Monday, October 3, 2011

Cinque Terre

So I just had my best weekend EVER. And it was all thanks to Rotary, of course. My district went to the seaside villages of Cinque Terre for our orientation weekend, and we had SO much fun!! We took the train from Milano to the first village, Monterosso, where we stayed in a mountaintop monastery hotel thing. On Friday after we arrived, we settled into our rooms, had dinner at the monastery, and then had an orientation meeting, followed by a talent show. I was forced to go first, and so I sang for everyone. It was great to see the random talents everyone had which included singing, Irish step dancing, magic tricks, and intense push-ups. Afterwards, the students stayed up talking in a big group until late.
arrival at Monterosso
On Saturday we took a long hike from Monterosso to the next village of Vernazza. The hike was hot and tiring but the scenery was beautiful! Mountains, vineyards, olive trees.......so completely Italian. And Vernazza was totally worth the sweat it took to get there. The buildings are brightly colored and the streets are tiny and winding. We made our way through the maze of passageways up to an ancient castle that overlooks the city from the ocean side. From there we had a view of the town as well as Monterosso and other villages part of Cinque Terre. We took a gelato (and the guy working there complimented our Italian; there were so many American tourists in Vernazza), but before the gelato, we heard cheering from around the corner so we investigated, and candy started falling from the sky. From the sky!!! But it turns out that a couple had just gotten married and were throwing candy out of these baskets from a balcony to the crowd below. Let me just say that you should never underestimate the agility of old ladies. They were like mowing down the little kids (and me) to get the pieces of candy, but I beat a few of them to several pieces, and the results were delicious! But it was just such a random moment filled with so much joy that made me so happy to be in Italia. :)
Vernazza
the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza
We eventually left Vernazza and caught the train back to Monterosso. We had intended to hike to the next village as well but we were too tired by then. In Monterosso we ate a simple lunch of focaccia, a type of bread for which the beach region of Liguria is famous, and then we went to the beach! Unfortunately, the beaches there are composed of evil little rocks that constantly try to murder your feet, but it was pretty fun (kind of ruined for me by several terrible leg cramps while swimming). Later we returned to the monastery and had dinner and another orientation meeting. After the meeting we set out on our mission to produce a scary movie. This idea was formed on Friday night soon after we arrived because the monastery was simply so creepy at night. The plot line for the movie was pretty good but by the time we started making it, everyone was delirious and giggly. Thus, the first part of the film is pretty good but after the first death, everything became super rushed and the end result will be ridiculously funny (at least to the people who helped make it).
Monterosso beach round 1
On Sunday we basically walked around random parts of Monterosso and saw things ranging from an old hilltop cemetery to a vineyard/lemon orchard/beekeeping place to a company that harvests anchovies locally. After lunch we ended up at a different beach, which was so much better than the first. This is due to the fact that there was a huge rock emerging from the water about fifty yards into the water. We swam to it and jumped off it at least 5 times each. SO. MUCH. FUN. It was a perfect end to the weekend. At about 17:00 we caught the train back to Milano and went our separate ways.
view of Monterosso from the monastery
Tomorrow is Tuesday and apparently there is a theatre class starting at the school across the street from mine. I am going to go and check it out, but I'm not sure if I'll be into it since my Italian is still improving and therefore acting in Italian would be incredibly awkward. But I want to grasp every opportunity that appears, and since this is pretty much the only extracurricular activity that has appeared, I am going to at least try it out. Yesterday (Sunday) marked exactly 4 weeks in Italia, and tomorrow will technically mark the official one-month mark. It has flown by so far and I am realizing that I really need to take advantage of every day that I'm here. So this week I'm kicking English to the curb as much as possible. I had been trying before but after our orientation weekend, I know that I should try harder than ever.

Alsoooo, last Tuesday night I went to La Scala for the second time and saw an opera by Strauss, and it was incredibly better than the first opera I saw (by Monteverdi). The music, actors/singers, and technical aspects were just a lot better. But anyways. I don't know what else will be happening soon, but I will try to keep up with the blogging! Arrivederci!!

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