Monthly Archives: November 2014

Traveling in Italy

Ciao dear readers!
Today’s blog article is going to be about traveling – and what it’s like to travel in Italy as a foreigner.
First of all let me say that EVS is not only about doing volunteer work, but also a lot about this – traveling, getting to know the country, its people and its differences. Since you are already living in another country, you should use the opportunity to see as much of it as possible.
So far, I was able to see Rome, Lecce, Gallipoli, Monopoli, Ventimiglia and some smaller towns around Pesaro. I had a lot of fun during this time, enjoyed the regional cuisine (supplì in Rome – yummy!), saw at least 30 churches within only 4 days (by far the most beautiful was the “Basilica Cattedrale Maria Santissima della Madia” in Monopoli) and learned some new things (did you know that they still use Regional Trains from the 70’s or 80’s in some parts of Puglia? Well, I didn’t, and so my trip from Lecce to Gallipoli turned out to be quite an adventure!).
Traveling by yourself or with friends also requires some sort of independence and autonomy in organizing the trip, finding accommodations and so on. Sometimes it can be hard and you find yourself in situations that you didn’t consider before (like waiting for your next train for 3 hours in the middle of the night – no problem, until suddenly it’s cold and weird creepy people start showing up). But in the end, you will have gained some useful experiences.Katharina, EVS, Vicolocorto, Travel, friend

Visiting friends

So far, I was really lucky when it came to company for my travels. Since I didn’t have my on arrival training yet and therefore also don’t know any people in Italy that I could travel with, I didn’t really know with who I could go or whom to visit.
But when I (more or less spontaneously) asked some of my friends from Germany if they were interested in a vacation in Italy, they always said yes.

Interesting places

Deciding where to go is one of the hardest tasks for me: because there are so many interesting places to see, and I want to go everywhere. Of course I want to see the most famous cities like Venezia, Genova, Firenze, Napoli and Roma. But I also got a lot of insider tips on smaller towns and villages that are worth visiting. So I’m trying to take a vacation every month, to travel as much as possible to see as many places as possible

Katharina, EVS, Vicolocorto, Travel, friend
What do you need to consider?

After deciding on the destination, the two big questions are: how to get there? And where to stay? Since we are young, bold and poor, we were looking for cheap options. In my case, that was always the train. For accommodation, we used the website airbnb.it, were people rent their own houses or rooms in their apartment. This way, I got to know the adventures of the InterCityNotte, Regional Trains in Puglia and the train station of Ancona, where I had to spend my night while waiting for the train to Rome.
In Lecce, we met Giuseppe, whose apartment we were renting. He was one of the nicest hosts I ever had, providing us with anything we might need and inviting us to the jazz concert of his friends. In Rome, we were hosted by a very energetic and authoritarian Chinese woman who gave us several tips on how to not get our money stolen in the city. You see – quite the adventure

Interesting encounters

On my travels so far, I met some really interesting people and also had lots of funny and hilarious moments. In Ventimiglia (where I had to stay one night because I missed my train back to Pesaro), I was helped to find an accommodation by a very nice bartender who called all the places he knew in order to find a room for me (Ferragosto in Italy – another crazy story!).
In Monopoli, where we stayed for a day on our way back from Lecce to Pesaro, we couldn’t find any luggage deposit at the station, so we had to walk around all day with our suitcase – until a very nice restaurateur offered to store our bags for the day.

Katharina, EVS, Vicolocorto, Travel, Monopoli
In Rome, just across the street from our apartment, we found one of the coolest Bar/Restaurant/hostels: It’s run by Americans and also all the costumers seemed to be English speaking. There, we had the best burger/wrap in a long time, and also heard some stories of people from all over the world (if you ever have the chance to go: “The Yellow” is quite close to Termini train station).

These are just a few examples of some really nice people and situations that we encountered. Of course sometimes there were also unfriendly people and moments in which we were frustrated – imagine walking around with your luggage in the historic centre of Monopoli for 3 hours, when it’s really sunny and the streets are not even but consist of hundreds of brick stones.
Also, we had to learn that the Gladiators who offer to take pictures with tourists in Rome can be quite aggressive and intrusive in their approach (which almost led to a physical fight between said Gladiator and my friend, who he was holding on to very tight and not letting her go).

But in the end, we found a solution for every problem – and that’s also what this experience is about: Growing with the difficulties and problems that you might have to face.Katharina, EVS, Vicolocorto, Travel, food

Conclusion

All in all, my travels around Italy so far have been great, full of experiences and encounters of nice and interesting people and places.
When coming back, I’m always a little bit sad that the great time is over, but over the last 3 month, I started to feel comfortable in Pesaro, so every time I return, it’s like coming “home”.

A presto!

Katharina

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Vicolocorto, EVS, HangartFest

Hangart Fest: There is more than meets the eye

Contemporary art, a form of art that can sometimes be very hard to understand and therefore is not that popular among the majority of people. To promote this kind of art Associazione Hangartfest every year organizes in collaboration with a number of local and foreign organizations a festival named Hangart Fest. This year from the 6th of September until the 5th of October visual and dance artists from around the world came to Pesaro to present their art. Art performances were held in Conservatorio Rossini, Scalone Vanvitelliano, Teatro Sperimentale, Parco del Furlo and many other indoor and outdoor locations in Pesaro.

Every year Associazione Hangart Fest receives applications from many (foreign) artist that are willing to perform during this festival. The association makes a selection, based on which they compile a diverse program, including performances, workshops, exhibitions, video screenings, etc. Under the name ‘ESSERE CREATIVO’ emerging choreographers and performers from Germany, Switzerland, Colombia, Spain, The UK, Greece and Italy gave beautiful performances.

We, the EVS volunteers, got the chance to actively participate in the festival, see all of the performances and interview the artists as well. In my role as a reporter I got the opportunity to make photos and interview the artist. I will share a few highlights with you.

Artwork – the hidden beauty of contemporary art

One of the most interesting pieces of art, called Tette Katodike, was made by the Fratelli Magiagrigio, an artist duo from Italy. The art pieces were exhibited in Scalone Vanvitelliano, which is a beautiful staircase . The bottom of the staircase represented hell, the middle represented purgatory and the top as heaven. On the wall of the staircase were pictures in which the faces of famous people of this generation were projected on the faces of the artists (such as, Bill Clinton and Arafat downstairs, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg in the middle, and Wu Ming and Subcomandante Marcos at the top). The pictures themselves were confusing in the beginning, as you saw two faces and didn’t really know what it meant. However, after the explanation of the artists, it turned out to be a very inspiring piece of art.

What the Fratelli Magiagrigio were trying to show was an autobiography of the current generation.
They projected pictures of the faces of important figures of our society on their own face, because they wanted to show how we are influenced (in a good and bad way) by these people and that they are also a part of our identity. As a spectator, it made you realize how much your being influences on a subconscious level. How representatives of heavy capitalism (Bill Clinton) make us more selfish, how inventors of new technology (Steve Jobs) give us new opportunities but makes us more lazy as well and how philosophers (Wu Ming) make us think about our responsibilities towards society.

The beauty of the art was that it made you think about something you normally take for granted or something you believe stands far away from you. For example, you don’t really think about how the former president of America influences you on a personal level and most of the time you take having an iPhone for granted. Being at this art exhibition certainly gave me more insight on our generation and the actors that mainly influence our mindset.
It also showed the beauty of contemporary art, where it might appear as something that is abstract and unrecognizable, but great beauty and insight can be found when you go into more depth.

EVS, Vicolocorto, HangartFest

Contemporary dance – Nomad’s Land

A group of dance students from Trinity Laban, an art university of London, came to Pesaro to present their final assignments. Every student prepared a dance performance. One of the most interesting performances for me was a performance called ‘Nomad’s Land’. The dance was performed by a group of dancers. The performance seemed to portray different situations. At first the group danced around in a circle, while one of the dancers was constantly getting in and out of the circle. After this part, the dancers started a sequence where they jumped and caught each other. The dance itself was very impressive and the dancers really showed their flexibility and technical skills, however it was a bit hard to figure out the message that they were trying to give.

In an interview with one of the dancers she explained to us that the dance was about the life of nomads. The choreographer of the dance piece travelled a lot and lived in several countries. She never really had a home. This was shown in the circle where one dancer was dancing in and out of the circle. She was constantly trying to fit in an be at home, but either felt that she was too different or had to move out to another country, which is why she constantly in and out of a community (a circle). It represented her finding a way to be part of the group, but also staying herself. The second sequence where the dancers jumped and caught each other was about overcoming fear. One of the dancers was afraid of heights, so she had to jump very high and the others had to catch her. Another dancer was afraid of losing her family and her support system, so she had to jump from one dancer to another, keeping her balance. This sequence of overcoming fears was related to the life of a Nomad. While travelling you are facing a lot of new situations and a lot of fears. Overcoming them is part of the life of a nomad.

Besides the performance being put together beautifully in a technical way, the beauty of it to me was the concept of trying to fit in and be yourself at the same time as well as trying to overcome your fears. It is something that most probably everyone can relate to, even if you’re not travelling a lot. In that sense we are all a bit of a nomad, always on the road of trying to find a balance and a way to be happy.

EVS, Vicolocorto, HangartFest

I saw many performances at Hangart Fest and in each of them the message of the choreographer was so well translated to dance that it left me astonished and inspired. I learned that the story being told in contemporary dance might not be simplistically in front of your eyes, but if you dig a little deeper, there is so much emotion, philosophy and artistic intellegence to be found. The only thing there is left to say for me is that if you didn’t visit Hangart Fest this year, it would be nice to take the chance to go in 2015.

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Shawita