Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Finally the internet is back in my apartment....that was rough. 

Any hoot....went to Rome last weekend. It was definitely great to see the amazing architecture, rich history, eat some yummy pizza/pasta, and quote Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" everywhere I went......however I am not the biggest Roma fan....and I much prefer Paris. Can't really put into words....just the feeling of the city didn't mesh that well with me........it could also just be that the place where my friends and I stayed was pretty bad (yikes) and that put a minor damper on things.

Anyway.......the Vatican is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Who knew the Catholic Church had such amazing art? Well...they do. Lots of pagan stuff.....pretty interesting. My favorite parts of my trip were, as mentioned, the Vatican....but also the tour I went on of the Colloseum/Palentine Hill, and then my little journey into the basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. My tourguides for Colosseum/Palentine Hill were phenomenal and it was SO interesting and informative. Fun facts: Women and "midgets" (thats what they said...errrr....) fought inside the colosseum. Also, it gladiators were originally criminals but they gained such popularity that free men started volunteering for a little spotlight. How cool? Other fun facts: the word palace comes from "Palentine Hill" and Romulus and Remus, the brothers who fought to found Rome (Im sure you can guess who won) were given up by their mother, a member of a cult of virgins (this clearly posed a problem) and taken in by a prostitute. Cool stuff, eh? Anyways, Santa Maria Maggiore was really breathtaking.....I ate amazing pizza and pasta.....and the weather was lovely. 

So happy to be back in Paris....its been non-stop travel. Heading to Prague in 2 weeks. Home in 4 and can't WAIT to see my friends, family, and dog...Dexter. I miss Dexter most of all. 

Peace and love. Enjoy the pics. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

La Vie Post Spring Break

Hello Blog-Readers
It has been awhile. I miss you.....
my internet has been out since my return from the land of gyro's....so excuse the lack of life updates. I know you're anxiously awaiting (KATE MARCHETTI...cough....)

Greece was amazing...by far the most amazing trip I have ever taken. Go there immediately if you have never been! I started my journey in Athens on Friday April 10th. Got into Athens VERY early in the morning...which was good, because it took my group of friends abotu 2 hours to find our hostel. No big deal. Athens is bustling...but not my favorite place on earth. The people were incredibly friendly (I realized I had forgotten and gotten accustomed to relatively unfriendly people) and welcoming. We started our day off with a gyro lunch at an outdoor restaurant in Athens, and then made our way to the Acropolis. The city is a really interesting juxtaposition of new and old...its very odd and kind of cool. We saw the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hardrian's Arch, and then walked up to the Pantheon and everything on the Acropolis. The view from the top was (is) really astounding and beautiful-such a great way to look at the HUGE city. On the way we stopped and some of my friends bought actual grecian sandals....not the steve madden knock-offs. pretty cool stuff. Later that night we had greek pizza for dinner (I love any excuse for mass amounts of kalamata olives....) and then crashed because we were so tired from our long journey (3 hour flight from Paris) and then all of the walking. The following morning we did a bus tour....sort of cheesy....but really interesting and informative. I saw all the government buildings and we walked around a modern agora and saw some pretty amazing knock-off handbags and jewelry....the Greeks seem to love that stuff? Who knew....

Later on Saturday I met up with the rest of my roommates (some had not come to Athens with me and the others I went with) at the airport and we flew out to the island of Santorini. When we got to Santorini it was dark, so we couldn't really see what the island looked like. We settled into our hostel, which by the way...was hardly a hostel. It was BEAUTIFUL and adorable, family owned by an adorable man named Stelios and his wife....and situated literally on the beach in Perissa. They were so welcoming and the place was spotless....had a pool.....a lounge room....everything. It was so nice to travel and not be in a 10 bed-room hostel! We went out to dinner that night (Myself, Roommates Elysha-Jessie-Simon, friend Alyssa) to a cute restaurant right on the beach that had an amazing fish tank....which my dad would have freaked out over. I decided to be semi adventurous and ate an octopus as my appetizer. I was expecting small little octopus-type salad....but was surprised with a HUGE octopus leg. It ruled....so tasty....I continued to eat this almost daily for the rest of my trip. Afterwards we went to a beach bar and met a lot of people traveling...Americans, British, Australian....the usual mix. It was a young crowd in Perissa Beach and lots of fun.

We woke up the next morning to the most beautiful, and memorable view I have ever seen. Santorini is surrounded by HUMONGOUS volcanic mountains and beautiful beaches. It was really overwhelming. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park....waiting to see a dinosaur walk by with a pina colada or something. The sand of Perissa Beach is black sand....and the water was incredible blue (and cold!). Our first full day we went into the main town, Fira, and walked down 500 stairs (we later learned there were more effective means of traveling down these stairs.....just our luck) and hopped on what looked like the pirate ship ride every amusement park has (that sways back and forth and makes you vomit up your cotton candy and carmel corn) and rode out to a massive volcano. We hiked the volcano for about an hour, and again, witnessed one of the amazing views of sea and sky I have ever seen while in Greece. After the volcano hike our boat took us to another part of the Aegean, where my friends and i bravely jumped into the ocean (Jessie and I went first, screamed incredibly loudly, and everyone on the boat was staring at us.....) and then swam several feet (it was NOT easy) to a calm, shallow hot spring where the water was 80-some degrees. It was really fun....kind of extreme....and I felt semi adventurous. Good times. Later that night we had lunch and went out in Fira...which is a really fun city with a LOT of good seafood.....my fave. The next day in Santorini was basically spent on the beach, working on the tans we all desparately needed (I was starting to turn transparent....). In the evening we went to Ios.

