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Tuesday, June 1st

Well, the Temple of Posidon was neat, but not quite worth the two hours we spent driving to and from it. It was up on a cliff and ~incredibly~ windy--almost enough to knock you over. We spent an entire hour there, though we saw it all in ten minutes. Oh well.

That was Saturday, I think. Sunday we got up early and had a short worship service before piling all our luggage into the bus. We then drove two hours to the Oracle of Delphi. It was pretty neat, but sort of like all the other ruins. There was one wall though that was so incredible. It had inscriptions on it spanning six centuries. Apparently people paid to have their family history or some other event carved into a spot on the long wall. It would take a Greek scholar years to read it all. Of course, it wasn't easy to read because it was small and worn partially down, not to mention that they didn't use spaces between words.

Then we had a good lunch--spaghetti and potatoes (and veal)--before visiting the museum. It was rather small, but still took about an hour to go through. Then we got back in the bus and drove another two hours or so to some port. There the bus drove onto a ferry and we had a ten to fifteen minute trip to the other side (don't ask me of what). From there it was maybe over half an hour to the port our overnight ferry to Brindisi was at. We grabbed dinner at a bus station of all places, and it wasn't very good.

The rooms on the ferry weren't bad. Small, but we didn't need anything bigger. We all had our own bathroom and shower, which was a nice surprise. I took a sleeping pill immediately, but didn't fall asleep for a long time. That made me a little angry, as I just had to lay there feeling the evil ship rock back and forth. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as the cruise ship.

At seven in the morning, one of the faculty with us knocked on our door yelling, "Get up! We're here!" Now this was really odd, because before they had said we would get there in the afternoon. So we got up and dressed, and Greg got in the shower. Then the teacher came back apologizing because he was mistaken. We were at another port where we were picking up a few more passengers. It was all really annoying. But it was easy to understand his mistake from the way the Italian crew communicated with us. They didn't speak hardly any English, and we never could learn anything from them.

So I went back to bed. Greg brought me something for lunch a little later, and at 2:30 we arrived in Brindisi. It was odd because at 2:00 some of the Italian crew came and knocked on the door. I opened it and they said, "Out!" I didn't know what was wrong, but one of the teachers in the room next to ours said that we had to pack up and move to a lower deck so they could clean the rooms. News to me! So I threw all our stuff back in the suitcases while the Italians just watched from in the hall. I couldn't figure out how I was going to move all of our stuff by ourself, but Greg came back just in time. I guess he was out playing cards or something. Anyway, everyone went down and crowded in the hall by the exit for half an hour while we docked in Brindisi.

Funny thing was, there was no one we knew in Brindisi. We had been told that someone from the villa was coming to meet us, but there was no one. After over half an hour, a bus showed up with a fax from the villa saying that this driver was going to take us there. Interesting part was that the driver spoke very little English, and no one in the group spoke good Italian. But we made it on and started driving about 4:00 pm.

We made a stop around 6:30 or so at a gas station for dinner. They had sandwiches there and some ~good~ pizza by the slice. So we were happy. Then we drove another three hours before making another stop just outside Rome. Greg and I had ice cream (packaged ice cream sandwiches, not gelato). When we left there we both took a sleeping pill. I still can't tell if it helped, because it took a long time to get to sleep.

Well, we got to the villa at three in the morning, meaning we had taken a ten-hour drive from Brindisi to Florence that day. We all just went to our rooms and crashed.

Our room is big compared to what I was expecting. There's lots of room for our stuff: two closets and two sets of shelves. The bathroom is small, but at least we have one to ourselves. The bed is just two twins pushed togther, but they share the same sheets at least. I don't mind separate beds for a while--it's been two weeks--but it wasn't appealing for the whole summer.

Breakfast this morning was from 8:00 to 10:00. I actually woke up at eight and took a shower. Breakfast wasn't much, but it was decent. There were half a dozen cereals to choose from, with warm shelf milk to pour on them--oh, yum. Also a couple pastries which were pretty good. They also had some papers to read, which was wonderful. I feel so out of touch with the world!

We then had an orientation meeting that didn't really teach us anything new. Just going over the rules and blah blah blah. They needed some more student workers to clean up the kitchen after meals, and Greg signed up to do that. It's just a little more spending cash for ice cream and stuff. He wanted me to sign up to, but there's no way I'm going to clean a kitchen on vacation. Not even for money.

Lunch was so wonderful. The pasta had ~real~ tomato sauce and tasted perfect. The parmesean cheese was freshly grated. The bread isn't the same as the rest of Italy (there's some reason that the people of Florence don't use salt, but I can't recall right now), but there was plenty of Nutella to spread on it. Yum. There was also some sort of meat as a second course. It looked decent, but I was already full. Some sort of veggie dish and fruit were on the table too, but there was too much else to eat. Cokes are sold downstairs for 1000 Lire each, which is less than a dollar. I hope to get at least one a day, though I hate how much that's going to add up to.

Afternoon was mostly free before we had a continuation of the orientation. There were forms to fill out and stuff. Then the computer guy came and "taught" four of us how to use the email services (because everyone can't fit in the comp room at the same time), but it was really very self-explanatory. I'm not planning on using the email here anyway, but since our room is the closest to the computers, I thought I should volunteer to be a support person. It drives me crazy when people volunteer to help and then they're not proficient ~at all~ with a computer! But just ignore my ranting.

It's been a very lazy day, and tomorrow we don't have anything planned except a tour of Florence. I hope I can remember how to get to the important things; it's a really large city. They let you go into town on your own, so I guess I'll be going down to the internet cafe while Greg does dishes or whatever. I don't like him watching over my shoulder, anyhow. ;-)

Classes don't start until Thursday, and even then they're over by lunchtime. We never have more than half a day of classes scheduled, and people won't be taking every class every day. It's a great schedule, and I'm really enjoying the time here so far. Right now things are so slow, I wish I had brought a book.


Well, dinner was disappointing. The main dish was minestrone soup, which I don't like. There was also some sort of egg quiche-like thing that could have been good if it had been hot or even warm. Also, there were tomatoes drowned in olive oil. One of the girls convinced me to try a bite, because she hated tomatoes normally but liked these. It was awful. :-( So I had a lot of bread, but it was okay. I was still kinda full from lunch!

Then we had a "party" in which we played a lot of crazy games and stuff. It was suprisingly fun without being too corny. After that we all got popcorn and cokes! Yeah, the coke was only a small cupful but it was better than none at all! A lot of people played volleyball, Greg included. I would have if there was room, but I went inside to help Mrs. Jones and a couple of the students with e-mail.

We leave at 9:00 in the morning for our first Florence tour tomorrow, so I'm headed to bed!


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