tour

Castle, free bathroom?

Weinersnitch’

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Too misty for a good photo, beautiful view on Sound of Music tour – which was a blast. Mom won a free beer for answering a trivia question but never received it

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I am 19, going on 20…

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In the distance is the wall that Maria walked along as she sang her Confidence song in the Sound of Music, and the trees are the same trees that the children played in as their father drove by, dubbing them “local urchins”

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Mondsee Cathedral, where Von Trapp wedding took place in the movie

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inside the cathedral

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Near the cathedral, we got crisp apple strudel here with vanilla rum sauce to get in the spirit of the Sound of Music. These are a few of my favorite things!

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Palm Sunday branches

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Reminds me of the Beauty and the Beast organ

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ceiling detail

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Gardens at Mirabell Palace – shooting location for Sound of music

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Mirabell Gardens, Hohensalzburg Castle in the background
More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohensalzburg_Castle

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The “main drag,” as Mom would call it, in Salzburg. These signs originally signified the purpose of the shop to people when literacy was uncommon

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Old sign, church, castle

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Views from atop Castle

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Walls of Castle

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Mom after taking pics on highest point of castle. Dad would be scared.

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Interior of castle as seen from top

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Rando door

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Cannon photo opp!

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For you, Mom

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Coolest graveyard EVER – Petersfriedhof, or St. Peter’s Cemetery and Catacombs. Apparently the actual Von Trap family hid from the Nazis here 

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Whoever wants a similar cherub on their grave, speak now

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YES WE DID. Giant chocolate hazelnut pretzel

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Dinner

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Cheers!

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Dinner

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Dessert

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Cozy restaurant

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Hotel where we awakened the owner at 4:00 a.m. our first day when we arrived on the early early train. We stayed here for the night, full of guilt. They had yogurt, berries, herring, salmon, eggs, and more for breakfast…all of our places had REALLY good breakfasts

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A bench full of rocks, there is nothing better to make us think of Mitch