Well...only a few more days left in Amsterdam and I'm staying in tonight. Yup, I'm staying, actually most of us are, to do homework. We all have a bit of catching up to do on our journals and our final essay preparations. Even though the trip is coming to an end it will be nice to come home to the good 'ol U.S of A. I do kind of miss driving, I really need to do laundry, which I've been putting off doing since the beginning of Paris, and I especially need a haircut. Anybody knows that when my hair grows out it doesn't really fall down....it turns into one big-shall I say-poof ball. So I am in desperate need of some good clippers. Aside from my unfortunate hair, I am having a great time over here and we all are so surprised the trip is almost over. So this will probably be my second to last blog. I know...it's rather sad. Thursday morning we all have a finaly consisting of four essay questions. I'm not really looking foreward to it. But oh well.
Anyways, we've done some cool things over here in the low country. The other day a handful of us went to the Bodies Exhibit. I'm sure you've heard of it, it showed in NY and displays human cadavers in different positions and you can see everysingle detail of the human body. We saw different diseases, like a regular lung and then a smokers lung and then Parkinsons and even gall stones. There was even a full skin...yeah...just the skin. Yeah, it was a little gross. So then we ate food. Mmmm. But really, there is this place call Wok 2 Walk that serves Chinese dishes to-go. Its incredible...and the portions are-dare I say-Maaaassive!!! (inside joke)
Today we took a rather sobering trip to the Anne Frank House, not far from our hotel. It was really an amazing experience to learn more about her life and to read many of her entries while walking through the same rooms and halls that she and her family did. I think the best part was going into her room and seeing all of the pictures that she had pasted on her for decoration. That was pretty moving.
Since we've been here we also went to the Rijks Museum and saw many famous artists; a lot which we had studied in class prior to the trip. We saw works from Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Judith Leyster and many more. It really is true that pictures and slides don't do the paintings themselves justice. Also on this subject, the other day we all went to the Rembrandt house and today we traveled to Haarlem for the day and went to the Frans Hals Museum.
Well that's all for this time folks, thanks for stoppin' by.
Teri, Dad, Frank and Meredith....see ya'll soon. miss ya
Amsterdam is a very pretty city with a lot too offer...and it's nice that a lot of people speak English. There are actually more canals than Venice and the climate is slightly more grey. It is also nice that there are very few cars and twice as many bikes replacing the mopeds found in cities like Rome and Paris. ("ya gotch-ya beanie?") One thing that a lot of us noticed was the change in average heights for the people walking through the city. A lot of people are rather quite tall and there is an extremely eclectic population in our hotel's area. Our hotel is very nice with large rooms and television, and evn a much needed laundry service. One weird thing is the public...and i mean PUBLIC...urinal across from our hotel. Just a little bit weird.
The last two day's we've taken trains to areas outside of Amsterdam, such as the place where Palace Het Loo is located (Amsterdam's Versailles) and also an art museum in Den Haag. There we saw many famous works by Rubens and Brueghel such as the Girl With The Pearl Earing. Surprisingly, one of the first thing's we saw at the royal palace was a large male peacock strutting his stuff in the sun. (Ollie the Wolly) The rest of the palace was nice, except we were kind of late so we missed our tour. Anyways, Amsterdam is so incredible and I'm sorry I wasn't able to blog earlier; travel days are always hard in terms of finding a computer. Also, i'm sure that there were a lot of typos in the last few blog and those are just from a small keypad covered with a plastic sheet.
The good thing about taking trains almost every day out of the city is that we get to see the Holland countryside. Yes, there is a lot of green pastures and even more sheep and windmills. Well tomorrow we get to see the Anne Frank House and other museums. Only a few more days in Europe...Cya!
Oh Yeah...we definately saw a large group of Neo-Nazis at the train station after a rally. Good thing the Holland police had riot gear with shields made out of whicker. (However yous spell it). Seriously.
The best view of Paris is from thye different levels on the Eifle Tower. The other night we all decided to go visit it and go to the top. When we got there i realised how truly enormous it actually is. Its Huge! So we all decided to pay the 11.50 euro to take the elevator to the top despite the incredibly cold weather. And we knew it would only be worse up top!
