under the tuscan sun

This Saturday was a very special day. In Geneva, NY, where I attend school, it’s customary to celebrate your 21st birthday on a wine tour at the local vineyards. Well, my 21st was this weekend, and while I missed out on the Genevan wine tours, I may have topped this tradition. I toured around Montepulciano and Montalcino: two beautiful towns in Tuscany. I had been to Tuscany once before, in December when it was around 40 degrees, and definitely not as enjoyable as this weekend. The day was perfect: 78 degrees, and clear and sunny skies.

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There was a group of fifteen, and everyone was in awe by the unbelievable beauty. Acres and acres of vineyards and hills and picturesque hillside towns. Montalcino was the last stop on our tour, and in my opinion, the most beautiful. This town is famous for their Brunello wine. I can honestly say I have a new appreciation for red wine, which I had written out of my mind since I’ve been here. I even ordered it at a restaurant tonight! 

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We did the tour through the Bus2Alps program–which I highly recommend for future and current students studying abroad! They offer trips all of Europe, leaving from multiple cities all for very reasonable prices. 

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate the big 2-1, than being surrounded by friends, great wine, and breathtaking views. This Thursday, I leave for Oktoberfest in Munich (also through Bus2Alps!) Hoping for another amazing weekend in Europe. Talk to you all then!

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benvenuti a roma

Finally, my first post from Roma! Buongiorno readers!! After a restless eight hour flight from JFK on Tuesday, hours of orientation at the Fiumicino Airport, and trekking through Roma with my overweight luggage, I am officially settled into my apartment in Prati! My apartment is a ten-minute walk from the Vatican which provides breathtaking views.

My morning walk to the Scuola entails passing St. Peter’s Square, crossing the Tevere River, and winding down the narrow streets in the center of Roma. The roads are lined with mopeds and beautifully potted plants and flowers…not to mention little cafes that contain some of the best food I’ve ever eaten! If I eat one more piece of proscuitto, I think I may burst…

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Being abroad is definitely an adjustment, and I was aware of this going into my trip. Little things, such as laundry detergent and toilet paper (which are easily accessible at a supermarket in the US) aren’t as easy to find here! My roommates and I have been combing our area, trying to find these necessities.

What makes adjusting easier, is being with the other students from HWS. There are about thirty-five of us total, and although our apartments are spread out among the city, we’ve all found ways to find each other. This past weekend, a group of about twenty of us invaded an Irish Pub, Scholar’s Lounge, in the city center. Lately, we’ve been going to more American style places, to help with the adjustment and to be around other students studying abroad in Rome.

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This morning is our first day of class at the Scuola de Leonardo da Vinci, located in the Piazza dell’ Orologio. Up until October 1, school consists of three hours of intensive Italian Mon-Fri. In October, we start up our other classes–with Fridays off! We’re all a little nervous, as we haven’t looked at Italian in a few months, but here’s hoping it all floods back!

Talk to you all next Monday!