Friday, 27 June 2008

Roman Retrospective

I write my final blog posting from the apple store in the King Of Prussia Mall in Philadelphia PA. Unfortunately I broke my computer during the last week in Rome, so I wasn't able to make my final blog posting while I was still in Rome. My three themes that I chose were The Colosseum, Advertising, and Fountains. While I was living in Rome, I learned so much about all of these things. I feel like each theme meant something completely different to me at the beginning of the trip compared to at the end. For instance, walking around the Colosseum was just part of my average day. I had grown accustomed to the ancient structure being a backdrop to my new home. The history that surrounds you in Rome is something that I am going to miss back here in the states. Everyday you get to learn something knew and different. Often times, things you may discover can be up to 3000 years old. Knowing this fact, gave me a distinct curiosity, about everything I was around. Immediately when I flew into Philadelphia, I was aware of American advertisements that are plastered all over the airport. It was weird being able to read what they had to say. Hearing random people walking by me speaking English was also a strange feeling for me. After grabbing a drink at a water fountain in the airport, I was immediately reminded of how much I am going to miss the Roman drinking fountains. All and all, my experience in Rome was amazing, and it lived up to every expectation I could have ever imagined. I am going to miss my time in Europe, but as true as my coin in the Trevi, i'll be back!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Final Thoughts on European Advertising

For the most part, the advertisements I've seen in Europe have been pretty much like that of the United States. They are located in a lot of the same places, and they try and sell a lot of the same things. However, there is a big difference in content. The censorship in American advertising is very strict compared to Ads I've seen throughout Europe. For example, when I was in Zurich, there were advertisements to help stop the spead of aids that had people in very promiscuous positions. They were so shocking to us that we actually stopped in the middle of the street and took pictures of them. The people around us looked at us like we were from a different planet. Immediately thought to myself that you would never see that in the States. I think one of the major themes that I have discovered while traveling though Italy, and the rest of Europe, is the overal lax mentality of most Europeans about things Americans make a big deal out of. I think a lot of the time things become a big deal in American because we make them a big deal. It is almost as if the problems we have wouldn't even be an issue if people didn't make a big deal out of them in the first place. Another example of this, is advertisements seen on Italian television. You'd never guess how sexy a woman can be when trying to sell you a chocolate bar. I do realize we use sex appeal in the States to sell things, but in Europe the advertisements are much more riskue. My final thoughts on advertisements in Europe are concluded with different ideas of sex, and how society takes them in. Those are the biggest differences I've seen between the US and Europe. I'll miss the ads i've been around over the past two months. They were definitely entertaining!

Final Thoughts on Roman Fountains

One of the major things that I am going to miss about Rome is the public fountains. In a city where everything is extremely expensive, the Roman fountains have provided a convienent method of free hyrdration. There are fountains located all over the city, and no matter where you are, you aren't far from a fresh drink. Before coming to Rome, I was under the impression that the water would be unsanitary, and you would have to buy bottled water. This pre impression couldn't have been any further from the truth. The water that I have been drinking since coming to Rome, has been the purest water i've ever drank in my life. I love that there are no chemicals added to the water that comes from the fountains. The water back home in State College doesn't even taste like water it has so many chemicals in it. Not only am I going to miss the public drinking fountains, I am also going to miss the numerous decorative fountains located all over Rome. Many of them have been in place for hundreds of years. It is impossible to escape history in this city. Visitors, and residence of Rome are reminded every day when they take a drink, that their thirst is quenched by aqueducts built thousands of years ago. This fact fascinates me when I considering the places i've lived in the States weren't even founded 300 years ago, let alone their water systems. I'll think of Rome everytime I drink tap water back home, you can be sure of it.

