Tag Archives: library

“Non vedo l’ora di vedere Julia Roberts.”

Well, this post has quite the story, but it will have to wait until I’ve covered the lame stuff.

Leisha arrived on Friday and we had a wonderful time crashing some free dinners. At the Law, Societies and Justice Program Dinner we sat next to a law professor and an art historical guide discussing their educations. One had gone to Yale and Harvard and the other went to Stanford and Harvard. WOW.

Sunday was another free day at the Vatican Museums, so Leisha and I woke up early and waited in line. This time we had a game plan. As soon as we were let in, we rushed through the museum, taking all the short cuts and got to the Sistine Chapel before it got crowded. There were about 25 people there when we arrived and over 100 when we left. I think my favorite part of the Sistine ceiling is the large figures of the prophets and sibyls. We spent an hour and a half enjoying the chapel and then we headed home and lounged all day.

Julia Roberts on set, which also happens to be my front yard.

Julia Roberts on set, which also happens to be my front yard.

Now what you’ve all been waiting for:
While studying Italian in our apartment, Leisha and I learned a new phrase: “Non vedo l’ora di…” It means “I can’t wait to…”. So, when Sabrina walked by, we asked her to give us an example of how to use it and she said, “I can’t wait to see Julia Roberts.” AND, I kid you not, less than five minutes later we heard the girls in the next apartment screaming, “Did you see her?” Leisha asked who and they said, “Julia Roberts!” NO JOKE. Sabrina is prophetic. As it turns out, Julia is in Rome filming scenes for her new movie based on the book Eat, Pray, Love. It just so happens that three of the scenes take place right in front of my building. The film crew blocked off the whole piazza and all of the students and office staff and I spent the better part of the day staring out of our third-floor-windows down at the top of Julia Robert’s head. She filmed one scene walking through the piazza, one eating in the Restaurant on the ground floor of my building and one dialogue scene walking past my front door. In the evening when I left to go to Federica’s house for dinner, the were still filming the last scene. When I came down to the front door, I asked a crew man if I could leave and he shushed me. I didn’t realize they were filming a scene right in front of me. So, I watched Julia Roberts complete a scene of dialogue and then the crew man said I could go. In the confusion of trying to get out, I ended up smack dab in front of Julia’s gigantic body guard. I asked him if I could get by and he moved to the side while I passed between Julia Roberts and the guard. I was within twelve inches of her! My mom is so proud. The next day Leisha and I walked through the piazza and got “souvenirs”, remnants of the fake flowers they used in the restaurant scene. Ah, what a wonderful conclusion to my first celebrity siting.

Anyway, Wednesday was quite an adventure as well. Leish and I decided to go to the British School library so that I could check out books for my research project. It started off well; we found an international grocery store and bought the ingredients for burritos, enchiladas and sushi. Success! However, the address I had for the library was wrong. Failure. But we wandered around for hours and eventually found it. Success! But when I tried to check out books, the stuffy British librarian denied me because I’m an undergraduate. Failure. But we found a bus and didn’t have to walk home. Success! But it was the wrong bus and we had to transfer. Failure. But we finally made it to the AutoGrill for lunch. Success! In our irritated, post-lunch coma we made it all the way home for some well-deserved naps before hosting a film screening for UW and RISD students. We screened Caterina va in cittá (Caterina in the Big City). It was a very cute, coming-of-age story about a girl who moves from a small Italian town to Rome, the “big city”. Kind of like me. Except that I’m not Italian. And I’m not 12.

Anyway, it’s been an exciting week now that Leisha is back. It promises to get even more exciting; I am going with the Law, Societies and Justice program on their field trip to Orvieto on Friday.

1 Comment

Filed under Italy, Rome

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.

Wachau

Wachau

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