Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Final Post

Alright, this is going to be my last post.  School is beginning to pile up so I do not have a lot of time to post a long entry.  I guess for the ones that still check this, you are saying that you never have time to keep us posted.  But I will be coming home soon in about 2 1/2 weeks so let me have something to tell you in person.  The last ten day trip has come to an end.  It was really a busy ten days as we started in Venice and ended up in Bologna.  Along the way we visited Parma, Vecenzia, Pavoda, Verona, and probably a few more that I am leaving out.  Venice was by far my favorite.  I knew of the "city on the sea" but had no earthly idea that it really lives and breaths it.  Everything in Venice is designed around the ocean.  I did not see a car for two day as we travel by boat mostly.  We were lucky because "Judy" one of our professors, lived in Venice, for eight years so she knew her ins and outs of the city.  We were very fortunate not to be anywhere near the earthquake when that struck.  It was much further south than us. The trip flew by really fast stopping along the way as I mentioned before. Each city was known for something different. 

Parma: Parmesan cheese
Vecenzia and Pavoda: art and typical Italian villas
Verona: Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Lastly we stopped in Bologna.  This is where we spent Easter Sunday.  We did have time to go to church, which was a great experience.  First of all the church was Catholic and in Italian, so needless to say I was lost most of the time.  But I did catch the Lord's Prayer and an Alleluia here and there.  The best part of the service was the music.  The music of the choir just echoed through the huge Bologna Cathedral.


I am headed to Prague, Czech Republic this weekend for my last little travel before I return home.  I will be home May 3rd just in case anyone wants to greet me at the airport.  See you soon and I will fill in all the gaps that I have left out.  


If you are really interested our class has a blog that will be updated until we leave.  http://clemsoningenova.blogspot.com/ it has a recap of the whole semester.  Sorry, I kind of let the blog fall behind for most of the trip. But I hope you all enjoyed it for the most part even with all the horrible grammatical errors. 


Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Break

Hello...Anne here. Drew asked me to update his blog about our whirlwind spring break. We went to four countries over the course of 8 days! 

Munich, Germany (Saturday):
Drew and I met at the Munich airport and hopped on the train to visit Dachau, a WWII concentration camp about 20 min outside of Munich. It was chilling to be in the same place where such atrocities had taken place. After Dachau, we went back to Munich and found a biergarten (beer garden), where we ate lunch  and drank a beer. We then had to catch our train to Heidelberg, Germany. 

Heidelberg, Germany (Saturday-Sunday):
We checked into our hostel and then wandered around the old city. It was very quaint and has a huge castle overlooking the town. My one request for our trip was to see a castle, so this stop was our compromise. The castle was lit up at night and very beautiful. We made a friend at dinner and hung out with him for a while. He was an American soldier stationed in Germany. It was good to hear another English voice. After dinner, we wandered around some more and then went to bed early, so I could catch up on my jet lag. The next morning we toured the castle. It has been damaged twice, once from a bombing and once from lightning. There was a pharmacy museum, and Drew took lots of pics for Trish. There was also the world's largest wine vat, which you could climb on top of. We were exploring the castle and got a little lost. We ended up in a place where we weren't supposed to e. Drew wanted to go down a dark staircase, until I showed him a sign written in German. We didn't know what it said, but it had a picture of a mean-looking bat, so we ventured back to safety. We then ate lunch at a restaurant that overlooked the famous "Old Bridge." I really wanted a salad, so I order what I thought to be a cold-cut salad. Well, when it arrived it turned out to be pickles and bologna-type meat all chopped up together. Needless to say "Big Girl" ate it, but it was definitely an interesting meal! After lunch, we went to a next-door beirhaus (a brewery) and hung out for a bit. It was a relaxing day and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We caught a train to Frankfurt at 6:30pm for our next location.

