27 February 2012


Before I even begin to write, I want you to go over to my friend Jim's blog and read about Naples. He takes amazing pictures, and has a really great page going about his time in Rome.

There was a group of ten of us in Naples, all ISA kids who came into this trip virtually unknown to one another and I don't know I've never laughed so hard, or felt so comfortable and confident about my current place in this crazy little life. I love these people.

Helen and I met around 7:30 and got to the train station with enough time to get a cappuccino and pastry before the train left at 8:30. I slept for most of it, but I still had a good time.

We arrived in Naples shortly after 11. We saw trash, a dead pigeon, beautiful buildings, peddlers, graffiti and sunshine. Quite a dichotomy, and that dichotomy continued throughout the whole day. I was simultaneously scared and in awe and nervous and intrigued. Not many cities can do that to a person.
We began the pizza experience at Pizzeria da Michele. It's the place to get pizza in Naples. It's featured in the book, Eat, Pray, Love and sticking true to the narrative, Julia Roberts went there to film in the movie adaptation.

Honestly, I've never had a pizza like it, and I doubt I ever could. The crust was like flatbread, somehow crispy and fluffy at the same time. From the menu, you can see there was a limited selection. Toppings ruin the essence of the pizza. We walked out of there, a few minutes after 12 and there was already a wait. This place turns some serious business, and I'm so glad we went early.
For some beautiful pictures from the National Archeological Museum and the Duomo, go over to Jim's blog I talked about earlier. I was too chicken to take pictures, but he was a daredevil & they're beautiful!

After the museum, we walked to the water, where the main piazza of Naples conveniently placed.

Later in the day, we went to St. Elmo's fort for a beautiful view of the city and Bay of Naples.

It took us a while to leave the edge of the Mediterranean, but it was so worth it, when we went to the top of the ridge by riding a funicular. So fun! The views actually took my breath away.

Naples had a lot of history, and was once the most powerful city in the South of Italy, but a lot of the money has found its way to the Northern part of the country. Crime is rampant, my friend Katie had her grandmothers wedding ring taken off a chain on her neck by a man on a scooter. The people who live here hold their head a bit higher and act more aggressively than I've seen in other parts of Italy. 

After the furnicular, we started heading back to the train station and found a great place for dinner. We all ordered pizza, again, and an unnecessary amount of vino rosso. No complains. The train ride consisted of watching Wedding Crashers on Andy's iPhone and laughing with the crew. 

Once again, I was so happy to get off the train at Termini and be back in Rome. I really feel at home here.

24 February 2012


Hi everyone! I started this blog when I went to Tanzania in 2010, so the title Lions, Tigers and Clare worked well. I've loved blogging, documenting my trips, writing about issues I care about, and discussing my life. Obviously, some other people enjoy reading it, too. I just got my 2,700th blog view. That's not a lot by most blog standards, but I'm just happy that people are caring about what I have to say. Or, they enjoy reading about Europe. Either way, thank you!

Also, there are a lot of you out there in America that I'm missing a lot! I can't tell who is reading this, so if you are, comment, message me, say hey! Because Europe is awesome, Rome is spectacular. But I love the people in my life, and a lot of you aren't here.

I'm heading to Naples tomorrow for the day with about eight other people in my program and I'm SO EXCITED! The weather is suppose to be beautiful, and I can't wait to see a beautiful blue ocean.

Happy Weekend, Amici!

21 February 2012

life's keeping on

It's been a busy few days for four reasons...
  1. I've started Season 2 of The Walking Dead... and I've watched eight episodes since Friday. I love that it's filmed in Georgia, even though the subject matter is vile. Basically, the whole world has turned into zombies, save for a few brave and clever souls. It's human nature at it's best and worst. It's pretty eerie to see scenes from Downtown Atlanta, and Georgia license plates because it makes it strangly more realistic. There's a tendency for zombie movies and television shows to feel cheesy, but The Walking Dead pulls you in, and it feels real. The characters are likable, too. Unless they get bitten by a Walker and turn into a zombie themselves. 
  2. There's been BEAUTIFUL weather in Rome, so I've been trying to enjoy being outside without freezing!
  3. I have two quizzes tomorrow, in Film Genres and Italian Language.
  4. Prapti and I made our Spring Break plans!! We're going to Malta for the first half, then Prague to hang out with a bunch of people from our program. Planning trips is exhausting, but it's a burden I'll gladly bear. 

