Andy Steves Blogs Europe
Hitch an online ride with Andy this summer as he travels Europe!
We got into Cefalu at about 8:30 in the morning. The day after a night train is always horrible. You're painfully tired and your eyes ache all day. It's kind of like jet lag all over again. On top of that, it was drizzling, and Carlo, the landlord gave me a funny-looking phone number that I wasn't sure would work. Well I called it a few times and finally he picked up and gave me some directions. There's one street that goes from the train station and continues all the way through the small town until it makes a "T" just before the water. We had to get to that T and that's where he would be waiting. So the eight of us started our hike in that direction, me with a huge bike box. Of course, Sicilian eyes are expert stare-ers and they were performing just fine that morning. In the early morning, there were already dozens doing their work—staring at the new arrivals in town.
We got there and that's when we first met Carlo. Carlo was a smiley, short, balding, white-haired man with a small potbelly who liked to talk through his rotten teeth. His breath reeked of something indescribable that morning. That afternoon, I would find out why.
I took the direction to Palermo and enjoyed the new pavement, which was "partly financed by the EU." It wasn't an especially warm day, but my layers were adequate and I felt like I was riding through a cyclist's paradise. I made it about 20 miles out before the rain clouds came up on me and started dumping. That's where I turned around and began the second half of my ride.
On the way back I was heading down the same two-lane highway where I came upon two cars turning left. The first one pulled out a little bit in front of me but wouldn't have been a problem. But the second misjudged my speed and followed the first. The driver saw me coming and instead of doing anything, failed to make a decision and just stopped, blocking my entire lane. I had already clutched my brakes and was sliding at an angle on course to hit him. Somehow I made a flying leap out of my clipless pedals and managed to stay on my feet while my bike hit the deck hard. I put my street Italian to use and the driver sheepishly climbed out of his car as I looked over my bike. There was no serious damage except for my bent handlebars that I could fix with a multitool. I went through the regular hand gestures while fixing my bike and kept going. I made it back to the apartments and showered off, thankful my bike and I were both still in one piece.
Posted by Andy Steves on October 31, 2008
Posted by Andy Steves on October 29, 2008
I was supposed to fly back to Rome at 2 in the afternoon on Monday but on Saturday I asked myself how many times do I have the opportunity to be in Dublin for St. Padd'y day and bumped my flight back to Wednesday for €35. Not bad.
I was really anticipating the Irish activities to follow later that night so I wasn't too bummed. But first, I wanted to check out an advertised party on the other side of town. I was going to head over with some friends from Notre Dame studying in Dublin for the semester who I met up with randomly while watching the parade but quickly lost in the crowds. Never saw them again. After an hour en route, I came across this huge block party on the other side of St. Stephen's Green where cultural music was blasting in Gaelic.
At first there was plenty of room, then by the time I left, it was packed. There were moshing teenagers up close to the stage and little girls farther back putting their Irish step-dancing skills on display. It's the cutest thing ever to watch two of them go around in circles with their heads bobbing in syncopated rhythms, laughing and spinning up a storm. I was standing up on a raised area with small trees just enjoying the scene and pack after pack of freebie chewy candy. When I had my fill of both I made my way back to the hotel to rest up for what was sure to be a long night ahead of me.
Stephen told me to meet him and Vicki across town for dinner, but I slept through it in my nap and did without a meal that night. Not to worry, Guinness is like a loaf of rye bread. To the poor student, drinking in Dublin is not a particularly affordable activity as you may have guessed by my thievery the previous day. So I bought a small bottle of vodka at a convenience store before the real party started that night. And I brought it into the dance bar where the party was. After a legitimately paid-for pint, I got a cranberry with ice and headed to the dude's bathroom with the vodka in my jacket. I returned with a suspicious-looking pink drink in my Guinness pint glass and got back to the business of socializing. Twenty minutes later I saw some interesting flailing of arms and swirling of colors so I headed towards it. I met a group of French girls teaching French to Ryanair flight attendants. So I started dancing with them, green beanie with white foam horns and all. I ended up crashing on their couch at their house 20 minutes outside of Dublin later that night. I don't really know why but that's just what happened.
