Tag Archives: field trip

If I never go to Naples again, I will die happy.

At Play in Pompeii

So sorry that this post is so late! I have been a busy girl.

A few weeks ago I was invited to the Communications day trip down to Pompeii. Damon and I decided to make a weekend of it and stay in Naples until Sunday. We all jumped on a train early Friday morning and arrived at Pompeii while it was still sunny. Unfortunately, Josh got his camera stolen on the Circumvesuviana, which connects Naples to Pompeii. 😦 So, I took plenty of pictures all day! We walked through the forum, the basilica, a few domus and of course, the Villa of the Mysteries. We even stopped at my favorite place in Pompeii, the Temple of Isis. I think this trip to Pompeii was much more pleasant than when I went three years ago. March is the perfect time of year to visit Pompeii. It’s not too hot and not too crowded. We bought tickets that would also get us into Herculaneum, another archeological site nearby, but by the time the whole group got there, they were no longer admitting visitors. Luckily for Damon and I, the tickets were good for three days. That’s exactly how long we would be in the area! So, instead of going inside Herculaneum, we read Pliny the Younger’s account of the eruption of Vesuvius while overlooking the ruins. How nerdy. I loved it. This is where Damon and I said goodbye to everyone else. We stayed at Herculaneum for a bit, sitting on a bench under a tree while it poured rain all around us.

Damon and I at the Temple of Isis in Pompeii

That night we checked into our lovely little hotel room in Naples and went out to dinner at the nearest restaurant, where we would become regulars for the next three nights. The next day I found out that I was allergic to our lovely little hotel room. I was covered in hives and itchy, itchy, itchy. After showering and eating a little breakfast, I started feeling better, so we went out into the city. Damon and I got our leather boots shined on the streets of Naples and were feeling pretty good about it.

Our next stop was Pizzeria da Michele, a restaurant recommended by, well, everyone. We were so confused at first because there was a huge crowd of people just standing around outside the front door. I went in and tried to ask for a table, but the guy at the cash register just ignored me. As it turns out, you have to go inside, get a number from the waiter and then wait outside until your number is called. And wait is exactly what we did. We waited so long that I was beginning to think we should just eat elsewhere. Damon and I suspected, however, that it would be worth the wait as we assessed the huge crowd outside, which consisted mainly of Italians. “It must be good,” we thought. In fact, it was the best pizza I’ve ever had. Yes, it probably had something to do with me feeling starved, but I think it has more to do with the perfect combination of chaos and simplicity. You only have two options for pizza: with cheese or without. I could wax poetic about this pizza forever, but I’ll just let these photos do the talking:Yum. After our bellies were full, we took a little walk down sketchy lane to the National Archeological Museum of Naples. I had a little research to do there and it’s probably the only thing worth seeing in Naples. Second only to Pizzeria da Michele, that is. Damon and I were bummed that the “secret room” was closed, but it was nice to see the sculptures and frescoes taken from Pompeii. People that visit the ruins and not this museum only get half the story. On the walk home from the museum we saw an attempted purse snatching in a street full of trash. Yay Naples. After that scary episode, we decided to go to our favorite restaurant 30 seconds walk from our room. Where I ate dinner covered in hives.

Damon and the Farnese Hercules in the National Archeological Museum

The next morning, surprise, surprise, the hives were back. But I powered through it and we hopped on the Circumvesuviana. This time we made it early enough to be admitted to Herculanuem. I have been dying to go to this site since Professor Laird told us about it three years ago. It is preserved differently than Pompeii because of its vicinity to Vesuvius. Pompeii was first hit with pyroclastic materials falling from the sky. So, roofs and second stories were all destroyed. In contrast, Herculaneum met its fate from lava flow, so the lava filled buildings from the bottom up. In many cases, the roofs, second and even third stories are still intact in Herculaneum. It was so amazing to see!