17 February 2012


Three weeks into class, I can definitely say that they have defied all of my expectations. I go to a small school. Faces are getting familiar. My professors know my name and I most certainly can't sit passively and listen to a boring professor without getting noticed by said professor for not being actively engaged in class.

I've been in some classes at UGA that have been small, but this is different somehow, and I like it!

In my "Mediterranean World" class on Thursday, we sat on the 6th floor terrace and overlooked Rome while talking about Mediterranean politics. Pinch me.

In my Feature Writing Class, we've read & discussed articles about Istanbul, Callista Gingrich, and Muslim leaders in Brooklyn.

In my Film Genres class, we have watched some INCREDIBLE movies that I may have otherwise never seen. I'll start with the shock.. I'd never seen The Matrix. Cue the Gasp. I don't know why, it just never happened but we watched it to analyze the western & action-adventure genre.

We've also watched Touch of Evil, a film noir by Orson Welles. I usually don't choose to watch black and white movies, but I enjoyed this SO much! I will definitely be watching more Orson Welles films when I get back to the States.

Today was the best. We began our unit on musicals and watched Top Hat, a film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Beautiful clothes, beautiful dancing. I had heard about the duo's talents as a part of American Culture, and now I understand how they were so iconic. In the picture below, Rogers is wearing this lovely ostrich feather dress that made the dancing look even more graceful.

Look how beautiful!!
Later in the Semester, we'll watch Moulin Rouge, 42nd St and a bunch of horror films. I could go without the horror, but maybe if I learn the iconology behind them, I won't be so scared. All of this at 9 AM on Mondays. Rage.

We're spending the weekend in Rome and I'm very excited to see the city with few other responsibilities or things to get done.

Hope you have a great weekend!!

16 February 2012

just spent an hour on pinterest...

...but I'm too lazy to pin. It's a beautiful day in Rome! We had class on the terrace today, facing all of Rome. We could even see the snow-capped mountains far in the distance. Off to enjoy the sunshine.


14 February 2012

That's Silly... You Can't Date A City.

4 Months ago, if you had asked me if I'd be dating someone by Valentine's Day, I would have replied, "Yeah, of course. Rome!"

Things changed. I threw caution to the wind at a concert at my beloved Georgia Theatre with the excuse, "Whatever, I'm going to Italy...", and shortly after, began a relationship that has been really wonderful. Christmas came, New Years Eve flew by, then the first day of class at UGA and eventually, my departure day arrived. There were so many great moments in those few months, there was no way I was going to let it go for 5,000 miles. It was really tough to leave something so special, but I realize that without Italy, this amazing thing probably wouldn't have come into my life. 

Yesterday, he sent me these flowers. Now they're sitting on my bedside table and the room smells beautiful. From Athens, GA to Rome, I feel so much love. 


Happy Valentine's Day to everyone who reads my blog, so like, my mom and probably my seventh grade teacher.

Carnivale in Venice

This was the third time I'd been to the place and finally, I feel like I've conquered Venice, and don't feel the need to go back for a while, as in a decade or three.

Though by then, it'll probably be underwater...

Fun fact: flying standby in Europe is even less fun than in America! Because of many issues and silly rules, I bought a ticket to Venice about an hour before the flight left. SOOOO CHEAP!