When I woke up, three French girls had already gone to work, and another just told me what bus to take to get back to the center of town. I went back to the hotel where I was staying with Stephen and Vicki. Unfortunately, they had already left for Derry when I showed up. So I took a nap, showered, then checked out of the hotel to wander Dublin for the rest of the day. I went to a really interesting “History of the Irish Military: Domestic and Foreign Service” exhibit at the National Museum. I had a lunch of salami and cheese on a baguette, and then went over to St. Stephen's Green to take a nap. I called the French girls after five and took the bus back out for some dinner. We compared musical tastes over dinner sharing iPods and I tried to teach them the Soulja Boy dance. I'll be the first to tell you I'm terrible at it. But seeing these girls made me feel a bit better. We had a simple salad and pasta dinner. I was planning to detox that night until one of them busted out a bottle of anise and I couldn't say no. I just love how it turns from clear to cloudy once you drop some ice into it. Some chemist needs to explain that to me some day. Once it got late, and I was tired, I dismissed myself, cleared off my plate, and went back to the couch. Meeting these girls was clutch because once I got home to Rome the next day, I had €16 in my pocket and I had slept for the last two night for free at their place, and with Stephen the previous four. I don't know how I could have worked it any other way.
St. Paddy's Album
Posted by Andy Steves on October 27, 2008
We made our way down to Dublin on Saturday. On the way we took a detour through Belfast. Stephen wanted to show me where the real Troubles happened. In that city, it looked like there was another Berlin Wall running right down the middle separating the two parts of the population. Protestant churches had cages round the windows and even the doors, making them look more like fortresses than religious buildings. Along each side of the wall was a small No Man's Land. On the Protestant side was a wide road, but on the Catholic side, the houses went right up close to the wall. Each of the houses had ground-to-roof metal cages around the patios. This was to protect against bricks and bottles lobbed over the wall from the other side. This was so they could relax if they wanted to have a coffee or a smoke outside without worrying about being beaned by a stray brick.
Driving through this city felt like driving through an Irish version of South Central L.A. I think of Belfast as the physical example of human stubbornness. While I definitely side with one, I can see both sides to the story- but I feel like I would eventually get tired of the struggle. The Protestants were planted there by the British to Anglicanize the Irish. Today though, Belfast is all they have known, and it's where they've lived and grown up for many generations. And the Catholics had always been there but had their homes and rights taken away when the British showed up.
On Sunday afternoon we made it to the Guinness brewery. I had been there two years ago with my family at 10 a.m. and it just wasn't that cool. This time we showed up at 2 p.m. and didn't leave again until about 7 p.m. With your admission ticket, you get a free pint up at the Gravity Bar. The entire museum is shaped like a giant pint glass of Guinness, and you pass through seven floors of history before you enjoy your pint at the top. Usually. This time, Stephen, Vicki, and I went straight to the top where we used up our first ticket. It was then when I began practicing my pint-swiping skills. It sounded like Stephen was intending to stay a while, and I was thirsty, so there was no other option. When a pint of Guinness is poured at the bar, it is poured about three quarters of the way up and then it sits until it settles enough to fill it to the top. Well the bar tenders would put these mostly full pints out on the bar for the settling or for the taking. And so I took and took and took again. By 6 p.m., I thought I had it down to a science, smoother after each drink. I thought I was smooth, but I'm sure I was much less so in reality.
We left without ever being caught and enjoyed a delicious dinner at Luigi Malone's, an Italian restaurant just off Temple Bar. An Italian who works at Stephen's hostel up in Derry joined us and sighed “you're so American,” after I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich. When she ordered a plate of lasagna, I chose not to say anything.
Check it out! My album from Dublin Town
Posted by Andy Steves on October 24, 2008
This year for St. Paddy's day, I figured that since I was in Europe, why not go to Dublin. So I blew off school the Thursday beforehand to catch a Ryanair flight at noon. On the plane, I realized I forgot my ATM card back in my apartment and would have to subsist on the €220 cash I brought with me in my backpack. I knew I could make it. Once I arrived, I was supposed to meet up with Stephen McPhilemy, a guide who does tours in the summer in Ireland for my dad's company. He's from Derry, but was in Dublin doing some business with his partner, who runs his own tour company called Paddy Wagon Tours and a hostel in Dublin. This weekend, both the tours and the hostel were packed with a couple hundred Australians, a handful of South Africans, and a couple Canadians. When I met up with Stephen at the bus stop, he said “You now Andy, you're gonna kill me, but we're gonna head back to the airport after I run some errands and catch a flight back up to Derry for a couple days.” He explained that the government believes Irish citizens have a right to fly between cities, so flights are subsidized, making them cost the same as a bus ticket. Unfortunately, Stephen remembered a couple of minutes later that his passport was back at his house in Derry. So, we ended up taking a three-hour bus ride to Northern Ireland.
