About Me

Urbino, Marche, Italy
A man on a mission Mailing address Via Gian Carlo de Carlo 07 Tridente 3/512 Urbino 61029, Italia

Saturday May 1st Venice

I had a very fully day today. We started it off with a guided tour at 9. The tour guide was quite good, although she has some interesting opinions. When she took us through the Jewish Ghettos she told us very authoritatively that the Jewish were, and still today, make the best doctors.
We covered most of the city, saw some famous churches and learned a bit about the city. My favorite story was about the Germans. First of all, the iron bridges are the invention of the Germans, who brought the material over in the mid 19th century. But besides the metal they also brought a bit of their language. The Germans had quite a bit of trouble pronouncing one word and what they came out with was ghetto, which we still use to this day.
After finding lunch I wandered over to Venice’s huge bell tower for a view of the city. The view was pretty encompassing, I could see the edges of the islands, but unfortunately the buildings are so close to the water that I couldn’t see the individual canals
Once I had finished with this I met up with the group and went for an etching lesson! We got in a bus and drove to mestrict(mainland Venice) and learned how to use a press. Our teacher took us through all the steps, from putting varnish on, to heating the metal up, to etching the drawing, and to soaking the metal in nitric acid. After the metal had soaked for about 15 minutes we dried the piece off and put it through a press, thus creating a beautiful press. I drew a picture with several bridges and Gondola’s, which was loosely based off what I had already witnessed in Venezia.
At night we went with are two instructors- Stefano and Nadie to a grande pizzeria( il profeto). The pizza was great and I ordered the BOMBA, which included everything from artichokes to hotdog pieces. It was a very interesting night.

Sunday May 2 Tour 2,

Sunday morning we woke up early again for part two of our tour. Today we explored a lot more of the center part of the city- navigating the narrow side streets and drying not to step in dog shit (it was everywhere). The tour was rather informative and I learned some rather quirky stories about Venice. In the 16th century the people were so rich and so bored that they decided to employ the prostitutes for a good of the state. They were all paid to stand by the windows overlooking the piazza- topless. Supposedly, the goal was to win over any homosexuals or others on the border. In reality, it sounds like a group of people with just way to much time on their hands. Another strange rule is that if you want a roof top terrace you have to ask the towns permission. The only way they will allow you to have one is if you can find your house on a 15th century map of the city. If, on that map the house once had a terrace then, you may “rebuild it.”
The rest of the day was seeing more famous churches and statues. After we ended the door in San Marco’s square we split up and found lunch. After grabbing a bite to eat we picked up our stuff and boarded the 3:30 train back to Urbino.

Monday May 3 Theatre

Back to the grind! Woke up early and got some writing out of the way. Once I had finished I checked my calendar and realized it was May. The time is just flying by and pretty soon I got to start looking into my summer plans.
At night I went to my weekly Theatre class. Tonight, we worked on breathing, so that we might better speak. After we had finished with these drills the teacher had us recite poetry. All of it was in Italian, but the funny part was that half of it was Shakespeare.

Tuesday May 4 Sono nato e morto in Italia

Today we had a rather interesting, but pointless Italian class. We went to the language facility and listened to a song entitled “Sei nato e morto in Italia” which means you are born and die in Italy. It was a really depressing song backed by a bad rap beat. Unfortunately the guy is depressed that although there are a lot of beautiful parts to Italy (churches, beaches) there is too much crime (mafia). The point of the lesson was to analyze the song and learn some new vocabulary, but it was all rather straight forward. This is something I do on my free time and although it was entertaining I don’t understand how they can call it a class. At night I went to the conversation club and talked a lot with a girl from near Assisi who is a sociology major. However, the native Italian already is fluent in Italian and has a working knowledge of Spanish, French, and Danish (it’s her hobby). These people know too many languages.

Wed May 5- Model European Parliament- Nick’s a tourguide!

Ok, today was pretty crazy and I could probably write for quite a while about all the incredible people I met today. Today was the first day of a 3 day conference that my friend signed me up for. He is studying political science and his faculty is hosting an international conference. The conference is going to culminate on Friday with a plenary session modeled after one from the European Parliament.

Although I know very little about European politics I joined because I thought it would be a good way to meet people from all around Europe. In fact it has been great. In my meeting in the morning I was with mostly Italians, but many of them were studying in other Universities like Rome, Torino and Bolgnia. The meeting in the morning was to discuss our committees position on the issue at hand. The group of 15 students which I’m part of is dealing with climate change. For the first 15 minutes we listened to a teacher tell us all the important facts, about the different green house gases and the ones which were left out of the Kyoto protocol. The basic storyline is we are all going to die and the E.U. has to figure out how to impose its restrictive policies on the rest of the world. China and the U.S. were described as the enemies, but unfortunately rather formidable obstacles.

During the next meeting I met with my political party. I was assigned to the EPP (European People’s Party) which is self described as center right. Regarding environmental politics at least it very much resembles are left, but on other issues it is very different. We discussed a whole host of problems ranging from the financial crisis in Greece to the problems in Iran and also the negative effects of how the media portrays women. This group was very interesting because it was much more diverse, both ideologically, but also geographically. I met several students from Spain, one from Georgia, one from Scotland, and another from Bulgaria. The Bulgarian was actually fantastic and took me back to his room after where he presented me with a souvenir from his country. Additionally, he gave me quite a bit of a Bulgarian bread (Banitza) to try, which I will do tomorrow morning.

Oh, did I mention I also gave a guided tour of the Ducal Palace. Because all these students were from all over the world the group that organized this event wanted to show them around. However, because they couldn’t get anyone better qualified they brought their Italian friend to give the tour. Although he was studying English literature he knew very little about the Palace and was just going to translate out of the Guide book. It was at this point that I stepped in and offered to help out. From this point on I led the tour which lasted about 20 minutes. No one fell asleep, or through tomatoes, so I guess it was a pretty good day.

Thursday May 6th Chaos

Today was round two of the conference. Although it was very interesting it was also very relaxed. This conference is entirely run by students and although many of us have very good ideas we don’t have anyone who really knows how to facilitate a healthy debate. Regardless, I met more people and became more aware of the many problems Europe is facing.

Friday May 7th, 8th, 9th Ferraris

Friday May 7th, 8th, 9th Ferraris
Friday was incredible if for no other reason that I got to see a ton of Ferraris. Once a year, Italy has a huge car party. All the owners of the Ferraris and Jaguars come out and travel around the city. It was very good and I ‘m going to buy one here and bring it back with me to the States.

Oh, so I was elected to be president of both my environmental commission and political committee (EPP). Although I occasionally forgot how to speak English I was rather proud of my performance. This pride, however, only lasted until I thought about the fact that everyone else was arguing in their second or third language.
The weekend was rather relaxed. Saturday and Sunday I caught up on some work. Sunday I ran once around the city walls (20 minutes)!