Frescoes at Herculaneum

Back in the day, Herculaneum was a port town right on the beach. They even had a boat and fishing supplies on display. I took some pictures for dad. Damon and I spent most of the day goofing around at the ruins. Here we are at a thermopolium, which is like an ancient fast food restaurant. Damon, my customer, is ordering some gravel with a side of gravel.

Customer and Employee at a Thermopolium

Here we are being amazed at how short Ancient Romans were:

After our long day at Herculauem, we got lunch/dinner, realized we missed the Villa dei Papiri, ran back, saw it was closed, I got a migraine and Damon had to lead a blind leper back to the train station. 😦 So, now you know why I don’t need to go back to Naples. It hates me. Evidence: Stolen Camera, Closed Archeological Site, Pouring Rain, Rash, Closed Secret Room, Trash, Purse-Snatching, Rash, Rash, Closed Villa, Migraine. I get it, Naples. I get it.

Despite all those negative things, I still had a wonderful weekend with the man I love.


Filed under Herculaneum, Italy, Naples, Pompeii

Winter Wrap

So, winter quarter has ended and it’s now starting to feel a bit like spring in Rome, which both exciting and terrifying. I love Rome when it’s sunny, but I hate Rome when it’s hot. Sadly, these things often come hand in hand. Anyway, this is how winter quarter ended!

Damon picked me up from the train station and then we took his friend Bjorn to Bar Trilussa, an establishment that has been featured in my blog many a time. (I should be getting some sort of kick-back.) I have to say, however, that Bjorn appreciated the giraffa far more than any other guest I’ve taken to Trilussa.

Damon and Bjorn at Bar Trilussa with the infamous giraffe

The next day the three of us went to Abbey Theatre (kick-back?) to see a live rockabilly band, the Da Silva Trio. To be honest, my expectations were quite low. I mean think about it: Italians playing rockabilly. Uh, yeah… To my surprise, I was completely blown away! They were amazing. i knew almost every song and the three of us were very enthusiastic throughout their entire performance. Here’s a video I recorded of a Johnny Cash cover in which you can witness some of Bjorn’s excitement:

On Friday I took Bjorn to the Capuchin crypt. That’s the one where it looks like they used the grim reaper as an interior decorator. I’ll never forget Bjorn’s face when he first walked in. I didn’t know anyone’s eyes could get that huge. I’ve sort of forgotten how creepy that place is when you first visit. I’ve taken so many people there that I seem to be desensitized to its, um, subject matter.

Anyway, Bjorn left on Saturday and it was free Sunday at the Vatican Museums the next day. So, Damon and I drug ourselves out of bed way too early and waited in line. Despite attempts at being cut in line by nuns (that’s right, NUNS!), we made it in early and Damon saw all the things he missed when he went with his class. I also did a bit of research in the Sala dei rotundi (see below). I hope to make it to another four free Sundays before I say arrivaderci to Roma!

Vatican Museums

It was a short work week after that because I was invited on the Communications program field trip to Pompeii on Friday. After the field trip, Damon and I stayed in Naples for the weekend, but you can read about that in my next blog post.

It was only a few short days after we said goodbye to Bjorn that it was time to say hello to Josh, another one of Damon’s friends. He joined us on the field trip to Pompeii on Friday. We also managed to do the obligatory trip to the Capuchin crypt and Bar Trilussa con giraffa. On Monday Josh and I accompanied Damon to Abbey Theatre to support him at open mic night. After our rockabilly experience, I only had positive feelings toward the pub. Unfortunately, this night Abbey Theatre was filled with annoying girls who would not shut up. I could barely hear Damon and he had a microphone. Argh. As frustrating as it was, Damon still put on a great show. 🙂

The weekend after our trip south, Jocelyn came to Rome to visit me. She has been living and working in southern Spain, so it wasn’t too long of a trip for her. She arrived late Thursday night and we only had time for a few drinks before bedtime. On Friday Jocelyn visited the Vatican while I was at work. We met up later for a bit of shopping mixed with sightseeing. We managed to see the Spanish Steps before meeting up with Josh and Damon at a restaurant we found while Bjorn was in town. It was very chill the first time around, but this time it was filled with a huge group of tourists celebrating someone’s birthday. They may have had a lot to drink and they were certainly enjoying the atmosphere. I think this put us in a goofy mood as we mowed down with tambourine baby watching over us.

