March 10, 2010

Roman Holiday

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Now that I have finally perfected key phrases in Italian — how to order gelato and ask for my shoe size — it is already Spring Break and we’re traveling. I have had the most amazing two months in Rome exploring, taking classes and eating pizza, but I am definitely ready for this break.

The Cornell students abroad in Rome this semester will be dispersing the week of March 22 to Greece, Morocco, Israel, Poland, Spain, Germany, France and others. Our small computer lab at Palazzo Lazzaroni (the Cornell headquarters in central of Rome) has been flooded with architects, artists and planners looking at Hostel World and STA Travel trying to figure out last minute travel plans. I thought a lot about the endless possibilities for this break and, unfortunately, I thought a little too long about it because my  break is not fully planned yet.

The Cornell classes in Rome are not that different academically than the ones in Ithaca — lots of midterms, readings and late night studio sessions for the architects — so planning a mini Eurotrip is a lot of extra work that I would normally avoid by going home and sleeping for a week. An additional hurdle impeding my perfect break is the less-than-favorable exchange rate that has been inhibiting vast amount of  shoe shopping that I had planned.

Despite all that, I — and my friends Danny and Justine — am heading off on Friday, March 19 for a nine-day adventure in four cities, involving two planes, two trains, one boat and possibly a car. (The car is still tentative because none of us knows how to drive stick — we’re still figuring that one out.) The three of us will be going to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and London — and lots more in between — all in just nine days. How can we possibly accomplish all of that?

During one of our architecture history classes, Prof. Jeffrey Blanchard shocked us with the realization, “The more time you spend in Rome, the more you will realize how much you’re just not going to get to see.” Forget all of Europe that I want to visit, but what about Rome?

I am overwhelmed with everything that I have already seen but also with how much I still want to do. This city is made up of so many thousands of years of art and architecture that just a mere five-month visit can barely scratch the surface.

There are even too many must-go-to gelato places that we could never possibly get to — as hard as we might try. There’s just too much. After every class I have and every museum I go to, I am baffled by how fast my list of places to visit grows.

I am having the greatest time abroad in Rome, but I have realized that this cannot be the last time I am here in Italy or especially in Europe — there’s more to do! And just over a week for Spring Break? How are we supposed to do anything?? When am I supposed to learn how to drive stick? I guess we will just have to do a little — and leave more for the next time.  RLD

Original Author: Claire Moser