Monday, February 23, 2009


Ciao family and friends,

I finally feel like I am getting a routine in my life over here! School 3 days a week and usually traveling for the other 4, it's a tough life. This weekend, my roommate paige, a friend Mandy, and I got up early friday morning and headed to the train station. We had no idea of where we were going to travel to, but once we got there we decided to just take the next available train out, which was Siena! It is a small and beautiful town about an hour outside of Florence. When we arrived we headed towards the central part of to
wn, which is enclosed by a great medieval wall. We went out to lunch, took pictures of this "sleepy" to
wn, and soaked in the sun we had been longing for! My favorite part of the day was a tower we climbed (466 steps) to overlook the rolling hillsides of the town. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have seen, it was up there with the Swiss Alps. 

From the tower, we went to a temporary museum exhibition called "Where Madness Meets Genius". It was a collection of works from patients and artists that used their pain and suffering to communicate what they were going through. It was interesting, however most of the depressing and dark images I saw stayed with me for the next few days. On the bright side, it was a great and adventurous day!

This week I am back to classes, where quizzes and projects loom. But one thing I am looking forward to, is my new Portrait and Documentary photography project just assigned. I really enjoy the small class of 5 because it is much more personal and I feel that I have the freedom I want, but quality attention and direction. In the next two weeks I am creating a theme of street artists in Florence. I will be shooting pictures of them at night, and then bringing them into the studio for some portrait work. It is a little risky I feel to ask them to come to our studio, but I was told the risk is necessary, yikes. 

But as the weeks go on and more adventures around Europe take place, while having a blast, I am friend sick. I'm experiencing great and new things, but it's not the same to not be able to share it with the ones I love! I do appreciate being able to skype to see your cute faces, new hair cuts, hear stories, and send goofy videos ;). So to all of my friends reading this, (especially my 5 frogs ;) ) I miss you terribly and wish you were here with me! You are all on my mind, and I am glad to have fun memories to think back on when we are all separated! 

Next up: Milan

♥ Emily

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Below my overview of Vienna is a new post from amsterdam, I am sorry its out of order. I am still getting used to this whole blogging thing! And there will be more stories to come soon!



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

amsterdam video


This last weekend, we traveled by a night train to Vienna, Austria. Luckily most of my roommates came, so I was in great company too! Our trip was full of Viennese food, visits of Grand Palaces and museums, SNOW, and the ballet! Our guide and valentines day date, Francesco, took us around the city to see many beautiful sights. On saturday February 14th (my favorite day of the trip), we started out at Schonbrunn Palace, went to the Belvedre museum, and ended our day at the ballet, and had a great dinner at Sacher (famous in Vienna for the Sacher cake, a rich dark chocolate dessert). The Belvedre was the most beautiful 
museum I have seen this far. Out of the windows is a view of a lavish garden with a backdrop of all of the city of Vienna. There we had the privilege of seeing "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimpt, and many other beautiful paintings. This is also where I discovered my new favorite artist, Alphonse Mucha! An artist in the 1890's who created color lithographs that were intended as advertisements and then became beautiful works of art. My favorite collection was of his "posters". I really enjoyed these because of the way he portrays women, the beautiful colors, and the vintage feeling they create ( We then had the afternoon to ourselves to explore the city and get ready for our night out. 

Sorry it's a very brief summary of our fun trip, but below is a taste of what our weekend was like! Paige my roommate is documenting our trips by video.



Monday, February 9, 2009

Amsterdam Adventures

Amsterdam, a weekend full of interesting adventures. Where to begin! 
Our trip began on Friday morning at 3am. A "reliable" cab was supposed to pick us up to take us to our 
bus that would then take us to the airport and finally our destination, Amsterdam. However we had a few setbacks... The cab almost didnt make it to pick us up, and paige begged her way onto the bus for the last seat!
When we arrive after a long journey and no sleep our friend Fernando picks us up to go and get settled in his flat that over looks the city. We started our day by renting bikes for 7 euro and explored the city! We first went to the Anne Frank museum, what an 
experience. It was so interesting to be standing in her house where she and her family were in hiding for almost 2 years, it was very powerful. After a long day, Fernando made us dinner and we got to hang out with the "boyesh" (boys) for a night.