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Final thoughts on the Colosseum

As I wrap up my last week in Rome, I want to reflect on my experiences while viewing the Colosseum. One of my major reasons for studying abroad in Rome, was because I have always been fascinated by the ancient wonder. Ever since learnign about it in grade school I've always been in awe of the Colosseum. While I have been living in Rome, I've visited the structure many times, and everytime I see the Colosseum, it still fascinates me. To think this was built over 2000 years ago, with none of the technology we have to day absolutely boggles my mind. I've observed many little things at the site that I didn't know about before coming here. For instance, above every arched entrance, there are Roman numerals that say what section your walking under. I wasn't sure how the seating was assigned before I came here, and so far this is the best evidence that I've found that proves people were assigned to different sections. I was aware that people were located according to class, and that they had to sit in specific areas. Before coming to the site however, I wasn't sure if each section was divided into smaller sub sections. The Roman numerals above the entrances prove that there were in fact smaller sub sections. This is just one example of the many interesting things I've taken in at the Colosseum site. The stadium was so far ahead of it's time that it bewilders me. I'd give anything to go back in time, and take in the atmosphere surrounding a sold out battle. When I walk around the present day area where the colosseum sits, I can imagine some of what took place, but I'll never really know for sure what it was like. When I board the plane to go home on Friday, the first thing I'll look for if we get close to the city, is my favorite structure in Rome. The coin tossed over my shoulder at the Trevi ensures another visit, and you can bet the Colosseum will be on my itinerary.
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Lets go to Aqua Piper!

During my time in Rome there has been a distinct change in seasons. When we first got here, many mornings we needed sweatshirts, and the nights also got very cool. Over the past couple of weeks the temperature has been rising up into the 90s every day, it is safe to say summer has arrived. It seems that every tram and bus I see now has advertisements for Rome's best water park called Aqua Piper. When I first started seeing the advertisements, I had no interest in visiting the water park. Now that the weather has heated up, I see it becoming a real possibility. The crystal clear pools, and winding slides, on the ads make it very hard for me not to yearn for a day in the water. We have a free day on Thursday so a group of us might make the trip to the water park. I'll be sure to post details if this happens. Its so hot!

Walk through Piazza Del Popolo, Espagna, and Republica

On monday June 23rd, we went on one of the walks that we created last week. My group decided to do Nicole's walk that took us to three piazzas. We started our walk at Piazza Del Popolo, which is a 15 minute tram ride, and a 20 minute walk from my apartment. I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get there so I left my apartment an hour early. I was glad that our first stop on the walk was far from my apartment, however because it gave me the opportunity to explore parts of the city that I hadn't been to before. Instead of walking down Corso, I decided to take back alleys to the piazza. By the time I had gotten to our starting point I had already been walking for 30 minutes. I passed by numerous coffee shops, and churches that I had never seen before. I tried to stay in the shade as much as I could, because even though it was stlll early morning, it was already getting hot. I had already visited the first two piazzas on our walk, but this was the first time that I had been to them in the morning. The Piazza Del Espagna looked very strange to me at 9:45 AM trenched in sun with nobody sitting on the stairs. I got a whole new aspect of this tourist hot spot. After walking down the stairs we continued to the Piazza Del Republica. This was the first time that I had visited this particular spot. I had already heard a great deal about this spot in the city because when President Bush visited Rome, this was where the Italians held their anti Bush rally. I had no interest in seeing that, so when everyone was going to this particular piazza, I opted out. I was really glad I got the chance to see this piazza because one of my themes is fountains, and the fountain in the center of this piazza is very large and beautiful. The fountain is comprised of many shoots of water all spilling towards the center. I wish I could post pictures of this fountain, but unfortunately my camera broke, and I have no way to upload photos anymore. Anyways, it was a beautiful morning and a very pretty walk. It was a great way to start my last week in Rome.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Viewing Roma St. Peter's Style

The other day I walked to the top of St. Peters, and could see the whole city. It was the best view from above that anyone could ask for because the Vatican looks out into the heart of Rome. I easily spotted the some of the sites I had vsited such as the Pantheon, The Jewish Synagogue, and the Victor Emannuel "wedding cake" building. However, I was very surprised at how hard it was to see the Colosseum. It was a good thing I knew exactly where it was located, or I doubt I would have been able to see it. The outer wall was the only part of the structure that you could see. I was hopeing the find a spot in Rome that overlooked the city, where you could find a good view of the Colosseum, but unfortunately, I havn't been able to find such a place. Regardless, I am very glad that I took the time to walk up the 400 plus steps to the cupola at St. Peters. You can see for miles, with rolling hills as the backdrop for the city. It only costs 5 euros, and I'd definitely be up for doing it again.
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