On Friday morning, I walked around with Vicki, going into the museum and taking a tour of where “Bloody Sunday” actually happened. It was disgusting to hear about the British occupation and the Trouble years that have only recently ended. I had heard about the segregation of Northern Irish cities but it never really hit me until I saw it with my own eyes. The British lived inside the Derry castle walls on the top of the hill looking down at their Catholic counterparts. For years, young Catholics would have skirmishes with the stationed British military. People were killed with plastic bullets the size of saltshakers. One Sunday, inspired by the civil rights movement going on in the US, the Catholics were having their own march. The peaceful demonstration turned into a massacre of 14 Irish civilians--most of them teenagers.
While Vicki and I were touring, Stephen was supposed to catch a flight to London to meet up with a tour group and bring them across the water on a ferry to Dublin for the weekend. Well, he ended up missing his flight and on the way home picked up some Domino's Pizza, my first American-style pizza in months. This was a pretty American-style night. After that, we headed down to the movie theater and caught a showing of In Bruges, a movie with two Irish actors where they just rag on the cute Belgian city for two hours.
After that we met up with a friend of Stephen's at the pub. His name was Roighry, the Gaelic spelling for Rory, and he was the first Irish person I've ever met who doesn't drink (he sipped on a nonalcoholic Beck's). That night, Roighry was headed to a small BYOB house party and offered to take me along. After a few, Stephen handed me a key to his hostel, told me a few rooms were vacant, and said I could crash there after the party and he went back with Vicki.
Before we left the pub, I met a man with intense eyes, and a strong jaw. We started chatting as Rory left to get another “beer.” Somehow, Cuba came up and we discussed Che, and other Cuban exports like rum and cigars. At that moment, he got really excited and started rubbing his thigh vigorously. When I finished what I was saying, he was like “Aye, aye Cuban cigars, rubbed on the thighs of fine young maidens.” Switching gears, I mentioned how I had visited the memorial and the museum, and had seen the murals of Derry. Immediately, excitement returned to his eyes, which then turned into a look of hatred as he made it clear he despised the “feckin' British.” He told me how he had carried the dead body of his friend in his arms, who had been shot in the head by a British bullet. Back in 1973, he was 23, his friend, 20. He continued to tell stories of that day until Rory came back. Just before I left, I shook his hand and whispered “F the British” into his ear, and the crazy look came back into his eyes again.
Once we got to the party a few blocks up the road, I found the fridge and deposited my beer contribution, keeping one to consume then. I tried hide the other cans among the fruit and vegetables and yoghurt, but in my gut, I knew that was a bad idea. When you're a poor student and someone takes your beer, it can ruin an evening. Well, the three beers I left in the fridge did get taken. Anyways, I got over it and started socializing. There were Germans, French, Japanese, Italians, and a Pole there--I think I was the only American. European house parties are different. They seem more intellectual, more mature. It's the kind of partying I want to be doing in 15 years. Not yet though, not yet.
Here's my album from Derry and Belfast
Posted by Andy Steves on October 22, 2008
Alright, so about half way through my semester I noticed something was missing from the study abroad experience. Every weekend, almost everybody would take off in groups ranging from 2 kids all the way up to 30 in every direction. In each group, there was usually somebody who went ahead and made the reservations for hostels, who did the research on flight or train information and basically went through the headache of taking care of all the logistics for going somewhere. For most people, it was their first time in Europe, and yeah they had guidebooks but they weren't geared specifically to them. Most had my dad's, and it's great for art history and orientation walking tours, let's admit it, he lacks a little on the nightlife and hostel listings in his book. Others had Let's Go which tends to be out of date and is packed with hostel and club listings that have shut down years ago.
