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Published: June 23rd 2011
Arch of Agustus
Built in 25 BC when the city was founded. Parts of it are still from that era.
Thursday, June 23, 2011 First Night in Italy
Last night I finally rolled into town at 7pm. Two train changes and hours and hours of travel before that, I was beat. Still, the walk to the hotel was nice, at least I was moving. And providing entertainment for the locals, tugging my blue suitcase behind me while making several U-turns around the neighborhood. At last, I found my destination. After being checked in, my only concern was getting out of my sweaty clothes and into the shower. It was so refreshing. I hooked up my computer and had a brief chat with my mother online, and then crashed at 10pm local time. Where I Experience Culture Shock
In the morning I dressed and went down for breakfast, where I again made a slight fool of myself with the language barrier. At least everyone is in agreement that it is my problem so no one’s feelings are hurt. Breakfast was more like a dessert buffet with all sorts of cakes and pastries. The typical spread of cheese and salami was available too, but chocolate cake is a much more appropriate breakfast, I think. I returned to my room and remained
St. Orso Belltower
I believe the bell tower and church are all part of the same complex. That's what I'm going with, anyway.
there, suffering from buyer’s remorse. The traveling part is not a problem; I am an expert tourist. I am not, however, able to communicate in Italian, which is what kept me from leaving the safety of my room. It’s Now or Never
Hours later, I awoke with the Italian-English phrase book on my face. I had fallen asleep trying to come up with something to say to my hostess. I wondered briefly if the words had come off the pages and stuck to my skin, like newspaper. Well, it was time to break the seal, so I prepared myself for public and ventured out. I memorized “cash machine,” which delighted my hostess. She gave me a map and pointed to the main town square. And with that, I was on my way. Rome of the Alps
Aosta originated as a Roman fortress guarding access to the Alps and keeping the northern barbarians out of Italy. Remnants of the old walls, towers, and amphitheater are still standing. Being made of mountain stone, half the town is a boring grey. The other half is still probably made of stone, but plastered on the exterior. My stroll took me down the
Church of St. Orso
The each niche was filled with powerful religious art. They said some of the frescos date to the 11th century.
main drag past lots of pretty shoe stores and cafes. I found a hoard of Asian tourists on a guided tour, and so I followed them, which worked in my favor. Their detour off the main drag brought me to some of the historic sites, the church of St. Orso and the foundations of an old cathedral. Wandering some more on my own, I found the Arch of Augustus, Porta Praetoria (ancient city gate), and the amphitheater. All grey, all amazing. This is why it is called “Rome of the Alps.” Later that day...
I stayed in for the night. The afternoon was, for the most part, triumphant, and I wanted to end the day on a high note. I settled in with a cup of tea and my language book. Oh - I did figure out how to use the bidet. It was rather pleasant.
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