Now we are ready to start.
This summer I went on a three-week trip to Italy with
a friend of mine from college. I had never been out
of the USA before although I had traveled a lot around
of my own country and I'm glad about that. I had always
wanted to go on an exchange when I was in college but
I couldn't afford it. When I graduated from college
I decided that I was just going to throw all my money
into this trip to Europe. My parents tried to convince
me that the trip wasn't worth the money, but they said
so just because they didn't want me to leave the country.
When we landed in Rome, we immediately found that we
were in another world. I don't know what I expected.
I think I had expected that everything would have English
subtitles or something. You know I had taken a year
of Italian at high school at one point, and that was
the extent of my experience. I had also been told that
Spanish was very similar to Italian, so I guess I had
expected that I would be able to interpret what was
going on just based on my know-ledge of Spanish because
I had some pretty extensive knowledge of Spanish. But
it didn't work out that way. It took us about two hours
to get out of the airport.
On our first day we had a big hassle with public transportation.
We decided to take a bus into town but we missed our
bus stop. I guess we were expecting somebody to hold
up an English sign and say "Debbie and Christine,
get off the bus now." But that didn't happen and
we ended up just riding around Rome on the bus endlessly.
So our trip downtown turned into some kind of a sightseeing
tour. We kept asking the passengers questions in broken
Italian slash Spanish but it wasn't turning out well
for us. Finally, we ran into an exchange student and
he got us off the bus at the right stop and pointed
in the proper direction.
Rome is a really maniac city. I mean the traffic is
completely insane. I mean there're traffic rules but
drivers consider them to be optional. There're ten thousand
mopeds everywhere. I think you can get a license when
you're fourteen years old to drive a moped. It's definitely
a far cry from Princeton where the pedestrians all have
the right of the way.
We spent about three days in Rome and then we moved
on to Florence. We were there for about three days too.
But I'd say the tour we were on was very fast-paced,
which was one thing I would change if I went back. I
would like to do things according to when I want to
do them and not according to when the guide tells me
to move on to the next place. Because in a lot of cases
I felt we didn't really get to absorb everything there
was to absorb in each city. We were always just piled
back on the tour bus and taken to the next place. We
covered a lot of territory traveling by bus, but sometimes
I just felt like we were running past things, which
was kind of crazy. l also found a lot of people on our
tour group to be rather embarrassing. For them the tour
was little more than a shopping expedition. Nobody had
any cultural interest in being in Europe or interacting
with the locals. I felt Europe was wasted on them in
a way. I felt they should be shipped straight home.
But on the whole it was definitely exciting to be over
in Europe. When it was time to return home I felt that
I hadn't been in Italy long enough to see everything
that I wanted to see and I couldn't say "Okay.
now I'm ready to go. It's time to load my stuff back
on the plane and go home." So that was a little
frustrating for me. I hope I can go back next year because
it was a good trip.
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This is the end of the Listening Test