The two weeks I spent in Rimini were amazing to say the least. Some can say it is hard to get a real cultural experience in two weeks, but I would have to say they are wrong. Because this program was only two weeks, we had to pack a lot into a short amount of time.
We started our trip on the first day that we all got to Rimini, and the cultural experience started right off the bat. In Italy meals take a lot longer than they do in the States. You are given courses and it takes hours to complete a meal. Also in Italy people tend to eat at later times, not at 6 pm like we are used to here. Our group got the restaurant at 9 pm and didn’t finish eating until after midnight, which we all discovered is a competently normal meal. This trend of taking your time with meals continued on throughout the trip and, by the end of the two weeks, I was used to spending hours at a restaurant even if it didn’t have multiple courses.
Our first full day in Italy we had class, and when that was over we went on a walking tour of the city so we could learn where to go and the best places to eat. This tour helped me gain my footing on where to go and what to do. Rimini is a beach town in the northern part of Italy and, although I have been to Italy before, I have never spent actual time in any northern city. Before coming to Rimini I thought I would spend all of my free time at the beach, but that really wasn’t the case. We had group trips to other cities around Rimini to go olive oil tasting, look at ancient cities and check out the most amazing caves I have ever seen called the Grotte di Frasassi.
Our first weekend in Italy as a group we spent Saturday in Venice. It was really beautiful and we had a lot of free time to spend on our own to really discover the city. Anyone who has ever been to Venice knows that it is really easy to get lost – most say that you truly haven’t experienced Venice unless you get lost. Luckily, us being completely lost didn’t last that long and the smaller group I was with was able to make it back by our departure time.
On Sunday we had our first free day, and I planned a pretty amazing, yet far trip. I have always wanted to go to Cinque Terre, which are five cities on the opposite side of Italy from Rimini. It took five hours one way to get there and I had to leave at 5 am to get to Cinque Terre by 10 am. The weather was terrible the entire train ride and I felt like I made the biggest mistake ever going on this trip. But as soon as we got to Cinque Terre, the weather was perfect and I had a great time exploring all five cities.
Our last week in Italy was spent eating all the pizza and gelato that we could get our hands on while watching Italy win both of its matches in the Euro Cup. We experienced the private beaches of Italy and watched others in our group play beach volleyball. Overall I had the time of my life in Italy and I would recommend that everyone who has ever wanted to go to Italy, or Europe, to go on this trip.
I miss Italy already!
Jordan Ochoa is an international security and conflict resolution major. She traveled throughout Europe for five weeks this summer, two while on a Italy faculty-led program in Rimini, Italy.