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Sara’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 14 Mar 2007

Location: Italy

MapBuongiorno! Hey everyone! Finally recovered from last weekend in England!! I LOVE England!! I had such a great time. On Friday I went to Milan with my Leonardo da Vinci class to see The Last Supper. We got in to Milan around noon and saw the Milan Cathedral, which is extremely extravagant and beautiful. It took 500 years to build! After that we went to a museum and saw a few more pieces by Leo and others from the Verocchio workshop. Then we went to the monestary where the Last Supper is. For those who don't know, the Last Supper is actually painted on a wall that is part of a room that used to be a cafeteria for the monks. Because of it's location and medium, it has been severly damaged over the years. The humidity has much to do with this. Over the last few years there has been extensive restoration done on it to try to revive the colors of the original painting. Before we saw the painting we had to enter 3 separate rooms that are equiped with sophisticated ventilation systems that removed the bacteria and humidity from our bodies!! Well worth is because the Last Supper is AMAZING! I can't even explain the difference in seeing it in person versus in a book. We were only allowed to be in the room for 15 minutes, but I feel so lucky to have seen such a masterpiece. We were very lucky to have seen it as you have to make reservations almost 6 months in advance to be able to get tickets! After that we went to Castello Sforzesco, a castle that has served many functions ove the years. Now it is a museum. One of the ceilings was painted by Leo, so we were able to see that as well. After the tour, Molly, Corina and I met up with Michelle at the train station and headed to the airport to catch our plane to London. Molly (my roommate) has a friend that lives in Kettering (an hour away from London in the country), so we were able to stay with him for the weekend to save some money (1 pound= 2 dollars!!). On Saturday we walked around some of the little country towns, which are absolutley georgous! We saw Geddington and Kettering. Richard took us to an English pub for a proper English breakfast and a cider. English breakfast= a fried egg, hash browns, beans, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, and toast. Cider is like a beer but sweeter and lighter. Cider with black currant is the best drink in the world! Then we went to the Foxton Locks, which are a series of canals (like Panama Canal) for boats to pass through. It's an interesting system. Each section of the canal has to be drained for boats to pass through. Then once each section has been drained you push open the gates to the next section. A nice old English man let us help him get his boat through! It was such a nice day so we sat on a picnic bench and enjoyed another cider while watching all of the boats pass through. That evening we cooked a cheep dinner and went out to some clubs in Kettering. On Sunday we woke up really early and headed into London on the Chube (train/subway). We went to Buckingham Palace first and watched the changing of the guards, which is a very exciting and long process! The new guards march in with a band and go through an intricate ceremony! Then we got on the bus (a double decker with an open roof) and went to Harrods, the HUGEST deparment store possibly in the WORLD! They sell everything imaginable! You can even order an elephant there!! We even asked a guy that worked there and he said all you need is 57,000 pounds! haha!Then we went to the Convent Gardens (not actually gardens), which is a little area with open markets, pubs, and street performers. We had pasties, chips, and a cider for lunch, then got back on the bus and headed towards the Thames for a cruise! We saw Big Ben, the House of Parliment, the London Eye, and several other monuments and buildings. It was a great day! I really wish we had had more time there as it is really hard to see everything in one day, but I feel so lucky to have gone! Our flight left at 6:30 in the am on Monday so when I got back to Florence I was exausted!!! This week I will be glued to my computer as all of our research papers and midterms are due this week and next. I might go on a day trip this weekend though. I am going to post some pictures now, so have a look! Miss you! Ciao!