So once we got up there, to the second floor that is, the view was incredible...you could see everything. We even saw a pick-up soccer game being played right below us! Not sure who won, I mean, they did look like ants. I then looked up and realisde that I wasn't even half way! So then we all bravely stepped into the second elevator and ascended upwards to the top of one of the most recognised icons in the world!
When we got up top the wind hit me like a ton of bricks! I then looked over the side and got that weird feeling in my stomach as I looked straight down. You know the one. I then decided to do something that might be inappropriate to talk about in my blogs, I spit over the side. I mean, I am a guy and we do spit. And honestly, whoever is reading this...yeah who...have you never thought about spitting off the top of the Eifle Tower? I knew you had. Well, I got to live that fantasy! So I did...I spit of the Eifle Tower and I watched it go down until I lost it in the misty clouds below. It danced and swayed in the wind...how beautiful it was! Sorry, I know its a little graphic...but aren't you envious?
But anyways, the view of the city in all directions was amazing. I felt really fortunate to be able to have birds eye views of Paris, Rome and Florence!
Well, how experience at the Eifle tower was incredible...even when all the girls in our trip yelled really loud in the metro as we passed it on our way there. We truly were LOUD Americans. Oh Well. So read up next time because tomorrow we leave for Amsterdam! Cya
hello family...hi Luke. And a special hello to Mommom and Poppy and my cousin Duane!!!
Remember when I wrote about our other roomate, which I was very skeptical about?
Well it turns out that our Korean friend is the nicest person in the world. He is traveling all
by himself from London, to Paris, now he is in Barcelona, then he goes to Rome, Venice
and then flies back home out of Prague. Ryan and I talk to him every night and he speaks
well enough to have a conversation with us. And he's only 22, but he looks like he's 30.
Huong-bum, our Korean friend, left this morning and last night he told us that from 6
at night to about midnight he has nothing to do and he is pretty lonely. So i decided to invite him
to come to the Hard Rock Cafe with us tonight. But he said he couldn't go. So our extremely
nice friend left early this morning, and I woke up to say good luck and good bye. This morning
Ryan found in his bed a present He had left us his bottle of Korean alcohol that he had offered to
share with us early, but we never got a chance. He even left the nicest note: "Thank you for
staying with me. Use this at the Hard Rock Cafe, thank you"
I just thought that I would blog about this because for the last couple of days we had been
telling the group how nice he is and this further proved it. I would like to wish our Korean friend the
best of luck on his travels. So long friend!
As you can see by the headline...we went to the Louvre the other day and saw Versailles today! The Louvre was absolutely incredible...its HUGE! So big that we got a 4 day pass and are gonna go back tomorrow. When we were let loose once inside the first thing I did was go to the Roman and Greek section. No surprise there, right? It was incredible, I came face to face with the busts and full statues of so many emperors, it was incredible! Augustus, Hadrian, Marcus Auraleus, Commodus and many more! I decided to pretend that they were actually real...it made it so muchy better! (sorry for all the exclamation points....but its pretty exciting) We saw so much that day and it was so cool to see all the things in person that I have studied in history, classics and art history classes. (Hi Cheryl) I saw a realy mummy, the seated statue of Ramses II, a part of the Ishtar Gate, Hammurabi's Code, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and so much more. The list goes on. Again....i was like a kid in a candy store. The next time we go, tomorrow i think, we all are going to take the Da Vinci Code tour and see where everything took place in the movie. Should be fun.
Today we went to Versailles which was a lot of fun. That place is huge too! We were given a private tour of the royal rooms and saw the Kings room, private room, his study and even his bath room. If i'm not mistaken, he had some kinda of red velvet cloth on his toilet seat...he truly was royalty. We also saw the famous hall of mirrors and we would hyave gone outside to see the gardens but it was FREEZING! Actually it was my first day wearing my scarf, and i definately wore it in the european style where you loop on end through the other. I felt very cultured. But anyways, Versailles was amazing and we learned a lot of history on our tour, which was my favorite part!
Read back next time about the Eifle Tower and other sweet Parisian stuff! Cya
Hello family...miss you lots. Parcells Quite....Go Skins!!!!!
I know its been a while since I've written a blog but the last couple of days we have been traveling on trains and getting settled into different places. Also, the last day in Rome i went to the internet cafe while it was under some kind of renovation, so no luck there.