Prapti, Nancy, Steve, Mike, Ryan and I were all on the same flight and took the vaporetto into Venice. I don't know if I've ever been so cold. The sky was white, no sun in sight and the wind was out with a vengeance but we arrived at our apartment... and realized we would be spending the weekend in a area very far out of town... and with an 80 year old woman who knew no English, and she would not be leaving for the weekend. Apartment rental sites can be misleading about things like that. So, we didn't even unpack. Nancy, Prapti and I found a hotel near Piazzo San Marco called Hotel San Moise that ended up being perfect. Hopefully we'll get a refund.

Basically, we walked around and enjoyed the people in costumes, ate, drank hot wine, shivered, drank hot chocolate, shopped for masks and took pictures. Don't believe me? Look.

There were some awesome sights inside the Doge Palace and St. Mark's Basilica. I'll put up more photos later!!

09 February 2012

From 5,000 miles away...

... I'm still looking out for Athens.

This triangle between Oconee St, East Broad and Wilkerson St. is essentially in my backyard. I'd love to have a grocery store nearby, but a Walmart would ruin a lot that I love about the area. People have been talking about this since November, and I hope the conversation is continuing in Athens, and in the Selig HQ's.

Watch the video, or don't and if you care enough, go to http://peopleforabetterathens.org/ and learn how you can help protect this beautiful piece of Earth, in the Classic City.

Love from the Eternal City.

08 February 2012

Siena, a beautiful mountain town with a wind problem.

Until Saturday night, we didn't know if we'd even be able to access Siena. The roads were all icy, but someone found a snow plow and salt in Tuscany. Siena is lovely, and full of history. Most importantly, they hate Florence, because the Florentines conquered Siena a while ago, like hundreds of years, and they still haven't forgotten. Our tour guide LITERALLY mentioned how much she hated Florence like... 15 times in a 2 hour tour.

Siena is also home to a famous horse race. Each district in the town has a horse they cheer for, and the rivalries in these 17 districts are HUGE. Whatever district you're born into, that's your district for life.

The snow was beautiful, and made everything slightly painful.  There were hardly any people outdoors and the people who were, were all playing in the snow! It was like we had the town to ourselves.
This piazza in Siena is usually covered in cobblestone.  
Most of the churches in these parts are really into relics, as in, actually items that belonged to patron saints and important people in the church. Siena is famous for St. Catherine of Siena and in the church dedicated to her, they have her pinky finger and skull on display. I'm not even kidding. A mummified little finger from the 13th century and a skull, covered in what looked to be dough, sitting in shrine. It was one of those moments where I really wanted to look away and couldn't move my eyes, at the same time.

AAAAAnyway, we had free time after the tour. when Patrick, Rodney, Heather, Lauren and I went to a deliciously touristy place along the Piazza. You definitely pay for the location in Europe, but the pizza was so good. The night before, someone ordered a Caprese salad for 5 Euro and at this place, a Caprese Salad was 10 Euro. Caprese Salads may become my new measure of cost in this country.
My ZAAA, Sausage, Onion, Cheese, Tomato
Heather & I at lunch
They say the sky is bluer in Siena, and even on a day as dreary as this one, I believe it. I'll go back one day, hopefully when there aren't kids sledding in the streets.


07 February 2012


emerson don't lie.

A person will worship something, have no doubt about that.  
We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out.  
That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. 
Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping, we are becoming

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

06 February 2012

florence, italy

I see why so many people love Florence. It's probably one of the few major cities in Europe I had never visited before I came for the semester, and now I'm kicking myself that I hadn't been soon. So rich in art, culture and beauty. Every street was beautiful and the people were so friendly.

First thing, it was COLD. The city hadn't seen snow in that quantity in more than 10 years, but they didn't freak out like we would in Georgia. Business continued, cute kids in puffer jackets still played in the streets.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and went on a walking tour of the Piazza della Repubblica, Santa Maria del Fiore and the Galleria dell' Accademia, where Michaelangelo's David is displayed.

