Archive for the ‘Kate in Rome’ Category


Kate: Ciao, Roma

July 25, 2009

On Wednesday we did our Made in Italy presentations and then took our final. We were so thankful to be done! Wednesday evening was spent out for our group dinner and I was lucky enough to sit at the end of the table with Tim Gunn. He told us about one of the small Italian villages he lived in when he first moved Italy. He talked about how Italians will never decorate the outside of their houses because they want the glory all to themselves and will decorate the inside. When he moved to this town he bought a small house with a pathway to the church. He remodeled the house and bought all new furniture, and kept one wall exposed with the beautiful 15th century stone it was made from. Anyway when people would visit his house they would say things like “Are you going to finish this wall?” and “Do you like this furniture?” to which Tim Gunn said, “no, I just bought the furniture for the hell of it, yes I liked the furniture!” So then he told us about he purchased an olive tree for the Piazza in which there was a fountain that hadn’t had water running in it for over 30 years. He said old people used to sit on the stone wall and stare at each other because the fountain was so ugly they didn’t look at it. After he had the Piazza cleaned up all the townspeople said it was their idea and had told the mayor years ago to re-landscape it. Needless to say, dinner with Tim Gunn was fabulous.

After dinner the roommates stopped at the Trevi fountain to throw a coin in. We took pictures and enjoyed watching all the interesting people there. Clare and I are pretty sure some Spanish woman took of a video of the two of us talking to one another because she had the camera pointed directly at my face. That will make for an interesting vacation video.

On Thursday we took the train down to Ascea. Micah and I played gin. I lost. I have decided Micah is not a person I want to play gin with for a while. In Ascea we met up with the rest of the group, who all took earlier trains and yet our apartment beat everyone to the beach-that’s right, we have mad skill. We frolicked in the water and then went to the residence to get ready for the night. We discovered we had no hairdryer and 9 girls with very wet hair. Also the power kept going out. We would be trying to put on makeup or do someone’s hair and suddenly there would be no power. Our entire group improvised, but Micah was the winner. Not only did he go on a trip with 9 girls but he also showered and got read, sans contacts, in 4 minutes. I timed him.

The Fashion show in Ascea was super fun. I really liked the designers and was impressed by their talent. These students were between the ages of 19-24, it was very impressive. After the show Gianni turned on Salsa music and we all danced on the beach under the stars. As a group we ran through the water and enjoyed our last night together. We hung out with the models who were very excited to hear we had facebook. On the way home all 10 of us piled in the back of Gianni’s truck, as in the truck bed, and drove back to the hotel. The night had a warm wind and the stars were shining as we rode under a clear midnight sky. It was the perfect ending to our trip.

Friday was spent in the sunshine and saying goodbye to Fabiana, which could be the most difficult thing I have done on this trip. We took the train back to Rome, and had our own couchette. After losing another game of gin to Micah we discovered we could make our couchette into one large bed. It was really fun until some random guy decided to come sit in our couchette. At home we have been cleaning and packing. I sit writing this blog on my bed as the floors dry. We leave for the airport in a few hours and then are off to London. The group flight left a few hours ago and the rest of us are all off going our separate ways.

So from my European adventures what do I recommend? What do I wish I would have done differently


  1. Ascea and La Poseidonia beach club
  2. Castello Banfi and Florence
  3. The Frigidarium near Piazza Nuvono in Rome
  4. Salzburg
  5. Prague, and climb up the Astronomical Clock Tower
  6. The Cathedral in Koln
  7. Jersey Boys in London
  8. Trier, Germany. Everything is idyllic
  9. Saint Chapelle in Paris
  10. Our little pizza place next to the Pantheon
  11. Schonbrunn
  12. Versailles

And what would I change?

  1. Italian Regional Trains- just don’t do it.
  2. Frankfurt
  3. Hotel Europa- Frankfurt. Primitive Bathrooms as I believe Clare put it
  4. Living on the 5th floor of an apartment building in Rome with no air conditioning, but it was worth it
  5. the 64 bus at 8:15 in the morning. You will never feel that close to strangers ever again
  6. Culture, Society and Ethics in Modern Italy
  7. The B Line, ok really no metro system is close to The Tube. MIND THE GAP

And that’s all I have for you, but really this trip was everything I could have wished for and more.