That's when it occurred to me, there's nothing out there that is targeted specifically to this market, the college student abroad who has exactly from Thursday afternoon when classes get out, till Monday morning when classes resume. We all want to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience and to do so, we take advantage of the student discounts for trains and the budget airlines to go to as many different parts of the continent as possible every weekend. So I thought, why don't I start a one-stop all-encompassing free online resource for college students abroad. In it you'll find travel tips for transportation, trip planning, an online forum, itinerary ideas, my personal travel philosophy and my travel blog from the last 4 summers, exciting travel links and more. This site will be packed with the kind of tips and advice we need and can use.
While there's still many broken links and no uploaded itineraries, you should check it out. Let me know what you think along with any suggestions and pass the word along to any one currently abroad or considering it. I just launched it and guess what it's called? I got creative and went with AndySteves.com
Posted by Andy Steves on October 21, 2008
On Saturday morning we shook off our hangovers and tried to do some tourist stuff before our date at San Siro, the soccer stadium for an Inter Milan vs. Fiorentina game. We first went to wander around the fancy shopping district. In two minutes we saw four Ferraris and as many Porsches. If I ever have too much money, this would be where I'd spend an afternoon shopping.
Next we went into the Duomo. That thing is absolutely massive. I know it's smaller than St. Peter's in Rome, but its Gothic style makes it feel bigger and look taller. We checked out the skinned statue by a student of da Vinci, and wondered through the sequoia-like pillars vaulting the ceiling.
When we were back on the ground trying to find a place to eat, we watched a crippled man juggle a soccer ball with his head, and his two crutches. In half an hour, we never saw him drop the ball. We gave him a few euros for his skills and went off to find our lunch place. Right around the corner we found a delicious fried calzone eatery, as tasty as it was unhealthy. From there we went towards the castle of Milan and walked around in the courtyard. I didn't spend any time reading about the castle, so I don't know much about it. I just remember Milan and Florence were often at odds throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. So I bet the castle was from about that time. While walking around in there we met and immediately got into an argument with a Kenyan immigrant selling vibrating rocks and sunglasses. He was a fan of the rival Milan team, AC Milan, and made it known immediately when he saw our Inter Milan scarves we had bought earlier outside the Duomo. We spent half an hour walking around in the giant walls and we left with the Kenyan yelling “F**k Inter!!” from across the courtyard.
It was then time to hustle back to the hostel to drop off the Armani posters we picked up and a catalogue of expensive watches. We quickly finished our second fifth of Bombay, making the tonic stretch, before we headed out to San Siro. We headed out and took a left from the hostel parking lot. I felt like we were going the wrong way from the start. In the past, the only time I ever get lost is when I don't trust my directional instincts. I don't know what it is, but if I second-guess myself, that's when I get turned around and lost. Luckily it was like playing the warm-cold game. I knew we were getting warmer by the number of Inter Milan memorabilia we saw. Eventually we found a commuter parking lot and caught a bus that took us directly to the stadium. In a situation like this, just go with the crowd. No need for maps.
To me, a soccer game is a soccer game. It was fun to watch but I just can't get emotionally invested in the sport. Everyone else in Italy can though, I've noticed. By chance, we landed tickets for the 100-year anniversary game and there was a huge ceremony on the field that all the fans stayed for. It felt like a tacky Olympic Opening Games ceremony with a small budget, but we stayed for a while until we couldn't handle the deep booming voices of the announcers and the emotionally charged serenading taking place.
Posted by Andy Steves on October 20, 2008
On the train back into downtown, I gave my friends a call and told them to meet me back at the Duomo 30 minutes later. I showed up five minutes early and caught a showing of the azzurro Lambo Polizia car. A few years ago Lamborghini gave the Italian police force a pair of Gallardos. They've since been painted the Polizia light blue and decked it out with lights. It's quite a crime deterrent and draws a crowd. After about 10 minutes, the Carabinieri ducked back inside and the machine growled to life like an angry bear out of hibernation, except sexier. It slowly rolled out of the piazza followed by every eye and camera lens there. I then found my friends on the other side of the piazza and we found some dinner at a delicious choose-your-own-pasta restaurant. On the menu, you choose first the type of pasta, then the quantity, and then the sauce. Not a bad system.