Ios was a little dead. In the summer, it is THE party island in Greece. We got there, and the immediately all of us were just really taken aback byt he view. Our hostel (again, gogeous and not hostel like...family owned and operated and LOVELY--check it out online, Francesco's Hostel in Ios) was situated up on a hill-and the view from the terrace was of the port and surrounding mountains. It was incredible....and by far the best sunset I watched in Greece. We went out that night with everyone from our hostel to the Red Bull Bar, and met the famous George who owns many of the bars and restaurants on the island. We decided though to pack up and go to Mykonos a day early, since there wasn't that much to do in Ios.......lack of mobility there, and none of us drive manual-so we couldnt rent a car to drive up the coast! Dommage.......

Mykonos. Where do I begin? This is where I want to honeymoon.....soon....so I better start working on that. Kidding. But seriously....Mykonos was out of a postcard. White and blue everything, beautiful views everywhere, crowded compared to Santorini and Ios. GREAT seafood....I ate seafood twice a day every day in Mykonos. I turned into an octopus. We rented ATVs and drove them to Paradise Beach, which was really fun and exciting. I rode behind Jessie, who I trusted to drive since at school she drives a motor scooter. Paradise Beach was beautiful, and the water was literally the bluest water I have ever seen. The windmills in Mykonos were really pictaresque as the sun set, which we watched 2 nights in a row overlooking the port. Met some funny friends along the way, saw some beautiful things, and ate some really good food. Went to the island of Delos for a few hours, which is an island that is essentially an archeological site-with remains from the temple of Apollo and his sister Artemis...so ancient....very cool to experience. Beautiful.

Back in Paris now...and getting readjusted to city-life. I'm a little tanner...more relaxed....and still in vacation mode (which I need to break out of since I have a presentation for a class in an hour). Paris is beautiful...spent yesterday afternoon in the park Place de Vosges drinking wine and eating bread and cheese with friends. I am definitely going to miss this place! But I have 5 weeks left....and planning to take full advantage.

I go to Rome tomorrow for the weekend......and when I return expect pictures from Greece and reports from Italia.

Peace and Love!

Monday, April 6, 2009

6 April 2009

Back in Paris... Amsterdam was AMAZING. By far, Amsterdam is my favorite trip I have taken thus far. It is BEAUTIFUL and I had a great time. Took a plane with my roommate Molly and met up with my friend (and future roommate in my 8 woman house in Pittsburgh) Meghan, who is studying in London. When we walked out of Centraal Station it was a perfect, sunny day. Our hostel, the Bulldog, was incredible. It is by far the nicest hostel I have seen......the lobby is decorated to the max-there is a fish tank in the wall-and the people at reception were just really cool and fun. We were in a room with 7 other people....all people ranging from about 18 to 25....mostly from England and Australia. Everyone was really friendly and it was more than tolerable--I really enjoyed staying there. After we checked in we went to the Anne Frank Haus, which was far more moving than I anticipated. The museum is beautifully done and it was such a wonderful experience. I'm really glad I went. Friday night we went out on a pub crawl hosted by "Ultimate Amsterdam", aka crazy Australian guys who were super nice and showed us a great time. We were friends all night with kids from Wales, England, Australia, and Scotland. It was pretty funny. 

The following day we went to the Van Gogh Museum, and saw an exhibition on themes related to the night. It was great to see--a very cool museum. We walked around Museum Plein for a long time, did the Heineken Experience (tour of the original brewery with lots of weird interactive stuff, a beer tasting, and plenty of history.....it was actually interesting) and then at night we got a great Indonesian meal. After dinner we walked around the Red Light District....something to definitely see. Coming face to face with prostitutes was....well.....interesting. Kind of sad and degrading to look at--I felt like a little kid who was looking at something they should not have been. 

All in all....Amsterdam was great. Met some fun people, saw some amazing things, had some good times. 

In Paris until Friday.....when I depart for Athens.

Peace and Love. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Le 2 Avril

First of all....I can't believe it is April. That....is just......not real. Any hoot-today was a really great day so I thought I'd write about it all before I forgot later. My Haute Couture class met at Musee de la Marine today, and we saw this great exhibit on the influence the Navy has had on fashion. Basically, it was total eye candy... Chanel, Lanvin, Gaultier, Dior, Givenchy.....you name it-it was there, and all with crazy, haute-couture nautical inspiration. Beautiful-I wish I had taken pictures. After this I had my Oenology class. We did a rose tasting and it was enjoyable...I just don't love rose wines. After this my friend Will and I went a little outside the city to a parc where they are currently giving free hot-air balloon rides. It was so much fun! It was also a beautiful view...again, the theme of the day must be not having a camera when needing one...because I have no visual documentation of the ride. Sad....but it was great! We're both a little afraid of heights so it was funny. But, I survived my first hot-air balloon. Good times.

Heading to Amsterdam in the morning. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend