Sunday, 30 September 2012

A soft place to land and a room with a view...

Kristi was right!  Orvieto was a soft place to land.
I didn't realise the silent stress I was walking around with, that came with being in a big city and traveling.  Coming to Orvieto was in many ways like coming home... It was contained.  It was safe.  It was gentle.  And it was soooo exciting arriving.  We were finally here...  All our months of dreaming out loud.  All our months of saving and planning... we were, at last, here!!  I could hardly contain my excitement and as Jenny and I got closer to the Monastery, San Lodovico - it felt like we almost ran through the doors.  We were welcomed by Bill who took us up to our rooms.

Omygoodness...My room with a view!
I got to wake up to this every morning for the next 9 days...
I even got my own bells... another treat I got to hear every morning and throughout the days.
After we unpacked and showered - we headed out to meet our hosts Bill and Kristi who gave us the procedure low-downs, our beautiful teacher Misty Mawn and our other incredibly gifted classmates and had dinner together.  It was so good to be here... let the adventures begin.

Big Wishes... Cobble Streets... Ancient Ruins...

We started off our day early so we could hit the cobble streets without the overwhelming crowds...  What a perfect place to start...
Making Beautiful Wishes!!
Just like the picture books and movies...

We arrived as the gates were opening and we got in on half price tickets... It was a real treat!!!

Capturing Moments & Making Memories.

 Beauty and art everywhere the eye sees... totally loving the Archways!

Ancient Ruins
To me the best part about exploring Roma was just being able to roam the streets, no plans and no agenda's... Just exploring blindly and delightfully discovering.  It was one of my best days in Italy!  I loved taking pictures and finding little pieces of art all over the place.


Beautiful art everywhere you look... even around a simply lamp
We ended our time in Rome with a traditional Italian lunch - Pizza and a Latte.
I am so grateful for our brief time in this incredible city...
I will never forget it's greatness and beauty!
After which, it was time to head out to catch our train to Orvieto, in time for our
Introduction and Orientation evening... too excited for words.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Eeeckkk... I am in Roma, Italy!

I arrived in Italy after a brief stop-over in Paris, a tad exhausted but completely excited.  I didn't sleep much on the flight but I can't believe it... I am here!!
I took a moment at the airport to collect myself and change my shoes and start reading my instructions of where to go next.  A car to the Trevi Fountain was too expensive for me.  So I found my way to catch the Leonardo Express train to take me to the centre of Rome (Termini) from there I had to take the tube to the Trevi... where I was to meet my online buddy JennyLeeWenthworth for the first time in real life.
While I was on the train platform, I met a girl from Brazil who was also heading to the Trevi and just like that I had a traveling buddy... which immediately took some of the "traveling in a foreign city alone" pressure off.  It was hot and man I was struggling with my luggage, so the apartment couldn't come quick enough.  The next moment we came face to face with this breathtaking incredible sight... I was shocked - In a good way!!!  I didn't expect to find the Trevi right in the middle of the road just like this and it was just so incredible!  It was so big!!!  The swarm of people, overwhelming... but WOW!!!

I smsed Jenny and she came running down to meet me and I was so happy to see her and we hugged and it was just so comforting.  She was so warm and so open and I knew we were going to be great traveling buddies.  I quickly hopped into the shower and got cleaned up because we had booked tickets into the Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel.

I took so many pictures but these were just a few of my favourites
 I was so blown away by the pure magnitude of everything.  I totally didn't expect to see the use of woman in most of the paintings and in the scultures.  I found them so beautiful.  I couldn't stop taking pictures of the art.  The frescos were breathtaking and I was so amazed that every inch of wall and ceiling was covered in paintings... I loved it.  Jenny and I spent most of the day chatting and getting to know each other.   After spending some time just sitting in the beautiful Sistine Chapel learning about Michael Angelo, we grabbed a Gelato and headed back to the Trevi to meet up with Renee and Lorraine, our fellow classmates. 

I swear that was the biggest ice-cream I ever had

Jenny, Lorraine, Maddy and Renee
Another Gelato run...

I took this picture for Digby... I can't believe I saw a Ferrari in the streets of Italy.
And I took this picture of this mini car for my girls... too sweet.

After dinner with our new wonderful friends, Jenny and I just ambled through the streets of Roma and passed a rather packed Spanish Steps and found the Pantheon... the crowds were relentless!!!
It's true - "Rome is the City that never Sleeps".

Friday, 28 September 2012

Saying goodbye and lift off...

Ahhh saying goodbye to my family was tough...  Leaving my girls behind was my first obstacle.  I knew it was going to be emotional because we always do everything together.  The most I have ever been apart from them was 2 days.  So being away from them for 12 days was a big step for all of us.  I am so proud of the way they handled themself regarding me going... how brave they have been and how "for me" they have been.  I know that me going has left an impression on their hearts, one they remember for a long time to come.  Having my Hubby and girl's support - has been huge!
I spent a glorious day in Jhb with two of my sweetest friends, Rene and Sonia @ Billi Bi's.  Which was such an awesome way to start my travels.  I was really nervous about my trip because I hadn't done an international trip for almost 20 years.  I really didn't have a clue what I was doing... I was out of my comfort zones and I was rather sleep deprived.   I had worked flat out right up until the hour I left.  Isn't it always like that... I changed into comfie clothes at the airport before I checked my luggage when I found #loveletters from my girls in my bag... I just burst into tears!! I think the build up of emotions and months of planning... the day was finally here... the start of my #AdventuresinItaly.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


So I have packed.  I did it early to see if my things would fit into the bag that I have set aside for the trip.  So no nasty surprises.  I feel relieved.  So today I am doing last minute ironing and will probably repack it today still.  I have also packed my art bag which is a small bag that I will take on-board with me.  I still want to Ziploc all my paints, as suggested.  I still have one or two little art supplies left to get, like my Hot Pressed Paper.  And I also have to get my foreign exchange this week.  I have worked out what I will need cash wise.  So all in all - I think I am pretty much done and ready.  I say that with much trepidation - because are we ever ready for something this big and exciting.  But I guess I am ready as I will ever be or feel!!!  5 more sleeps before I head out!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Planning my route...

I spent a few hours this afternoon, working out my route and itinerary for Italy. I managed to figure out where I am staying and how to get there from the airport and the costs involved. It's been troubling me a little bit that it felt so open ended but I feel much better now that I have a vague idea of where I am actually going.  Rome is so big and there is so much to see, I dare say you could spend weeks there and still not see everything.  I have had to narrow it down in terms of dreams being fulfilled {Vatican/Sistine Chapel} etc.  I printed off all my maps and worked out where everything is in vacinty of where we are staying and I also did some research of what things will be like at that time of year etc.  I learnt a lot today.
Next step... trial packing my bags...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Just saying...

Omgoodness... tomorrow 2 weeks... I am hopping on an airplane and heading to the City to catch my connecting flight to Italy!!!
I have one full weekend left with my hubby before I leave because next weekend he's in and out for a cycle race he's doing.  In a nutshell, we have much to go through and finalize this weekend. I want to finalize and lock down my itinerary as much as I can and have my route mapped out as much as I can.  I probably won't stick to it religiously but it will be good to have a vague plan.
And as these things tend to have it... the two weeks leading up to leaving - are nothing less than manic.  Of course!  With school activities in the evenings even the evening before I leave, work commitments and life in general… you know, just to make life interesting.
Needless to say I am getting beyond excited. Or is it nervous. Or maybe it’s both.
All I know is that time is flying faster than I can keep up.... sometimes I find myself actually holding my breath!