Frankfurt, Germany (Sunday):
We were only in Frankfurt for a couple hours, waiting for a bus that would take us overnight to Amsterdam. However, we wanted to see the city so we left the train station and starting looking for a restaurant. However, we walked straight into the sex district. I was very uncomfortable so we turned around and went back inside the train station to waste time until our bus. We went outside to wait for our bus at about 11:45pm and we waited and waited. It finally showed up at 1:30am! We got on and that was the last of Frankfurt. I don't think we'll ever go back.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Monday-Wednesday morning):
We arrived in Amsterdam on our bus at around 6:15 in the morning. We saw a sign for Amsterdam and hopped off the bus. As the bus was driving away, we realized we were on the outskirts of the town, not the main station. We were exhausted and found it hard to function and figure out trains to get to the main station. Drew stepped up and figured everything out and got me safely on the train. About 15 min later, we arrived where we were supposed to be and walked 10 minutes to our houseboat hostel, aka a botel. We were able to check in early and crashed for several hours. We revived around 11am and set off to explore Amsterdam. We grabbed lunch and then headed for Anne Frank's House. It was very well done and interesting to see. I read the book long ago but had forgotten how impactful her story is. My favorite comment of the day: We are ending the tour and get to a room where it has how each person died. Drew looks at me really confused and says: "Anne Frank died?" Haha that boy. After Anne Frank, Drew convinced me to needed to see at least one art museum. I told him I would need a "coke light" and ice cream first . After I got a second wind we went to the Van Gogh museum. "Starry Night" was on exhibit and it was very interesting to see. We then went to the Heineken Experience, which is in the old building where Heineken beer was initially brewed. It was such a cool place, with virtual rides and tastings along the way. After that, we went back to the Vita Nova, our boat, and spruced up. We then walked across the docks to a huge library where there was free internet. I had to look up the information for my "special day" I had planned for Drew for the next day. We then ate at a Chinese restaurant overlooking the water. It was another interesting choice...
The next morning, we hopped on a bus and rode about 30 min outside of the city. Drew had no idea where we were headed. We ended up in a small town called Landsmeer, in a residential neighborhood. I walked up to a house and rang the doorbell, Drew wondering where in the world we were in the meantime. A man answers and leads us to his garages, where when the garage door opens, Drew sees his suprise- SCOOTERS! We were given a map of bike paths and scootered all over the coastal towns of Northern Holland. It was such a neat experience. It was beautiful landscapes and quaint, sweet little towns. It was a little chilly when the sun went behind a cloud, but we stopped and warmed up every couple of towns and it was tolerable. We rode from about 9am to 6pm. We were tired and wind blown but we had so much fun! Along the way we stopped at a shop that showed us hpw to make the wooden clogs and also local cheese. We tasted all the cheese they made and bought several kinds. They were delicious. On the way back to the city, we stopped and got mini wine bottles and had cheese and wine appetizers. We went out that night to an Irish pub because it was St Patricks Day. It was packed out, but very fun. We got a good seat in front of the Irish "band" and enjoyed ourselves. 
The next morning we woke up REALLY early and sprinted to catch our train at 6am to Paris

Epernay, France (Wednesday):
We arrived in Paris at the Nord train station and walked to the Est station to catch our next train.  We grabbed lunch and then waited on our train to head to the Champagne region of France, which was the special day Drew planned for me. However, it never left. We saw lots of people getting off the train and we finally followed suit. We couldn't understand what everyone what saying, because it was in French, but evidently the train was broken or something. We had to wait until the next train came 2 hours later. This was a litle frustrating because our schedule was planned so exactly. However, we finally got to Epernay and sprinted to our first cellar tour. We walked straight to Moet et Chandon, the maker of Dom Perignon. We toured the breathtaking cellars, and saw thousands and thousands of champagne bottles. We wanted to purchase a bottle, but it was a bit out of our price range. We had a tasting at the end and tried 2 types of their champagne. We then walked down the Avenue of Champagne to find another champagne house to tour. We went to Castellane, but their last tour had already ended. We were able to go through their museum and then climb to the top of their tour and look over the town of Epernay. It was very picturesque. The grapevines weren't green yet but it was easy to imagine how pretty they could be. We also had a tasting of this champagne. We then went to a champagne bar, where we looked through their cellars and chose several champagnes to sample. It was a very cool location. We then checked into our lodgings, very conveniently situated on the Avenue of Champagne. We went to dinner at a brasserie, where Drew ordered an escargot soup appetizer, which a snail shaped croissant! The meal was absolutely delicious! We wondered around the town a little bit more and then went to bed. It was such a pretty place. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Look forward to a guest columnist entry this weekend about a whirled-wind spring break trip through Europe.   It was a blast.  I will be traveling to meet the family in Milan on Saturday. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

By now you have probably have given up on checking my blog.  I have a terrible time trying to keep up with all that we do.  Since I last posted about Rome and Siena we have covered a lot of ground so I am going to just try to give you a brief summary of the last couple of weeks so that I can feel caught up.

