January 08, 2009

Exploring the city

Today, we explored the city all day. Lindsey and I woke up late (we slept in a bit to catch up on the loss of last night's sleep) and went with Derrick down the hill a little bit before lunch. We had to be back at 13:00 (7:00am EST) for lunch, so we didn't venture out too far. We snapped a few photos and found a nifty shortcut back up the hill to the villa. Well, I say "hill", it is actually a mountain. Genoa is a major port city for the Mediterranean Sea and is nested on the sea-facing side of a mountain. Practically the entire city is navigated via steep steps, cobblestone streets, and plenty of switchbacks. The villa is located is the Castelletto region/neighborhood/area (I'm not sure which yet). It gets its name from the unusual amount of castles that still exist all over the hillside (this information is compliments of the friendly cab driver who dropped us off from the airport). The Castelletto area is especially steep because it is located so far back from the water (and likewise, so far up the mountain-side). I'll post more information soon about the history of Genoa for all of the history buffs out there...

At lunch, we were served a fantastic pasta with salad, fresh bread, and green beans. It was all very good, and I can tell that I am going to like the food while I am here. After lunch I played a little ping-pong (we have a ping-pong table, but no TV) with Derrick and Kyle. Then, all 14 of us (there are 17 total, but as of that time, three had not yet arrived) went on a hike towards the water. We passed through some outstanding shopping areas, which we plan to go back to later when we aren't so curiously (and quickly) walking through the pedestrian streets (yes, Europe has tons of streets that allow only pedestrians to walk on them, isn't that great? It's a good way to stay in shape, and probably safer too). This took all afternoon and we came back to the villa around 17:30pm. A group of us hung out in the studio until supper and talked (basically, getting to know each other a bit). Derrick made friends with Angela (the cook) earlier in the morning and, because she has a huge crush on him (not really), she had already showed him how to heat up the supper she had cooked for us before she left for the day. He fixed dinner at around 18:30 and we all sat around a table for 3 or 4 hours eating and talking about all kinds of things. I really like everyone that is over here this semester, and it looks like we might get by with another (relatively) drama free studio (cross your fingers). I'll add some pictures from the trek into the city today when I get them transferred from my camera.

**UPDATE**20080110**Derrick snapped a cool shot of Lindsey and me walking down one of the small streets in the shopping area: here's the link**UPDATE**

After cleaning up the dining room and kitchen, we all have been lounging around the studio talking to friends and family on webcams, eMailing home, blogging, etc. Our orientation is tomorrow and then classes start after this weekend. I'll keep you informed...

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