Bloomington: the Early Years, 2012-2015

My years in Bloomington are obviously some of the most significant of my life. I learned so much during this years– stuff about myself, art history, the world, everything really. It will be hard to say goodbye. Or, see ya later, because really, there will always be a next time. Deep breaths. There’s no crying in baseball. My time in Bloomington can be pretty easily divided into 3 distinct parts. The Early Years (2012-2015, comprising coursework and quals); Dissertating (2015-2019, comprising proposal, all sorts of travel, and my mom’s death), and Post-PhD (2019-2021, IAS and Pandemic). I’m going to write a post about all three. Why not?

When I moved to Bloomington in 2012, I had never stepped foot in the state of Indiana. I had some half-baked notions of what I would find–a blend of vague ideas about the US west of the Appalachians and stereotypes from Parks and Rec. Indiana (my part of it anyway) was NOT barren, flat prairie, but rather with rocky rolling hills. Most people do have a weird story about John Cougar Mellencamp (or his kids). Cities and towns do have really ornate courthouses (of COURSE made of Indiana limestone). There ARE a lot of raccoons. To be fair though, I’ve seen more skunk. (I have a long-standing theory that Bloomington *is* Pawnee. Yes, I know Bloomington pops up in the show, and no, that doesn’t matter to my theory.) Anyway. I digress.

It would be impossible for me to formulate a clear narrative of the first few years, so I’m going to hit the highlights. I know I’m missing things–critical important events and people–but at this moment, the things listed below are what categorized my early time in Bloomington.


Starting a Solo Adventure

I moved to Bloomington after what had been a rough couple of years. From 2010 to 2011, I lived with my grandfather while doing my MA and working a few jobs. My family had moved far away, then after my grandfather’s health declined, he moved to Texas to live with my uncle. It was rough, and I felt rather…adrift, but stuck both in terms of geography and situation. I was independent, but not. On a path, but not a certain one. I knew I wanted to go to get my PhD, but it wasn’t a guaranteed outcome. Thankfully, I was accepted to IU and the adventure could begin.

Driving to Indiana with my seeester!

After a summer of fun, concerts with my BFF, visits to quintessential Virginia sites, I packed up all of my stuff, and moved to Indiana with the help of my Dad and siblings. It was mildly terrifying to move to a town and state I’d never been to before, where I did not know a single person, but it was also thrilling to be on this adventure because it was was entirely my own. I was in Bloomington because I chose to go to IU. I was at IU because I chose to study art history. I wasn’t sure it would all work out the way I wanted–with a tenure-track job at a small liberal arts school–but at least I was taking concrete steps to make that happen.

Part of my orientation materials, from the now defunct Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts. (I still have this notebook cover, because I am that person.

It wasn’t easy. The first semester was kind of rough. I was one of 2 PhD students and lived farther way than I had intended (the risk of renting online with a NoVA definition of commute). Everyone else was an MA student and grouped together a little easier because of the classes they took (or so I felt!).My expectations and hopes had to confront reality, and that always requires a little adjustment. I found my feet and my people eventually and it was seriously one of the happiest times in my life.

Loving Bloomington and IU

Bloomington seemed like a perfect little pleasantville, microcosm of a place. After living on the 95 corridor literally my entire life, it was refreshing to have real boundaries to a space (literally, you can tell the moment you leave “town,” still). After the sprawl of northern Virginia/DC, it was charming. An actually ‘main’ street/downtown area, with adjoining campus felt so novel too after George Mason.

The interior of the Rose Well House from my first walk around campus,

CAMPUS itself was gorgeous. Both my undergrad and my MA were entirely different from IU’s. Randolph-Macon was small and quaint, beautiful, but definitely not really that impressive architecturally. Mason had a fine campus and was a huge school, but it was all very 1960s and 1970s (understandably). IU has a much more unified campus that is without a doubt, one of the prettiest in the nation. The landscaping is always great. The trees are always incredible in almost any season.