The weekend after the ten day trip the villa hosted a wine and cheese tasting.  Not knowing anything about wine I was very interested in what our instructor had to say.  Basically it was a quick over view of what you want to look for in wines and how to distinguish one from another.  It really enjoyed it and hope we get a chance to do it again before the semester is over.  The one thing that I took away from the tasting is the strong difference in what I had been buying at the local store (cheapest they have) and what she offered us to taste.  She also warned us against this practice because she said that cheap wines are unhealthy for you.  

That next Saturday morning we loaded up on a train to Nice, France.  Nice is located on the French Riveria.  It is actually only about a 2 1/2 hour train ride to such a wonderful place.  We were lucky enough to be going the same weekend as Nice's Carnival, which is Europe's equivalent to Mardi Gras.  This was a really fun weekend.  I had never seen so many people and live music in one place before in my life.  There were people dancing everywhere and they all were dressed up in this elaborate costumes. 

The next weekend was our four day "blitzkrieg" of four countries in four days.  We left the villa right after our Friday class on a modern architectural tour of Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and France.   We were separated into 3 rental cars that students drove.  Luckily I didn't have to drive as we had a couple of minor bump ins. The first night we traveled all the way through Switzerland stopping along the way to look at different types of architecture and structural bridges.  Switzerland was actually my favorite country on the tour because of the beautiful scenery that we passed along the way.  The Swiss alps are amazing.  My most favorite place we visited we couldn't really see it because it was almost dark.  But this site was on a small narrow country road covered in snow.  It was so quite and peaceful there.  It was here that we had a bump in with one of the vans.  It started sliding back on the slope and ran into a fence post and busted out a tail light.  And then our professor who was in a hurry to go the next stop back into the other rental car at the same time.  I thought that it was hilarious but he sure didn't.  
The next day we had a stop in Bregens, Austria and then on to Germany for two nights.  In Germany we visited Munich and Stuttgart.  I was very impressed with Germany also.  The food and German beer was really good.  On Monday, we left Germany going through Ron Champs, France, which was a small town hit hard by WWII.  After that we were on the road for most of the day and night until we returned to Genova.  It was a face paced tour but I still enjoyed it.

I know that it is vague but thats probably how it is going to be until I get home and can sit down with pictures. Today we are exactly half way through the semester.  We have only two more months to go.  I know it is going to fly by because every week until mid April someone has either family or friends coming to visit. We also have spring break coming up and another ten day trip throughout Italy.  I think I am going to need to rest when I get home.  

Lastly we did have a mid-term last week and a major project due next week.  I just wanted to say that we are having some school work during all this. (ha, ha) 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Siena and Rome

I would love to post more but we are on our way to Germany and Switzerland for four days...I will return on Monday with more photos and hopefully a little more detail.  Oh and I scheduled to drive on part of this trip so that should be interesting. 

My favorite place in all of Rome.  This is Villa de Este the gardens here are amazing.  We only had thirty minutes to tour around this gardens so I was very disappointed when we had to leave early.  But I am going to try to post several more pictures to show how beautiful this place really is.  Above is the "100 Lined Fountian." 
Me in front of the Parthenon.  
View of the Parthenon  at night with the a full moon in the back ground. 
View of Vatican city from on top of the Basilica.
The Pope hollered out Go TIGERS!!!! When I pulled the tiger rag out.
St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City 
Me in front of the Vitruvian Fountain

View of Siena from the top of Santa Maria Assunta the Cathedral of Siena 

Monday, February 16, 2009


Sorry for the delay but after returning from the trip I had some much needed work that needed to get done so the blog fell behind. I am going to try to give you a brief synopsis of the trip going through each town but we have already done so much since then that it seems like it was weeks ago.  Time is really beginning to fly by over here with our busy schedule.

So, here goes...           


