09 June 2015

Climbing (Continued) and Cappuccinos

Today was one of my best days in Italy thus far (I know I keep saying this...but my trip really does seem to be getting progressively better). Before I dive in and tell you all about my unforgettable experiences today, let me catch everyone up on what's been going on at Castle Brunnenburg since the last time I wrote.

On Sunday we had a day of rest. As previously stated I made peanut butter cookies for the Princess to take to Sunday tea - they were a fantastic success! She seemed to really enjoy them, and I know the other students did as well. It nice to have a taste of home. After tea my friend Hope and I had a photo op on top of the castle. We had dressed up for tea and thought some fun pictures were in order. It was a blast!

Yesterday - June 8th - I was awoken in the middle of the night by a terrible thunderstorm! I had to close my window (which I usually leave open) to keep out the rain. I promptly fell back asleep, but was surprised the next morning to hear from Dr. de Rachewiltz that we had had some hail! Other than that, it was an uneventful Monday. Classes were intriguing. Dr. de Rachewiltz spoke about fairies and dwarves and the mythology of the Tirol, subjects which I found fascinating. Alex, Hope, Natalie and I also finally bought our tickets for the Uffizi and Accademia (Tavel tip #3: do NOT leave buying tickets for museums until the last minute...not my smartest decision). Luckily we were able to get tickets for both with a little shopping around. Elyse, an art and performance major and one of the students here, also gave us a brief overview of the most important art pieces to see in Florence, a very propitious presentation. The two highlights of the day both had to do with food - shocker!

We made a communal dinner which was very good:

And as always tea with Mary was exquisite. She also showed us her collection of Egyptian scarabs. Her late husband, Boris, was an Egyptologist and collected Egyptian artifacts. It was amazing to see all these pieces of ancient, Egyptian, history in this castle high in the Tyrollean mountains. 

This morning I got up and ate bread and Nutella - the best way to start the day! In Dr. Redman's class we've been analyzing The Merchant of Venice, a Shakespearian play. Portia, one of the main characters, is one of Shakespeare's most complex and intelligent female leads. We also looked at more of the artwork of Venice and examined the development of government and social institutions (such as the confraternities and dowry laws) in the Venetian commune. 

After class we had a delicious lunch, made, once again by Ms. Brigette. Here are pictures from lunch on Monday and Tuesday:

The weather today - June 9th - was absolutely gorgeous! After lunch Michi, Dr. de Rachewiltz son, took us on a hike up to Vinschgau via Gangleg to see the irrigation system of South Tirol and some Roman ruins. There were also reconstructions of dwellings that archaeologists had found in the mountains. It was sprinkling, but never actually poured, which made it very nice for hiking because it was not hot. We passed a small mud slide along the creek. The mountains are stunning:

On the way back to the town we stopped and looked at this:

Jesus and the Two Thieves

And had a brief discussion about Tyrollean customs (the ways in which they welcome spring) and food legislation where we discussed the values of quality versus quantity (i.e., whether using pesticides  or genetic modification to mass produce food is merited when it is known to damage the quality of the items and may damage those who consume them). It was a very interesting discussion, particularly because two of the girls in our group are going into law and one is very interested in environmental and food law. A consideration of differences between the European Union and the United States way of handling these issues also enriched the discussion. 

After this short lecture we descended into the village where Michi treated us to coffees. My cappuccino was very good (I don't think I have to say again how much I enjoy Italian espresso). Then we took a ride down the street to a pizza place.

When we had finished our Italian dinner it was time for the ride home. I spoke with Michi about books and different Italian desserts. It was a very fun evening. I cannot express with enough fervor the beauty of the Italian countryside. Being here is a blessing, and I will never forget the effect these majestic mountains have had on me, or the awe-inspiring experience of sleeping in Brunnenburg Castle in the middle of a raging thunderstorm. Until next time, goodnight from Castle Brunnenburg!

1 comment:

The Militant Pacifist said...

That looks like a "Primitivio" (aka "Zinfandel) you're drinking :-)