Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ooh La La Paris

Oo la la Paris ~
My time in Paris was well spent; I did a lot of running around and freezing. In fact, I did so much of both the skin on the backs of my calves was rubbed raw. I kid you not. So we arrived on the 11th, unfortunately the ‘airline that is always on time’ Easyjet, was not on time (either coming or going). Actually it was an hour late departing from both Pisa and Paris. By the time we got to our hotel on Thursday night it was actually early Friday morning and mom and I were exhausted. We woke up the first morning early to get breakfast then we went back to bed till about 12:30.

The 12th was spent in two very beautiful places, the first, Notre Dame. It was a very beautiful cathedral similar to some of the ones I have seen around Italy. Why does it seem that the Catholics and Presbyterians always seem to get the pretty churches? Anyway, After that mom and I got tea and a strawberry crepe (creepy is how I like to call them) and took a cab to the Louvre. It was important that we go tonight because it was free entrance on Friday night after 5 for anyone under 26 (or unemployed) and I happened to be both! I thought, I could easily master this museum in 3 hours, but I was deadly wrong. Fortunately for you guys I didn’t die literally, just mentally. The Louvre has to be the most beautiful museum and building I’ve ever laid my eyes on, and I was so happy to be in Paris. We went and saw the famous things, mainly the Mona Lisa but we also went and saw some other works of Da Vinci, and Picasso and Delacroix. I also was fascinated with all the statues they had that were Greek and Roman. If you want to know what else we saw I suggest you pick up a book that has a list of the works of art.
After the Louvre we went in search of a vegetarian restaurant which turned out to be a very posh bar that served me a 10 euro hash brown, aka Potato pancake. I was starving.

The 13th – the day of realizations.
I realized that my dear friends in Italy were flying home without me. I was okay with this because I was not flying back to the U.S. on the other hand it was very difficult saying (sort of) Goodbyes. Mom is not feeling well and hadn’t since yesterday so she stayed the day in the Hotel. Unfortunately it was today I realized I packed only 2 pair of socks and underwear each and it looked as if I’d be doing laundry in the bathroom sink. Also, how was I to be cleaning my teeth without a toothbrush? I ended up going to the corner store and picked up 2 apples, some clementines, brie, crackers and a toothbrush. But since we had no hotel room fridge, I tied the brie in a plastic sack to the window rail since it was only 0 degrees centigrade outside! Today I went to see the Musee De L’Orangerie, the Musee D’Orsay, and the Eiffle Tower. I liked the Musee d Orange something or other because it was an easy museum to tackle. It held Monet, and I was introduced to Cezanne, Modigliani, and others. I wasn’t expecting what was the Musee D’Orsay. It was massive. I felt almost as overwhelmed in here as I did in the louvre, and I definitely didn’t give myself enough time to conquer the entire thing feeling in the end as if I missed all the good stuff. In here we had Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Degas, Lacombe, and others. (Same thing from the Louvre, go get a book)!

The 14th-15h- I’ll make this shortwinded so you don’t fall asleep. The 14th was a big day, the last full day I had in Paris and I wasn’t going to waste it in bed. Not that my mom was wasting it, but she was ill, and I was not. I discovered the metro today and it came in handy, I stayed dry and less cold than the night before potentially saving my calves. So I went to see the big monuments, Tour Montparnasse, the Montparnasse cemetery, Pantheon, Eiffel tower (went last night too), Arc de Triomphe (thank Napolean for his arrogance), Concorde and Madeline. On the

15th I went up and saw the Sacre Couer (Sacred Heart Basilica) and Moulin Rouge before catching the plane. IT was then I realized that my calves were rubbed raw and I was starving and exhausted and cold (at least I was dry). Paris treated me decently, and I would love to go back.

My Firenze. . .

Well.. my time in Firenze has come to an end. I cant say its sad because I had a fantastic time and great memories that can never be replaced. I was sad to say goodbye to my friends on Thursday when I took off for Paris, and now that I have returned all i have to say goodbye to is Firenze. So i thought i would enlighten you on what my Firenze is about..

My Firenze is..
a town that never sleeps
a town that can never make up her mind on the weather
a town where a beautiful bridge was saved by a Nazi in WW2
a town you can climb over 400 steps inside of a dome to see over the whole city
a town where cats are in a paradise called the Boboli Gardens
a town where you fight for your right to walk on the sidewalk
a town where if you dont finish your plate it means you dont like the food and you wont get dessert
a town where an Indian-Italian man thinks its a sin if you dont take your leftovers home.
a town where i am greeted in my favorite restaurants
a town where the pizza man makes a margherita pizza in the shape of a heart or dances with you
a town where pizza is reasonably priced (anything over 5 euros is expensive).
a town where I can buy my fruit and veggies from a fruittivendolo
a town where I get to walk past historically important art every day
a town where I can walk up the hill to listen to the monks nightly prayers
a town where the river looks similar to the Willamette
a town where dogs poop everywhere.. its like a landfield.
a town where stop signs are mere suggestions.. if there are any.
a town where pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and motorbikes have equal street and sidewalk rites.

These are only a few things about my Firenze that I am sharing with you, for I think everyone should come and visit and decide what makes their Firenze. If you cant get here though, you should figure out what makes your home, your home.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's getting colder!

Tuscan Hills

Boy oh boy!

The temperature outside is dropping so quickly. There is no understatement when they told us to pack lots of layers in our luggage. I was wearing about six myself, just the other day.

