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Europe the summer of 2013


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Photos and description of Tom DiNapoli's month of study in Bologna, Italy May-June 2013.

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Europe the summer of 2013

  1. 1. From Bologna to Edinburgh with stops in London, Bath, the Cotswolds, Oxford, Nottingham, & the Lake District Part I: Italy
  2. 2. Plans for a trip to Europe  With Ben studying in England for his junior year, Robin and Tom had decided to fly over to travel around England with him in June. Tom then learned that classes in Nottingham ended about a month later than those at LSU, so he decided to fly over as soon as his exams were finished in order to study Italian in Italy for a month. In November he began looking for schools and decided on one in Bologna – ARCA. He then began to look for lodging and found it at the B&B Cristina Rossi, in the heart of the city. Since he was staying an entire month, the owner gave him the low- season rate, which turned out to be a bargain!
  3. 3. B & B Cristina Rossi  Ben D  Athens, Georgia, United States  “Amazing Value In City Center”  Reviewed June 16, 2013  First off- please disregard all old reviews, most of the poor ratings are not current (at least two years old). My family stayed here for five weeks and we absolutely loved everything: Cristina is such a welcoming and generous person, the location is right in the center of town, and the rooms (we stayed in three different rooms over the course of the five weeks) are all clean and comfortable. The charming atmosphere really made the b&b stand out for us- this is literally the home of Cristina, her husband, and two daughters, and while you might not see them much, they all were friendly and hospitable. Most of the complaints from old reviews seem to be about the same things, namely breakfast, family mementos on the walls, and her two cats, but we found the breakfast was very substantial and varied, the family pictures really made the b&b cozy and homelike, and the cats were rarely around (they were often confined to her private room). Basically, the location could not be better and Cristina was the perfect hostess, always willing to help us feel at home (in her home!). If you're in Bologna for any amount of time, you'll not be disappointed if you choose to stay here!  Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
  4. 4. Ben’s Arrival  Ben arrived from England on June 1st , having left Nottingham late at night by bus in order to make it to the airport for an early morning departure. Once in Bologna, he walked from the train station to the B&B where we’d be staying until Robin’s arrival a week later on June 9th.
  5. 5. Tom’s single, Tom & Ben’s double, & Tom, Ben, & Robin’s “suite”: with Ben & Robin’s arrival the circle was complete!
  6. 6. View from Tom’s Room
  7. 7. Staircases leading from rooms to breakfast area & out to the street
  8. 8. “The Suite”
  9. 9. ARCA  Arca was one of the first schools in Bologna to teach Italian to foreigners and is now well-established in its field. Courses started every Monday and included cultural and social activities. This meant that from one week to the next, the make-up of the classes changed, depending on who’d left the previous Friday and who started that Monday. One week Tom and Robert(0), a retired educator from Scotland, were the only two students in class. Classes were four hours a day, five days a week. They ran from 9-11, from 11-12 at a nearby café, then again from 12-1 at the school.  The other three weeks Tom ‘s class normally had between 6-8 students, who came from all over the world: Sweden, Argentina, Holland, Norway, Korea, China, Japan, Germany, Scotland, England, Australia, and the United States. One student from the US had in fact graduated from Providence College and was teaching English in Bologna.
  10. 10. ARCA’s location and Tom’s routine  The school was located about a 15 minute walk from the b&b. Tom would have breakfast at 8 and leave around 8:35-8:40 for the school. Classes started at 9 and ran for 2 hours, before the entire school took an hour break, during which most of the students and instructors walked down to a small café in Piazza St. Stafano, about 5 minutes away for coffee & conversation. Everyone would return to the school to resume class from noon to 1 o’clock, after which Tom would go to lunch followed usually by a nap.
  11. 11. ARCA: Staff
  12. 12. Tom’s Teacher: Andrea Bernardoni
  13. 13. Mid-Morning Break at the Café
  14. 14. Vicola Posterla: ARCA’s Home, on the left hand side by the motor scooters By the end of the month, Tom had gone from B2 ‘intermediate” to C1 “advanced” and felt he could now order pizza & chianti any- where in Italy with near-native authority. 
  15. 15. Tom’s Certificate 
  16. 16. Piazza San Stefano
  17. 17. Tom, Ben, & Robin in & around town
  18. 18. Robin in Piazza Maggiore
  19. 19. Trattoria Anna Maria
  20. 20. Dinner at Anna Maria’s
  21. 21. Anna Maria: Running the Show!
  22. 22. Arca Excursion to Ferrara  Ferrara is only about half an hour from Bologna. About a dozen students went along for the day, including Ben and Tom. The cathedral was magnificent, lunch in one of Italy’s oldest bars, Al Brindisi*, even better! The pasta they tried was similar to tortelloni filled with pumpkin – a specialty of the region. * “Al brindisi” is also used as a informal toast.
  23. 23. The Cathedral
  24. 24. Al Brindisi Ferrara is a city of wine bars, beginning with this one—allegedly Europe's oldest—which opened in 1435. Copernicus drank here while a student in the late 1400s, and the place still has a somewhat undergraduate aura. Most of the staff and clientele are twenty-somethings. Dusty wine bottles line the walls, and there are wooden booths in another small room for those who want to eat while they drink. A young staff pours terrific wines by the glass, and offers three different sauces (butter- and-sage, tomato, or ragu) with its cappellacci di zucca. Tom & Ben’s waiter told them he was originally from Naples and when Tom told him his name, the man was so pleased to hear it, that he jokingly said he was probably a distant cousin! He then just left the bottle of wine on the table to have as much as we wished, charging us only for the original two glasses we’d ordered!
  25. 25. Tom & Ben at “Al Brindisi”, having ordered the “cappellacci di zucca”
  26. 26. Something fishy in Bologna
  27. 27. Flowers, flowers everywhere!
  28. 28. One of the oldest porticos in medieval Bologna
  29. 29. Bologna street scene with one of its two famous towers in the background
  30. 30. Frescoes in Palazzo dell’Aarchiginnasio
  31. 31. Frescoed ceiling of one of Bologna’s many porticoed streets
  32. 32. Departure Tom, Robin, & Ben took a taxi at about 5 a.m. to the airport. Things went downhill from there! 1st: our 2 previously checked bags on Ryan Air were over the wt. limit & so we had to pay roughly $80 more to ship them; 2nd: at the departure gate Robin’s carry-on was too big, so that cost us some more money; 3rd a fight almost broke out between a very big English speaking guy and a smallish Italian speaker. Both were cussing in their respective languages and airport security was nearly called before things settled down. (Tom, who after a month in Bologna felt more confident than ever about his Italian, was even about to offer to translate!  – though, as it turns out, that wasn’t at all necessary, seeing that both men seemed to understand one another perfectly despite the differences in language). Customs in England went fairly smoothly and before we knew it we were off on the train into London.
  33. 33. Stansted Airport into London and beyond (>Part 2)