Saturday, March 27, 2010

Roundabouts everywhere...

Pictures soon!!! :=) but if you want to look at them on my facebook page here you go:

Firstly, I have become very horrible about updating my blog. I believe this is because I used my blog in the first few weeks to share my thoughts about experiencing something new and very different. Now, as I adjust to the world I'm living in I have started to not need the blog as much as a communication tool to write down scary, new, or exciting feelings. So I am trying to get back in to writing more again. This past weekend I got to go and visit IRELAND! It was absolutely amazing. The weather, surprisingly, was wonderful. It rained a little on the first day, more just clouds and wind and then the next two days were sunny and bright. Lee Crush, my sudo cousin, was my host. I am very lucky that I had someone living in Ireland because he definitely made the trip wonderful. I will admit when it came time for me to board the plane, I really did not want to go back home, back to Milano. Ireland had become, in only a few short days, a safe haven for me. The country spoke English, something I was not used to at all. And it had the familiarity of a family, even though I see Lee only once or twice a year. We got the chance to play wii nightly with Chris, Lee's brother, and it reminded me of home. Just being surrounded with things that remind me of my home in Kentucky made me want to be there again. It is difficult too get back into the swing of trying to stumble through the Italian language and being in a big city again.

Back to Ireland though, Ireland was not what I expected. Ill admit when I think of Ireland I think bright green rolling hills. The Ireland i experienced was a little bit more brown then green, but luckily still very sunny for me. Lee told me that he was just worried the two days of sun were his summer which did not bode well for future sunshine. I arrived on Friday and when I walked through the arrivals gate Lee was there to pick me up. Having someone at the airport is completely different then figuring out a bus into town and usually in a different language :) it was nice. We made our way into Dublin and I got a personal tour of the city. I got to see where Lee lived during his time at Trinity college and explore the college. It is a lot like Cattolica in the sense of older buildings and big courtyards. It was fun. Trinity college is one of the oldest colleges in the Country and the top. There are many acres to the college and I got to see where Lee took exams and classes. I know that I would not want to take tests there because I was informed on tests days the exam room was Freezing. haha not what I call good! I would not want to walk out with my hands freezing. Lee and I walked around Dublin and it was a very strange feeling for me hearing everyone speak English. We walked around a park and even though it was pretty I hear that it is quite boring because no one plays frisbee they just walk around and sit.

Next, is the exciting part, Lee and I took the viking tour.We got onto an old army vehicle of some kind that took us and 22 other people throughout the city. Everytime we passes unsuspecting people we were to yell at them, in a viking call. It was fun to watch people jump. :) The viking tour included going into the water and I felt as I was on the pontoon boat during the summer, except for the over large orange life jacket. It was all in all a lot of fun and I learned about glass taxes in Ireland, more of Trinity College, and much more.
I got to spend time exploring the Blanery castle. Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy. It was a lot of fun to walk around the castle and while going up it was decided that everyone must have been very short because the castle's steps were narrow with low ceilings. I nuzzled up to the famous stone so hopefully I will never be at a loss for words...though that has not been a problem so far in my life :)

Lee and I drove...when I say Lee and I, I mean just Lee ( though several times I did try to jump into the car on the drivers is not my fault that everything is backwards for me), drove to the Cliffs of Moher. It was truly beautiful. The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny with some wind and the water was a pretty blue. When looking out towards the oceans different islands can be seen and the water and rocks below look so small. It is beautiful and has a welcome center with paths, of course Lee and I went beyond the sign stating Please do not go beyond this point! It was a little scary for me with my fear of heights to be walking so close to the cliffs edge but also exhilerating with the wind...pretty awe inspiring.

I had my first fish n' chips while in Ireland. They were delicious. Lee and I visiting a coastal town on my last day in Ireland and again more sun and pretty weather. We walked along the sidewalk and looked at all the pretty boats. It was fun to be able to see Ireland from more of a local than a tourist view. The town was very cute and Emily, Lee's gps, navigated us there safely.

Ireland was definietly one of the best trips because of being able to relax in a home, not a hostel, and feel comfortable that I was going in the right direction and not constantly getting loss. I already miss Ireland, even though my Milano home is wonderful....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My first guest...

