I believe that one of the main objectives of a Rotary Exchange Student is to live life like a regular Italian teenager, boring moments and all. However, I have ten months in this beautiful country and I'm determined to see as much of it as I can. So last weekend I took matters into my own hands and had some really fun adventures!
Adventure #1: Castell'Arquato
Castell'Arquato is a small Italian town that has maintained the same medieval appearance as it was in the early 10th century! You have to walk uphill through windy, tiny, cobblestone streets to get to the main piazza at the top of this huge hill. I got to go there with my host brother and some of his friends and they took me there at night. You would never think to go site seeing at night, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. It was kind of rainy and the lights and the smell of wood-burning stoves made it a magical experience. I could hardly take it in as I walked through the streets. I felt like I was walking through the set of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it was amazing. This picture is a picture of the center area at the top of the hill. (the modern cars make it seem a little less magical :) )
Adventure #2: Venenzia (Venice)
Unfortunately, us exchange students here haven't had any oppertunities to travel with Rotary (besides one trip to a lake for a couple hours) since we've gotten here two months ago. So, the four of us American girls in my town decided to take matters into our own hands and with the help of our host parents and siblings we were able to plan a trip to Venice! If you were judging the trip on how things went as planned, the trip would receive an F. However, I believe that things happen for a reason, and even though we missed our train four times, we were only able to stay in Venice for about an hour and it was raining the whole time, I know that I will always look back on that day as one of the most fun days of my life. We talked, laughed, bonded and laughed a lot more. We also got to witness some pretty cool things. We ran into a man that lived in the same small town as one of the other girls on the top of the Scalzi Bridge in Venice. We also were on a train ride where me met a Greek student studying dentistry and man from Canada that happened to have grown up in Greece! I love finding out how small this wonderful world is! The day was full of fun and surprises and I will never forget it!
Us on the Scalzi Bridge in Venice. Picutred: Liz, Lindsi, Me & Katherine (Photo thanks to Katherine)
Adventure #3: Turin (Torino)
this wasn't really so much of an adventure as a class field trip. It turned out to be a 14 hour trip in all so it was very exhausting. It wasn't as exciting as our other trips but Turin is yet another beautiful city in Italy. My favorite part about the city is that you're able to catch glimpses of the Swiss Alps in the distance as you look down each city street. The drive to Turin was almost better just because we got to watch the Alps get closer and more magnificent! Just another beautiful view from a piazza.
I feel like after some of these travels I'm finally starting to get to know Italy a little better. I hope to as many of these famous and beautiful cities as possible! If any of you get a chance to come to Italy..take it! It's just as breathtaking as everyone says it is. :)