Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rome and Greece

I spent the last four days in Rome.  It was really cool to see the Colloseum and Forum and eat the delicious gelato (although coldstone is still way better) but all in all I feel like Rome is kind of just another big city now.

This morning we flew from Rome to Greece.  I somehow got my luggage below forty pounds and made it on the flight in time.  

I loved Greece from the moment I saw it.  The people here are so much nicer than the French!!!!! The food is incredible! And some people even bought us free dessert (well they turned out to be creepy men who did it, but we did not know that before we ate it and then ran out of the restaurant).  Anyways, tomorrow we are going to the Acropolis! I cant wait!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Germany and cute Christmas markets!

This week was full of new adventures, sights, smells, and languages!

On Monday I had religion class followed by an interesting FHE activity. We went down to the Madeleine chapel. This is a huge Roman chapel that is dedicated to Mary Magdelene. The Catholic way of worship is so interesting. We also went to the street that has this huge Napolean statue. This was located on the most expensive street in Paris. The purses there go for around twenty five hundred dollars. Hahahh, it kind of makes me sick. While on my way to the metro I saw a big protest going down the street. They were chanting something about illegal immigration and they were completely surrounded by cops. It was very interesting. After FHE I attempted to get home in time for dinner, but there had been a fire in the Metro and after about two agonizing hours of completely packed trains and terrible body odor, I finally made it home! I love public transportation sometimes!

On Tuesday we left our house at five thirty in the morning in order to get to the train station in case the metro was still burned out. Fortunately it had been fixed, but that meant we were forty five minutes early. Since we were so early I decided to take a nap my sitting on the hard medal bench in the middle of the station. Now, somehow the grosse European Pigeons that are all around the city manage to get into this underground stations. Well apart from this being very unsanitary like I realized when I woke out of my semi sleeping stupor that a bird had gone to the bathroom on me. Um, grosse.

We then got on the train, and had to leave one of our members behind, who had not made it in time. We took the train to numerous little cities including a place where we came across this amazing piece of artwork called the Well of Moses. We then went to a place called Dijon, where mustard originated from. It was there that the girl we had left behind randonmely ran into us. hahhaha, lucky day. After that we rode the train to Colmart.

Colmart is the most charming little city. Since it is so near Germany and used to be in Germany it is full of cute little houses, flowers coming out of the windows, and of course christmas decorations and little Christmas markets everywhere! I had my first taste of German spice bread and gingerbread cookies, but unfortunately I am afraid I have been spoiled by Mom's cooking and nothing tastes nearly as good as her gingerbread! After Colmart we went to a similar town of Strasbourg, which had an incredible Cathedral that was built during the high gothic period. I love knowing about all the architecture and what time period it represents. In Colmart and Strausborg there is something called the Petite Venice, which means there are canals going all through the city and it is just beautiful!

That night since the rest of the group was going home, other than myself and five other girls we went to a modern museum in town that had a free Jazz concert. I was excited to hear an American made music style performed in France, but was quickly disspointed to hear this ridiculous modern attempt at Jazz. It was positively ugly and so we left half way through. After that we had a delicious German dinner at a cute little restaurant overlooking the canals and bridges. I had my first taste of German winerschiztel and saurcreut. It was great!

After that it was freezing outside and so we decided to get to the hotel. We had had to book a hotel out in the boonies because for some reason everything in town was full. We had gotten instructions from the lady at the train station, and after taking a forty five minute bus ride, we got off at the instructed stop and realized that we were in the absolute middle of nowhere. After attempting to find the hotel for a while we went to another hotel to ask for directions. When they looked at us with confused expressions I knew there was something wrong. Yea...we were in the wrong city alltogether. Hhahah, trouble was since this was a small town all the busses had stopped after about a four and half mile walk in the freezing cold and rain, we found the hotel. Upon arriving we found there were only smoking rooms available, and one of our room's locks was messed up so my friends could only get in when they asked the clerk to let them in.

Well I dont have time to type more, but hopefully more will be coming tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More pics

It has been a while


So I have quite a bit to catch up on.

Last week was incredible!

Monday: I went to Sacrè Cour which is a really big church and the artist district of Paris. Everyone is trying to draw your potrait for you, or men come up to you and put bracelets around your arm and try to make you pay for them. hahhaha. I loved the area! It was beautiful and very...French. That night my friends and I went to this really great restaurant and I had this amazing Ravioli! We then went to the Grand Opera for the Paris Ballet. It was beautiful! Unfortunately we had the very worst seats in the house, but while leaning out of my box I could see most of it. Aah, I once again had an ache to be a ballerina. Too bad I was born to play basketball and tennis :)

