The GoGlobal Blog

Tag: Wine Tasting

Don’t turn back now that we’re here

Don’t turn back now that we’re here

Heart don’t fail me now, courage don’t desert me, don’t turn back now that we’re here…

Well, folks I made it to Roma! After a quick jaunt across the Atlantic Ocean, a connecting flight in Zurich, and a bus ride through Roma, I finally made it to the John Felice Rome Center. It’s odd to think that this campus and the Eternal City will be my home for the next four months, but I feel at home already!

                                                                                 room with a view

The first few days was Orientation, and it was a whirlwind of information, walking tours, and gelato. The SLAs worked tirelessly to help acquaint the Spring 2018 students with the JFRC, life in Rome, and traveling across Europe. On the first night, I went with a group led by SLA Ola to Old Bridge Gelato which was across the street from the Musei Vaticani. The first gelato of this trip was the best by far–I had un cono di limone e fragola and it was life changing! Afterwards, we walked around La Piazza San Pietro and saw La Basilica San Pietro lit up at night, it was a beautiful sight.

On Friday, the SLAs took us to their favorite Roman ristorante or trattoria. SLA Judy took the group to Il Ciocario for one of the best meals I have ever had in my life! The three course meal consisted of a charcuterie & cheese plate, rigatone all’amatriciana served out of a cheese wheel, and tiramisu. Yes, a cheese wheel. Again, it was life changing.

shadows of the forum

Saturday morning, Dr. Evers gave an abridged (and inspired) history of Il Foro Romano and Il Colosseo before we headed out to tour the historic sites. It was my second time at Il Colosseo and Il Foro Romano, so I played tour guide (shh, I am not licensed!) and led the group to all of the best spots. Seeing Il Colosseo right when the sun was starting to go down was a sight I will never forget. The way the light played off the ancient walls was magical, and you couldn’t help but wonder what it was like to go to Il Colosseo at its peak. I could do without the violent gladiator games, though.  Afterwards we walked across the street to visit Il Foro Romano during golden hour. Our group stopped constantly to take pictures of the sights and of each other because the lighting was unbelievable–I took maybe 200 pictures that day. Seeing the ancient ruins was a treat that afternoon, because the sun was going down and the air was starting to cool, it almost felt like we were in Ancient Roma strolling through the Forum. Again, what I would do to see Il Foro Romano in its full glory and all of the buildings intact!

Going to school on Monday was a reality check after spending days exploring la città eterna and eating gelato. It was nice to get a routine in place and have some structure to my days, but I was itching to get back into the city and walk around. On Tuesday, I walked down Monte Mario with two friends, and let’s just say that the Italians have a very different definition of sidewalk than Americans. We walked single file on a tiny strip of asphalt with cars and Vespas whizzing past us down the mountain, and it was a little precarious to say the least! We treated ourselves to gelato after the trek down the mountain, and I ordered for the group in Italian. I have found that in class I can speak Italian fairly well, but once I am speaking with a native speaker, my confidence in my ability to speak disappears!

This past weekend was the Orientation trip to Campania, Italy. We spent the weekend touring castles and monasteries, eating fresh mozzarella di bufalo and tasting olive oil + wine. It was a rough weekend.


On the second day was our trip to the mozzarella di bufalo farm, where we toured the organic farm and watched how mozzarella is made! It was magical. After the tour of the farm, we went to a winery and sampled wine and olive oil. I am not kidding when I say it was the best olive oil I have ever had in my life! Later that evening, we stopped by the old city center of Agropoli at golden hour. Even though I stepped in a massive pile of dog poop (look down, look down!) it was an unforgettable experience! We spent an hour or so just taking in the sunset and reveling in the fact that we get to call this beautiful country home for the next few months. That night we had dinner at the hotel, which was followed by traditional Italian dancing. The band and dancers sure knew how to party, because they got everyone out of their seats and taught us two different types of traditional dances. Once everyone got the hang of the steps, the laughter was infectious as we swirled through the hotel ballroom. Hopefully I can remember the dance moves!

All in all, the first week and a half of my Roman experience has been enjoyable. Though the homesickness is palpable, everyone here is feeling the same way. We all do our best to help cheer each other up and remind them that we are living in the most beautiful city in the world, so there’s no need for tears! I have also found that the FOMO is real. I want to go out and explore every night, but also I need my sleep. Even when in Rome, self care is important. Getting as much sleep as possible and staying hydrated has helped me immensely as I got accustomed to the time difference and culture shock. Even though settling in has been a little rough, I remind myself that I am in Rome and I am about to have the time of my life here. There is just so much to do!

A dopo, Megan

Follow me on Instagram @quando.a.roma to get hourly/daily/weekly updates on my travels! 

First Encounters and Adventures in Umbria

First Encounters and Adventures in Umbria

Tomorrow will mark the third week of being in Rome. My time here has been so packed thus far that it seems like I have been here much longer! At last everything is slowing down after a whirlwind of excitement following my arrival.

The strangest thing about my first encounters with the city is how distant and unreal each discover has been. Eager to see everything Rome is known for, my fellow classmates and I took to the town encountering many of the famous sites within the first days. Such encounters were so brief and often sudden (I think I’m better at finding monuments unintentionally than when I’m armed with a map) that I feel I can hardly check those sites off my Roman Bucket list. Now, slowly but surely, I feel myself starting to match the beat of the city, digesting its full brilliance.

The greatest event thus far was our orientation trip to the countryside of Umbria. The beauty of the mountains absolutely surrounded us everywhere we went. The first day was spent exploring the town of Bevagna. Strongly in touch with its medieval roots, Bevagna has many artisan craftsmen and women that practice and preserve the methods used generations before them. Along our way through the twisting and turning streets we stopped at the shops of a paper maker, silk maker, coin minter, and candlestick maker. The amount of time that goes into the old trades is remarkable! Silk especially takes patience, requiring 7 perfect strands to make a single thread!


The Roman Bridge in Spoleto
Spoleto is known for 3 beautiful things: La Montagna, La Chiesa, e Il Ponte.

My favorite of the four towns we visited was Spoleto. While still very connected to its ancient and medieval past like Bevagna, what stood out about Spoleto is its prevalent connection to art of all mediums and eras. Each summer Spoleto puts on a two month long festival in their 1st Century B.C. amphitheater, drawing performers and artists from all over the world. While excitement and pride stirred by the event can be felt yearlong, I only hope that I may be back one day to experience the festivities first hand! Art truly comes alive in Spoleto.

Our view of the Vineyard during our wine tasting
Our view of the Vineyard during our wine tasting.

Food was of course a great ordeal though out the weekend. One afternoon was spent wine tasting and exploring the orchards of Il Carapace Winery. The wine was great (red being the specialty of the region) but we were rather rushed and I hope to have a more thorough introduction to wine tasting in the future. We also had the pleasure of dining in an olive orchard! The meal incorporated traditional Umbrian bread (marked by its lack of salt), many types of spreads on toasted bread bruschetta style including an olive pate (must tomatoes be involved to call it bruschetta? I’ll have to find out), pesto (my favorite!), and the best sausage I have ever tasted. Many of the other meals on the trip were similar using traditional Umbrian dishes and seasonal ingredients. It was pork season (something that I never considered having a season but I suppose all things do in some sense of the term) so most meals involved pork. After my third meal of pork and potatoes I may have started to regret my decision not to eat vegetarian while aboard. Nonetheless the food was fantastic! I’m truly enjoying the pastas I have encountered and even more so the antipasti.

This past weekend was my first real weekend in Rome but since nothing terribly remarkable occurred and many other Rome adventures will happen in the near future I’ll wait to tell you more about the city some other time.