Kirkwood Hall. Legit favorite door on IU’s campus.

The architecture on campus fueled my excitement for scholarly pursuits. The gothic and romanesque influence *clearly* were meant to inspire Deep Thoughts unlike the boring brutalist stuff at Mason. Even better IU had an amazing museum and attached fine arts library in the same building as the art history department. It was THE LIFE.

My carrel, number 4, my favorite number, right under that weird painting with SPQR. It felt pre-ordained. RIP FAL.
Perfect atmosphere for some thinking. RIP FAL.
The foyer of the IU Art Museum (now the Eskenazi Museum of Art).
Paired busts of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus and his wife Julia Domna in their old arrangement at the IUAM.

Meeting So Many of “My” People

This one is it. Really, what made Bloomington was the people. In the first 2 years in Bloomington, I met more people who would become absolutely critical humans to my life. There are so many. Almost all art historians. I don’t take pictures of people (ugh) so I don’t have much to share here. All I have to say is I feel very lucky. I had opera buddies. Ice cream buddies. Art museum buddies (duh). Movie night buddies. Game night buddies. ALL SORTS OF BUDDIES.

There’s my friend L who I have been lucky enough to visit several times abroad and visit some really cool places. The first person to welcome me to IU, and who I would literally walk over the coals for.

Then there’s S&J who had become quick friends during our orientation, but then quickly welcomed me into their little group when it was clear I needed a friend. I spent literally so many wonderful moments with these two; they’ll always be my badass humans.

Year 2 brought three incredible humans, E, H, and K. I was so pleased to have found so many great people in Year 1, imagine my surprise when year 2 brought just as many amazing people.

Seriously, yo, when I count my blessings, it’s insane to think of how many of these blessings were introduced to me in this short window of time. In the art history department of IU, in Bloomington, Indiana of all places, no less!

The way it works in Bloomington though is that most everyone leaves. I’ve had to watch people I really care about move on to new and exciting things. What’s crazy to me is that I’ve managed to stay in touch with many who have moved away, some even thousands of miles away across the globe. But they leave and you stay. It’s hard watching them leave and not knowing when it will be your turn.

Ah, my desk in the grad office. Since I don’t have pictures of people (really), I’ll let this stand in for the place where I got to know so many people that I care about. RIP Grad office (yes, I was on facebook, hahahaha).

Discovering Drag Queens

In the grad office up there, one of my dearest amies introduced me to this little show called “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” You may have heard of it. This may sound random, but I have so many great memories connected to this show. I feel like it drew together many things I loved, provided some excellent stress relief, and much-needed inspiration, for some really difficult moments that would unfold over the next couple years.

Plus, I got to experience the much-beloved and unique, Uncle Elizabeth’s, which hosted drag shows in Bloomington before it folded.

I don’t have great images for the drag shows at Uncle E’s, but they were nothing but pure wonderful adrenaline.

Adopting Livia

In 2013, I finally got what I had wanted for so very long. A little baby kitty cat of my own. It was not an impulse decision, but it was still nerve wracking. I’d never owned an animal of my own before. It was a big responsibility. But oy! It was near instantaneous love. I went to the shelter wanting to get a male black and white cat, that I would name Gus. I left with a girl, grey and white that I named Livia. None of the boy kittens struck my fancy–there weren’t many. My friend L scooped up a girl baby and handed her to me. The first girl was too freaked out. L then scooped up 2nd girl baby, named “Eartha Kitt” and I didn’t put her down again until it was time to take her home. She was my baby. She loves me more than anyone else on earth and is my sweet perfect baby angel, even though she is a born crank, as evidenced by the picture below.

The curmudgeon is strong with this one. Livia, May 2013.

For those of you who were in Bloomington in 2012-2015, what did I miss? What were your critical Bloomington moments during these years?

Belated Blog: Charlotte and the Internet Curse

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Me doing a silly selfie in the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna, Italy — March 17, 2017 my last day with internet. 

