Monday, June 16, 2008

Euro trip 2008!!!

First of all, i can´t believe that I come home in a week already!! This semester has really flown by...
So let me continue on with how life after classes went.
On the 16th, everyone from my program who wasnt staying around left for Madrid. I stayed, along with a few other girls who were all going different directions. I left for Barcelona on Saturday to meet up with a few girls. I originally thought I wouldnt be able to make it up there, but am so glad I got the chance too. So Caroline, Sam and I and another girl Alison spent a few days in Barcelona. That city is amazing!! So international, they speak a different language, Catalan, that is a mix of Spanish and French. The city is huuuuge, and has lots of crazy architecture from Antoni Gaudi (apparently its where the word gaudy comes from..) So after being there for a few nights, we left for Nice France. The French Riviera!! Absolutely gorgeous...we were in Cannes one day, while the Film Festival was going on! We waited around for a few hours near the red carpet, and sure enough got to get a glimpse of some stars! We saw Brad and Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood, and Tim Robbins. They were very far away on the carpet, but I got to see them nonetheless! The next day we went to Monaco, which is a little independent state or country just outside France. The Grand Prix was going on while we were there as well. We were supposed to leave France on Thursday, but there was a country wide train strike so ended up getting stuck in France. And by stuck I mean we got to spend a day relaxing on the beach on the French Riviera. Not too unfortunate...haha.
So on Friday Alison left for Italy, and the other two and I spent the day on the train on our way to Switzerland. We got in late Friday night, and woke up early Saturday morning. I signed up to go paragliding, which was suchhhhh a great experience! I took a bus up into the Swiss Alps, and we kept going higher and higher, and just when I though we couldn´t get any higher...we kept going. So there I was on the top of this mountain overlooking Interlaken (which in German means between lakes, there were two gorgeous lakes on either side of the city). So I´m standing there with Robert, my pilot, all ready to run off this mountain and jump in the air....and then we had to stop and wait for the wind to start going the right direction. So we waited for about ten minutes and then Robbie says walk so I start walking and walking and then he says RUN!! so i start running and running and the next thing I know my feet are off the ground and we´re flying over the trees and Im screaming (you know, one of those really obnoxious woooo hoooo!!! screams). So then we spent the next ten minutes flying over the mountains and over the city. It was a completely surreal thing, it seemed like I was in a movie actually. It was so calm and peaceful up there, and Robert and I were just talking away while flying in the air. Then he asks if I want a little excitement, and of course I say yes, so he starts twisting the parachute back and forth so we´re swinging around and my feet are flying above my head...absolutely amazing. Then he says its time to land, and said he would tell me when to stand up so we could land, and of course I end up on my butt. Haha but it was absolutely great and Im so glad I did it. Now on to skydiving!!!!
So after hiking around the mountains in Switzerland, then next day we left for Amsterdam. I spent Monday by myself because my friends went to Belgium first, and got to see a lot of the city. The Anne Frank house was my favorite, because I had read her diary as a child, and seen the movie a few times. Very powerful stuff.
On Wednesday the 28 of May it was time for the three of us to split ways. Sam was going on to Germany and Denmark, and she is now home. Caroline was flying to Greece before embarking on a crazy five week European backpacking adventure. She will be coming back to Sevilla this Thursday so we can spend the weekend together before leaving on Tuesday. She was the one that I met in the airport in Chicago, and now we will be leaving together. Not on the same flight, but the same day. It will be a great way to say goodbye.
After coming back to Sevilla, I slept for 20 hours straight! I woke up and spent a week walking around, seeing things here I had not yet seen, and hanging out in the park. I am staying with three brasilian girls who are all super sweet. A week after I got back, I left again to go to London, where I met up with my friend Renata from Brasil, and we left on the 6th to go to Poland! I got to see Kuba for the first time in five years, which was so awesome. We hung out with some of his friends, got to see lots of old buildings, the zoo, which is one of the biggest in Europe, and see a beautiful Japanese Garden. We were also there to see Poland lose to Germany in a soccer game, haha, which was not a happy think for the Polish. But it was an amazing trip to Poland, and Im sure I´ll go back some day.
I got back last Tuesday from that trip, and on my way back to the city met a girl who was traveling around Sevilla for a few days. That was fun getting to hang out with her and be a tour guide of the city a little bit. I also got to see my friend Danielle before she left. She goes to NIU with me and has been in Sevilla since last August. She left yesterday to go to the US, so it was nice getting to hang out with her one last time in Spain.
On Saturday I met up with my roommates in Granada, and we went to the Alhambra on Sunday. They had never gone before, and I wanted to see it again during the summer when the weather was nicer. It was even more beautiful than when I went before, although it was super hot! The weather here has been up in the high 3os, getting to 40 a few days. Probabaly pretty close to 100 farenheit! I´m not gonna lie when I say Ím looking forward to a little cooler weather.
So I have two more days here in Sevilla until Caroline comes. I still have a lot to see before I go home, and hopefully will get to do all of it.
Unfortunately, my memory card for my computer is not working correctly, so I havent been able to upload pictures. I realllll yhope I can get it to work back home, cause I will be very sad if I cant print out my pictures for everyone to see!!
Anyways, I get home next Tuesday!! Hopefully I will get to see everyone soon after that. Possibly the bar that night???? Anyways, can´t want to get home to see all of you!!!!!
Hasta luego

Monday, June 2, 2008

Italia...a little delayed...

So, I know that I promised a blog soon after the last, but let’s be honest…I’m in Europe, things come up….so here it is, a little late, but here nonetheless.
After my family left, my friends and I took off for our trip to Italy. I’ve talked about going to Italy since I was young (my friend Stephanie and I said we were going to go there when we turned 16, ha!), so I was very excited to go. My three friends Caroline, Caitlin, Sam and I met up with Sam’s friend from home in Rome, and we started our Italian adventure. The first three days we spent in Rome, Rome-ing around the Colusseum and old Roman Ruins. We saw the Trevi Fountain and Vatican City. I didn’t get to go to the Sistine Chapel on Saturday when two of my friends went, but I went Vatican City and got to see the Pope poke his head out of his little window and bless the crowd. That was really awesome, he spoke in about 7 different languages and welcomed everyone to Rome…I’d say it was better than seeing the Chapel.
On Sunday afternoon we took a train to Pisa, and got to see the Leaning Tower! The next day we took a day trip to Cinque Terre, which is five little cities all along the coast. You hike from one to the other, and it was an absolutely beautiful day which made it so perfect. That was probably my favorite part of the whole trip.
Monday night we were in Florence, had a quick dinner and then went to bed. We woke up and walked around the city, seeing the Duomo (dome on top of the cathedral) and much of the city. The next day we waited for about two hours in line at the Ufizi Gallery, and I got to see several works that I’ve studied in art history, the Birth of Venus being my favorite. That afternoon, Sam and I headed off to Milan, where we would catch the plane back to Sevilla. That was an adventure all in itself! Instead of taking the bus that the hostel told us to, we decided to take the advice of an Italian man who insisted that it would get us to our destination faster. We walked around in the rain for about half an hour trying to find the right bus, when we finally did, we pointed to the stop we needed, and the driver started rambling off in Italian. I said “oh okay, “ Sam said, “you got it?” and I was like surrree….when we got on the bus she asked again “Okay, so what did he say” I replied with “I have no idea…I THINK he said we have to get off at some point and switch buses…” So we just rode around for a while, eventually the bus driver got up and signaled for us to get off, and we transferred to the other bus. At this next bus the driver did the same thing, we pointed, he rambled, and then he signaled when it was time for us to get off. So, about an hour and a half after we’d gotten off the train, we were in the general area of where we needed to be, still walking around in the rain, looking for the hostal. We finally found it with the help of an Italian bus boy with little English, but with our Spanish and his Italian we found our way. This hostal was about the creepiest thing we’d been in. We walked up a few flights of stairs to a room poorly lit, (think flickering lights and cracked walls), only to be led down the stairs, to an alley in the back, and up another five flights. Once the man realized that the room he was going to put us in was full, we had to walk back down the stairs to another room, with a boy from China who was wayyyy too excited that there were going to be girls in his room with him. We walked into the room, and there was paint splattered on the walls as if someone had just thrown it around, no locks on the doors, and no lockers. I guess that’s what we get for booking the cheapest hostel just a few days before we arrive. Oh well, it was a good life lesson. (Nothing was stolen…)
When we got back to Sevilla the Feria was going on. That was an awesome part of the semester. On Friday I got to go with my friend Danielle to her boyfriends “caseta” (a little tent decorated like a house, with working bathrooms and bars!”. We spent the evening dancing flamenco and drinking rebuijito (some sort of white wine mixed with Sprite, gross at first, after about 5 glasses you don’t taste it anymore). The next day my friend Sam and I went pedalboating on the river, and just relaxed under the sun.
That was about six weeks ago. After that, I went to London for a weekend to see my friend Renata, and ended up deciding that I NEED to live in London eventually. The city is so amazing. I barely spoke one word of English the whole weekend because I was with Brazilians, and there are just so many people from all different parts of the world. I think it’s calling my name.
After London, it was time for finals to begin….ahhh!!! After a LOT (sarcasm) of studying….the semester was over, and it was time for everyone to go home. Many of the people in my program left on the 16th to go to Madrid to fly home, but others, such as me, Caroline and Sam, were off to go travel some more.
Okay, I’m going to end this post here….and continue on in a new one so no one gets bored.