My friend from high school, Holly, came in to town this past weekend. I went to pick her up from the airport on Saturday morning. Luckily, I left in plenty of time because I tried to take a shortcut and got completely lost. All in all not what I'd call a very fun, cold morning. I made it to the airport by 10 am, Holly's plane was due in at 9:40, thankfully she was still in baggage claim. After dropping off the baggage at the apartamento, Holly and I spent the day at the Duomo and eating her first Italian pizza. The Duomo, the large Cathedral in Milan's center, has a roof that people can go up to and walk around. It was beautiful and very serene. The Cathedral itself is very tall and one of my professors informed me that the city will never quit working on it. This is because every year pieces of the Duomo are changed out and removed to help keep it clean from pollution and aging. Holly and I walked around for a few hours and by the time we got back to the apartment we were definitely ready for a nap...
Sunday we headed out to Bergamo with Jordain and Michele. Michele invited us over to lunch with his family and a chance for a personal tour throughout the city. Bergamo was absolutely beautiful, but cold (Holly brought the cold weather with her from the states). Bergamo, I believe, was once a Celtic settlement. Bergamo has two parts to the city, the old city is placed higher on the hills with the newer city below. The upper city served well in military defense. We walked around for several hours in the old part of the city and then headed back to Michi's house to wait for the train. Going over to lunch was really wonderful. I think it is the first time I have a real sense of what an Italian family does. I got to experience them serving food together, we had two courses along with salad and chip before the meal. We ate risotto with mushrooms and roast beef. It was very good. I am really glad I got to experience more than restaurant food and my attempts at pasta dishes. On the train ride home both Holly and I were nodding off, it takes a lot out of someone to walk around all day...and I'm just talking about me, Holly is surviving well with the time change and jet lag :) more Adventures to come this week!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Barcelona...through some pictures...

Monday, March 1, 2010



What a an amazing city. I do not know if it was the combination of warm weather, a beautiful ocean, and great friends that made me fall in Barcelona or if it was just the wonderful city itself. Barcelona this past weekend was warm, in the 60s, which compared to the Milano and Louisville it is an extreme change. I left Milano with Jordain and Gabrielle quite early Friday morning...I'll admit I like to be on time to foreign airports it makes me nervous and I would be so angry at myself if I missed my flight. The bus ride to the airport was around an hour and we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Jordain, Gabrielle, and I checked out the local McDonald's before heading over to our gate. Luckily, or not, our flight was delayed an it besides getting there earlier than we expected we had a while extra hour to sit around. Boarding the plane, I realized to was my first solo adventure...I had been with the International group but this was my first trip! Ryanair, the airline we used, was very interesting. There are not any seating assignments so it is first come first serve. People all group around the entrance to the gate and will start lining up 35 minutes before you actually will walk through said gate. The flight flew off and before I knew it we were landing in Barcelona...I wouldn't call it the best flight ever because there was turbulence, or our pilot was drunk and was trying to fly through every cloud they could, and because of the small children that surrounded our aisle... Whenever the plane landed everyone clapped and was such a strange flight because of the easy going nature of everyone people stood during the whole flight, walking up and down the aisles to talk to their friends... it was noisy and loud the whole time, I was glad to have made it to Barcelona :)
Stepping off of the plane was amazing, the sky was blue and it was wonderfully warm outside of the plane.
Arriving in Barcelona was great...I was a little nervous because I was meeting Sarah Hess, who I go to school with at Bellarmine, and I couldn't get a hold of her. I know that anytime I told anyone I was going to Europe everyone says watch your purse....Barcelona's subway was has been the only time that someone has tried to pickpocket me. Luckily, whenever I felt someone near me I pulled in my purse to my body and the woman sitting down across for me was trying to tell me that someone was trying to steal from me...I am glad that I am aware of whats going on and I am thinking that my red jacket, blond hair, and duffel bag marks me.
The hostel we stayed at was pretty nice. We had sheets included along with a breakfast (corn flakes, toast, bagged pastries) ...not too bad for 14 Euro a night. Jordain, Gabrielle, and I met up with Sarah and we then proceeded to wander the streets looking for a restaurant a friend suggested. We ate a Hispanic restaurant that tasted like Qdoba :) and after went for Sangria(A Spain favorite). Even though the group did not do a lot that Friday night just walking around Barcelona and eating took several hours so it was late before we went too bed.
Saturday morning came very early! We set out in the morning to take a bike tour of the city. It was awesome. Our tour guide, JJ from South Africa, joked with us all morning and told funny stories about the city and buildings. I got to see the Barcelona Cathedral, a church Gaudi designed(which is still being built and will continue for about 50 more years at least), fountains, the ocean(beautiful!!) and much more. The biking, even though not too taxing, definitely wore everyone out so lunch at the beach with sangria was a must. The rest of the day was spent walking and browsing through different shops. Barcelona really is a beautiful city. It is clean and has beautiful architecture. I cannot say enough good things about it and I know that my description falls short of how great the city was. I truly believe I have fallen a little in love with Barcelona and cannot wait too go back. I am hoping that I do not say that about every city I visit...
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