Our first city of the trip was Florence, we spent 3 days and 4 nights there crisscrossing this beautiful city not leaving anything uncovered.  We stayed in a very small hotel right at the foot of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. This cathedral church is probably the most recognized piece of architecture in the city.  Construction began on the church in 1296 in and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.  The dome is the most famous part of the church because for several years this part of the church was left unfinished because no one knew how to construct a dome of this magnitude.  A competition was held and Brunelleschi won the job.  As we were told by our tour guide for the day legend has it that during the competition Brunelleschi who had done lots of other works in Florence was asked to join the competition.  He proposed that he knew the exact way to construct the dome but wasn't willing to give them the details how.  Well, the leaders of Florence, refused to let him continue in the competition if he didn't give them more information.  He responded by saying that if you could make an egg stand up on its end then you could construct a dome. Well, everyone tried to make an egg stand up but no one was successful.  So when it was his turn he cracked the egg in half and stood up the two halves.  After that everyone said that anyone could do that and he said that if he told them how to build the dome they would say the same thing.  Needless to say he got the job and constructed the largest dome in the world until the modern era, the dome was one of the largest in the world, being surpassed in width only by that of the Pantheon in Rome, of which we saw later in the trip. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed

This was a view from a nearby hill that had amazing views of the city.  Also why we were here we went into another catholic church that everyday a men’s group sings prayers.  These men although the prayers were in Italian and I didn't understand what they were saying had beautiful voices that made chills go up your back.  Another interesting site that we visited while in Florence was the Uffizi Gallery.  It is the oldest and probably one of the most famous art museums in the world.   This gallery holds works by Leonardo daVinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Raphael just to name a few.  The most famous work of art that we saw and one of my favorites was Michelangelo's David which is located in the Galleria dell Accademia.  The statue of David is a massive piece of marble.  It was a lot bigger than I had imagined.  I am not usually an art history guy but a lot of these painting and sculptures were ones that I had studied in school and heard about so it was really neat to actually see them in person.   

Our days in Florence were jammed pack with sites to see.  We would start about 7:30 in the morning and wouldn't end to about 8 o'clock at night.  Here are just a few more of the places that we went: Medici palace, Tomb of the Medici family, Chiesa di Santa Croce, Palazzo Rucellai, etc. etc.  Florence was an amazing city and I enjoyed it throughly.  I will have to do a better job of explaining it when I get home and can go back through all the pictures.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Well we finally made it back!!!

Over the last ten days we have traveled over the central part of Italy; from Genova, to Florence, Siena, and then Rome. This was an amazing journey through a lot of familiar places.  I am going to try to give you a shortened summary of the trip and mostly pictures to explain some of the stunning sites we saw.  It might take me a couple days to get it all together so just keep checking in.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Second Day Trip...

On Tuesday we had our second day trip of the semester.  We traveled by bus to Pavia and Vegivano.  Both of these stops are smaller Italian towns north of Genova.  Our first stop was at an active monastery that was originally built in 1396 called Certosa Di Pavia.   A "monk" who was originally from New Jersey gave us a tour through the cathedral and then throughout the monastery.  It is a very interesting life that these men live. Here are some photos from the monastery.

Later we toured some local universities and also some public squares.  Pavia and Vegivano are both well known for great universities.  

Sorry for the lack in detail but during the trip i became deathly ill with a two day virus so I have been recovering the last couple of days.  Friday morning we are leaving for Florence, Siena, and Rome, for ten days.  So, I won't be able to up date my blog until we get back on February 10th.


Well, we found some ice in Torino, and tried a little dancing...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Skiing on the Alps in Bardonecchia