Kate: Let’s play catchup

July 21, 2009

It has been such a long time since I have updated the blog. Since I last left off we have done a plethora of things.

On the 11th Clare and I accompanied her Mom, Dad and brother, Ross, on a 13, even though it turned into about 15.5 hour excursion to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Pompeii was spectacular and I was very excited to see Vesuvius. After Pompeii we drove through the mountains and down to the water on the Amalfi Coast. Little did Clare and I know we would take a boat to the town of Amalfi. Putting two girls who are prone to seasickness on a boat unaware is not always the best idea. But never fear, we survived. The ride back to Rome was a little more difficult though. The three girls who shared our car, driven by our driver Mo (or Don Fabrizio as Clare and I lovingly called him) decided to sing as loud as they could to the cds Mo played. I did not appreciate their singing and Clare did not appreciate the music. It was quite the combination. Anyway 12 hours turned into 15.5 because the three girls were constantly late for all the meeting points, and the Euro-trash mom in the other car decided to get motion sick and vomit. I still don’t understand why our perfectly healthy van had to wait for her, but all in all, it was a great day.

That Sunday Clare and I refused to move except to apply aloe. Our day of rest was much needed.

So since that point what have we done? Well our group did another pub crawl. I have never seen such a large group of people wearing matching t-shirts. I believe we had a school group from Spain with us, I know this because they sang in a large group different Spanish football songs and cheers. There were points in the night where I thought the group was going to get in trouble due to the amount of noise outside of the bars. In Rome you are not supposed to make noise really after 10 pm so I don’t think the residents of the various neighborhoods appreciated it.

We have been working on our marketing project and term papers and studying for our finals like crazy. I don’t believe I did anything remotely worth talking about this past weekend because I was writing. Well I did two fun things in the last 11 days worth writing about.

We saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It was wonderful. After the first viewing we were very critical of the choices of story material and after the second viewing (in leu of writing our papers) we found it to be hilarious. I recommend seeing it. However if you have not seen the previous 5 movies, now is not the time to start. There is too much information missing and you would be dreadfully lost. I’m sorry if I’m the bearer of bad news.

And now here we are, refusing to study for our finals. Clare announced around 7 pm she was not going to study and simply started to watch The Dark Knight. Whatever gets you through the day.

And now I leave you. You will most likely get another update in a few days, perhaps at the end of the trip. Until then, ciao ciao. Baci Baci!


Kate: I got rocked by the Mediterranean

July 17, 2009

dsc01403On the 9th and 10th we went to Ascea which is in Southern Italy. It is about an hour south of Naples. We went with our marketing professor, Fabiana. We went to Ascea with the intent of seeing her company, Combust, but instead ended up spending the entire time at the beach club opened last year by her associate Gianni. I am quite alright with the decision made because the Mediterranean trumps pretty much everything else on a sunny day.

We arrived in Ascea and then watched the sun set. It was gorgeous, but no there was no green flash like in the Caymans. After resting at the hotel until 11 p.m. we went back and had dinner at the club. The head chef sang to us and we enjoyed watching the stars while on the beach. We had coffee before bed, I don’t really understand why they do that either, never fear. Sara was concerned that she wouldn’t like the coffee so the waiter brought over the largest cup of coffee he could find. The majority of the workers stopped over at some point and laughed because of the huge mug sitting in front of Sara.

dsc03894The next day we were greeted with a specialty coffee Gianni has made for the beach club. We laid in the sun for the entire day. Clare experienced the ocean for the very first time in her life and it took a little while but she eventually beat the waves. The trick is not to jump into the wave because you will lose. Once everyone left the beach we went back in the water to discover the tide was coming in. I was knocked over by a wave, regained my balance and then was knocked over again. I look like Cousin It from Adams Family. I wasn’t too concerned thinking it was just the three of us on the beach, little did I know some Italian men had just gotten to the beach and found the whole situation pretty entertaining. So moral of the day: do not challenge the waves, you will lose.