Dinner Party with Tambourine Baby: Jocelyn, Josh, Damon and me

Saturday morning Damon and Josh left for England. (Don’t worry! Damon’s coming back to Rome tomorrow before he heads back to Seattle for good.) In the afternoon I took Jocelyn on a tour of the Campidoglio, the forum, the colosseum, Trajan’s Forum and other goodies. It was sunny, so we were in a good mood. It was a wonderful day for sightseeing.

Jocelyn and the Arch of Constantine

On Sunday night I took Jocelyn to aperitivo jazz at Charity Cafe (another kick-back, please). However, it didn’t really turn out to be jazz. The band had a singer, drummer, bassist (with both standard and upright bass) and pianist, but they played a cover of Norah Jones and Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror. Weird. Anyway, it was good food and drinks and there was music. I can’t really complain.

The next morning it was time to say goodbye to Jocelyn and she hopped on a plane headed back to Spain. Hopefully my mom and I will be able to visit her in Cadiz in May. Here’s hopin!

The last few days I’ve just been relaxing and getting things ready for the conference, which starts next week. After that it’s time for spring quarter to start. A fresh batch of kids (including the art history group), a fresh batch of visitors (including, but not limited to Paige and Momma) and fresh, spring weather! I have good feelings about next quarter.

In conclusion, I am fond of parenthetical statements. Thank you.

1 Comment

Filed under Italy, Rome

Six months left to live…

As of yesterday, I have exactly six months left to live in Rome. This has really hit me pretty hard. I have so much that I still want to do here. So, how could I not draw on my OCD qualities and make a list?! Here it is (the most boring post you’ll ever read):

Actually, I should start with some of the things I did this week, so that you can see how dedicated I am.

This week I waited in line for two hours to see the unimpressive Saints exhibition. It did have Leonardo da Vinci’s St. John the Baptist on loan from the Louvre though. The accompanying video showed the painting under infrared lights, ultraviolet, et cetera, which was cool. And also on display was this disturbing medieval painting of a child literally coughing up demons. Eww.

Leonardo da Vinci, St. John the Baptist, 1513-1516.

On Monday I joined the honors program on their art history field trip to Trajan’s Forum and the Pantheon. On Tuesday I ventured over to the Ara Pacis (free for Art History students! Woo!) and saw their Italian design exhibition. I just loved the schematic drawings of pasta noodles. It’s a shame I can’t find an example online. After the museum, Jennifer, Lisa, Carisa and I went to see Tom Ford’s first movie, A Single Man. It was such a beautiful film. On Wednesday I had the intention of visiting Sant’Ivo, but it was closed for the millionth time. So, I walked over to Santa Maria sopra Minerva and looked at the Filippo Lippi frescoes there. Reminded me of Hallie’s wonderful presentation three years ago!

I also took a walk over to St. Peter’s and the life-sized nativity scene is still up! It’s so ridiculous. It looks like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. There’s even a rowboat included because everyone knows that the wise men came by sea to pay their respects to baby Jesus.

