25 Mar | Perry Lavin | No Comments

Sunday, March 25 2007: Florence, Italy

It’s Spring Break and I’m in Barcelona. I am staying at a hostel on the beach. The weather report said it was going to be cold, but instead it has been warm and beautiful. The sand is like no other sand I’ve ever seen before. It is more like fine, soft soil.

Today I went to the Park Guell. This is a park made by the most famous architect in Spain – Gaudi. The place is themed after 20,000 leagues under the sea. In the front of the park is a an enormous piece of art that you feel you become part of. From a distance everything looks like it has barnacles on it. The park itself is a series of long and winding paths. At the top there is what looks like the top of the tallest tower of the castle. A man sits by it and plays water music. From here you have a great view of all of Barcelona and far out into the Meditteranean Sea.


20 Mar | Perry Lavin | No Comments

Tuesday, March 20, 2007: Florence, Italy

If there is one place I can tell you to go to while you’re in Italy it is Cinque Terra. It is five small fishing towns connected by hiking trails. I went there this weekend. After having been cooped up in cities for so long, the fresh air hit me like a glorious steam train of magnificence. Once the steam train and I crashed into each other, there was peace in my world. Just being outside again made my head clear and got me ready for the exams that I am taking this week.

I got some fish in Cinque Terra. When they brought me the fish it was wrapped in tin foil and had been baked in a lemon butter sauce. It was the whole fish. There were eyes and a mouth and a back bone and gills, and I ate all the meat and then sat there like a tourist taking pictures of the meatless fish. Then, I gave the fish a little peck on the lips for tasting so delicious!


11 Mar | Perry Lavin | No Comments

Sunday, March 11, 2007: Florence, Italy

Talking with people about classes, I have come to the conclusion that school is not the only important part of this college experience (of course, it is important to make good grades). The teachers at LDM know this and don’t bog down this incredible opportunity with an overwhelming amount of homework. For my LIT courses there is a good bit of reading, but I am still allotted enough free time to enjoy the history and culture of the city.

My biggest regret, however, is that I didn’t take a wine tasting or a cooking class. These seem like the most valuable of all of the classes. It is no lie when I say that this experience is primarily about getting to know a different culture, and there is almost nothing more important to the Italian culture than wine and food. I feel that I am missing something because I didn’t sign up for those classes. Also, you get to learn about and taste good wine in class. Think of what that can get you in the States. I’m willing to bet that everyone is going to be a waiter or waitress at some point in their life, and knowing about wine can help you get a job in a nicer restaurant. Also, think about the potential to impress someone you’re interested in. You can cook them a great, authentic Italian meal, pour them some good wine, and actually know what you are doing. That’s pretty cool. Those classes are lessons on how to live life with class and culture.

My other regret is taking Thursday classes. This was a big mistake for me because it cuts short one of the most valuable and limited things that I have – travel time. Over here you have the opportunity to go to an almost infinite number of incredible places. Some of these places deserve more than just three days. I should have gotten as much travel time as possible, and taking more classes in the middle of the week may have been the best way to do this. Not that I ever complain about being in Florence, but traveling is a key to unlocking the true nature of your soul. When traveling you find out so much about yourself and how to live with different kinds of people. Before this past weekend, for example, I thought I could get along with anyone. Then I met Swiss cab drivers that didn’t speak English, and by the end of my trip to Basil Switzerland, I found out that I no longer get along with everyone! Everything is an adventure.


4 Mar | Perry Lavin | No Comments

Sunday, March 4, 2007: Florence, Italy

This past weekend I had plans to go to Amsterdam with my roommate Mike. We had a flight through RyanAir that left from the Pisa Airport at 12:30. We got to the train station at 9:00 in the morning for a train that left at 9:30. The train didn’t show and the next one left at 10:47. That one did show but it got us to the Pisa 12:00. We ran from the train to the RyanAir check in and got there 30 minutes before the flight was supposed to leave. They wouldn’t let us get on the plane because their check-in ends 40 minutes before the plane departs. We were mad at Europe and cursed a lot on the way back to Florence. Once we got back we ate at McDonald’s. This was something I said I would never do while in Europe but I didn’t want to taste anything European.

The next day we decided to hop a train to Rome. After more problems with Italy’s train system, we finally arrived in Rome. By the time we got to Rome we were just glad to be anywhere. We got a bus to Vatican City. St. Peter’s Square was surprisingly empty. It only took us about an hour to get into the church. We climbed the 550 steps to the top of the church and the view made up for the train ride there. Rome looked big. All of the people looked small. We were up there looking at stuff for about an hour. If it had been less crowded I could have stayed up there all day.

Once we got down, we went and got pizza. Every time I eat pizza here I swear it’s the best pizza I’ve had in my life. The crust is thin and the ingredients are fresh.

We walked around Rome and got to the Colosseum. It wasn’t as big as I had thought but it was as impressive.

One of the things that I didn’t expect to happen while I was out here was to have some foreign inclination to want to cook and eat well. I have never been one to be a good cook but out here I’ve made some incredible dishes. I hardly ever eat out because I want to make my own food. I’ve made veal with a mushroom cream sauce, sausage sauces, eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, risotto, and I can’t wait to go home and start cooking. One of my only regrets coming out here were the classes that I chose, because I should have taken cooking classes and wine classes. Get a little culture in me.



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