I'm therefore gonna go ahead and take my return to temporal normalcy as a victory over my own mental misgivings and a sign of assimilation to at least the ebb and flow of Italian life, if not Italy itself. So getting this far feels fabulous, yeah, but now I'm a little horrified in the other direction: I have what--three-ish more months here? That's 12 more weekends. Subtract a couple for weekends I'm too poor/busy/tired to do anything but bum around Padova or the surrounding area. So let's say 9 usable weekends, plus a five day break, in which I can visit at least two locations. Time to visit 11 places outside of the Veneto. Eleven. Hell, that's not even enough to visit every region of Italy. Whatever, now I'm sounding like Goldilocks, so obviously I'm just going to have to make the most of the time I have here, whether it's too much or too little or just right.
Okay, so that's where I've been mentally--let's move on to more physical discussions, shall we? On Friday, I and my program peaced on out of Padova and visited the city of Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna. I did not take pictures because I suck, and for this I apologize. Whoops. You're just going to have to trust me and these pictures I jacked from Google that it was a gorgeous city (How unusual for Italy! #sarcasmfont) and a generally lovely day with my classmates.
|Yeah, that castle has a moat. Awesome. It was frozen when we went, though, so I dunno how much that really helped defense during the winter months...|
|The cathedral in the main piazza of Ferrara. Freaking ridiculously beautiful.|
But guys. Really guys. Pay attention to this part. The food. The food was amazing. I would take the hour train ride every day just to eat that food. I mean, yeah, food in Padova is like, you know, good. I enjoy eating it. I don't enjoy paying for it, because it's not as good as its price tag, but whatever. I thought that was the way of the world. NO. INCORRECT. That is the way only of the Veneto, and Padova particularly. This food was delicious, fresh tasting, and cheap. CHEAP, guys. Food. For cheap. Good food. For cheap. It broke my brain, perhaps permanently. My pumpkin gnocchi in Gorgonzola was kind of like biting off a little bit of heaven covered in cheese.
ANYWAYS MOVING ON (Wait, guys, did I mention I liked the food in Ferrara? Because I did), it would turn out that my Ferrarese weekend was far from over: after touring the second largest church in Italy on the most gorgeous day in Padova yet, Ariana, Mallory, and I returned to Ferrara, having been invited to the going away party of Ariana's host dad's biffle, a guy named Davide. We were promised a place to stay by Davide's fabulously exotic, breathtakingly beautiful half-Egyptian girlfriend, Elena, who I couldn't even hate for her beauty because she also might be the nicest person to ever stroll the streets of Ferrara. Throughout the night--admittedly as we continued to drink, but whatever guys, I know she meant it--she referred to us as her sisters and best American friends, and was generally hugely endearing and fun and did I mention she was pretty?
|La Basilica di San Giustina. Wait, so are gorgeous churches like a theme or something here?|
We, a group of twenty that dwindled slowly throughout the night, ended up around 3:00 AM at a discotecha after casually making the rounds of some trendy bars, and stumbled back into Elena's home at 6:00 this morning. The period from 8:00 PM, when the party officially started, to the wee morning hours was perhaps the only time in my life in which I have to admit I succumbed to peer pressure repeatedly. But guys, you don't understand. This wasn't like teen peer pressuring behind the school under the bleachers in the parking lot of our sketchy high school (That's how it happens in normal high schools, right?), this was the pressuring of an experienced forty-something man. Ariana's host dad, Alberto, is perhaps the most slyly manipulative man in the world when it comes to convincing you to drink. He does it without a word, really, steamrolling over your gentle protestations with his strong Italian insisting and insinuations that you might just be a pussy if you don't drink that wine glass full of Grey Goose--and no, guys, that's not an exaggeration. Anyways, he's a great, hilarious guy who showed us a great time and, yeah, hangs out with a group of trendy twenty-somethings, but whatever. He's just a little too young at heart. All the more power to him, I guess.
Obviously, we struggled our way back into Padova sometime this morning/afternoon/time meant nothing today, I collapsed for half the afternoon, did homework for the other half, went to eat delicious meatballs and potatoes (tres americain), Skyped with family and friends, and now need to finish my freaking homework and collapse until morning. The final week of my intensive language program awaits me bright and early tomorrow morning, and I plan to face it bright eyed and bushy tailed! (Wait, guys, did I just say that? Is that a thing? Whatever, I'm too lazy to erase it and think of something else. I'm tired; sorry I'm not sorry I suck at ending this enormous post.)