Pravo imparare Italiano- roughly "I am trying to learn Italian". Over the past 6 weeks I have been trying to learn Italian. At this point, I can string together some very basic sentences in Italian although sometimes it is more like one word of English for every Italian word. For the last 3 weeks I have been engaging in a formal Tandem Language Exchange at the local library, which is actually a lot of fun and mostly entails getting coffee with someone while speaking English and Italian. Also, the last 5 weeks I have been attending the Pesaro Language Exchange (PLE) meetings at Circolo Mengaroni every Thursday night (and one in Rimini on Friday). It has been a fantastic way to meet people here and to learn some Italian while having fun. Saturday night they even had a potluck where everyone brought a typical dish from their country. I just made simple nutella cookies from a recipe on pinterest, but it was a delicious way to experience different cultures. That night Circolo also had a Beatles tribute band called "Freaky Crab Machine" playing and we danced like crazy to their unique rearranged versions of the classic songs I know and love, like "Hey Jude".
Not exactly in chronological order, but Friday I made an afternoon trip to Gradara. The main tourist site in town is the castle. I finished the whole tour in about 15 minutes (I had a friend waiting for me outside) but I really enjoyed imagining the people who had lived there; the castle had some really interesting passageways that I liked to think about people scurrying down on a secret trip. One of the rooms in the castle was inspired by Francesca and Paolo, real life lovers who were featured in Dante's "Inferno" for their scandalous affair and tragic demise.
Then yesterday some friends and I headed to the Grottoes di Frasassi. We ended up being about 2 hours too early to head on the tour of the caves, so we stopped to visit the museum and for a quick lunch. At each mini shop they were giving out samples of salami, porchetta and cheese, so we went down the row sampling each type and then each of us headed back to our favorite for sandwiches. We enjoyed our lunch so much that we almost missed the bus to the caves! The caves were a spectacular site to see, with towering stalagmites and stalactites in huge cavernous rooms (the first room was large enough to fit Milan's Duomo inside).