Nativity/Christmas Tree in Piazza San Pietro in MID-JANUARY

Close-up on the boat

Okay, enough of that. Here’s my list:

In Rome:
Galleria Doria Pamphili
Galleria Borghese
San Paolo Fuori le Mure
St. Peter’s Catacombs
SS. Giovanni and Paolo w/ Roman Houses
Castel Sant’Angelo
Monti- Boutiques and Arch of Gallienus
Santa Francesca Romana (Mar. 9)
Santa Maria in Trastevere
SS. Cosmas and Damian
Villa Torlonia
San Pietro in Vincoli
San Lorenzo
Go to the top of Vittorio Emanuele
Casa del Jazz
Palazzo Altemps
La Bocca della Verita’
Santa Costanza

Caravaggio/Bacon-Villa Borghese
Hopper-Museo del Corso
Dada-Palazzo Vittorio

In Italy:
Cinque Terre
Tivoli-Villa d’Este

In Europe:
Visit Jocelyn in Cadiz, Spain
Visit Diana in Vienna

I’m open to suggestions!


Filed under Italy, Rome

AKA Field Trip to Orvieto

Sabrina Tatta, one of the LSJ professors invited me to join her program on their day trip to Orvieto on Friday. Seeing as how I like to take advantage of as many free things as I possibly can, I said sure without hesitation.

We met at the Portone bright and early on Friday morning and as we were walking to the bus, it started to rain. It was the first raindrops I have felt since arriving in Rome a month and a half ago. It felt so refreshing. On our way to Orvieto we made a pit stop at Bomarzo. Bomarzo was made famous by the Park of the Monsters, AKA Villa of Wonders, AKA Sacred Grove. It is a park commissioned by Prince Orsini after his wife’s death as a kind of tribute to her. It includes a wide variety of monstrous sculptures intended to astonish. My favorite one is a monster’s face that you can walk into. The acoustics of the room inside the monster makes your voice carry and echo. Lucky enough, I went inside with Dominique, a singer, and she serenaded me. It sounded so beautiful.

Monster in Bomarzo

Monster in Bomarzo

Back on the bus and we were in Orvieto in no time. Orvieto is situated on top of a flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff that was once inhabited by the Ancient Etruscans and then the Romans. First we visited the duomo/cathedral, which held a particular surprise for me. I had no idea that the Chapel of San Brizio was in Orvieto! This chapel is home to Luca Signorelli’s most famous frescoes.

Luca Signorelli's Resurrection of the Flesh in San Brizio Chapel, Orvieto

Luca Signorelli's Resurrection of the Flesh in San Brizio Chapel, Orvieto

Pigeon holes in the underground

Pigeon holes in the underground

Next we signed up for a tour of Orvieto’s underground. I really think dad would have enjoyed this. The tunnels and caves were carved into the cliffs by the Etruscans and the Romans searching for sources of water to supply the ancient towns above ground. In the middle ages the tunnels were used as a means of escape during enemy sieges. In the early Renaissance, families who owned property above carved niches into the tunnel walls to encourage pigeons to nest there. Then the families would make money selling the eggs at market. In the 1700s, the tunnels were excavated a little too enthusiastically and the town above started to sink in and reinforcements had to be made. During WWII, the underground was used as a bomb shelter for the inhabitants of Orvieto and surrounding towns. Today there are over 1,000 tunnels underneath the city. So cool!

Bearing the breeze on the top of Torre di Mauro/Clock Tower

Bearing the breeze on the top of Torre di Mauro/Clock Tower

After the tour, we climbed the stairs of the clock tower for a beautiful view of the city. One of the great things about Italy is that in every city there is something that you can climb to get a view. After a little shopping and museum-bathroom-using, we headed down to St. Patrick’s Well. Apparently the well is so deep that the Italians have an expression about it. When you want to say that you don’t have enough money for something, you say that your pockets aren’t as deep as St. Patrick’s well. After that, it was time to hop back on the bus and head home!