My last blog came to you live, from Ravenna right after my glorious trip to Croatia, but then radio silence fell hard and fast. Most of you I’m sure gathered that I was alive and well, but blogging did not happen. It was not from a lack of desire, rather, from a lack of internet. In Rimini, I was so busy (some bad scheduling on my part), that I did not do my Ravenna blog. When I arrived in Torino, I discovered that my internet did not work. This happened again in Avignon, and again in Paris. Three days before I returned to the US, my internet *finally* started working.

I led a cursed life, a half life, wandering western Europe without connection. When I first encountered my internet troubles in Torino, it FREAKED me out. I had settled into a good routine, one that ended with a few eps of Parks and Rec before bed, brought to me live from the Netflix and my VPN. The loss of my only semblance of routine, my connection to the States, and my ability to upload my oh-so-precious research photographs to my cloud-based storage had a rough effect on my happiness. I fortunately had VERY SLOW internet on my phone that was unlimited so I could maintain the basics, but it made blogging not possible.

I still want to do all of the blogs I had planned and the ones I thought of while I was there (I wrote them down) however, because there are memories of each place I’d like to preserve and the blog is a great way to do so. Funny stories I’d like to hold on to. Some of the coolest parts of my trip have so far gone unblogged! There *is* a benefit to this belated blogging, especially for you reader — there will be no whining about the internet being bad 😉

From the Archive: It’s Time to Go

My suitcase has been packed – I’m still not sure how one carry-on for six weeks is going to work, but here it goes.

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This is it. All I’m taking to Europe for Eurotrip2016 – Traveling REAL light. I managed to fit 5 pairs of pants, 10 tops, pajamas, underwear, socks, a pair of shoes, a jacket, a sweater, a scarf, and toiletries into the suitcase! Color me impressed. 

My kindle is fully loaded with trash historical novels, cheesy romances, and the trio of Harry Potter short stories released recently.

My ipad is full of articles and music.

My house is cleanish and ready for Livia (and her babysitters) to enjoy while I am away.

I feel ready to, but also very reluctant to leave.

Leaving home has not always been hard for me. Growing up, I think I was just always so excited for the next adventure and I COULDN’T WAIT for the next best thing. My mother was forever telling me I was going to wish my life away in counting down to the adventure. I’m not sure when it happened, but that’s not a thing I do anymore…far from it. I think as I have gotten older, my anxiety has managed to remove the OMG I CAN HARDLY WAIT approach of my youth…there are too many things I worry about instead. Often, before getting ready to leave on a trip of any duration, I think to myself, “I’ve created a comfortable space that I enjoy, with my wonderful bed, and my sweet, snuggly, sometimes-persnickety feline. WHY would I want to leave?”

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Yes she looks more evil here than snuggly, but she’s my 9lb ball of evil. 

But then I remember an undeniable truth: that I do like traveling. I love experiencing new places, new smells, new sights and a little time away from home is a small price to pay for some great life experiences. Even more remarkable, I’ve managed to turn this love of art and culture into a burgeoning career ( and here’s to hoping that I actually get a job out of this down the road :-P)!

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A feline who cares nothing for your trivial complaints about not having enough personal space.

So the past week or so has been a strange combination of emotions. One second I glimpse that younger version of myself, brimming with excitement and ready to go. Two minutes later, Livia does something cute and I’m cursing myself for planning a trip that lasts so long. Back and forth, back and forth. It’s exhausting.

I AM excited. FRANCE. ENGLAND. ITALY. and CROATIA. It will be a trip of a lifetime.

Tuesday, I fly to my parents’ house (where my mom is making my FAVORITE dinner). Wednesday I fly to France where I will arrive in PARIS early Thursday morning.