In the words of Clare, “I got rocked by the Mediterranean.”

Back in Rome we refused to move because we were just too tired.


Kate: An Italian 4th of July

July 12, 2009

Another week has passed and it is amazing how time flies. Our time in Rome is slowly winding down but I feel like we only arrived here the other day. This coming week is going to be pretty exciting with a plethora of visitors from America arriving. Clare’s family is coming which means Ross is going to get to experience our favorite professor, Overton, as well as two other girls have friends arriving. This has potential to be a fabulous week. We also have a birthday to celebrate, our dear Micah turns 21 on Wednesday. Everyone is required to celebrate his birthday, Sara claims she will be taking attendance.

So what have we accomplished in the past week? Well almost half of the group was taken out by various ailments. We all survived, never fear, but Italians believe the answer to any ailment is aspirin. We celebrated the 4th of July by having the best American Style Cookout possible. Micah was happy to grill burgers at the other apartment and we made a fabulous fruit salad, along with chocolate chip cookies. I can honestly tell you that the fruit here has not impressed me as much as I thought it would. The strawberries in Vienna were better, but that is neither here nor there. After the picnic we played charades. Micah purposely separated Sara, Clare and myself during the game, and funny thing is: My team won. That’s right, I was able to guess on my team and steal from the opposite team so Micah’s plan failed.

This coming week is going to be jam packed, so I will update you when I can


Kate: Just Don’t Push Me Out the Window

July 2, 2009

dsc01204This past weekend we traveled to Tuscany to the Castello Bamfi winery and then on to Florence for a long weekend. Monday 29 June was a holiday in Rome so we were able to have quite a fun weekend in Tuscany. Castello Bamfi was started by two Italian Brothers from New Jersey and is now one of the most popular and awarded wines in the world. The winery has over 700 hecacres and includes a luxury hotel and 2 different resaurants. We took a tour of the grounds, which included a castle, and then did a wine tasting before going into the plant where everything is manufactured. Castello Bamfi easily has the largest wine cellar I have ever seen.

Then we took the train from Bamfi to Florence. The train was extremely busy but we were able to find a couchette. As we traveled the rain was pouring down and we decided this was much like if we were to travel to Hogworts on the Hogworts express. Sara, Clare, and Kati acted this out. It helped make the trip go faster. Just so everyone knows, Italian trains are vastly different from German trains.

Our hotel, Hotel California, no I did not pick it out, Micah did, was located only 2 blocks from the Duomo and is highly recommended by our group.  That is unless you want to use their wireless internet which does not work very well. I have never seen a man so protective of his wireless internet and unwilling to admit his wireless method may not be the most effective, but that is a story for a rainy day. Speaking of rainy days, we had 1 rainy day in Florence, but it worked out quite well because we dubbed the hour of rain nap time. We started Saturday by attending the leather market and then walking along the river and over the bridge. We saw the fake David, and the place where David was originally. We stopped at Salvatore Feraggamo and I bought my shoes and then went to a leather store Micah loves. Micah bought a new wallet, with his initials custom printed in gold leaf and a leather jacket. The next day Sara bought a leather jacket there and both of them look amazing in their jackets. There really is no better place to buy leather than in Florence. Saturday afternoon Clare, Micah, and I went to the baptistry which was beautiful and quite ornate for only one family using it. The funny thing about the baptistry is that the ceiling is beautiful in gold leaf and tells different stories from the Bible but the actual Baptistry fountain is not very large or decorated, and blends in with the walls. I almost didn’t notice it on the way out.  And then there are the beautiful gold doors that have parts of the Old Testament on them. Clare was determined to take a picture by the doors. So determined we stopped by at 2 a.m. so no one would be near them or running in the pictures.

Saturday night was spent at some Space Club which included 2 dance floors and karaoke. Sara and I sang “Don’t Stop Me Now” even though it is not a karaoke song. They didn’t have Under Pressure so we chose a different Freddie Mercury creation. Micah and Kati attempted to sing “The Way You Make Me Feel” but dropped out in the middle and handed the microphones to Sara and myself, who did our best MJ renditions. Read the rest of this entry ?


Kate: Do You See What I’m Saying?

June 25, 2009

First and foremost Clare and I made friends with the kitties. We stopped at Largo Argentina and went into the kitty adoption agency to meet all the nice kitties. One cat, Zucre, is all white and is a skin cancer survivor. He is not allowed to go outside anymore because he likes to lay in the sun, which is the root of all his problems. All the kitties are wonderful and just want to be loved.  The adoption agency at Largo Argentina is a great program which runs solely on donations.  The place is not even hooked up to the plumbing for Rome but does have running water. The point is, if you are even in Rome and able to support the Kittie Sanctuary, please do.

We have officially had our very first dinner party. Last night our apartment hosted the other apartment and we had 9 girls in total. The dinner party consisted of homemade pizza and fresh bread with olive oil and oregano.  It was a great night.

This week has been very exciting thus far, not just because of our dinner party! On Tuesday for our Made in Italy class a representative from iGreco Olive Oil spoke to our class. He is one of 7 brothers who helped to create the company. iGreco is the olive oil that has won the most awards in the world. The Minister of Agriculture for Italy sent a congratualtory basket to President Obama when he entered the White House and it included iGreco oil. One thing that makes iGreco so interesting is they chose to use a completely different product placement and branding by placing their olive oil with wine and spirits as opposed to placing it among food. The representative was very excited to be with us and even had pictures taken with us after the presentation which are going to be featured in an article about iGreco for some Italian magazine. Supposedly we are going to be sent copies of the magazine, the problem is most of us have no background in Italian…

Our other class, with my favorite Professor Gary Overton Smith, yes his middle name is Overton, is still interesting.  We read the book The Leopard, let me rephrase that, we speed read The Leopard. It is an interesting book. The end of it has to do with the princess throwing her deceased stuffed dog out the window, and suddenly she feels as though all her pain has left her. Also he continues to direct all questions at Sara and myself. We discussed love today, romantic love versus arranged marriages.  I have decided if arranged marriages were still popular in the United States I would be quite the catch because I am very domestic, according to my roommates. And according to Gary age is one of the most important factors in marriage.

Two girls in the other apartment have recently developed bug bites.  They are not mosquitos and have baffled the Italian doctors.  The girls believe they either have spider bites or bed bugs.  They went to the doctor today, who spoke almost no English and told the girls they had bug bites. When they told him they knew that, the doctor drew a picture of an ant and said “This, is a big bug” then drew a line and said, ‘This is a little bug” he alluded to the fact the girls need to be watchful of the ants. Jenna and Alex have decided to sleep on the floor and catch the bed bugs in the dark of the night.  I’ll report back on how that one turns out.


Kate: Represent the Homeland: Bank-o-mat

June 20, 2009

Our days in Rome seem to be flying by. Every day is filled with a gelato treat, learning and laughter.  Our apartment gets along very well and we are generally always together—yet we are not sick of one another. They somehow managed to make a great pairing. If we do not go out to dinner as a group we make dinner together and enjoy watching the sun set on Rome.

Our classes have been going quite well, that’s right, all five of us are in the same classes. We are all enjoying Made in Italy, a marketing course, and are all not enjoying Culture and Identity in Modern Italy. Our first presentation for marketing was from the head of marketing in Asia for Feragammo shoes. We are sure the speaker was giving the presentation solely to me, this could be because I was the most excited. We also found out we are going to be able to attend Rome Fashion Week for class. This is basically a dream come true for me. I love getting up early on Tuesday and Thursday to get to class!

Our other class is not going as well. We are not really sure what our professor is trying to teach us mainly because we don’t think he knows what he wants to teach us. Lately we have been learning about crops and geography. It is an interesting course, that is for sure. He also picks one person per day to ask all his questions to. Wednesday was Sara, Thursday was me. We’ll see who Monday is.

Today we took our first day trip and went to Orvieto. Our tour guide’s name was Inga and she was very excited about the ruins and panels in the churches. The Cathedral in Orvieto has a chapel dedicated to the judgement day and includes a Fresco of the Antichrist. It is very interesting. Other than that she made us walk in the pouring rain and walk through ruins where families used to raise pigeons.

