April 28, 2014

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art my dinner?

They best way to introduce someone to the very essence of Italy is to feed them. Therefore upon arrival, my Mama and Jewel learned instantly that the core of life in Italy is (as we should all know) food. Their first night (hours) in Florence, there was wine, lasagna, and bread. For some reason the entire time I was with these ladies, we were served bread with every meal. It really isn't fair, because contrary to what they now believe, bread is not an everyday gift with your meal. But in any case, I shall stall my rant and move on to the next day. 

After Mama and Jewel got an appropriate amount of sleep (with no jet lag because they took my expert advice of just not sleeping at all until you get to your destination country) we did some general site-seeing. Soon from site-seeing we moved to food-eating, as it was that I had to get to class and needed some lunch. Mom mentioned an appreciation for cured meats, and I knew just the place to take her: La Prosciutteria

At this restaurant-not-restaurant you enjoy the company of your neighbors at a shared table while drinking house wine, FREE water, and eating delectable meats & cheeses. It hits the "essence" of Italy on the head, minus the free water thing. That's a novelty. 

April 23, 2014

In Ruin

There are a few places every young Humanities major dreams of: the Roman Forum, Ancient Greece, and Pompeii are some of the top highlights. 

Pompeii has always fascinated my imagination. First, as a youngin' with my morbid thoughts running wild with images of flowing lava and a city buried alive. Then later, in my Classic Study of Ancient Greece & Rome course, I learned about the almost lucky (though not for the Pompeiians) preservation of the city, which has allowed historians and archeologists to better understand life during the height of the Roman Empire, and I became only more intrigued. Finally, as it can always be counted on to do, a good ol' episode of Doctor Who reminded me of the emotional turmoil and devastation that occurred in Pompeii, inadvertently spurring a sentimental attachment within me for the fallen Pompeiians. 

Despite this foreknowledge, when we first arrived in Pompeii, we were greeted by a light hearted phallus-waving imp, guaranteeing that the whole day would not be caught up only in the sorrow of death, but also in the rejoice of the accomplishments of the lost people, bronze nudes included.   

April 22, 2014

Planet Amalfi

Sometimes living 'the life' gets all kinds of overwhelming and time consuming, making for one very inconsistent blogger. When I last penned out a post for my dear bloggy I had said goodbye to London. I, however, failed to mention that I was departing from my new found (future) home to head off on another adventure on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. 

After spending a week in London, the evening I returned to Florence I found myself with a fierce contention for Italy. Why are there so many people on this miniature sidewalk? I forgot how to speak this language! Hey you with the creepy eyes: don't you dare holler at me! I had a bit of re-culture shock situation on my hands. 

Fortunately, the cure for any negative feelings for fair Italia is to briefly recover from exhaustion with a good ol' fashion bubble bath and then head off to somewhere entirely new that will remind you just how magical of a country you live in. 

-Insert 4 hour train ride to Southern Italy here-

My friend Elsa and I arrived on the train in Salerno, then set off to Amalfi by bus. Arriving in the sloping land of Amalfi, Elsa and I were both left speechless. Usually when you arrive in a new place you can compare it to somewhere you've been before. This is not a possibility on the Southern Ionian Coast of Italy. It was like arriving on an new planet. Even the Amalfians portray their tiny town with some very alien-like figures. 

April 6, 2014

Leaving and Loving London

My last day in London. *insert tears here* Even the sky was weeping for me, as it poured buckets for a large portion of my day. 

I had developed a "to-do" list before I came to my grand city, and I had just a few more things to see before I left. Despite only getting an hour-ish of sleep the night before, I headed out early on Wednesday morning to make sure I saw everything, starting with Covent Garden & Neal's Yard

Neal's Yard is one of those tiny little scenic places you find and pin on Pinterest time and again. It is nestled off a street in Covent Garden, where you could easily miss it if you weren't looking. There may not be much to do there at 9:30 am on a Wednesday, but it sure is a photogenic little hide-away. 

April 5, 2014

Oxford walls

I wanted to see if I had fallen in love with London or just England on the whole, so the fourth day of my UK adventure I took a day trip. I can only name a hand full of English towns, one of which is Oxford. What I knew about Oxford boiled down to essentially that there is a college there, and that was enough for me (again, ever-scheming for a good excuse to move to England).  

I googled a few tid-bits about Oxford before boarding the bus to my destination for the day, and off I went. I must say, my internet skills were particularly lazy that fair day, so the only thing that stuck was that The Grand CafĂ© had excellent high tea. It's obvious I pay attention to the most important things in life. 

April 4, 2014

Geek Out Day

Welcome to what I like to call my "Geek Out Day" aka "The Best Day Ever" aka "The Perfect Day in London" aka "Too Many Pictures in One Day" aka "The Longest Blog Post Ever Because It Was AMAZING". All seriousness, though, March 24, 2014 was one of the most exemplary days I have ever had. 

It began with the sun shining in London (a good omen, or so I hear). I strolled through residential streets and into Battersea Park; I learned my first day, that the best way to start a day in London is in a park.

April 2, 2014

London town wanderings

I get hankerings, and once I get them, they don't let go. I've been fortunate enough that most of this food cravings have evaded me during my time in Italy. However, with the promise of London, home to every possible type of food you could imagine, I needed something so exotic, something so foreign I could get it in no other place than the cosmopolitan metropolitan paradise of London. I needed........ a cheeseburger. 

Ok, so maybe it's not that exotic. Nevertheless, few things are as satisfying as a good burger (and few things are as unfortunate as a bad burger). Thanks to some internet-scouring I had a hunch on where to get a goodin' in ol' London town. On Sunday I found myself at the Byron Burger in Soho.

A tasty Sunday Burger seemed to be a popular idea, as the place was poppin'. Inside there is a very diner-esc atmosphere, though just a little more upscale, probably because proper British people seem to eat there french fries chips with a fork. 

April 1, 2014

The Tourist Walk

I expected to like London. I had no idea that I would love it. I love Italy, I love Switzerland, but I want to pack up all my things, move to London and never leave. It's that kind of love. The moment my plane touched down that first night and I hopped on a bus into the brightly lit city I was smiling to myself, I'm going to like it here, I thought. 

The next morning I purchased my Oyster card, leapt on an iconic red double-decker bus, and headed into the city center. I couldn't have gotten any luckier with the weather on the first day of my adventure; the giant cumulus clouds made the city even more picturesque. 

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