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April2007

17 Apr | Perry Lavin | No Comments

Tuesday, April 17, 2007: Florence, Italy

This week, I took a long weekend and went to Amsterdam. It was well worth it. Amsterdam blew away all of my expectations. I thought that I would walk into Amsterdam and it would live up to all of the stereotypes that it’s known for, specifically the culture of the seedy ‘Red Light District’. This isn’t true at all.

Everything there is discreet and laid back. Amsterdam is one of the classiest places I have ever been. It is also one of the happiest and safest places I have been. Everyone runs around smiling and talkative because they are free in a way that I can’t explain. They have the most laid back way of life. Not everything is serious. I knew my attitude toward life would change after living in Europe but it has never had a greater and more immediate change than after Amsterdam. The people there just want the best for everyone else and love to live their lives. It seems like small problems that constantly plague the minds of most people don’t even exist there.

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5 Apr | Perry Lavin | No Comments

Thursday, April 5, 2007: Florence, Italy

When Earnest Hemmingway spent time in Spain, he drank and wrote at Bar Marsalle. On my last night of Spring Break I made a point of drinking in the same place that Hemmingway wrote some of ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ one of the best books he ever written. I’m a Writing major, so this was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It’s probably not the same atmosphere as it was in his time, as today it is packed shoulder to shoulder so no one could have moved a pencil, much less written a masterpiece. But I could just see how he got inspired from being in that place. The bottles on the wall still have dust and the furniture looks like it hasn’t been changed since the 30’s. I may have been sitting in the same place that Hemmingway sat. I took in the feeling of the place, while drinking the same drink he drank. I couldn’t have picked a better way to end my spring break. For me, the symbolic beauty of the bar was much better than the beauty of the Gaudi architecture.

I went from Spain back to Florence, and this weekend I’ll be in Interlaken, Switzerland to do a combination of skiing, rock climbing, and jumping out of an airplane. The good stuff never ends. There is always something to do and somewhere to go.

My only complaint on coming back to Florence is the tourists. They are everywhere. My walk to school doubled in time because I have to weave my way through a maze of tourists holding maps the size of the facade of San Croce. They move in a giant, slow moving group that can take up entire Piazzas. It’s amazing how the tourists seem to take a thousand pictures of the same thing. The only thing I can figure is that what they do is zoom in really close on each part of the thing they are taking a picture of. Then, once they have taken a picture of every square inch of the thing, they go home and make a giant collage. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Otherwise, why would you need five hundred pictures of the Duomo! And I’ll tell you what – it is pointless to take a picture of the Duomo because it will never match up to what it is like to actually be next to it. It is impossible to try to capture the beauty in something that can’t be captured on film.

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