Our lunch break in Orvieto was probably the most drama filled lunch of the trip. Eight of us were sitting in the back of a restaurant when about 12 Italian men walked in.  They sat down at the surrounding tables and started talking loudly and taking many pictures. Turns out, thanks to Micah’s amazing watchfulness, the men were taking pictures of all the girls. During lunch they even slipped a business card into Sara’s purse that said ” You are very beautiful” and left their phone numbers and drew a heart. Apparently the men had been done for 20+minutes and only left once we left.  Unfortunately I had to go back in to the restaurant to grab my scarf and enjoyed an applause by the men. I did not like it.  Afterwards we all bought chocolate.

Tonight was homemade pizza with fresh mozzerella and it turned out quite well regardless of the lack of King Arthur Flour.  I think for me to move to Europe I would need a regular supplier of King Arthur Flour and Penzy’s Spices. Blame that on my mother, she raised me this way.


Kate: When in Rome

June 17, 2009

Kate with friends in Rome

We  have officially arrived in Rome and are enjoying every moment. At first our hotel seemed like drywall added to a carriage house, and honestly never really got any better. But our apartment is amazing. We live in an apartment in the Monti neighborhood on the 4th floor, yes, that means we climb over 4 flights of stairs everyday to get back in. Exhausting, especially in this heat, but we will all have rock solid calves. We live with 2 other people, Katharine and Micah. Our apartment happens to have secret lofts and doors leading to no where. It is quite exciting.  All five of us are having quite the good time and doing our best to deal with the heat.

Our first few days were spent with our entire Minnesota group at the Accent center—that is where we are studying. The center is in Piazza del’Orologio which is next door to where the external apartment shots for Roman Holiday were done. Sara and I were very excited because who doesn’t love Cary Grant?  The center spent days taking us around Rome on walking tours and giving us four course meals. We have become pros at ordering coffee and know not to put any cheese on a pasta dish that involves fish.

dsc01052Thus far we have seen the Jewish quarter, the ruins where the cats live near Piazza Argentina (more on that later), the Trevi Fountain, the Art Hotel, The Arapaches, The Pantheon, we have walked all over Via Nazionale, Via Cavour and tried many different gelato flavors. Did I mention I live just blocks away from the Colosseum? Piazza Argentina has ruins that many kitties live in. Clare and I like to walk over there and look at them. The kitties lay in the sun during the hottest hours of the day, otherwise it is basically a very large jungle gym for cats. In Rome any person who hurts or kills a cat can face anywhere between a 10,000 Euro fine and 18 months to 3 years in jail. There is a group of people who go around and feed the stray cats in the neighborhoods. All the kitties Clare and I have seen on the street are Roman Grizabellas. I think they simply need a hug and a bath to be fluffed up. I wanted to adopt a kitty for my stay in Rome but Micah vetoed that.

We went to the beach on Sunday and classes started on Monday. It is amazing to me the type of swimwear people openly wear to the beach. It is almost to the point where I don’t understand why people don’t frequent a nude beach because their swimsuit is not much better. Also I have never seen a beach more crowded than Ostio. It took us around 20 minutes just to find a stretch of sand to put our towels down on. We have learned it is worth it to purchase a lounge chair in the private stretch of beaches because there are not nearly as many people. So word of advice, rent a car and choose a beach on the coast that does not have public transportation go to it, or rent a private chair.

That is all I have for you now, but there will be another update soon about classes and what else we have gotten ourselves into.


Kate: 26.5 Pounds

May 17, 2009

I leave for Chicago in roughly 14 hours and have finally finished packing. It had gotten to the point where my Mom was taking things away from me. I had to barter 3 shirts for a dress.  Simplicity is not my thing. I guess being prepared far in advance also isn’t my thing seeing as I almost packed a pair of pants to take to Europe that I would have to get hemmed there. I mean they have seamstresses, I could just go to Milan and have my pants hemmed. Those got taken away too…….

The big question is, who is going to have the lightest bag? My bet is either Sara or myself. It all depends on what she decides to take.  But when you love items you want them to come along. The problem is we are going to Europe, we will find twice as many items we love and then how will be bring all of that home?

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