My mom finally arrived on Thursday and it was really good to see her. I keep having to remember that she is not acclimated to the city yet and not to run her off her own feet (the cobblestone can be trecherous).

So Thursday I took her out to dinner at Goldenview and it was very tasty! Its one of the most expensive restaurants on our meal voucher list. Then Friday I met up with her and we went to the Bargello and walked around town, took a visit at the German market and ate some tasty food at Il Teatro (another meal voucher place thats just as tasty as Goldenview).

Saturday morning I took her to a small town called Lucca, and even though it had been downpouring since Thursday night we had sunny weather all day. The purpose of going to Lucca is because the Lucca Digital Photo Fest was going on and they had a ton of exhibitions. There were about 10 locations around Lucca each holding 3-4 exhibits.

To our pleasant surprise, Lucca had lights strung up everywhere as well as some markets going on around town! So after our jaunt to a couple of locations to see the photos we decided to peruse the markets. Even more to our surprise we discovered an ice skating rink and a chocolate festival going on!

boboli gardens, a cats paradise

Sunday we took our time getting ready for the day and decided to take advantage of the sunshine and go to the Boboli Gardens. These are some massive gardens on the Pitti Palace property (once occupied by the Medici's). Unfortunately my mom and i seem to have some bad timing and ended up getting slightly lost while they were closing. This creepy woman came on the loudspeaker and was announcing for people to exit. All of a sudden there were no people in the gardens at all and suddenly i felt my life was threatened. In all reality it wasn't, but it was reminiscent of a scene out of a horror movie (ie Battle Royale)!

Fortunately we made it out safely, and I did happen to find a 25 lb cat in the gardens at he was really cute!

Monday I had signed my mom and i up for wine tours with Todd of He came and taught three classes at my school for us, 2 on wine and 1 on olive oil so I knew it would be a good tour and I was not disappointed. He took us up into the beautiful Chianti hills which were so colorful, lush and gorgeous.
Mom in vineyards in Chianti, swiping at fruit flies
This is the last official week of our trip and I am very sad to be parting ways with my roommates and classmates (and of course, Firenze). Forunately I still have one week left with my mom (she happens to be cooking a house dinner tonight).

Monday, December 1, 2008


Katie C trying to keep her umbrella under control. The wind won!


A lot has happened since Venice, I am sorry for not updating.

November has FLOWN past and I am amazed it's already December! December marks the end of my journey and I am feeling the panic go to see things while I still can.

My mother arrives in Florence on the 4th, which makes it exactly two weeks, exactly fourteen days until I go home.

Home... how I miss you (especially burritos) .

So the first weekend of November was spent in Dublin! I went with 6 other people- Andrew, Katie C, Candace, Shantyel, Amanda, and Alex. Why? Despite the fact that the Irish have the loveliest accents in the world we were going to see the Flogging Molly show (which was the best fun)!

Our weekend was very cold and wet, yet we had the most fun! Friday night we went to the show, Saturday morning we slept in then we went and saw Trinity College, shopped and got dry in a Starbucks and went and saw James Bond after getting our dinner in an Irish equivalent to a Quick E Mart. Sunday we went to Planet Hollywood and walked and saw a Castle, and walked past some other castles, then we went to the Guinness Brewery which was a lot of fun and really interesting. After that we split up as a group and Alex, Katie and I walked to Kilmainham Gaol, which the desk clerk at our hostel was a 5 minute walk from the storehouse (it was actually 45 minutes). Since we were short on time we caught a bus back to O'Connell st. which was being used for a Christmas Tree lighting and ran back to our hostel fighting our way through the masses of crowds. Since O'Connell was blocked it really prohibited us from getting back to the airport! So we asked our hostel people where we could catch the bus, but Amanda had text Katie directions so we followed them. And got lost. So we spent the next 15 minutes running around in the freezing cold trying to find a bus that would go to the airport. Finally we flagged down a random bus and the driver told us to hop on. He was doing all he could to get us to the right bus stop! Sadly, we ended back where we started, literally down the street from the hostel, in which we walked back to the street that started the same journey all over again. Fortuantely we found the right way go to and found our bus stop, in which we were told upon arrival the bus would be late. And it was... 5 minutes... no bus...10 bus... 15 minutes... no bus... PANIC! we had 45 minutes to get to the airport so we finally flagged a taxi driver down, named Eugene who was possibly the nicest man ever. After a friendly conversation about politics we arrived at the airport just in time to catch our plane. I also, had apparently caught a cold and was feeling it the minute I sat in my seat.

The next week and weekend I was busy being really, really sick. My throat felt like it was on fire, which in turn made my ears feel like they were on fire, which made it IMPOSSIBLE to sleep! I spent 12 days on antibiotics and felt a lot better just to feel like crap again during thanksgiving.

Our thanksgiving we had 5 days off from school and most of the kids took off to other countries. Katie R, my roommate, and I were the only 2 who stayed home. Wednesday that week we went to Piti Palace to see the Modern Art museum and then we went shopping! Thursday we took off for Bologna, where i went and saw Flogging Molly yet again! I must say they put on a much better show here than in Ireland! Friday we came home and crashed, Saturday we went to the market and cooked and ate all day and had a wonderful thanksgiving with a bunch of foreigners. 5 were from the states, 2 were from Norway and 1 was from Germany. The Norwegians and German had never celebrated a thanksgiving before so they were all very excited!

I'll update more later!

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