Leave a comment

Filed under Italy, Orvieto

Libri Togati

This was a short week because there is a holiday today. I’m not entirely sure which holiday it is, but everyone has the day off and all the stores are closed. Austria has so many holidays. There have been about three holidays per month since we have been here… not that I’m complaining…

Prince Eugene in the National Library

Prince Eugene in the National Library

Yesterday we had a field trip to the National Library with our cultural studies class. Apparently the collection began with Prince Eugene’s books. Prince Eugene owned the Belvedere palace that we have visited with Art History class. To start out, Rebecca was given the key to the library doors. This key has been held by Habsburg Monarchs and other important historical figures. When she opened the door we saw that this library was so huge and beautiful. It reminded me of the library in Beauty and the Beast. There were books from floor to ceiling and the ceiling was decorated with a beautiful trompe l’oeil fresco. Our tour guide even got out two books from the shelves. The first book was an encyclopedia of snakes and dragons with illustrations. The second book was a first edition of the Martin Luther protestant bible. Imagine that! Sarah even got to hold it and turn its pages. Billy was jealous.

Sarah holding the Luther Bible

Sarah holding the Luther Bible

That night there was a toga party at Sarah, Rebecca and Ethan’s dorm, so we all threw on our sheets and headed over to Lerchenfelder. It was fun, but I was exhausted and didn’t stay long.

I am getting so excited because Hallie arrives this afternoon, but I’m a little worried. I have so much homework! I have to finish my art history journal, write 4 essays for our take home final, prepare for my presentation on the Secession and read for cultural studies. Ahhhhhhh! When will I ever get it all done?

1 Comment

Filed under Austria, Vienna

The Day of 1,000 Photos

Yesterday our school took us on a field trip to the Wachau region of Austria. I am sure glad they printed us out an itinerary or I would never remember all the things we did!

The Wachau region is the part of the Danube river valley stretching between the cities of Melk and Krems.



We started out our day early in the morning on the south side of the Danube, heading to Stift Göttweig. Stift means monastery or abbey in German. Stift Göttweig is a Benedictine monastery built in the 11th century. However, the abbey church was built much later during the Baroque period. This monastery is famous because the first known German language poet lived there. We only had a short time to explore here, but we were able to enjoy the mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture.

Our next stop was Stift Melk, the largest monastery in Austria. The surviving Baroque monastery was built in the early 18th century. (The Baroque stuck around longer in Austria than in other countries.) Here we visited their unique museum. My favorite part was the library; there were old books lining the walls floor to ceiling. Apparently there are 85,000 books in the collection with 2,000 of them handwritten between 800-1400 CE. We also went inside the Klosterkirche or cloister church; it was the most gaudy church I have ever seen. The walls were covered in decoration with tons of gold-plated figures!

After visiting Stift Melk we crossed the river to the north side of the Danube. We had a picnic here on the banks of the river in a village called Aggsbach. We enjoyed the sunshine while playing on the playground and skipping rocks in the river.

After lunch we hopped back on the bus and went to Willendorf, a small non-touristy village. We walked up to the discovery site of the Venus of Willendorf, the oldest figural sculpture ever found (approx. 25,000 to 30,000 years old). Although the sculpture is actually on display in the Natural History Museum in Vienna, they have erected a large-scale replica of her at the discovery site.Venus of Willendorf

Next we headed to Dürnstein for a small hike up a mountain. At the top of the mountain are the ruins of the castle where Leopold V held King Richard the Lionhearted for ransom after the crusades in the late 12th century. Apparently the English paid the ransom and Leopold V used the money to build the entire city of Wiener Neustadt south of Vienna. When we got up to the top of the mountain, we climbed all over the ruins and looked out over the whole region of Wachau. It was a great way to end our whirlwind tour of Wachau. Before heading back to the bus, Andrea and I went wine tasting at the little shops in Dürnstein. Wachau is well known for its Grüner Veltliner wine and I ended up buying a dry white wine for only 7 Euro. It’s delicious!

It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday and now I hope today will be a bit lazy to make up for it. Because I can’t upload any more photos to Flickr, look at my pictures by clicking here.

The Ruins at Dürnstein

The Ruins at Dürnstein

Leave a comment

Filed under Austria, Wachau