Man. Ever since I got back from Norway I have been BUSY. I apologize for writing so sporadically. Hopefully I can get back on track soon...
I made the decision that this weekend I was going to take two different day trips to different cities. I slept in on Saturday and then Courtney and I walked into the Arezzo market and got sandwiches. From there, I went to the train station where I ran into Sam. We decided to take a train to Cortona. Cortona is a little mountain top town in Tuscany about 20 minutes from Arezzo, famous because it's where they filmed the movie, "Under the Tuscan Sun". This was not my motivation for going there, as I have never seen that movie, but I had heard that it was a beautiful city so off we went. Well, we took the train about 10 minutes too far and ended up in Terentola. After walking along the highway for a while, coming across lots of strangely decorated houses (gnomes and all), meeting lots of mean guard dogs, and realizing that we definitely were not in Cortona, we decided to take the bus to get there.
Well, we definitely didn't take the bus far enough. We got into this city that seemed like Cortona, but it was Camucia. The bus dropped us off at the bottom of a mountain; the top of the mountain is where Cortona was, so Sam and I walked, and walked, and walked. Luckily, as we were walking, the sun was setting so the view was gorgeous, and we stumbled across a lot of things that we wouldn't have found had we taken the easy route. Hitchhiking was very tempting but we resisted the temptation and trekked up the mountain.
This dude was chilling on this big wall - and I don't know how he got there exactly?
We met one guard dog who wasn't doing his job correctly. He was a little too nice. Thank goodness for him though - the german shepards and rotweilers were beginning to be too much.
A legit hobbit hole on the side of the road. This little door opened and led to some place under a massive field on the side of the road. I swear there were hobbits living down there...
The city of Cortona from the walk up.
While walking, we ran into a church with the most beautiful cemetery I've ever seen.
After lots of windy roads up the mountain, we finally made it to a break where we could get a view of the area we had been climbing.
and then yet another one later on...
The most magical part about this spot right here was that as we were looking out, we could hear voices singing hymns, and they weren't from the church that is on the far right (that one was closed) but another one, farther off in the distance. It was crazy. The voices were faint - you could barely hear them as they echoed through the hills but they were there. So beautiful.
By the time we actually made it into the city, there was only a brief time to walk around and then it was dinner time. We splurged a bit on dinner at this restaurant called Trattoria Toscana. I had a porkchop and sausages along with salad, wine, and then for desert we had this chocolate/pear cake. So delicious. After dinner we took a train back to Arezzo and I called it a night.
Cortona was beautiful and although it was a trek to get there (partly my own fault with all the traveling errors Sam and I made), but I highly recommend it to anybody who is looking for a true Italian experience. The town itself was so quiet at night, there were barely any tourists, and the people were all so friendly. I would love to go back if I have a free weekend, but time here is getting rather short!
Sunday I really wanted to go to Siena, however the bus station was closed and in order to get to Siena from Arezzo you first have to take a train to Florence and then to Siena, so it's sort of a long and expensive trip. It ended up not being worth the money because we would only have had a couple hours to spend there. Instead, Brittani, Michelle, and I went to Assisi (the religious capital of Umbria) where St. Francis of Assisi was born. The biggest site there is the Basilicia di San Francesco - known for being home to the tomb of St. Francis and also for it's absolutley breathtaking Frescoes. They really are something to see; they cover the entire interior of the church (minus a few parts where they are starting to crumble away) but I'm actually amazed at how well preserved they are. Aside from that, the city is filled with the MOST souvenir shops I have ever seen in my life - jam packed with Franciscan Friar shot glasses and nuns playing poker. There really isn't much to do, but it was yet another beautiful mountain-top town only an hour and a half from Arezzo (don't worry, I took the train the right amount AND the bus the right amount). Overall, these two picturesque cities provided me with a very relaxing weekend. I was really happy with how it turned out. :)
Basilicia di San Francesco.
Pax = Peace.
Michelle and I walking into yet another church in Assisi.
Somebody's front door.
An old couple. I Love this picture.
Today (Monday) I had Commedia class all day. There has been a lot of drama happening in the class, partly because one of the girls has been sick for a long time. She wasn't coming to rehearsals that we were needing to have, and even if she was there she wasn't giving 100%. She kept missing classes in school too, so one of the teachers put her on bedrest but this means that she is unable to do the project - therefore that huge group collaboration that we were working on? Not entirely happening anymore. It's okay though -Michele is taking us in a new direction in class and I actually think it will be more beneficial for us in the long run. We are all working on different characters; we took ideas from the classic masked characters and are branching off into our own. My "kid" character is based a bit on Zanni, but actually most of the influence comes from Charlie Chaplin slapstick so I'm watching "The Kid". Hooray for old films.