Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
More later when I don't have papers that I should be writing!
Friday, November 5, 2010
More excitingly, though, I've had the chance to go out and play polo! I've missed the horses a ton since I've been here (to the extent of having frequent riding-related dreams), and although the polo club here is rather loosely organized and my schedule's often packed full, I've been able to make it out to ride twice so far. My questionable ability to connect mallet to ball notwithstanding, it's been a lot of fun, and today we even played a mini-chukka three on three! Granted, it's an entirely different kind of riding, but pulling on my boots, getting back in the saddle, and coming back smelling like horse: almost nothing makes me happier. Especially when I also get to enjoy the idyllic, sprawling green fields and fall colors of the English countryside. The polo ponies are so agile and clever, too, I can't get over it. Now those horses know their jobs!
I had the wild notion that it'd be fun to go foxhunting, too, but I think that idea will fall through...
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
York itself was a town still very much possessing shades of the medieval, with well-preserved stone walls surrounding the older heart of the city. We took a walk around these walls, near where the moat used to be (very much like being a sentry on duty, peering in between the turrets), and also visited York Minster, the towering cathedral that is one of the best-known icons of the city. This building was a stunning display of Gothic architecture, but brighter and cheerier inside than other Gothic buildings I've seen, such as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. It still wasn't quite as visually overwhelming as St. Paul's Cathedral in London, though.
After York, our last stop was Rievaulx Abbey, an old monastic ruin from the 13th century. The entire place had a haunting, yet serene air with its walls and pillars of half-crumbled stone, grass and moss taking over what had clearly once been a spectacular structure. We clambered over the ruins, took pictures, and breathed in the picturesque air of the hills and surrounding countryside against the roughened stones of the ruins.
All in all, the Bing trip was a great weekend out of Oxford, one which I really enjoyed but some others complained a bit about - I guess old country houses and churches didn't fit their idea of entertainment... Still, it's these historical places that have been my favorite part about England so far.
(Much more about York and many other UK shenanigans on my other blog - http://anglobibliophile.blogspot.com! Please check it out! Sorry, I don't feel like writing long updates in two places.)
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Fondue: delicious melted cheese with white wine (and maybe some other things), which is eaten by dipping pieces of bread on forks into it. Yum!
Looking out over the city of Annecy from the fortress at the top of the hill. The picture doesn't do it justice, and had there been sunshine I'm sure it would have been breathtaking.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
. . . and bought some peanut butter at the supermercato yesterday. It was Skippy, probably packaged at the same factory as the peanut butter maddy was using! A very small jar cost almost 4 euros. Anyways, enough peanut talk.
Last weekend was our Bing trip to Pompei,
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
So I decided to buy myself some peanut butter for lunch one day. Little did I realize that finding peanut butter would be close to impossible. According to one of the professors here, many Italians don't like peanut butter because it's "too sweet" so although every grocery store stocks shelves of Nutella, they rarely stock more than a couple of jars of Skippy. Not only is it scarce, but also costs upwards of 6 euros in some stores. There was no way that I was going to pay that much for half a jar of semi-decent peanut butter. I finally got desperate enough after searching a couple of supermarkets and ended up forking out 3 euros for a jar of creamy American peanut butter. It was worth it; that jar is in my purse every day when I go to school. Now if only I could find a loaf of whole wheat bread... the Tuscan, non-salted variety is really only good for dipping in olive oil or layering with tomatoes for bruschetta.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Field trip to Casentino countryside to study 11th and 12th century history
Corri la Vita walk for breast cancer awareness
Helping with the wine harvest (la vendemmia) at a vineyard outside of Florence
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Well it's been a full ten days since I arrived in Italy... and I still don't feel like this is actually real life yet. There's gelato, espresso, pizza and paninis available on every street next to leather shops and renaissance palaces. Almost everything that I could ever need is within walking distance and even the Stanford building is in one of the best locations in the city. Everything in the city is so exciting and different than life on campus especially since I haven't ever lived in a city before. The cultural differences have been small but noticeable (eg. wearing workout shorts outside is frowned upon even when en-route to the gym...oops) and the ability to fare bella figura (a term that generally refers to making a good first impression and something I will probably talk more about in the future) has been more difficult than it seems. Yet despite the crowds of tourists that make getting to know the real Florence a bit of a struggle, I am already beginning to feel as if I am getting to know the city better than before.