Monday, January 31, 2011

Bologna Lax

On Saturday my buddy David and I played lacrosse with the Bologna Sharks.

David had seen a flier a few days before and followed up with Emanuele, the team's captain/goalie. We discovered that the team was extremely excited for us to play with them, having played "NCAA" lacrosse (David had been on an awesome DIII team and I had played club, so defintiely we're no Syracuse or Duke lax bros).

On the car ride over to the field, Emanuele recounted to us the story of how he had disocovered lacrosse through the movie "American Pie" and had become very passionate about it. He ended up founding a team in Bologna which played against the other six lacrosse teams in Italy. That's right. Seven teams in the whole country. While most of the guys were just learning the sport, David and I had a lot of fun running around - it's a fun sport no matter on what level it's played.

Pending some registration fees, finding some gear (you can imagine it's pretty hard to find any lacrosse stuff in Italy) and a sports physical, David, our buddy Kristjan and I will be the newest members of the Bologna Sharks. More updates to come on a game we're supposed to play on February 13th.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snowy Surprise

I don't think I've ever unexpectedly woken up to a snowy landscape outside of my window before. I think snow might be my new favorite weather.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Carrie and Bryan Discover Firenze

On the 20th, Carrie and I boarded a late morning train and headed south to Florence, Italy. It was kind of rainy in Bologna, but I was in high spirits because I had just finished my International Trade Exam the day before.

As our train sped through the snowy Italian country side, Carrie and I were able to catch up and learn about each other's lives. We arrived in Florence around noon, but had to switch trains to get closer to the city center.

Florence itself was sunny with no trace of snow or rain - especially noticeable for me because I hadn't seen sunlight for what seemed like months.

After eating at a delicious panini place recommended by Carrie's friends, we putzed around the north part of the city, looking at statues and old churches.

We finally made our way to Florence's main attraction, Michaelangelo's David. I never knew what the big deal about this naked dude was, but he turned out to be a very beautiful sculpture that highlights the strength and balance of the human form.

After David, Carrie and I made our way south of the river, with a stop on the way to get some gelato.

We eventually discovered a little non-touristy bar off the beaten path where we had a glass of wine, some snacks and enjoyed the establishment's weird collection of weird wooden sculptures and figurines.

As the sun set, we found ourselves on a bridge over the Arno river, taking pictures of an inspiring evening sky.

We finished up the night with a tasty dinner in a completely empty restaurant (Italians seem to not eat until after 9 or 10, and this wasn't tourist season), some more gelato, and a sleepy train ride back to Bologna.

Florence is beautiful and I'm excited to go back soon!

Bow Tie-ing

Just got my bow tie for the Viennese Ball, and I took a break from writing my final paper to learn how to tie it with Zach.

We're awesome!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Carrie Visits Italy!

Last Tuesday my friend Carrie came to visit me in Italy!

As I haven't had anyone visit me from that States yet, I went all out:

We got aperitivo...

We went to La Fatica, our local neighborhood osteria, with my housemates...

We wandered around Bologna and ate a tasty brunch...

We ate at Osteria dell'Orsa, a delicious, delicious place with mediocre wine...

We went to Florence...

We took an hours-long march up to San Luca...

And then rewarded ourselves with Gelato...

And we finished off with a grand feast at Osteria Broccaindosso.

Thanks for coming Carrie! It was lot of fun and really great to see a blast from my past. I also had a reason to eat out at more Italian restaurants than I had been to in the previous three months.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Waltzing Through Finals

I'm 2.5 finals out of seven done and the finals period technically starts tomorrow morning. Staying in Bologna over break definitely gave me a tiny bit of a head start, but it still should be a pretty challenging two weeks. Even though I'm not exactly waltzing through final exams, I did get a bit of waltzing in tonight. The Austrian Students Association held their first practice for the Austrian Ball, which will be taking place about three weeks from now. It was pretty cool!

We kind of looked like the ballroom scene in Disney's Enchanted, minus the fancy-shmansy stuff that happens in the middle, and more like the robotic, overly formal people in the circle around them. We'll learn fancy-shmansy next week.

Not to self: just because you can rock the normal slow waltz does not mean that you can do the Viennese waltz. In fact, you can't.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ferrari? Ferrari!

So last fall, Luca di Montezemolo, the chairman of Ferrari, spoke at SAIS. He's a personable guy and it's rumored that he might run for Italian Prime Minister. Mr. Montezemolo made the mistake of promising that if we ever wanted to come visit the Ferrari factory in nearby Maranello, Italy, he'd arrange it.


Some plans were made, and yesterday a bunch of SAIS students and faculty piled onto some buses and made the hour-long drive to take Montezemolo up on his offer.

The Ferrari factory has a huge campus with its own employee restaurant and a wind tunnel. It might have just been the tour, but everyone seemed pretty happy to be working there. I guess the recession might be the reason for that too.

The factory itself was awesome and there were some amazing limited edition custom Ferraris inside, but unfortunately we weren't allowed to take pictures so that Ferrari secrets wouldn't mysteriously make their way to Mr. Slugworth.

Afterwards, Montezemolo said a few words and then let us loose into the museum/showroom, which was cool too.

Do I want a Ferrai when I grow up? Of course. Could I probably find a better way to spend $200,000? Most definitely.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Particularly pretty sunset in Bologna today. I didn't actually get to see it with my eyeballs because I'm down here among the buildings and covered arcades of Bologna, but it was captured beautifully by the Bologna Center Roof Cam.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I stayed in Bologna for New Years Eve and New Years, which the Italians call Capodanno. In Bologna, they have a tradition called the Rogo del Vecchione, which involves burning a old person effigy of the old year. After a little fun at my house, where we all learned "Auld Lang Syne," the few of us left in Bologna went to the city center to watch Italians throw fireworks and bottles everywhere, and to watch the Rogo del Vecchione.

This year, the Vecchio was a frog. I have no idea why. It was pretty cool anyway.

And so, with smoke, explosions and a giant bonfire around me, I watched the old year fizzle out and welcomed in the new with 5,000 Italians.