Since the last time i blogged we've done so many fun things and seen some amazing sites. We visited the Vatican museum and saw all of the collections they had to offer, including...(drum role please)...the Sistine Chapel and the famous ceiling by Michelangelo. We saw so many other paintings and sculptures that its just too hard to list them all...sorry. For our last afternoon and evening in Rome a bunch of us walked around the city and looked in a few stores. Later that night we all met up for a nice authentic Italian meal at the Hard Rock Cafe. I had a really big cheeseburger, 10 ounces of delicious red meat topped off with an onion ring, yes an onion ring!
We woke up early the next day and hopped on a train and head to Venice. Three hours later we arrived at the watery city and were greeted by a much colder climate. It was amazing, and unless you've been living under a rock your entire life, then you'd know that there are no cars, just boats and canals. The great thing about Venice is that there are no crazy drivers and no fearless moped riders throughout the "streets" like there was in Rome. Seriously, pedestrians really do not have the right-of-way. In fact, on a more serious note, a women did get hit by a car outside of our hotel. Fortunately it didn't seem to be too serious, thank goodness. Anyways, Venice was gorgeous and our short stay there was a nice little taste of the city. We stayed at a montestary that was way too quiet, but still pleasant. The nuns were very nice.
Our first day we were given a great tour of the Doge's Palace by an extremely energetic and fun guide. She might even have been a little on the crazy side and anyone in our group will attest to that. Afterwards we had some free time to get food and check out the and all the beautiful Venetian glass merchandise. (Actually, they're made nearby in Murano. Just thought i'd add that little factoid in) The next day was pretty similar. We we went to a couple churches where we learned how the Venice Baroque style differs from the Roman style. Don't worry, I won't go into it. For the rest of the day we were able to explore the city more and look in more shops. My shopping wasn't too extensive, but the girls I was with really enjoyed looking through every shoe store we passed. It was crazy, I felt like the typical guy walking slowly behind the girl as she excitedly runs around every store saying "aww, look at those, they are sooo cute!" Either way I still really enjoyed walking through Venice and seeing everything the city had to offer. One of the more entertaining things were the birds. At the Square of St. Mark's birds were everywhere. The first day a number of them had quite the fascination for Marie Perry's fur hood and kept trying to land on her head during our tour. Very funny. I also made a lot of bird friends because they kept landing on my shoulders and made "bird noises" into my ear. Maybe they were trying to tell me something but I couldn't understand their language.
At 6:00 pm we all gathered at our hotel to prepare for our overnight train trip to Paris. This was very interesting because I was placed in the 6 person cabin; me, Ryan and 4 girls, Sheri, Katie, Sarah and Ellie. You can only imagine how much luggage we had with us in so little of a space. It was almost like a puzzle trying to organize that cabin. The trip was fun and rather uneventful except for a man who kept trying to get into our cabin in the middle of the night. Eventually he went away. We finally arrived safely in Paris with about 4 hours before we could check into our rooms. We are staying at a tavern-type place very close to the Sein River and about a 10 minute walk from Notre Dame. Before we got settled in we walked around the are for a while and stopped at some beautiful churches, including Notre Dame. It was incredible and very cool to look around while mass was taking place. On our way back we stopped for some crepes at a vendor, I had mine with nutella...so good!
We finally checked into our rooms at 3:00 pm. Ryan and I, the only other guy on this trip, were placed in a room with two strangers. I was extremely skeptical at first because it's weird in general and it's an awkward situation waiting to happen, and if you know anything about me you know that I have a bad fear of awkwardness. However, one of them turned out to be very nice.
Check back again for more about Paris. Cya!
Oh, here are some shout-outs...
Hi Cheryl...from Sheri. Hi Alexis...from Katie. Hi Lisa and Glenn...from Sarah. Hi Willis family...from Ryan.
And of course...hello mother, father, Mery and Frank. I hope all is well, say hi to luke for me. see ya soon.
Hey everyone! I'm still here in Rome and I am having a great time! Today was a lot of fun because we got to see the Pope and go into St. Peters. The audience hall was huge, and after waiting inside the Pope finally walked in and the crowd went wild started taking pictures. He finally made his way to the front and addressed the audience. It was very cool because the English interpreter recognized different tourist groups and even announced the presence of a group of art students from Randolph Macon! The Pope waved and we were then told that his blessings were extended to us and our families back home. So to my family...ya'll have been blessed by the Pope himself, so you better feel special!
