07.01.2010 - 07.07.2010 95 °F
Its been an amazing, eye-opening past week. Not only did I get to see Roma once again, I got to experience the life of true Italian communities in the country.. no tourists, no cheesy monuments with hour-long lines.. just original beauty at its finest.
I flew out of Prague to Fiumicino in Rome. Got picked up by the most precious little Italiano man who took me to Fleur's apartment right in the center of Rome. Seriously, one minute I'm awing at the Colosseum, then two seconds later we're pulling up to her building. Fantastic. The big plan for the night, the main reason I felt it necessary to skip two classes, was the Ambassador's 4th of July shindig at his residence. 3,000 people were expected to attend. Some party, eh?! I still like to think that it was my welcoming party! Haha. Aside from it being my first time in 2 months wearing heels, it was an awesome time! I met all kinds of interesting and rather important people to the embassy and foreign services. Even better, I saw them at their drunken finest! Haha! But really, endless amounts of booze, food, music and people.. it was a really great time. And a very unique experience! Afterwards, we headed down to a very Americanized bar called Dukes for a birthday/going-away party for some of Fleur's friends. Rather interesting partying with 30-some odd year olds! But I couldn't have asked for a better first night in Roma!
The next day, I did a little bit of sightseeing before I met dad back at Fleur's. So we packed up for a long weekend in Marche, where Fleur's parents have a house in the country. So we hiked over in the ridiculous heat over to the embassy to head on out! Wish I could remember the ride.. for anyone that knows me, I am the worst person to road trip with lol any time over 30 minutes in a car and I CRASH. But since I'm updating this so long after all this happened, I'll just touch on the big events!
Bottom line - Italian food is the BOMB. I mean, I love pasta and pizza anyways, but nothing is like legit brushetta and ravioli and boar sauce and AH. Just pure deliciousness. Anyways, the first town we hit up during our tour of the countryside in Marche was Montecarotto, a cutie little medieval town. All over the place were signs talking about a Vino (Wine) festival taking place.. that night! So needless to say, we made our way back that night. More on that later! But on the note of vino, I went to my first wine tasting! We only tried three, the brand Moncaro, which is LOVE. It was a cool experience. First of four in this fabulous weekend. What a bonding experience with the parentals, eh? Haha. But Marche was exactly how I would picture the Italian countryside. Sunflowers, miles and miles of farming fields, awesome locals.. everywhere I turned my head was another breathtaking view. I don't blame Fleur's parents for wanting to retire out there!
We stopped for a lunch at one of those typical Italian restaurants that feel no need to give you a menu. We sit down, tell them we want pasta, and two kinds are brought out to us. Perfection. This was probably the best ravioli I have ever had in my entire life. Shame I don't even know what kind it was since, obviously, I didn't exact ORDER it. Haha. But while we were eating, there was a children's camp going on and there were putting on a performance. Once we started listening more closely, we realized they were speaking in English! Now this is big, we were quite literally in the middle of nowhere.. all locals, no tourists, so hardly anyone spoke English. Very neat to see!
Skip, skip, skip... to VINO festival! This town is literally.. TINY. So there were stations in various places that served different types of food and wine actually produced in the town. At one food stand, we met an Irish girl, probably about my age, who had moved to Montecarotto with her mother just to start a new life. At our last stop of the night, a band was dressed in cowboys boots and hats playing "Sweet Home Alabama" which rocked, and I ran into Laura. She snagged me and took me around to introduce me to her friends. We danced and just had a good ol' time! Yay new friends!
Montepulciano was the next stop. This town is in Tuscany and where NEW MOON was filmed! So cool! We met up with two fellows from the embassy, Matt and John, who absolutely rock. It was a lovely 4th of July. We sat in the new moon square just kind of reflecting on life. Splendid. Our reservation at our hotel got screwed up so we actually got UPGRADED to an apartment.. which was BALLER. Come to find out, that's actually where the New Moon cast stayed! Haha. Doofy, I know.
We also stopped by Orvieto, which is another small town in Tuscany. More beautiful churches and medieval architecture.. we were all pretty pooped by this point. Haha. It was very nice getting back to Roma. Fleur's friend Gautam came into town Tuesday morning, so we grabbed lunch then piddled around the center once my dad got home from class. Saw the Trevi fountain again, which is always a beautiful site. Tuesday was also the absolute best, most fat kid day of my LIFE. Vincent took us three and his sister Vanessa on a GELATO TOUR. Yes, it is exactly what you are imagining. We went to FOUR different gelato parlors and YES, we got ice cream at each and every one. Nothing beats good ol' strawberry gelato. It will always be my favorite!
Wednesday I had to leave.. very, very sad. Gautam and I did the tourist thang at the Colosseum, which will always be my most favorite place. Definitely the perfect end to a perfect week! Watch out, Italy.. I will be back.
Skip, skip, skipppp.. pooooo on Spain and their constant need to over-dramatize injuries. I was really rooting for Holland to win! Ah well. I LOVED being in Europe for the World Cup. Month long trip in 2016? I think so.