Authenticity & Chill

I know it’s taken forever for me to write my next blog post and all two of you (shout out mom & dad) have been waiting for me to write this – so here’s a recap of my last two weeks.

Last time I wrote it was my month-aversary of being in Italy, and I’m creeping up on the halfway mark. It’s crazy the amount of memories I’ve made here and I’ve made some really awesome friends too. I’ve traveled a lot through the Northern part of Italy, gotten over my culture shock, and started my column for the Daily Targum to persuade other students to make the move to study abroad, and give some advice to other students who have some questions.

So two weekends ago, all of CIEE went wine tasting, and it was really fun. We went to Verona to this place called Santa Sofia, where we toured really old wine cellars, and got to taste six different wines. I was kind of hoping that they would teach us how to taste the wine and we would be able to enjoy it more, but it seemed kind of rushed. Can’t complain much since I had six glasses of wine. Afterwards, we had probably the best five course meal I’ve ever had. We had this eggplant lasagna type thing which was my favorite and I don’t even like eggplant. We had red wine risotto, polenta, some meat, and by the time the fourth course came out we all stared at each other like “how the fuck do people eat this much?” But there was room for dessert – gelato with some type of sauce on it. I couldn’t even eat dinner that night, but so worth it.

The next day me, Lauren, Linn, Haylee, Mackenzie, Anthony, & Luca all took a trip to Trieste. I must say, this was my favorite trip so far. Trieste is not a very touristy town, and we just kind of decided to go because the bus tickets were cheap. This was also my first time taking a bus to go somewhere, and it wasn’t bad at all. The four hour bus ride goes by a lot faster with wifi and a charger (and some dramamine to knock you out). Trieste is beautiful, and it was a beautiful day too, we walked without jackets. We made our way to our hotel which was super cute and cosy for the five girls even though the wifi sucked, and went back to the center – Piazza d’Unita d’Italia, and we basically had a whole photo shoot. The houses in the background in the mountains, the clear blue sea, and bright skies was ideal for a group of girls to take a million pictures. We

trieste town hall
This is the town hall at night, which was breathtaking. Old Bridge def doesn’t compare.

walked around the city a bit, got some gelato (we’re trying to eat gelato in every city we go to to figure out the best one) and the boys separated to go visit some museums. We stumbled these random ruins that we have no idea what they are, and we mustve sat there for 20 minutes just staring at a cat, which Linn was freaking out at. After that, we had some aperitivo which is the best part of Italy and I’m obsessed with it. So basically before dinner, you go to a bar and order one drink, and they just bring out a bunch of appetizers. It’s like half apps, although Applebee’s does have my heart. So here I got a small beer, and had olives, potato chips , tuna sandwiches which reminded me of sandwich de miga, and other little things. We continued walking around and met up with the boys and eventually found a place to eat, which was super cute. Here, I ate a pumpkin risotto for 12 euro and it was really good. A lot of food, but I finished it because nothing here will go to waste, and I don’t want dirty looks from the Italians. Everyone came back to our hotel when we were finished, where we chilled, drank some wine, played never have I ever, shared a bunch of laughs, and eventually fell asleep.

trieste 2trieste

The next day we had plans to go to the castle on Miramar. We went to the center to meet up with the boys around 11, and we made our plans, or so we thought. Linn, Haylee, and I stayed in the center while everyone else went to go find the bus stop. After 20 minutes of waiting and people watching, we started wondering if they were ever coming back…and decided they weren’t. So solution: get aperitivo and do more people watching. Our people watching consisted of this little boy who was trying SO hard to break his toy car into a million pieces, and his mom was playing soccer with the other brother. The piazza on Sunday was so nice, just because everyone was so family oriented, basking in the sun, just got out of church type of thing. We got these gorgeous drinks that were delicious that had fruit, and our waiter was a really fun guy. We talked to the other half of the group, and told them we’d meet them at the castle since they told us where the bus stop was. Of course, we didn’t find it, but we didn’t canale grandecare much. It was a beautiful day, and we all just kind of wanted to walk around the city. We walked around a lot and found a nice place for aperitivo by the canale grande (this beautiful picture to the left). We each had a drink before having lunch, where I ate some gnocchi for 3.50. It was really cheap and not very good, but we got to sit and bask in the sun for maybe two hours. Very chill trip. We went back to our hotel to grab everyones backpack before we met them in the center and made our way back to Ferrara on another 4 hour bus ride. This was my favorite trip because I feel like we all got a lot closer, but also there was no itenerary. Since there wasn’t much to do in this town, we got to walk around a lot and just talk a lot. Seeing a city that isn’t super prominent in tour guides is something I recommend, and Trieste is truly beautiful in Northern Italy. There’s just the right amount of museums, but also the city has an authenticity.

During the week, I can say I don’t really do much. I’m usually in school until 6, then have dinner around 8, 8:30, and have to do homework and catch up with friends from home. Wednesdays are a big day to go out here, and we usually go to Renfe, a club on the end of town by the railroad tracks which plays a good mix of American and Italian (with a touch of Spanish) music. They love “How Deep is Your Love” by Calvin Harris and “Sorry” by JBiebz which bring back nice memories of those beloved frat basements I’m missing in New Brunswick.

Erasmus students got here this week, which are the students that come from Europe to study in Ferrara, so for Welcome Week we had a pub crawl which was six bars around Ferrara, starting at Tsunami, which is the bar we frequent the most. I actually met two Americans who play football here… which is weird, but they kept buying everyone drinks. Just barely made it to the sixth bar… and then went home. The night was really fun, the hangover was not. The next day, my host parents took me to a pizza place on the outskirts of town where I had a cipolla pizza, and since my host cipolla.jpgparents are super popular, the owner came to our table. Turns out, the owner actually lived in Wildwood for nine months and knew exactly what New Jersey was. He thought it was the most beautiful place he’s ever seen and I’m like “Dude… you live in Italy. Wildwood is ratchet,” but to each their own. Friday, Linn, Lauren, Haylee and I went to College which is another club that costs one euro to get into, but I don’t think it’s as much fun as Renfe just because the music is so techno-y and all the songs that you can sing along to are all done live… Whatevs.

Over the weekend, we didn’t go anywhere to save money and since the weather was complete poop. Mackenzie went to Barcelona so we were a bit lonely missing 1/4 of our core four. We ventured to a seminary and cemetery until it started to rain and we left, and did nothing at night because it was just a constant monsoon. Sunday I stayed home all day and watched Fuller House – which kindof sucks. Sorry not sorry, but those jokes are literally 30 years old. Disappointed. Again, did nothing much during the week, since I had a midterm Tuesday. I’m definitely making the most of my time here, though. I’ve been getting out of the house a lot, found a coffee place that serves coffee in TAKE AWAY CUPS WHICH IS UNHEARD OF HERE AND THEY HAVE DONUTS AND MUFFINS and other American things and wifi. I’m missing good ol’Dunkin. And chipotle. I say that 9 times a day.

BUT tomorrow I’m leaving the country to go to BARCELONNNNAAAAAAA. (Theres a dunkin there) I’m so excited, and I’m meeting up with Sunaina since she’s studying in London. PLUS we’re going to a concert called AbroadFest which has The Chainsmokers headlining so I’m just so excited. Promise to blog that soon. After that, I’m going to Sicily with CIEE which will be fun since it’s the friggin beach. At the end of the month, I’m heading to Naples and Paris for spring break so March is gonna be (dare I say) LIT.

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