Tuesday, July 1, 2014

“Come si Dice ‘Gong Girl’”

         As the trip winds down and I start to think back on the first couple of days I was here in the beautiful Tuscany region, I laugh at the first impressions of friends, the worries I had coming on this trip and the memories that I made and will never forget. As sappy as that is (which is so out of character for me), I would like to think I have grown and matured a little while being in a foreign country and semi-relying on me, myself, and I. I say “semi” because if it weren’t for my friends and the professors, I would be in a ditch somewhere or in a country I couldn’t pronounce far far away. These past six weeks have made me uncomfortable, nervous, patient, and more excited and passionate to explore the world more than ever before. But I digress…
           This past week was absolutely unforgettable. To start off, we did not have a free moment to spare. Between field trips to Florence and Assisi and the final classes, it was insane. But finally on Saturday we left for the much-anticipated Verona trip where we stayed in a hotel and got to watch the opera Aida. After a little hiccup with our tickets, the gang and I finally made it to Verona and had an hour to get ready for the opera—a little hectic to say the least but we made it. My class and I walked around the city and we saw the Letters to Juliet wall. Unfortunately it was closed, but boy would I have loved to see it. I will come back! Then my professors and some of my classmates had a delicious dinner in the town square right next to the coliseum where the opera was to be performed.
            Ok, so we knew there was a chance of rain, but I like to take chances. None of us had rain jackets. We got to our seats (a little late I might add) and then oh did it pour. The opera was delayed an hour and didn’t start till about 10pm. The opening was grand, and to see how important the opera was to Italian culture was so stinkin’ cool!

My favorite part was that during the intermissions, a girl with a huge gong would come out to indicate how much time was left for people to come back to their seats. The first time would be to indicate ten minutes left, and the second to indicate five minutes. Oh how I would love that job. Can you imagine anything better than living in Italy and getting paid to be front and center and bang a huge gong? That is my dream job. Although my education might semi-go to waste…that job is ideal.

The opera ended at about 2am which made for a super late night considering a group of eight of us were waking up at 4:30 for an early train to the Dolomites. But oh, was the early morning worth it. The view even from the bus there to our quaint hotel was unbelievable. Not gonna lie, I teared up when I saw the huge mountains and the spectacular snow at the very tops of them. The peaks were kissing the clouds, and I have never seen anything so grand. There is something about seeing something so big and feeling so small that is just an indescribable and unique feeling. After getting to our hotel (one of the best I have stayed in this entire trip) and a little sprinkle, we ventured out on a trail that lead to the most spectacular view of the valley down below and the enormous mountains in front of me. Being from Texas (and College Station especially), seeing something that green is rare and is not taken lightly. The view was incredible.

After a relaxing night watching the Holland vs. Mexico game in a little restaurant and having an incredible three-course dinner, I woke up with the expectation that today would be the day I get to check paragliding off of my bucket list. Unfortunately, after getting all the way up to the mountain, we learned that it was too windy to paraglide, but it left us with most glorious view of the mountains—I’m talking unreal. All you can do when you see something like that is stand there with your jaw dropped…and then obviously take a lot of pictures.

This was my view from the top of the mountain. No filters added I swear. 

To say the Dolomites was the most incredible weekend trip to end on is an understatement. Not one city has been similar to another. Not one day has been a copy of the other. Not one memory resembles another. These past six weeks have been the most rewarding of my life. Italy, you will be missed—but since I threw a coin into the drained and fenced in Trevi Fountain, I will be back. Cin Cin! 

                                                                                                               - Piper W. 


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