This past weekend was absolutely amazing! First of all I want to report that everyone returned from a weekend of skiing in one piece.  Saturday morning we boarded a train to Torino, Italy for a day of site seeing ad then off to Bardonecchia on Sunday for skiing.  Torino is a beautiful old city in Northern Italy, about two hours above Genova.  My first experince on the train went smoothly as I slept most of the way.  After getting to Torino, we found our hostel and check in.  I was a little nervous about staying in a hostel because this was also a first but to my surprise it was very clean.  At the cost of 15 Euro a night it was really good.  The rest of the day was spent site seeing.  Since we will be going to Torino again for one of our "Day Trips" for our architecture history class we focused on seeing a lot of the more modern architecture.  Torino was the site of the 2006 Winter Olympics so there had a been a lot of new improvements to the city in the last couple of years.  Early the next morning we boarded another train to Bardonecchia.  After about an hour of traveling deep into the Alps we reached a skiers paradise.  I had never seen as much snow that was on the ground in my life.  It was up to my shoulder in places.  Whole houses and cars were almost or completely covered with snow.  Camp Smith, the ski resort was bustling with people of all ages.  It boasted 40 runs and 20 lifts all of which were open.  Making it very easy to get up and down the mountain without any waits.  After a few minutes of confusion and trying to communicate with Italians we rented our gear and headed for the slopes.  Only skiing a couple of times in North Carolina I considered myself a beginner and wanted to head to the "bunny slope" for some warm ups.  But some of my group insisted that I would catch on quickly and that there was no need to waste time on the "bunny slope."  So we jumped on the chair lift and headed up the mountain.  When reaching the top I was amazed at the amount of small children.  Most of them could not have been any older than 5 or 6 at the most and they knew exactly what to do.  I was embarrassed to try to ski next to them.  They were very impressive and skillful skiers.  The first couple of times down were miserable for me. I slid down the slope more than I skied.  But it did not take to long before I caught on.  It was really a great time.  I have attached a few photos from the day below.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Well I'm back in Business...

The last couple of days have been really busy with class.  But it has been really exciting and interesting, so I have not minded. First of all I have finally made it to the Mac store and retrieved my charger. So I am able to use my computer whenever I need t
o.  Yesterday we went on our first "Day Trip" which we will do every Tuesday.  This trip consisted of touring the port and surrounding area of Genova.  When we got up it was pouring down rain and very cold but that did not stop our professor. He was ready to face the elements and we were not to complain. So we trotted through the wet and cold streets like little soldiers, ready to learn about great Italian architecture.  Our first stop was just a quick tour and background of the harbor.  From there we took a boat out of the harbor and toured the port and surrounding site from the water.  Several sites that we visited were, the Genova Light House (La Laterna), the Prince Palace (Palazzo Del Principe), and La Commenda Di Pre' a important hospital centre for knights, monks, and pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land in the 12th Century. My favorite stop of the day was at the Prince Palace.  This place was the mansion and headquarter
s of Andrea Doria from 1466-1560. The architecture, art, and interior design in this palace was amazing.  I was especially interest in the molding and fire place mantels.  The mantels were made of a black marble that was one of a kind, from this region of Italy.  The gardens surrounding the palace were also beautifully manicured.  Lemon and orange trees framed the building in a typical Italian terraced style garden.  The day was most enjoyable despite the weather and I look forward to future day trips.  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day to Day activities

Well, we are approaching two weeks already, living in Genova.  Time is flying by and its probably only going to get faster now that classes have started and our trips will begin soon.  Over the last couple of days we have had a couple of more classes and also took on daily chores.  I have been chosen as "the milk man" for the group.  Every morning or at least every other morning I walk about three blocks down the street to retrieve milk for that days meals.  It's not a hard job and it keeps me from laying in bed until classes start.  The first day that I went I was a little uncertain about were to go.  So I went into this small grocery store and in my attempt to speak Italian I said, "Buongiorno" which means good morning.  Well, the store clerk responded to me by saying in very good English, "You must be from Clemson."  Since then I have made several more trips to retrieve milk and it is very nice to talk to someone that can speak English well.  
Professor Barbara, our sweet Italian professor has finally left to return to Clemson.  Now that we have completed our "crash course" in Italian this coming weekend is going to be available for travel.  And we are already planning a ski trip to Torino, Italy. It is located in Northern Italy in the Alps just below Switzerland.  Torino was host to the Winter Olympics a couple of years ago.  I am looking forward to traveling and seeing a new place.  Two weeks in this villa can sometimes get a little old.  I think the plan as of now is to leave Friday after class and sleep in a hostel in Torino.  Ski all day on Saturday and then tour around the city on Sunday.   
Tomorrow we will be touring around the Genova for our first day trip.  I will finally learn about all the sites that I have seen the past couple of days.