After it ended we went into the church and it was absolutely beautiful! It's almost too hard to describe in words. The different sculptures, the statues and the dome itself were incredible. I definitely didn't think it was going to be that big inside. After looking around for a while, Ryan Willis and I decided to walk to the top of the dome while everyone else went to get food. It was quite a hike, but the view from inside the dome and also from the very top of it was breathtaking. It was by far the best view of Rome we could have gotten. We took some pictures and then decided to get some lunch ourselves and head back to the hotel.
Tomorrow we are suppose to get up early to go see the Vatican collections and see the Sistine Chapel, so that should be a lot of fun. check back for more on that next time. Cya!
hello family, remember...you've been blessed. How cool is that?!
Hey everyone, sorry it has taken me so long to blog. But here it is, enjoy.
Rome is amazing, we've done so many incredible things and have seen almost everything Rome has to offer. Our hotel is in one of the best possible locations near a busy and popular piazza, the Piazza Navona, which is an open area with shops, fountains and restaurants. We are also about a five minute walk from the Pantheon and many more well known sites of Rome.
Yesterday we took an all day trip to Florence which was very beautiful and saw a number of churches and I even climbed to the VERY top of Brunelleschi's Duomo. I probably should have stretched before making the trek up those stairs! I was practically sweating by the time i reached the top. However, it was totally worth it, the view was spectacular.
Today our class visited more churches and walked around the city again. (I can see why Europeans all look so thin...they walk so much!) We were then set free to do whatever we wanted, so we did the one thing that I had been wanted to do for years. Walk inside of the Colosseum. It was everything I had imagined....and much, much more! I could hardly believe that I was actually in the Colosseum. After spending some time there we walk through the Roman Forum next and up to the Palatine Hill and then to the Capitoline Museum. After looking at some incredible statues and other ancient artifacts, Amanda and I (the other blogger) decided to go to the Circus Maximus and also find a key hole that my mom told me about (Hi Teri!!) As we looked through the hole, we could see the Dome of St. Peters perfectly outlined by a row of trees and bushes. Then, we decided to use the metro and the buses to get all the way back to our hotel. However, neither of us had ever really used a public bus before, and the maps for the public transportation was rather difficult to figure out. So we then hung our heads in shame and realized that we had failed miserably. Sooo, we walked....and then walked some more. Then we kept walking, until finally we made it through the back roads to this nice internet cafe. My feet really hurt.
Well it's time to get some dinner and go out for the evening. Tomorrow we go to the Vatican and see the Pope so be sure to read back again for more details about our trip there.
Hi Teri! Hello Father! Meredith, be good in India....and Frank, I saw a guy at the Capitoline Museum that looked like.......Ollie the Wollie from South Africa. HAHAHA!
The only thing that stands in my way: Finish Packing!
It's incredible, this time tomorrow we will be several hours into our flight over the Atlantic heading towards Amsterdam!! It truly is hard to believe that our trip is finally here and it's actually now setting in that I will be in Rome, among all of the incredible ruins, in such a short time. This afternoon we were given our first test on Baroque paintings, sculptures and architecture from Italy, France and the Dutch countries. I was glad to have it out of the way and finished because it was all that stood between me and a three week trip through Europe! Well, actually, I guess I do still have to put some finishing touches on that whole packing thing.
Well, only a few more days until we fly out of Dulles International and begin out trip through Europe! However, before I even leave on Friday morning there is a lot of work that I have to accomplish for the class. I have to write three more five page summaries on assigned articles for a total of twenty pages, along with an extensive amount of reading in our text book. Oh, and aside from that, we have class from 9-11 and then 12-1:30 and a test on Thursday afternoon! Even though all of this seems fairly excessive for a J-Term study abroad class, I'm finding it rather interesting. I've always been intrigued by Art History which makes sitting in class looking at different sculptures and paintings from the Baroque period a worthwhile experience.
So far we have been learning about the artistic styles that preceeded 17th Century Baroque art, the Renaissance and Mannerism, and how they influenced and helped to shape this period of dramatic and realistic works. We have touched on artists such as Caravaggio, Gentileschi, and Bernini and we still have a lot more to go!