March 21, 2005
Mass at Siena Duomo
Italy is beautiful and singing in such beautiful churches and basilicas is wonderful. Singing in Saint Peter's Basilica was an amazing experience that I will treasure my whole lifetime. Yesterday, we participated in Palm Sunday Mass at Siena Duomo, a gorgeous church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Following the gospel reading and service in Italian was challenging, though Italian is very similar to Spanish and I can therefore usually figure out what people are saying in Italian. Siena was quaint, rustic, and all together breathtaking.
The ancient ruins of Rome were awesome. Rome has great and interesting history. European history in general I think is quite interesting in that it covers such a long period. For example, Sunday we saw a bank in Siena founded in 1472 -- 20 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
Overall, it is wonderful to have such an exciting, interesting, awe-inspiring experience. Italy is a beautiful country that offers everything from wine tasting to history to sight seeing.
Scott Hale '08
Everything I Expected and More
Well Italy is great. It is everything I expected and more! Yesterday we went to Sienna and into wine and olive oil country. It was very hilly, not flat like Florida. The buildings were all from the med-evil times and before. We went on a tour a saw some really interesting things. In one of the churches we went to there was a skull and thumb of St. Catherine. The rest of the body is in Rome because the Pope didn't want to move it all since she was such a popular saint. It was kinda weird but I can see why they want it there. After the tour we went to the big square in the city and we got some free time. Some other students and I bought some wine from a local store that Anna Maria recommended. I then bought my favorite thing, chocolate GILATO!!! People say I am a G.A., short for Gelato Addict. They make jokes that I am going to go through withdrawal when we get back to the states. We then sang a concert in another gorgeous church. During one part of the mass the head religious leader went on a 20 minute talk about Jesus in Jerusalem. At least that's what I think because it was in Italian. We then walked back to the bus. I managed to sit on a chocolate cookie which left a giant white spot that wouldn't come out of my pants. It was fun trying to get that out. I really can't wait to see what Florence has to offer. Aribaderchi!
Ryan Appold '08
I have never been out of North America before this trip, and now I prize our dirty public bathrooms more than ever. There are no seats on the public toilets!!! Girls are expected to squat or stand and aim just like men. I am thoroughly impressed with their ability to do so. And you have to pay to use most of them. Like I am going to pay 1 euro to squat over a hole, do my business, and have a limited amount of toilet paper and water to clean up. I don't think so. I will be holding it until the hotel from now on.
Italy is beautiful. It reminds me of home. Montana and Italy have actual mountains, the humidity is about the same and the countryside is natural, still beautiful and full of farmland. I am still a little frustrated that we are rushing everywhere and don't have a chance to shop and take in all the city. The experience of Rome was short lived. However, yesterday, at the square, there was a really cool protest to get the troops out of Iraq. I wanted to protest too, but Marion stated that we would not engage in any "political conversation" with anyone. I was upset, but now I am thinking that it was a good idea because I spotted some protestors holding a huge banner with the Grim Reaper on it and he had the American Flag over his shoulder. Some people don't like America. I wanted to buy a rainbow flag that said "Pace" or Peace on it. Never got the chance because the polizia had the streets blocked off. I will find one before we leave.
As far as the food goes, some meals are good, and some are not. We always start with bread and pasta and have a meat dish and dessert. Italian Desserts: PERFECTION. Gellato will be my financial downfall.
We are on the way to Venice. Anna Maria is doing a great job. She is quite funny. She knows about all the good things to buy. Peace.
Krista Purcell '08
On the Road to Siena From Rome
We are now on the road to Siena from Rome. I am kind of glad to be leaving Rome. The Roman ruins are impressive, but I was somewhat unsettled by how the ruins and the city buildings were all intertwined. I like cities that are neat and orderly, and Rome is anything but orderly. Many of the "newer" buildings are built on ruins, and some even incorporate the pillars and walls of ruins into their own. I say "newer" because, as Anna Maria informed us, "new" in Italy means it was built in the last 100 to 200 years. How different it would be to live on land that has been home to civilization for centuries.
I love the countryside, however. All around us now there are rolling hills. Often the steeper ones are toped by villages of old stone and brick houses piled on top of each other so that they look like a fortress. There were even a couple of little castles a ways back. On the hillsides there are rows of grape vines and olive trees. Anna Maria, our tour guide, tells us that this area makes some of the best wine and olive oil.
Samantha Symon '07