From the Archive: Packing Light

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Packed bags for 4 months in France

I am not, nor have I ever been, very good at packing light. I like choices and there’s nothing worse than getting to your chosen destination and feeling completely annoyed with your clothing options. The above picture is from way back when right before I did my semester-long study abroad in France. The duffel on top is the size of what I would consider a normal size duffel bag, the bottom is a super large rolly duffel. This lasted me for the four months I was in France from late summer to early winter. I purchased another duffel in France that became “my carry on” on my way back home because of all of the stuff I had acquired while there (mainly books! quelle surprise!). My bags were also SUPER overweight on the way home but the delightful attendant for Air France let them go without a charge when I spoke French to her and responded that I had been there for months and was sad to go home. SPEAKING FRENCH is always a good idea on Air France…they give you extra wine.

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Flash forward to Summer 2015, ten years later, when I was on my way to Italy for six weeks. The same two large and “normal” duffel bags made their appearance again (there was a little more room inside and seriously, guys…LL Bean stuff is made to LAST) and here we have a 9lb cat in the shot for size comparison. In those bags, I think I had an entire American pharmacy and SO many clothes all for one season. I only checked the big duffel so I had to run from Gate 25 of Terminal D to Gate 4 of Terminal C (basically the entire length of two terminals) with that stupid bag. I literally thought I was going to die. Luckily for this trip, I was staying in one place. There wasn’t a lot of moving around to be done.

This trip will be OH so different though. Hauling around this ungainly, heavy large duffel for six weeks is a TERRIBLE idea, one that stressed me out a lot. Even my less ungainly large spinner suitcase would be too heavy for the heaving up and down train stairs continually that would need to be done for me to get where I am going. I knew I needed to make a change. I think I decided a couple of months ago that this trip would be done with nothing more than a carry-on sized suitcase, a backpack, and a purse. And that scares the hell out of me.

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This is my suitcase for the Eurotrip 2016 on the right in both pics with my large duffel and large spinner cases on the left. 

It’s just so small compared to what I’ve traveled with before! And it needs to last me for six weeks. I’ve got some great tips from one of my BFFs Ashley,  who is currently doing her own Eurotrip with similar baggage constraints, on how to get this done and be sane.  I tried to isolate exactly what freaks me out about travelling light.

I don’t like the idea of needing something and not having it. I understand that all of the countries I am visiting this trip are developed and have resources, but I just flashback to my 2004 trip to France when my camera broke (this was pre cell phones) and I couldn’t find a disposable. And then to my 2005 trip to France when I got the WORST blisters on the back of my heels and the French bandaids sucked and there was no neosporin or comparable substance to be found (my mom mailed me some bandaids, neosporin, and tennis shoes). And then to my 2015 trip to Italy when my eyeballs decided that they were allergic to the city of Rome and my eyedrops were insufficient to handle whatever crazy junk was happening and EVERY TIME I tried to go to a pharmacy, it was closed.

I need to get over it though. I will be fine. For every one thing I brought and used and was glad to have, there were probably 5 things I did not use, and then 3 things I wished I had that I had not packed, but did just fine without. After making the decision to pack light, I could feel my stress about moving around so much dissipate, somewhat.

Another thing that freaked me out was access to laundry. I LOVE clean clothes. My favorite (yes I have a favorite) chore of the week is to do laundry on Sunday. I love having all of my clothes clean and ready to go and the idea of maybe having to re-wear clothing that was to my (perhaps slightly OCD) way of thinking was dirty, made me cranky. But thanks to friend Katie’s suggestion, I found what I think will be a great solution. Woollite has sink packs…complete with a sink stopper, and travel-sized clothesline that doesn’t require clothespins. None of my airBnB’s have a washer, so this seems to be a perfect solution.

I’m going to do a test pack in a week or so just so I feel prepared and can adjust my expectations if I need to (likely). Does anyone have any travel tips for packing light while gone for an extended amount of time?

