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Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Friday, September 26, 2008

A little jaunt to Cinque Terre.. (again)

So I suppose I should be showing you photos of me pouring over the books, squirrled away in the library at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna, Italy.

It's more fun to show what one does on the weekends ... hop, skip, and a jump over to Cinque Terre. I must say, one must feel truly blessed to visit Cinque Terre, Italy two times within a year's time, on separate trips.

The windswept chics beside me are (left to right) Heather Kauffman, Yumna Madi (my housemate!), and Lauren Consky. We became friends as a study group in DC, during four weeks' Microeconomics intensive pre-term. (Along with our dear friend, Roberto Pena, who also came to Italy).

For some (odd, but delightful) reason, Johns Hopkins decided to offer this graduate program as two separate years: the first overseas, the second in DC. Why not? So here I am. Classes begin in serio, this coming week. In the mean time, we are taking 5 hours/day of italian. (The courses are in English, not Italian.)

(The fall grape harvest has begun, they make their own brand of Cinque Terre wine which is delicious)

Yumna; eating our focaccia + pesto + cappuccino + strawberries for breakfast.

We left on a Friday evening, took a train for a few hours, dropped at La Spezia, where we were supposed to take a connecting train to one of the little Cinque Terre villages (actually a campground nearby). None of the trains appeared to be moving, however. There was a strike. It seems to be a hobby of most train personnel, as I experienced the same exact problems in Florence, heading to Cinque Terre last year.

(l to r: Lauren, Yumna, Jonathan, Joe, Heather)

So, we grabbed a hotel across from the train station. There just happened to be a festival in La Spezia that weekend, with performers throwing flames and swords into the air. The next morning, the only possible way to get to the five (cinque) little villages was to take a ferry. Oooh.. how miserable is this life of mine!

Mother Nature overlooking the sea...

In the first consecutive five minutes it rained, I bought an umbrella from a guy on the street. I opened it, the wind and rain puffed on it, and up it went, all the little plastic pieces breaking. The wisest 10Euros I've invested to date. Jonathan valiantly stood in the rain trying to fix it, but when we couldn't.. and the discovered all the little shops didnt' have trash cans "for umbrellas" I (er hum) left it the street.
The seas were rough, so we couldn't make it all the way to the villages, and had to stop in Porto Venere... it was cold, with blustering busts of rain to chill us. No matter, we warmed up in a castle hovering over the village.

The two little churches capping the hilltops were full of nuns, brides, bishops and sailors ... a slightly bizzare conglomeration.

Nuns strolling down the street is a common sight in Italy ...

A bride emerging to the sounds of church bells tolling, white doves alighting in the air, and clusters of tourists and guests huddled alll about.

Heather discovered a little snail on the trains between the villages ...

The girlies splashing around in the surf ..

Photos courtesy of Lauren Consky, Jonathan Vogan, and Heather Kauffman


Blogger Erica said...

So happy to see you blogging again. Life in Italy sounds wonderful!

7:04 PM  
Blogger Najlae said...

Rachel, hadchi zouine bzzaf! bssahtek! I enjoy reading you. viva la vita grassa!

8:21 AM  
Anonymous the cinque terre said...

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4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel,

Mark Kakkuri '93 here. I'm working as a freelance writer for
Cedarville University's Inspire and would like to interview you for an article.

If you would, please contact me (kakkuri [AT] gmail [DOT] com) and we'll go from there. I tried your email addresses, but they both bounced.


Mark Kakkuri '93
for Cedarville University

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your pics look lovely. they look better on your page... ps. love the umbrella theme :)


4:17 AM  

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