Travelling for my education

Although there are less than two months left in 2019, I still have 2018 vacation days I haven’t used. So I am off on a solo vacation doing things that Scott doesn’t want to do when he’s on vacation. Top of his list: getting up early. Also on his list: going to classes and lectures. This will be a trip full of educational activities starting early in the morning.

I am heading to London and Rome. My stay in London will be brief; I’m taking a day long course at the National Gallery on Caravaggio and Rembrandt. I will have a bit of time to also look at the National Gallery’s “Experience a Masterpiece” about da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks.

Then I’m going to Rome to take a one week course of intensive Italian language learning. In the mornings I will take language classes and in the afternoons an art history course on Caravaggio and Bernini — in Italian. The latter is really going to challenge the Italian language studies I have done.

The courses are at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, located near Piazza Navona, very central to many points of interest in Rome.

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci

I have been taking beginner Italian courses since 2006 but after repeatedly studying the same material, I finally started moving up to more advanced beginner levels over the past two years. I will take a placement test to determine which level course I will be taking. Low intermediate level ability is recommended for the art history courses. I’m not sure I’m at that level but if I have trouble understanding, I figure that I will enjoy looking at the art, especially since some classes will be on site.

This will be true solo travel as I am not going as part of a group.

In addition to practicing Italian, my preparations have focused on packing for carry-on only as I will be handling my luggage on my own. I’m packing my stuff into a Tom Bihn Tri-star, a 33 litre capacity bag, which is less than the maximum cabin baggage but holds more than enough weight. It has backpack straps which I find is the best way to carry a bag through airports and onto trains as it leave my hands free. It’s also much easier to carry a bag than dragging wheels over cobblestone streets.

I planned a minimalist wardrobe that relies on scarves for variety. It looks like it will be rainy but not too cold in Rome–highs in the mid to high teens, lows around 10 (Celsius).

My packing includes the bulk and weight of my iPhone, iPad and their accessories as well as UK and European electricity outlet adapters. To reduce weight, I will leave my camera and its accessories behind, and discover how well I can photograph my experiences with just my iPhone.

I booked the most direct flights using Aeroplan points. As result, my flights are mid-week. I will stay in Rome for a few days after my courses are over. I hope to spend those days looking at some of my favourite art and architecture in Rome and maybe see some new sights. There are many churches I haven’t looked into and Borromini-designed buildings that I want to visit.

This map pins a lot of the Borromini designed buildings.

My art history course undoubtedly won’t get to all of the sites with Caravaggio’s works in Rome.

And the additional days means more time for enjoying the food and wine, as well as the warmer weather.

Non vedo l’ora! (I can’t wait!)

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