From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, TORINO, Italy, and the Piedmont

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Torino, or in English, Turin, is going to be my homebase for my excursions to areas in the Piedmont region of Italy (mainly Susa and Aosta). I wanted my homebase to be a slightly bigger city that was relatively central to these two places. That way, I can day trip during the day, and by night enjoy one of Italy’s premiere cities. Torino, besides being home to the 2006 Winter Olympics, the Shroud of Turin, and  Fiat and Alfa Romeo HQs, was also the capital city of the Dukes of Savoy and the first capital of unified Italy. Dating to the Roman era, Torino presents some excellent 17th, 18th, and 19th century architecture.

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Torino will offer grand royal architecture, nice plazas, and some fun eats. Torino is home to a regional coffee beverage, which sounds delicious, called bicerin an espresso, chocolate, and milk beverage (pictured below). Additionally, Torino, and the Piedmont more generally, has a local type of pizza that I might actually like (I…..don’t really like Italian pizza…I’ve had pizza in Rome and Naples and NOPE). It’s called pizza al tegamino, a deep dish pizza, and it looks delicious.

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One of the other cities I am going to is a small town called Susa, getting very close to the French border. Here, there is another very early arch that is well-preserved and super out of the way. It looks charmingly picturesque and I’ll get to walk a good deal of it in my quest for the arch.

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Susa

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The Arch at Susa

The other city I am going to visit is Aosta…the arch is woefully incomplete, but I will be close, so I figure I should see it. Aosta is very close to the French/Swiss border.

This is eighth in a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see.

Paris * Besançon * London * Venice * Pula * Ravenna * Rimini 

From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, RIMINI, Italy

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Rimini… is not a place I would probably choose to go if there wasn’t an arch there. It’s a beach town. And its arch is well, just okay. It’s a very early arch that was incorporated into the town’s medieval walls (hence the crenellations) so….it’s a little meh for me. The town does appear as if it has some picturesque parts and the museum looks to be super cool. I’m not going in the summer time so there shouldn’t be a crazy amount of beachgoers. I really don’t like the beach…I’m more of a rocky cliff beach kind of person…not the sunbathing kind.

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I will also be visiting Ancona for a day trip while I’m staying in Rimini and their arch is MUCH cooler. It’s another city perched right on the Adriatic coast and is important for shipping and passenger traffic at its port. This here arch is RIGHT on the water 🙂

I’m hoping that these two cities will completely eradicate my very low expectations and blow my mind!

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This is seventh in a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see. 

Paris * Besançon * London * Venice * Pula * Ravenna

From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, RAVENNA, Italy

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My visit to Ravenna is my second purely for pleasure trip. I have no reason to be there other than some of the most important art historical masterpieces from the late antique/early middle ages are found within its borders. Since antiquity, the city served as an important port on the Adriatic as well as occasionally serving as a capital for the Western Roman emperors and the Ostrogothic monarchs, eventually becoming the seat of the Exarchate of Ravenna (the seat of the Byzantine governor in Italy). In the 8th century, Ravenna was taken over by the Lombards, and thus ends my knowledge of Ravenna’s history. Truthfully, I have no expectations from the city of Ravenna; I’m going for its architecture.

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Check out the details found in the mosaics of San Vitale

I’ll be spending one weekend in Ravenna and I will be going to see a LOT of churches and a few tombs. Number one on the list is arguably one of the most important 6th century churches in Italy, and Europe, San Vitale. The structure and the mosaics are well preserved and I LITERALLY CAN’T WAIT to see them. Notable among the mosaics of San Vitale are the Theodora and Justinian mosaics which depict the imperial couple presenting the instruments of the Eucharist to the church in a process of officials. Richly colored in blues, greens, and golds, these mosaics demonstrate the sensory nature of early-medieval worship.

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Looking into the apse (the holiest spot of the church). In the conch of the apse, you have Christ depicted with full imperial symbolism…he is surrounded by two angels, Saint Vitale, and Bishop Ecclesias who initiated the construction of the church. 