Over dinner I heard the first description of the hostel I had reserved for us. There aren't many hostels in Milan and the one we found was a bit outside the city but on the main metro line. It was a dorm-like institutional place packed with a mix of international travelers. Later that night, I met a French soccer team populated with girls from all over: Russians, Germans, French, Italian, etc. I talked to them and told them to come out with us to the clubs that night but apparently they had a game the next day. We continued to chat in French until their coach, a big tough-looking guy with tattoos, got a bit weary and told me to “F off” from the next room in French, not knowing I spoke the language. Instead of responding I just relayed to the soccer players there were Bombay G&T's down the hall if anyone was interested.
That night we went to a club called Club Magenta after pre-gaming with gin and tonics and lime and no ice. While the name is a bit curious, the actual club beat all the ones in Rome. This place cost €20 to get in to and included a drink. A tip on value: when drinks are included, go for a Long Island Iced Tea. You can chill for a few hours sipping on a single drink. And that's exactly what we did that night. Italian clubs always have a way of making you want to spend more money. There's the VIP line when you're outside. Then once you're inside, there's the coat check. And in the club you can buy a €150 bottle of vodka to sit at a table. In the nicer clubs that price can reach €250. Or you can really high-roll it and buy several to get into the roped off and raised platform where there's a 2:1 ratio of model-looking young ladies to 45-year-old men. When all's said and done though, I always try to remind myself we're all listening to the same music and drinking the same drinks.
At 3:30 a.m., we decided our eardrums had been abused enough and climbed back out of the place. Through a stupor we walked down the street, took a right, then another right, and ended up where we were. It must have been a triangle shape block. In the end we got into a taxi after being steered away from an illegal one. I've never gotten in one but I have heard bad things. On the way home, I got a picture of someone riding a bike with a life-size blowup doll strapped to the rack on the back, which just looked hilarious. Random experiences come out of nowhere when you travel and usually that's half the fun.
Posted by Andy Steves on October 17, 2008
At 8 o'clock this Friday morning my friends and I got on a train to Milan. I had a full schedule that day. Beyond visiting the tourist sites, I wanted to take care of a few other things. First I've been seeking a design internship in Milan and wanted to meet with one opportunity. I also wanted to check out a school I was looking at for this summer. And third, visit the Politecnico di Milano and see about their master's program in design.
Our train rolled into the station 25 minutes late and I told my friends I'd call them later as I bolted to my first appointment, which was luckily only a 15-minute walk from the station. This place ran a language school and also could set up internships with local businesses. There, I came upon an oasis of Italian language learning. All these obviously foreign students, mostly Asian, were struggling through their newly-learned Italian. It had a buzz to it. Two years ago I found a language school in Cefalu, Sicily where I studied for a short stint during the summer. There, students awkwardly communicated with each other, and quickly resorted to English. After a meeting with a particularly attractive representative (I swear she must have been chosen based on her pretty face) I got the sense that as far as design goes, it was considered just a branch of architecture.
After that I headed to my next appointment. I hopped on the metro and ended up on the other side of town. The Domus Academy is a graduate school of design: industrial, graphic, fashion, interior, etc. I had found a summer school for product design that spends two weeks in London, then finishes with two weeks in Milan at the Domus Academy, so I wanted to check it out. I practiced my Italian with a professor, and we discussed the curriculum of the summer program, which looks very attractive. That is probably where I'll be this summer. It will be the first summer out of 3 where I'm not an assistant guide on tours for my dad. When I mentioned I was heading over to the Politecnico di Milano next, the professor said “Domus Accademy e fra le migliori scuole di disegno del mondo,” meaning that place was among the best design schools in the world and they threw a handful of brochures at me. With some new information and a few business cards, I took off and headed across town.
My third stop in the afternoon took me to the northern suburbs of Milan, döner kebab in hand, where the design school of the Politecnico di Milano is located. After graduation at Notre Dame, I want to pursue a master's degree in design and I figure Milan is the capital of the design world so why not study there? It would let me work on my Italian as well as pick up some contacts in the Italian industry. At the Politecnico, they have all sorts of masters available--I would pursue either transportation or yacht design. The yacht design campus is out on the coast in La Spezia, which is essentially the sixth town of the Cinque Terre. Paradise, in other words. After a short tour of the massive studios and workshops I left really liking the place. If you want to find me in a few years, that's where I'll be.
