update, part III
(The padlocks on the lamp post above have the names of couples written on them. Lovers lock their names onto chains and lampposts all over the city.)
When it comes to field trips, Europe has America completely busted. Along with my art class, I spent a week in Rome - wandering, taking pictures, and speaking a strange flow of Dutch, Spanish and English. Another exchange student in my school, Valeria, also came along. She's from a different program (Youth for Understanding) and comes from Ecuador, so she helped me brush up on my totally abandoned Spanish. Thinking in two languages is hard, but three is ridiculous - I have a lot of respect for kids who go on exchange to learn their third or fourth language!
The trip was fantastic, especially the first three days; We had flawless weather, in spite of the weathermens' claims of wind and rain. All that showed up on day four, when we went to the Vatican- it was like being in a hurricane! Luckily the rest of the week was milder, and we donned our zonnebril/sunglasses once again. The teachers kept us on our toes - we crossed the city time and again, past monuments, through ruins, in one cathedral door and out another. Our feet felt crippled by the end of the day, but everyone managed to walk to a little cafe for dinner every evening, a different one nearly every night. Pizza, pasta, more pasta, lots of meat... typical Italian fare. I felt no guilt eating so richly every night, with the amount of walking we were doing. Our rooms were on the fourth floor of our hotel, with eight flights of stairs leading up to them!
It really was an amazing week in all respects - I made a lot of new friends, got to see a lot of little corners of a hugely famous city, and of course see so many works of art and achitecture that I've seen pictures of all my life.