I don’t know if I’ll be able to see all of the churches I want to see, but top on my list besides San Vitale are Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, San Giovanni Evangelista, and the Arian and Orthodox Baptisteries. I’d like also to visit the Mausolea of Galla Placidia and Theodoric.

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Sant’Apollinare Nuovo from an aisle looking into the nave. 

Sant’Apollinare Nuovo was built not long before San Vitale, but instead of the Byzantine central-plan domed church of San Vitale, we have a traditional basilica form (a long church with a center nave, and at least two surrounding aisles, all axially oriented towards the apse where the rituals would be performed). What is interesting about this church is that it was built under Ostrogothic rule as a Palace church for the emperor Theodoric. The Ostrogoths were Christians, but believed in a “heretical” form of Christianity called Arianism (long story short – questions the divinity of Christ and the notion of the Holy Trinity). When Ostrogothic rule ended, the church was not destroyed and we have noticeable examples where the mosaic program of the church was altered to reflect both the change in the political situation AND the religious shift to orthodoxy.

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Sant’Apollinare Nuovo mosaic that depicts the Ostrogothic palace…this mosaic shows obvious signs of being altered…can you spot them? 

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (so-called) is a pretty early structure that has some remarkable mosaics, both figural and decorative. My favorite of the mosaics is a depiction of Saint Lawrence and the instrument of his martyrdom. Saint Lawrence was an early-Christian martyr that was literally *grilled* to death. In this mosaic Saint Lawrence is standing beside his flaming gridiron; next to the gridiron is a cabinet with the handily labelled books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, or the Gospels.  Fun Fact: St. Lawrence is the patron saint of barbecue….chew on that for a few…PUN INTENDED.

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Saint Lawrence with his grill…..and you can see where I got the image for my blog header

My plans for visiting Ravenna just reinforce, in my mind, how much of an art historian I am. I do not study early medieval/late antique/Byzantine art, nor do I study Christian art, but I LOVE THIS STUFF. I cannot wait to see it…the pictures take my breath away, so I can only imagine the impact it will have in person.

What is a place you can’t wait to visit? The most hyped place you’ve ever been? Did it live up to your expectations? 

This is sixth in a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see.

Paris * Besançon * London * Venice * Pula 

From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, PULA, Croatia

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I still can’t quite believe that I am going to Croatia. It’s not a place I ever expected to go, nor did I think it would happen in the course of my research but here we are. Pula (or Pola) is on the Istrian peninsula of Croatia and was/is a prominent port on the Adriatic. In antiquity, Pula was one of the most important ports for maintaining Roman supply lines during various excursions into the hinterlands of the Balkans and further into Eastern Europe.

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Temple of Augustus and Roma, circa 2 AD 

Nowadays it is still a port, and a prominent vacation location. Its VERY well preserved Roman remains, its place on the Adriatic, as well as nearby attractions for those that like the outdoors draw folks to Pula…mainly other Europeans.

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Pula’s Amphitheatre…take that Flavian Amphitheatre (aka the Colosseum)

My goal here really is Pula’s Roman remains. Amphitheater. Arches. Temples. Villas. Pula has it all. I know next to nothing about Croatia more generally. In fact, I just recently figured out (I’m so embarrassed to admit this) that I will have to go through SLOVENIA to get to Croatia from Italy. Slovenia has a tiny little strip of land that reaches the Adriatic that divides Italy from Croatian’s Istrian peninsula. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to claim that I “have been to Slovenia”; is driving through a country the same as an airport visit?

The arch that I’m going to visit is on its way to becoming one of my favorites. In many ways, this little guy is an enigma. It’s super early and super well preserved…not a combination we usually have in arch world.

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The Arch of the Sergii 

What’s the most unexpected or unique travel experience or opportunity you’ve had?

This is fifth in a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see.

Paris * Besançon * London * Venice 

From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, VENICE

This is fourth in a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see.