Posted by Andy Steves on October 15, 2008
Back at Notre Dame, I race on the cycling team. Initially, I considered studying abroad during the fall semester in order to not miss the racing season, but then I would have missed the football games. This year I also made the Irish Guard, which marches during the half-time shows of the Fighting Irish football team. In the end, I figured I could always ride after I'm out of college, but that's not the case with the Guard. So while I'm here in Rome, my cycling teammates are back representing the Irish in the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference and their season is in full swing.
My beautiful azzurro-and-white Italian-made bicycle. I fell in love at first sight.
The next Thursday I called back and asked them to get it ready. I made my way over that afternoon to pick it up between classes. I had to take the metro, then a bus several stops to just outside the ancient city walls. I walked out a proud owner of a new Pinarello. I took my bike on a maiden voyage. I didn't really have a plan worked out so I just wandered around the suburbs of Rome on my bike, which wasn't the safest thing. That was ok with me though because this was the first time I could really lay into it and see how it responded. After I got tired of inhaling exhaust and almost getting killed in intersections, I turned back and made it to my apartment sweaty but alive.
Riding on Roman streets is a rush. In the city, a road bike is faster than cars, much faster than buses, but not as fast as the hordes of motorinos (scooters). Add rough cobblestones, unfamiliar streets, and pedestrians to the mix and you've got the Roman system. I am a foreign object on these streets and I am treated as such. No Italian cyclists are ever seen in downtown Rome and now I know that's for a good reason. I survived though, and it was fun. I carried my bike up the steps into the hallway of my last class of the day, Theology, where instead of taking notes I just admired my new ride through the open door way.
I figured I could find a club or team and really get to know some Italians with the same interest as me. Realistically, that has not been the case. I'm usually out of town on the weekends, when the organized rides from the bike store run, and anytime I'm not, it is rare to be in riding form at 8:30 on Sunday mornings. Regardless, I've gone on a few rides and found a favorite route. I head north out of Rome to a lake about 25 miles out called Lago Bracciano. While Italian roads are smaller, I've noticed Italian drivers give me more space when passing, going far into the other lane. I've had a great time so far, and you'll read more about my rides soon.
Posted by Andy Steves on October 13, 2008
The early morning travel was worth it to visit the Ferrari museum.
It's hard for me n imagine a sexier body than that found on a Ducati.
I used to wonder how a motorcycle could cost $20,000 but now I know.
I got to touch many millions of dollars of worth of cars at the Ferrari museum.
At the main Bologna train station, we were picked up by a small, chartered bus for the 45-minute drive out to the Ducati factory. Ducati motorcycles are known for their revolutionary speed and design. It's hard for me in imagine a sexier body than that found on a Ducati. And as we got nearer and nearer, I got more and more excited. Finally, I spotted the huge hangar-like building, discreet in everything but its huge red letters.
Touring the factory, we saw how each part of these motorcycles is hand-assembled and painstakingly tested. I used to wonder how a motorcycle could cost $20,000 but now I know. We walked through the engine assembly line, then the longer bike assembly line. It was amazing to walk down the line with a bike and watch it go from painted metal frame to speed machine. The rear suspension was the first to be added, then the engine, then the wheels and brake systems, and then the fairings and headlights. Slowly it would literally come to life when the technicians fired up the engines for the first time for performance testing. One guy's job was to plug the bikes into a dyno and test the horsepower. Our guide pointed out a row of bikes costing €68,000 each. Michael Jordan and Brad Pitt were among the customers for these monster bikes called the DesmoSeidici. Each detail was fine-tuned all the way down to the red, white, and green pin stripes on the tires. I left the place wondering how I could be so physically attracted to metal, rubber, and plastic. Ducati does it for me.
We then went back to Bologna to catch some lunch. The most interesting thing in Bologna was the fountain in the main square out in front of the Duomo, which had statues of women gripping their breasts with water spurting out of their nipples. I didn't have a guidebook so I didn't know if there was any symbolism or meaning attached, but they were plenty entertaining without any context. We found some lunch, then got back on the bus to head to the Ferrari museum.