And lastly today I had two failed attempts at getting any errands done.  First, I woke up  this morning early to try to make it to the Apple Store before our studio started.  So after retrieving the milk, I started on the long trek to retrieve my charger.  Checking the time before I left and again after getting to the Apple Store I clocked my walk at about 40 minutes.  Only to get to the Apple Store to learn that the store was close Monday mornings and opened at 3:00 until 7:00.  I wanted to cry but there was nothing I could do but turn around and walk back.  I took a different approach back and stopped into a couple of interesting shops and art galleries.  This afternoon I walked to the bank and post office only to learn that they are only open Monday mornings and closed the rest of the afternoon.  So I will have to try to run my errands another day I guess.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Both pictures were taken from the balcony off of my room.

Above is a picture I took of a Genovese sunset over the Apennines Mountains with the Genova light house in the foreground.

1st Day of Class

Well we have officially started classes today.  My schedule for a typical week is as follows:

Monday: 3:00-7:00 Design Studio
Tuesday: Tuesdays are typically reserved for day field trips for Design Seminar with Professors  Giuditta Poletti and Benhard Sill.
Wednesday: 9:30-12:30 Architectural History
       3:00-7:00 Design Studio
Thursday: 3:00-7:00 Design Studio
Friday: 9:30-12:30 Modern Architecture, Urban and Region Seminar

Our Travel Schedule includes two ten day trips and one independent travel.
1st Trip
January 30th thru February 8th 
Florence, Rome and surrounding areas
Independent Travel
March 15th thru March 22nd 
To be decided...
2nd Trip
April 3rd thru April 12th
Bologna and Venice 

Now that we have our schedule I can now begin to plan for weekend trips and for independent travel.  There are many places I would like to see but four months just does not leave enough time.  That is kind of hard to believe right.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Moving along...

We have finally started some classes this week. Every morning until Monday of next week we will be taking a "crash course" in Italian. Basically it will help us be able to get around and ask for basic everyday things. It is going fairly well and I have picked up some phrases.
Our studio professor Bernard Sill, from Clemson, arrived Sunday afternoon and seems very nice. He is originally from Germany but has never been to Genova, Italy. But he definitely knows how to get around Europe, so that should be helpful.

Yesterday for our dinner time meal, Angelina, our cook, prepared a very interesting dish. I am not sure the name of the dish but it consisted of spinach, onions, peppers, and squid! It was basically like a goulash or succotash. But Italians take a strong pride in their cooking so we were all strongly encourage to try it. I managed to stomach several bites of this concoction but eventually had to surrender to its relentless coarseness. As I looked at our meal, I saw a reoccurring pattern. The second day of our trip we were served potatoes and broccoli medley. I found it to be very appetizing but there was quite a bit left over. Italians, as do my parents and grandparents, have a hard time wasting food so the next day, we had a broccoli and potato quiche. On the fourth day, there was a huge pot of boiled mushrooms and onions fixed and yet again, there were left overs. The very next day, one of the side dishes was mushroom quiche. So as I was sitting at dinner, I shared my revelation with my classmates to prepare themselves for squid quiche!!

I finally made it to the Apple store! It was about a 30 to 45 minute walk but it was worth it. The store owner was very helpful and especially liked it when I used my broken Italian to try to communicate. It went very smoothly and I should have a new charger in a few days. Today our Italian professor is taking us to a cell phone store so that we can purchase phones, so that we will be able to communicate with our classmates in case we were to get lost or stranded during our stay in Italy.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Little Background on Genova

Just to give you a little background on the city of Genova itself, Genova is an important seaport in northern Italy. The population is about 620,000 and has an urban population of about 890,000. It is also called la Surperba (the super one) due to its glorious past. Genova sits among the Apennines Mountains which makes its difficult to walk around due to its hilly terrain. It is a beautiful city with many design and architecture elements of which we will be studying. Genova reached its height in power in the middle ages around the 12 century and was also the home of Christopher Columbus.

The First 5 Days

Getting to Genova...