Paris * Besançon * London

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Venice. I don’t know about you, but the image that name inspires in my mind is one of an extraordinarily magical place. Palaces, spolia, canals, bridges, floods, and gondoliers rush into my mind and yet again, this trip is allowing me to check another major European off my list. I’m also super excited that this isn’t going to be happening in the rush of tourist season.

I will not be in Venice for long. Merely one full day. I arrive in the evening on day 1, have a full day the next day, then depart early in the morning for Pula on the third day. Originally my plan had been to travel from Venice to Croatia by ferry, but it was not to be. Instead, I will be traveling from Venice, to Trieste, to Pula, by train and bus. (literally, arriving in Venice by plane, departing by train, and arriving in Pula by automobile).

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But first, I will spend a single day in Venice. Now, I know there are many things to see and do in Venice, but the only plan I have is to explore and to visit Saint Mark’s Basilica, and probably the Accademia…really hit the highlights of Venetian art (the kind I’m interested in anyway, sorry Biennale.) I feel like that’s honestly not too bad for a single day.

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Basilica di San Marco

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Between art and a walking tour, I am hoping to explore a good bit of Venice. My other goal is completely unrelated to art (it doesn’t happen often!). I want to try carpaccio. It’s a Venetian dish, thinly sliced beef (raw!) served with lemon juice, truffle or olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. My only concern with this is that I will get insane food poisoning and be completely screwed since I am a) traveling alone, and b) going to Croatia the next day and that involves a lot of travel.  BUT, if I eat it anywhere, it should be Venice, yeah?

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What are your must sees in Venice? What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever eaten while traveling?

This blog was originally published here

From the Archive: Destination Spotlight, LONDON

If you’ve known me for any length of time, there’s a chance you’ve figured out this fact about me: I. Am. An. Anglophile. I’ve been obsessed with things British since I was a wee girl. I used to be able to sing a ditty with all of the names of the kings and queens of England, in order. (I can only just list them now).

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Image Credit, Elizabeth II at 90, Vanity Fair, Annie Leibovitz

Jane Austen. Harry Potter. The Beatles. Alan Rickman. Emma Thompson. THE QUEEN. ((…and Queen (ha!)) Tea. Midsomer Murders. The Spice Girls (very important to 12 year old me).  Castles. Shakespeare. Scones. Procedural mysteries. HYACINTH BUCKET. Dame Judy. Dame Maggie. Dame Julie. Ab Fab. Black Adder. MARY BERRY AND THE GBBO.

THE LIST GOES ON.

I’ve considered it to be a personal failing that I’ve yet to set foot on English soil. But on October 5, 2016 (Happy birthday, Daddy!) I will arrive in London. This is the part of my trip that is exclusively for fun– I have no legitimate reason to be there other than I want to be.

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Nereid Monument, British Museum 

HOWEVER, most of what I will be doing when I’m there is still closely related to what I’m into. I will be visiting museums (The British Museum, The Soane Museum, and the V&A are on the top of the list, the Tate and the Portrait Gallery are maybes). I want to go to Harrods and buy tea. Go to Kew Gardens. Westminister Abbey. St. Paul’s Cathedral.  The tower of London to see the Crown Jewels. And if there is an event where the Queen will be seen in public, you can bet your ass I’ll be one of the ninnies in the crowd. If I have time, and I’m starting to think it’s doubtful that I will, I may go to Bath.

I also want to just walk around and be there. Buy books. Drink Tea. Eat meat pies and puddings and bakewell tarts. Take a stupid picture in King’s Cross at Platfrom 9 ¾. Try very hard not to imitate the accents (I’m an accent chameleon unfortunately). Of all of the places I am going this fall (and MAN are there many), this may be the place I’m looking forward to the most.

Have you been to London? What are your must sees?

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Originally posted by isolatedhysteria

This is third in a series of blog posts that I will be doing to talk about where I am going during this trip, why I am going there, and what I’m expecting to see.

Paris * Besançon