I love Ferraris, but I find all their stores tend to be soulless and uninteresting. The museum was similar in style, but much better--probably because I got to touch many millions of dollars of worth of cars in a 45-minute tour. This tour took us from the humble beginnings of the company all the way through to the grandeur of Ferrari's reputation today. F1s were on display and I got to see each of the three street-legal F cars. These are among the most difficult cars to get your hands on in the world. Our guide explained in order to qualify to buy the second one in the series, you had to own the first one. And in order to own the latest, the Enzo, one must already own the second, the F50. In other words, you gotta be loaded.
tour was over, I began asking around to find a person with whom I could leave my resume and portfolio. It would be my dream to design for Ferrari in an internship. They sent me around in circles all the way to the gate into the real factory and there was where I met a challenge. I had my portfolio and resume in-hand but the guy wouldn't even take it. Instead he handed me a standardized application form. So I gave up. I think I just have to start up the long ladder, and maybe some day I'll get to the top.
My photo album of the two museums: Bologna
Posted by Andy Steves on October 10, 2008
About a month into my study-abroad experience, my family came to visit me. For a college student, seeing your parents has many benefits: one, it's great to be back with family again, but also it means a break from budget eating. I was about to have some of the finest dining experiences of my life that week night after night.
The next night, we met up with a group of my friends at a classy mozzarella bar called Obika. There, they take the science of Mozzarella di Buffala seriously. Their cheeses are brought in daily from the buffalo farms around the region, explained our waiter, as he pointed out each town on the map that was our tablemat. We started out with three huge hunks of the stuff on a bed of ruccola, cherry tomatoes, and a pesto sauce. One cheese was regular, the other smoked, and another aged. I was a fan of the first--I tend to like whatever I'm consuming the least altered as possible, whether mozzarella, espresso or Jameson. The next course was pasta with a bit of mozz incorporated in there somehow, I forget. The desert was a delicious mix of chocolate cakes and puddings. So good.
Posted by Andy Steves on October 08, 2008
I thought the designer trip would be a good opportunity to pick myself up my first suit ever and some Dolce & Gabbana skivvies. I did both. The week before the trip, I spent some time shopping around the Spanish Steps in Rome to see what was out there. In January and February the Saldis (sales) are still going on, and if you're lucky, you can find discounts of up to 60 or 70%. I tried on some Zegna, D&G, Versaci, Gucci, and others. I learned two things while shopping. First, to get any attention at all in these nice stores, you have to dress up a bit. And second, as soon as you say you're interested in a suit, they pull out all the stops. One store I went in to brought out juice, bottled water, and peanuts and crackers as I tried on different makes. I knew once I found the suit I would know for sure. Well in my preliminary searching I never found one.
Fast forward to this designer outlet trip. I tried on some Prada and Gucci but still nothing. Finally I stepped in to Ungaro and tried on a dark blue suit with very subtle pinstripes. It fit perfectly. I thought it over for an hour and had some lady friends come check it out. When at least four girls approve of anything related to fashion, I usually say it's a safe bet. They concurred so I got it. The next stop was the Dolce & Gabbana outlet. After looking through their suit selection, I was happy with my previous decision. Then I rifled through their underwear pile. I found two pairs that would fit: one camouflage and one navy with the Italian flag on the front. I snagged both.
If there's one thing I don't like in this world it is spending money for an opportunity to spend more money but then not spending more money. You take the time and spend the money to go somewhere thinking “OK to make this trip worth it, I have to spend money. But I have a budget too and each time I spend money it hurts the budget…and I don't want to do that too much either.” You get the point. For me it was worth it, I had friends though that didn't get anything and just spent the whole time listening to the whiny voices of East coast girls running around with daddy's credit card just looking for more ways to blow money.
The next day was another early morning. This time I had bought a ticket for a day trip called “Under the Tuscan sun,” which involved going to a hill town called Pienza, doing a wine-tasting in Montepulciano, and eating a three-course feast out at an agriturismo. Pienza would have been cool if we hadn't gone with the same 50 loud East Coasters from the day before. The wine tasting was at a pretty interesting place, but I wasn't a fan of the wine. I think it was Brunello, which apparently has won awards, so I'm an idiot, but it's my taste. And the feast was pretty good. It just felt like my experience was stamped out of a cookie cutter, and I was doing the exact same thing as too many other people had in the past. It was a good trip, just not a unique one, the kind that really is memorable.
Check out my shots from this weekend! Tuscany
Posted by Andy Steves on October 07, 2008