A night on the town.

Our sweet rides.

Thought I would document the best goat cheese sandwich I have had in my entire life. That face is pure joy.

On our second day, we headed back into town for lunch and the Van Gogh museum! Again we explored the city, admiring the beautiful architecture and interesting culture. The city reminds me of an upscale Venice. It is in area small, but the buildings are grand and industrial however they still have a certain victorian charm about them. The city is very clean, something they take pride in especially their canal water. The three of us then ended our day by returning the favor to "Nando" and making the "boyesh" dinner. It has been an experience thus far in shopping at the grocery store and not being able to read the language its written in! It is
 especially challenging with the food allergy. However if I do say so myself, we came up with a nice pasta concoction, and pear dessert. 

Outside our yummy sandwich shop.

cooking the boyesh dinner.

On our last day the girls headed to the city once again. The first of our day was spent inside a popular 7 floor, department store with an amazing brunch on the top level. Of course it was easy for us to spend a while in there! But we had to brave the cold and explore more of the city while we had the chance. The highlight of my trip was definitely this last night where we took a canal night cruise that toured the city from the water. It was beautiful at night and from a view that many do not get to see. To complete our trip, we had to see the famous Red Light District. At first it was funny and very crazy. But then after seeing the prostitutes posing in windows selling themselves as a product for the next interested customer I realized it was not funny at all but, a very sad and more than unfulfilling lifestyle. How blessed am I that I have the choice not to resort to a job like those in the Red Light. 
photo from our canal boat.

At the brunch on top of Bijenkorf department store.

Our travel on the way home was just as interesting as on the way there! We flew on a small BOUNCY CRAZY plane ride to Genova airport because of the fog in Pisa, we were unable to land. So we took a bus ride to Pisa with about 50 male "flame throwers" it was an..... experience. Finally 12 hours later we made it home safe!

I am so glad that I got to experience Amsterdam and all of its unique qualities and people! And also be able to tell others that the city believe it or not is not just drugs and sex, but full of history and beautiful architecture. All in all, a fantastic weekend.

Next stop: Vienna, Austria


(Photos by: Paige Hansen)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The first and hopefully a last

Where to begin. Rain. I am not complaining I love the rain, but somehow rain seems to come with many surprises. For instance our apartment has had  more surprises! A busted pipe. Hopefully that will  be the last time Laura comes up to tell us water was leaking from our floors. On the upside a new apartment might be in the future, one with working heat and water? Just some simple necessities. 

Last night, the first night before classes I was so nervous! I finally feel asleep to Mr. Bon Iver. I woke up to my "pimp nokia italian cell" (as stella says), and headed to espresso with the girls to start our day. My first class was Classic Film Photography, 5 1/2 hours, ouch. However things were looking up for me when I found out we have a 30 minute COFFEE BREAK. This is just the place for me. This was the best part of my day, our professor Mr. Fadigati, rekindled my passion for photography. He talked about the power of Black and White photography. How it is special, and abstract from what we see everyday. He defined photography to mean "writing with light", its a from of communication, a beautiful one. I believe these things as well, and this discussion reminded me somewhat of why I love film photos. He also said "The talent is not in the tool, but in the mind". I am very excited to see what I can learn from this professor, and to have the opportunity to capture photos in such an extraordinary and beautiful place!

I then went home to journal and sketch and listen to the rain, a great afternoon for me. However my second class of the day did not go as smoothly as the first. As I left, confident with my surroundings, I "walked with purpose" to la sQuola. Only to find out about ten minutes later I realized that I was most likely nowhere near my class, I asked for directions. I find it ironic that I am trying to ask for directions in Italian while heading to Italian class, because the only italian phrase I know is "ciao bella". I show up at 4:50 to my 4:30 class, sweating and flustered. On my way home looking forward to a warm room, I realized I forgot my keys. Luckily I only had to wait for a few minutes for my roommates to arrive and let me in. 

My day was interesting and somewhat stressful, but I got through it finally! Now at the end of the day my wonderful roommates are all sharing stories and having laughs. I appreciate that I have great girls to live with, and experience  the difficulties and enjoyable things that Florence brings with them. 

Next up: Amsterdam. 

Ciao, Emily