After having little to no trouble getting from the United States to London, Leslee and I boarded a plane to Genova. This was only supposed to be a two hour flight but turned into a day long adventure. We sat on the plane for an hour due to reported wintery weather in Genova. After taking off, I was quickly asleep and awaiting my home for the next four months. The turbulence was awful when approaching Genova and the visibility was nonexistent. Our pilot tried unsuccessfully twice to land in Genova but the weather was uncooperative. Instead we were redirected to Pisa which is about a three hour bus ride south of Genova. Luckily we had no problem retrieving our luggage and we were able to get to the villa quickly after arriving in Genova.

Snow covered the streets and cars in Genova but I was not interested playing in it, but only trying to get unpacked and settled in my new home. Our villa is almost on top of the mountain overlooking the city of Genova and its sea port. The villa consists of three stories. The first floor is the kitchen and dining area. We have a cook, Angelina, who cooks for us three meals a day but only during the week. The food is really good and you never have to worry about going hungry. The next floor is the professor's residence, office, and our studio space. Off from the studio space is our own private garden, complete with patio and fish pond. The space is planted with native plants of Genova as well as orange trees, grape fruit, and banana. It also has some familiar flora such as the southern magnolia and loquat. It is really an impressive garden with views to the sea. The third floor consists of 5 bedrooms for students and 6 bathrooms. It also includes a guest room, with a sleeping porch and private bath. The three bedrooms on the front of the house all have access to a balcony. Luckily Leslee and I were some of the first students to arrive and we were able to pick the rooms and beds that we wanted. I have 5 other roommates that are all architect majors from Clemson, of whom I did not know until I arrived. There are 16 students in total this semester all taking the same classes. It is a mix of undergraduate and graduate students in the villa but everyone will be taking the same course load. Also some of the graduate students are married and their spouses decided to come along to support their husbands and wives. Everyone is very nice and are from all walks of life but it seems that we will get along just fine.

After getting settled in, we made contact with family and friends and fell asleep quickly.

With our professor not arriving until Sunday we had a couple of days to tour around the city and explore for ourselves. The first outing consisted of us getting lost and wondering around the city for a couple of hours trying to find our way back. But as more outings continued, we quickly learned the routes and I am sure we will learn more as time goes on.
I am not mentioning the sites visited yet because I am sure we will have several trips around the city with our class. We will learn more about these sites and I will be able to explain them in much greater detail.

About the second day I realized that my new Apple computer charger was not working and that was going be a problem. I could not afford being cut off from the rest of the world (and especially Anne) for four months so luckily my classmates and I went on a trek to find an Apple store. We walked literally for miles (not yet knowing the routes of the public transit) and ran across a store called "Saturn." It was equivalent to a Best Buy for us and they were helpful but they could not help me. But they told us of an Apple store in Genova that I could go to that would fix it. I have not made the journey but hopefully in the coming days we will be in that area and I can get a new charger. For now I am borrowing a charger from Lindsey, a fellow classmate from Pelzer, SC.

We have gone out a couple of nights with a "friend of the villa". Lucca is a resident of Genova that makes it a point to meet the current students of the villa and show them around town. He took us a pizzeria which served the best pizza and beer. You can not even image the amount of toppings and options you have on a pizza in Italy. After leaving the pizzeria, Lucca took us to two places to drink wine. The first place was similar to a small library with book shelves complete with a fire place. We had a glass of red wine (Merlot) there before heading out to my favorite place so far. This next place was so cool. It was a small bar that looked like a "hole in wall" from the outside but the inside was amazing. The walls were stucco with exposed brick supporting these huge oak like beams. The floor had two round holes in the center of the room covered in glass which used to be the top of a well. Looking through these holes one could see a tiny room with a glass floor. This room was once the actual well. The floor of this room was complete made of glass and you could see water flowing underneath you feet. I tried my first glass of Chianti (not sure the spelling) wine. It supposed to be a great Italian wine that is inexpensive but really good. Lucca introduced us to some of his friends and we all had a good time.

The next night we attended a play in which I did not understand a word and was totally confused. Even though the play was an Italian tragedy I found it quite comical. Afterwards we had a quick bite to eat and a beer before going home.

Classes will begin this week and I will then know more about a daily schedule and also our travel schedule for the semester. Tonight our Italian teacher is taking us to her favorite restaurant thats supposed to have authentic Genovese cuisine.