Piazza's get real windy when it's cold, and because I don't like cold, a little bit of the walk kinda got blacked out in my head. Santa Maria del Fiore is the beautiful cathedral that symbolizes Florence, with it's high dome towering over all the city. A lot of people walked to the top of the Dome for an incredible view. I didn't, and I'm sad I didn't so I need to go back soon.
Piazza della Repubblica

Santa Maria del Fiore

The Dome & Beautiful White, Green & Pink Marble from Tuscany

Oldest Working Medieval Clock in the World, starts at Sunset

Inside of the Dome
After this tour, we went to see the David, one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. You can't take pictures inside, but he is flawless. I was speechless and so in awe of it's grandeur.

Then, Prapti and I went to the San Lorenzo Leather Market (thanks for the recommendation, Rachel!!) and I bought a beautiful olive/ brown leather jacket. Then we went back to the hotel and met up with some people to go to Paoli's. It's one of the nicest restaurants in town, and I had the most amazing steak. Rodney and I split a kilo of steak, I know, it was a lot but it was DELICIOUS. Florence is known for steak, so I had to do it. Then, we went back to the hotel and went out to a club for a bit...
On Saturday, we (hotel roommates Katie, Bunny, Prapti & I) went downstairs to a free breakfast. Great bread & cheese, yummy yogurt, not so great coffee. Then we began another tour with our group to the Uffizi Galleries, saw a bunch of beautiful, old masterpieces then headed home to take a long winters nap. This would have been the time to climb the Duomo, but next time. For dinner, Rodney, Katie, Bunny, Prapti and I went to a great authentic Tuscan restaurant called Anita. We went to a bar with a bunch of Americans and I got bored so we went home.

Next morning, we woke up at 8 AM to head to Siena. More on that later. I'm tired and I have homework to do for tomorrow.


02 February 2012

my dear, dinner is served.

So I found this recipe online for Creamy Avocado Pasta and I had it bookmarked for a long time. Since we're a little crammed in this kitchen (no dishwasher, no microwave) for 6 girls, I wanted to make something easy and it was so good!!

 I mixed up some avocado, lemon juice and premade pesto...
 ..and just put it on the pasta!
It would be great as a Summer Dish, too.
Nothing better than cooking for friends. 

I'm off to dinner, then packing for Florence!! 
I also found out that my best friend Danielle, her mom and my mom are all coming to Rome for UGA's Spring Break in March!! I'm so excited!!!!


01 February 2012

io sono Clare y no sono italiano

The language barrier is tough over here in Roma. I'm getting by, but I'm the type of person who loves striking up a conversation with a stranger on the street or in a restaurant, but here, I can't do that to the same degree. A big smile and an attempt to say "Do you have monthly bus passes?" is sometimes met with compassion, and often with confusion.

For that reason, my Italian Language & Culture class has been great. Instead of dwelling on grammatical nuances, we're learning conversation and though we're only on the basics, I soak up every word because I know I'll walk outside the gate of the American University and appreciate everything I've learned.

I dropped my later class on Tuesdays & Thursdays, so I'll be done by noon tomorrow for the week! Helloooooo 4.5 day weekend!

We're going to Florence this weekend, and recieved an email from our program director warning,
Forecasts for this weekend in Tuscany are crystal-clear:
FREEZING COLD (around 20-25 F)  and SNOW
so DRESS ACCORDINGLY (warm clothes, hat, scarf, gloves, etc.)
and take un UMBRELLA with you
ci vediamo venerdě
ISA staff"
I don't do too well in the cold, especially when I'm in a place known for its warm environment, so this should be.. interesting. I guess I'll just have to go back when it gets a little hotter. We booked our tickets for Venice next weekend. It's Carnivale, like Mardi Gras but in Italy. Should be a blast. 

Can't wait to tell you all about it when I get back!!

Someone go get a Chick-fil-a Chargrilled Sandwich in my honor, and maybe some queso, too. But not at the same time, unless you're by Alps Rd in Athens, then it just makes sense.