Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Re-Cap of My Seven Weeks Here in Roma

It has come to the end of my trip through Europe and my blogs will soon end. For anyone that has read them I hope you enjoyed hearing about my experiences and the new things I have learned and hopefully you have learned some new things too. If this is your first time reading my blog, I am going to show a retrospective view of my major themes and places. One of my themes started out as pasta and I introduced you to some new Italian pasta dishes as well as different types of pasta. Towards the middle of my trip I expanded my pasta theme to different international delicacies of different countries I visited. I brought you to Spain with paella, and France with escargot, and London with fish and chips.
Another one of my themes was fashion. Here I started out pointing out some of the differences I have seen while walking around Rome. I also introduced you to some stores here in Rome that were very popular and well known. As I started traveling I expanded my fashion to some of the different cities I visited. I showed you the high class couture in Paris, and the creative self expression in London.
Lastly the place I focused on was the Trevi Fountain. I let you in on some of it’s history, as well as the traditions that go along with it. After my travels I helped you experience the different fountains in different cities like the Magic Fountain in Spain and the fountain in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.Hopefully you have been interested and entertained by my blogs, and the themes and places I have explained have given you an look into the Italian and European culture.

The Fountains of Lonon

While in London I took notice to the fountains they had. Just by looking at them many look similar to fountains in Rome and the other cities I have visited. One difference is on a couple there is writing and it’s in English so I can finally understand what they say. Many of the fountains I took pictures of because they were pretty but I didn’t really know if they were important or what their significance was. My favorite fountain was in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. When I got home I did some research and found out its significance. This fountain is the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. It is a relatively new fountain built in 1893 to commemorate Lord Shaftesbury, a philanthropist known for his support of the poor. The nude statue on top of the fountain depicts the Angel of Christian Charity.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fish and Chips

Since my blogs have expanded to a wider range of food in general rather than just pasta, you have been able to see all of the different food from each country that they are pretty much known for. This weekend when I went to London, I knew that fish and chips, was their famous food choice. My friends who I was visiting have been living there for about five weeks now and advised us to get this meal for a cheap lunch from one of the vendors around the London Tower. This was a great decision, because the meal included a huge piece of fried cod, and large serving of chips, which are thick French fries. Although, I have heard of fish and chips in the US everyone says it’s just not the same until you have them in England. This is totally true. It must be the kind of batter they use and they way they fry the fish, because it was so tasty for anyone’s budget. You have to try vinegar and salt as well which really brings it all together. I can’t wait to try some fish and chips at home and see how it really compares.

Creative Fashion in London

Where do I even begin with the fashion in London. As you have seen in my previous blogs I have mentioned fashion here in Rome, as well as Paris, and now London. Many think of Paris as the center of fashion, but after visiting London this weekend I now know the difference and have made my own decision on what is my favorite. Paris is more of just a high end, classy, couture fashion area. London on the other hand is home of the creative, self-expression area of fashion. I really enjoyed seeing this area of stores I have never seen or heard of before. The way people dress there on the street is also really different and so fun to look at. There is one area of London I visited called Camdentown. This is an area of vintage shops, and cheaper outdoor markets of some of the trendiest styles and clothes available. To me that is what fashion should be about, not necessarily the most expensive, but what makes you feel good and happy. That mentality is precisely how the people in London look at getting dressed in the morning. Camdentown reminded me a lot of South Street in Philadelphia times ten in craziness and business. If you ever visit London, and fashion is on your things to experience, make sure you visit Camdentown, and it’s not only for fashion lovers, anyone who wants to see something different this is a place to see.

The Botanical Gardens

After everyone in the class researched different places to see in Rome that we have not been yet, there was a long list of places I realized I wanted to check out. One place really hit my eye even more than the place I picked myself. This was the botanical gardens. A couple other girls felt the same way I did and we all planned a trip there. It was about a 30 minute walk from our place in Trastevere, but was a nice walk through a part of the city we had not been yet. When we got there we were surprised in good and bad ways. There were some really beautiful tropical different plants there. The one thing we realized was many of the flowers were not in bloom, or already bloomed and were now dead because it was summer. We did see some beautiful roses, and there were many gigantic green leafy plants everywhere that I have never seen before. One really cool spot was in a greenhouse we stumbled upon. It was a couple rows of almost never ending cacti. All different kinds, they were fuzzy, or prickly, some shaped like flowers, some shaped like snakes. It was very cool to see so many different kinds. I would recommend a visit to this place because it is a nice break from the city and very beautiful even if all of the flowers are not in bloom. It was a good place to get some exercise in as well, with walking up the hills to the top and such. When we did walk up to the top we found a beautiful view of the city over the garden.

Our Own Walk through Roma

After everyone in the class described their walk through different parts of Rome, we decided to choose one from our group to actually take the tour. We chose Nicole DiMeglio’s which started at Piazza del Popolo, then went to Piazza di Spagna, then Piazza del Barberini, then ended at Piazza del Repubblica. It was a really great walk because this part of town is not one that I get to frequent very often. All of these Piazza’s are very large, and have very significant aspects to them. On the way from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza del Spagna we were stopped by a man in black on the street. We then saw a speeding car with a camera attached to the back speed around the corner. We found out that was another area of filming for the movie Angels and Deomons starring Tom Hanks. It was really cool to see that happen because, that was just part of another regular day in Rome walking the city. I especially like Piazza del Popolo the best because it is a very large Piazza. In the center there is a large fountain with a very tall obelisk in the middle. Other than the fountain there is nothing else in the middle only the surround churches on the outside. I like the open space and the fountain was very refreshing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What Are These Fountains all About?

All three of these fountains are a great way to get your first taste of Rome. The first fountain, The Pantheon Fountain is the least important fountain but definitely a great sight. This fountain is the central part of the Piazza della Rotunda and really makes the piazza come alive. The fountain is round with interesting faces on the statues with water spitting out of their mouths. In the middle there is a semi-tall obelisk. When you walk through you will see many people gathered around the fountain taking pictures and sitting around admiring the entrance to the Pantheon. This fountain was originally drawn up without a specific location in mind and eventually ended up in the Piazza della Rotonda. One of different aspects of this fountain is that on the side facing the Pantheon there are five steps and only two on the opposite side. This is due to the fact that there is uneven ground and when constructing this fountain the creator did not know if would be placed in this area.

The next fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. There is an Egyptian obelisk designed by Bernini in the middle. This fountain in English means the fountain of the four rivers. Each of the figures on the fountain represent a river from a different continent, the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio della Plata. This fountain is one of the most famous in Rome and is situated in one of the most well known Piazza’s in Italy. For this reason alone it is a great spot to visit. You will find a lot of entertainment and artists in this area adding to the ambiance of this amazing site.

Our final destination is The Trevi Fountain. I saved this for last because The Trevi Fountain is unlike any fountain you have ever seen before. The Trevi was originally used as the end of an aqueduct and also could be used as a drinking fountain. It is the largest running water structure in Rome. Now a days I would not recommend to drink from it but it does look refreshing on a hot day. There is a fun tradition to throw a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain and it will guarantee a trip back to Rome someday. Hopefully you enjoy this final destination, and if you wanted you could even do this walk at night and see these fountains all lit up under the moon on a nice night.