View from Macerata

View from Macerata

sabato 24 settembre 2011


I'm mildly embarrassed that I'm only now beginning this blog.  If "to Cowgill" was a verb, I would think I've been Cowgilling.  Today is the 3 week mark out of my 15 week trip to the Marche region of Italy, and I'm not really sure where to begin because this has been the most eventful 3 weeks of my life.
I started freaking out a little on the plane from London to Rome.  It hadn't really occurred to me before how hard it was going to be being in a country where I don't know a single person and can't speak the language.  I spent a night in Rome, then took 2 trains and an automobile to a hostel in Macerata where I met up with my group (get it...planes, trains, and automobiles :) )  On the first train, I met a girl named Mary from Chicago who turned out to be going to Macerata for the same program, and then we met a bunch more people on the second train. 
The first week was full of orientation, walking tours of the city and such.  On friday of that week, we went to Civitanova for our first excursion, and took a little tour of the city and the market, then went to the beach for the rest of the day! 
The second week we started intense Italian language classes.  We have them 3 hours a day, 5 days a week.  The rest of the time our site director, Filiberto, always has something for us to be doing.  Filiberto is amazing; he's completely fluent in English and a bunch of other languages, and he knows all these random facts about Oregon because he studied abroad in Portland when he was in college. 
Last weekend, I went to a little town called Sirolo with 5 other people from my program.  We hiked up Monte Conero, which definitely wouldnt be considered a mountain in Oregon, but which was quite an intense hike none the less, and then we went to the beach and camped at a campground next to the Adriatic.
                                                   (Monte Conero and the Adriatic Sea)

This week, our excursion was to Urbs Salvia, a Roman town and archaeological site. We toured an amphitheater built in 70 B.C. and the remains of the town next to it.  It was so amazing, and we were allowed to climb over the railing and walk on the streets and into the remains of the temple.  On the wall in the temple was a 2,000 year old fresco, part of which is below.  After that, we went to an Abbey and took a tour of the monastary, watched five monks doing their ceremony, went underground into the grotto, saw the room room where they have been holding chapter meetings since the 12th century, and walked through the gardens.  After that, we toured a winery for a couple hours and did a wine tasting.

                                                              (Part of a fresco)
                                                   (Those are grapes, I promise)
                                                         (awesome grape picking tractor)

                                                             (Me at the amphitheater)

I kind of think I've caught Euro fever.  I love it here, and I want to go everywhere, it's really hard to decide where to go next.  We have a ten day break from october 22-november 2nd, and I'm definitely going to London for at least 3 or 4 days, but the rest of the break is still open so I'm excited to plan that!  Most likely, I'll either continue on to Paris with the same girls I'm going to London with, or meet up with my new friend Matty in Prague and then we'll go to Krakow, Poland for a couple days.

                                                           (Matty and I in Civitanova :) )