Tuesday: Everyone was really antzy about the election. My goodness, it is a bigger deal here then it is in the U.S. Everyone you meet here who finds out that you are American wants to ask who you voted for and then before you can reply they go onto say how crazy George Bush is and how he wants to take over the world or something. hahah. There were loads of parties going on all night long at brasseries all over town. We went to two of my favorite museums so far! First the Museè D'Orsay. It had a lot of impressionistic painters like Monet. I love Monets! Actually the city where I live out in the suburbs is where a bunch of impressionistic painters used to come and paint the Seine. Aaah, sometimes I feel guilty when I wake up and realize this is my life. Then we went to the Rodin museum where I saw some of the most beautiful art I have ever seen. I love sculpture and that was pretty much all that this museum was. I am excited to visit the MOA when I get home (although it wont really compare to what I have been seeing the last few months), but I LOVE learning about the history surrounding art. It makes it so much more meaningful and incredibly exciting to learn about! Here I have just discovered a whole new love for learning. I am finally understanding where I come from and what societal forces have shaped me from their ancient origin.

Wednesday: We left for Normandy in the morning. It was rainy and cold when we arrived, and we made the walk down to a cathedral that was inbetween the Gothic and Romantic Era. I just keep thinking about different religious buildings now and how completely different Mormon buildings are in comparison. I also find it interesting that Cathedrals here are completely empty except for tourists. That night we also went to this incredible museum that had exhibitions about world war two, and 9/11. It was a poignant experience to be in the place where such devastating things had happened. All of a sudden the war seemed so real. Now that I see the architecture all around me, and then see pictures of cities that were destroyed, I can imagine how frightening the war must of been. The exhibit about 9/11 really hit home as well. I realized that no matter what nationality we are, no one wants terrorism and we all have to fight the irrationality of it.

Thursday: We got up and boarded our own little bus to take us out to the beaches of Normandy. By the time we got there the rain had cleared and the sun way shining down in thick rays across the beach. It felt sort of surreal as we walked along the cliffs that had been bombed. Everything was green and gorgeous, but there were still huge craters everywhere from the bombs of the Allied forces trying to get rid of the German occupation. There were vestigas of all the old German Forts. It was very quiet and peaceful and it was strange to imagine bombs exploding, thousands of men dying, and how these serene beaches could have rung with the cries of dieing men. It was very sobering, and I felt such a fierce feeling of patriotism. I have never been so proud to be an American. I also realized how much of our heritage is linked to Europeans. They are where our ancestry comes from. They really are our brothers and sisters. After that we went to the American cemetery. It was a beautiful graveyard on the cliffs above the ocean. Miles of white crosses lined the ground. I felt such a graitute toward these men and woman who had given their lives to help liberate the French. Wow, it was just incredible. The cemetery is owned and maintained by the American government and this was obvious when there were drinking fountains outside the bathroom...I have not seen that since I left the airport in the U.S. This trip to Normandy was really...I dont want to say life changing because that sound cliché, but in all reality is was. I dont was just incredible.

This last Monday:
After religion class my friends and I went to our professors apt and we watched a movie with Audrey Hepburn in it. The movie is filmed in Paris, and it was so exciting to be able to identify where they were and what they were talking about in the movie! Aaah, I keep having that experience. I read books, I see movies and I now realize how much French is everywhere! I feel like my world knowledge has been so expanded on this trip. All I have left to discover is China, Africa (we will just keep that in one block hahahha), Morraco, Japan, Bresil, Chile etc... :) Oh and Australia!

Wednesday: My friends and I went to a famous cafe called "Angelinas" They have incredible hot chocolate! It is pretty much like drinking a melted European chocolate bar. They also bring out a large glass of pure cream, that you mix in. However, I opted out of the hot chocolate for Macaroons. These are much different from American macaroons. They are a little cake pastry with this wonderfully succulent filling inside. Mmhh! It was fabulous!

Thursday: I went to the Picasso museum this morning with my class. I think Picasso's work is hideous, but it was very interesting to understand the background behind it.

Next week I am going to Dijon, which is where Dijon Mustard comes from. Supposably it is incredible and they even have mustard flavored icecream there! I am also going to Strausbourg. Once I am in Strausbourg I am going to stay a couple extra days and go across the border to Germany and perhaps down to Switzerland. Then that next Tuesday is my last in Paris. I will then pick up my bags again and head down to Rome and Athens.

Well I hope all is going well! I love you all and hope you have a great week!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The pic at the beach is from a day in The Haag in the Netherlands. Tomorrow however I go to the beaches at Normandy!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Last few weeks

The last few weeks have been really great. The highlight of them all was going to the Paris Masters Tournament where I got to see Federer, Nadal, Roddick and Jocavich (haah no idea how to spell that) all in one night at the palais omnisport here in Paris!!! It was incredible and since is was one of the first rounds we got to sit really close!

The other day we went to this incredible chatou and I am actually starting to put together all this art history stuff I have been learning and it is really really exciting!

Tonight I am hoping to be able to get into the Paris Ballet and the Grand Opera House. I really hope we get in because this is the only ballet that will be playing for the rest of the time while I am here. I only have three more weeks in Paris! Then I head down to Italy and Greece.