In Siena, the program starts off with a 3 week immersion program of the Italian language. When the three weeks are up, we all go on a 4 day “Gita” (trip), each semester to someplace different. This semester, we went to Northern Italy and stayed in a town called Cavalese in the Alps. It was absolutely amazing! On the way up, we stopped in Modena, Italy to tour the Balsamic Vinegar factory and the Parmigiano Reggiano factory. The Balsamic Vinegar place was amazing. We learned all about their process and the differences between 15 and 25 years of the vinegar being left in a wooden barrel. The best part about the tour, however was the tasting part. We tried every type of balsamic vinegar imaginable, from mint to orange and chocolate with vinegar inside. All of it was amazing.
Once we got to Cavalese, it became a winter wonderland. We stayed in a cute little hotel that felt like a log cabin tucked away in the woods. The beds were incredibly soft (obviously important), and it had a spa complete with hot tub, sauna and masseuse. While we were there it ended up snowing at least 3 feet and made the cute town seem pretty magical! We really lucked out.
The Friday of the trip we had a free day, and I decided to go skiing in the Alps. I had never been skiing, so of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn in the Alps of all places. The day started off really well, my teacher took us to get all our equipment, and though the boots were big and heavy and a little tight I was ready to go. We went up the mountain, with our skis on our shoulders and took the lift to the first trail stop. There, were two little hills where children, and the 20 year olds who can’t ski, practice and learn how to ski. For me, everything went really well on the kiddy hill. I was rocking skiing for it being my first time. After about an hour, my teacher and a couple of my friends who have skied before decided to go onto an actual hill and I decided that I was good to go, and tagged along. That was when my teacher tried to kill me….
I had thought that we were going to the easiest hill, a nice flat one. However, after the first 20 minutes of me falling every 2 minutes I realized something was up. As it turned out, we were on the hill that was half green, half red aka. the hardest one. I must have fallen at least 10 times before we were even halfway down the course! At one point I ended up upside down between the fence and the snow bank, with my ski stuck in the fence. Finally, I fell and 4 people skied over to help me up and I decided to be done. Instead I walked down the rest of the hill with my boots and skis.
I did go back to the kiddy hill for a bit because I obviously needed more practice. Overall it was an awesome trip, but let me tell you, I hurt so bad the next day… and the day after and the day after.
Sabina was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2015 term. She is a current student at Muhlenberg College studying at Siena Italian Studies (SIS) in Siena, Italy during the Spring 2015 term.
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