November 17th, 2011

T- 1 Month

I can’t believe that there is only a little over a month left! Time has flown by so fast since I’ve been in Rome. At the same time, however, I feel like I’ve done a ton of awesome things this semester so far. This past weekend was no exception: definitely one of the record books.

On Friday afternoon I went to the Rome Zoo with a couple friends. Its official name is the “Bioparco” and is located in Villa Borghese. It was a really perfect, beautiful day to be walking around in the park. It’s weird to think that at home in Chicago it has already snowed, but here in Rome it feels like the beginning of fall. All of the trees looked really pretty with their leaves changing colors. The zoo was a lot of fun, as well. Yes, the animals do look the same as they do in zoos back home. What I didn’t think about, though, was that the names of animals are different in Italian so I wasn’t exactly sure what a couple of the animals were.

Saturday, I ventured out by myself on a day-trip to Milan. I was really excited to get to plan my own agenda. Although I was a little nervous to go by myself, I luckily didn’t get lost and would definitely consider it a successful trip. When I arrived, by train, in Milan I went straight over to the Triennale Design Museum. On my way there, I stopped at Castello Sforzesco. The professor my Italian Fashion and Design class talked up the museum a lot so I was pretty excited. It turned out to have some cool stuff even though it had less to do with fashion than I expected. There was a really cool exhibit about time, in which there were many different artistic interpretations of clocks. One of them had knitting needles that knit a stitch every half hour, which ends up creating a whole scarf by the end of one year! There was also an exhibit featuring a bunch of Italian designers and the unique furniture pieces they have created. It was cool to see some of the furniture we learned about in class in person, but there was so much jammed into this one room that it was hard to really focus on any one thing. After the museum I was starving, so I stopped for the traditional quick lunch, pizza, on my way to the Duomo. The Duomo is a giant church in the middle of the city. It was seriously huge; it took me about 10 minutes just to walk around the side aisles. It is pretty dark inside, but the outside is a brilliant white color and very ornate. It reminded me of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Next, I was going to the Quadrilatero d’Oro to see all of the designer stores when I stumbled up on La Rinascente, which is the first Italian department store. It was so amazing. It was just like a Macy’s or Nordstrom’s back home, except literally everything in the store was designer. It was so crazy to see all of that in one place! After visiting La Rinascente, I once again set out to see the Quadrilatero d’Oro but I was sidetracked again when I saw Bershka, which seems to me like a European equivalent of Forever-21. They had so many cute clothes! By the time that I made it over to the area with all the designer stores, it was already getting dark. I walked around for a bit and went into the Armani multi-concept store, which held an amazing amount of Armani clothes in one place. They literally had everything: clothes, shoes, and accessories. When I finally left the store, I realized I had completely forgotten to eat dinner so I grabbed some pizza at the train station before my train left to go back to Rome. I totally loved Milan. The whole feel of the city reminded me a lot more of the US than Rome does. It seems a lot more like the commercial culture that invades the US. Rome, on the other hand, has a lot more small businesses. It was awesome to have a day that was all about some of my favorite things.

On Sunday night, I went with some friends to a Chinese restaurant; a good change from all of the pasta and pizza I have been eating. We also went to the “secret bakery” which is an easily overlooked store by the Vatican with delicious, cheap baked goods. It was a great end to the weekend. Milan was a great city to visit in order to round out my trips within the country.

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