Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last time, Monsters.

First week of Impulstanz! I took Contemporary technique from Kathleen Hermesdorf, Partnering from Laura Aris Alvarez, and Parkour from Leech. I had a leg up in Kathleen's class because she was teaching in Amsterdam when I was there - loved her class, she is amazing. Partnering was very interesting, I learned a lot and feel I have a better foundation and understanding. Lots of running in that combination though so I ended up with a pretty wicked split under the pad of my big toe. Parkour was challenging for the quads, we did so many precision jumps the first two days that I could not roll out of bed on Wednesday and I walked down the 81 stairs (I recently counted) backwards from the apartment for the next couple of days. I did master a pretty cool vault on the last day though! I am planning to take my skills to the streets of Atlanta on my return :). Went around Vienna a bit this weekend, saw the palace and went to the Belvedere where they have a collection of Klimt's work - definitely a highlight of my stay here. Now I am in week two! My sore legs have healed so I'm ready to go!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Benelux and a long journey to Wien...

I got to Brugges and could not find a couch and soon discovered that the hostels were booked because of a music festival! Ah! I had to find a hotel, pretty cheap for a hotel, but more than a hostel would have been. I walked down to the festival to see if I could hear the music from outside (too expensive to go in) and wandered down a street which ran right into the park and you could hear Regina Spektor loud and clear. Even more wonderful, I met some awesome Bruggians who were hanging out there too and they showed me around Brugge and gave me a place to sleep the next night! I even got to drive one of their scooters around the parking lot - so exciting.

Sad to leave Brugges, but off to Amsterdam!

Thank the heavenly orbs for Hillary Firestone, she is amazing. She found me an apartment to stay in while I was there and a bike to use, showed me where the grocery was, invited me to watch the World Cup finals, told me where to take dance classes, brought me along to see a dress rehearsal for a JuliDans performance, had me over for dinner, gave me advice on what to do with my life, and more. I had a lovely time taking class, biking through Vondelpark, seeing crazy fans in orange everywhere, going to the Julidans dance party, basically pretending like I lived there for four days.

The powers that be of the rail system apparently did not want me to get to Vienna. It seems I chose to leave on the first day of vacation for everyone in the world, but finally I caught a break in Venice with an awesome ticket person who found me a night train leaving at 1:30 am and so I made it!


Saturday, July 10, 2010


I left Florence and headed to Nice - Cote d'Azur! I stayed in a hostel the first night, then with a kind CouchSurfer the next two. Got to hang out on the rocky beaches which were lovely, walk around the town, through the markets, and even went to Monaco for a bit one day! I also got to do some laundry - very cool.
Next I headed to Paris, a wonderful couple agreed to house me for two nights. The first night we went down to the Trocadero to try to watch the game but they weren't letting anymore people in so we ended up having a picnic in front of the Eiffel tower during sunset, lovely lovely. The next day I went to see Pere Lachaise. Walked around and saw Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison. I didn't realize that Isadora Duncan was buried there, so I made a pilgrimage to see her final resting place. Then I met my CS hosts for some delicious sushi and walked around a bit. That night (though the train took much longer than I thought so I missed the beginning, grrr) I saw Ballet Preljocaj's Tribute to the Ballet Russes at Chateau de Versailles. Luckily I didn't miss any of the piece that I came there to see - La Sacre du Printemps. It was amazing to see a performance there, once in a lifetime. The metro closed before I got home so I had a crazy time with a French woman and an off-duty metro worker trying to navigate the bus system, but I made it!
Now I am in Brugge, it is fabulous already and I am looking forward to seeing how the day will unfold...

p.s. photos to follow shortly.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sono piena come un uovo...

So....Florence! I loved the city, beautiful river running through the middle. I saw a girl I met in the hostel in Venice and she, someone she met from Mexico, and I walked around the city. We went to the market, saw the Duomo, saw the David, it was a lovely time. That afternoon I took the train out to Pistoia to meet my host, Alice, and go to her house. I got to meet her lovely parents, and also her sister and nephew (so cute!). We had lasagna that her mother made :). The next day I went in to Florence for a bit and then took the train to Siena - I loved Siena. It was absolutely gorgeous, one of my favorite churches is there, a little one down a side street. That night Alice took me into Pistoia's city center to show me around. They were having some sort of summer festival where people sell crafts, play music, and the stores stay open late (Some Italian woman performed a nice rendition of a Natalie Merchant song). The next day I went to Lucca and Pisa. Lucca I also loved, definitely in the top two with Siena. It is surrounded by a huge wall where you there is a beautiful view. Walked around, loved the trees, wandered into my other favorite church - a medium sized one with tiny chapels all along the side and each was completely different. And the displayed body of a saint was cool too! I saw the tower in Pisa and went in the cathedral, which was cool, otherwise it was kind of a hectic city - and hot.

Next adventure was the farm! Martina and Fillipo have an adorable baby, Melia, and very cool little house. As Martina was driving me up the mountain I kept thinking "Oh, this must be the top, here we are." but we kept going and going. Needless to say the view was amazing. Fillipo has sculptures and pieces of marble everywhere, and a huge carrara marble sculpture he has been working on for ten years. They have goats, olives, grapes, fruit trees, and two dogs, Zuzu and Orca. I mostly helped Fillipo with the hay fields - turning the hay to dry, and the whole process of hay-baling. I stayed up in a little house up the hill with some doormice and a lovely view. Hard work and a bit of sun burn - whoa farmers tan.