Wednesday, March 16, 2011

missed last weeks

So this post will be just pictures. Want to know more or the story behind one leave a comment and I'll let ya know the rest!

Pictures below are from Carnival and my trip to San Sebastian, ENJOY

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This one's a long one!

¡Hola a todos!

Time for that weekly update I know you all have been waiting for. Well since the last post I’ve taken a midterm, experienced Paris and finally went to another country outside of Spain, and even decided what the spring break plans are going to be! Pretty dang productive if I can say so myself.

So I’ll start with the boring… midterm. We’ve already started our second language course here in Spain.  I’m finally learning stuff that my 2 years of high school Spanish never seemed to be able to get to.  Most of the time I leave class with a slight headache since it’s all new information for me. Well, we had our midterm this week and somehow I managed to pull an A-. I even broke down and studied for the dang thing (Yes mom it’s true!) But needless to say that as I am learning more and more I can finally talk to people a little bit easier.  Good things to come that’s for sure.

Next up… Paris adventure! Well had some great times in the city.  This is definitely a city that has way too much to do to be able to see everything in one short weekend, but that didn’t stop us from trying.  We landed after our delayed flight into the city. No the airport is not a fun place to hang out, BUT we were happy once we got there.  So between the three of us, Bianca, Liz and myself, we knew about half a dozen phrases in French mostly having to do with hello, my name is. Not to disappoint us we jumped in and decided to try our hardest to not look like the biggest group of Americans in the city (Thanks dude-bros for filling in that title!)  We hopped on the train away from the airport with only slight help from an American exchange student meeting her friend at the airport and made our way into the city.  We only were slightly doe-eyed when we first got a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.  Finally arrived to our hotel around midnight and crashed for a full day of walking on Friday.

Our first stop was the Palace of Versailles.  I remember reading about this place in AP European History and the pictures does not do the place any justice.  Of course halfway through the tour of the grounds my camera decides to die, but the great travel buddies had theirs ready and I still got some great shots from the day.  Versailles was pretty much the most ornate building I have ever seen.  I now see where the French get the snobbish personalities (joking, mostly). Just look at the pictures at the end of the post and you’ll know what I’m talking about as well.  Oh, and I almost forgot, students get in free to this place so thanks Universidad de Alicante for the hookup.

Once we finally were able to pry ourselves away we headed back to the city center. Of course being the Americans that we are we decided to make our next stop at the Statue of Liberty, Paris edition.  Lady Liberty was looking pretty good over the River Seine. Not quite the size of home girl in NYC, but the gift from us to them made me feel at home and a little less far away from ya’ll back in California. Our NYC adventure was still a good time (Whitney, Amber, Matt, Catharine, and Tim). From there we followed the river until we hit the Eiffel Tower.  Took the stars up to the 3rd level and saw some great sites of the city. Only draw back was the weather. It was a little overcast but that’s what happens when you visit Paris in February.

From the Eiffel Tower we headed to the Louvre, but not without picking up a Paris specialty, CREPES!!!! Freaking delicious. With our stomachs full we were refreshed enough to explore one amazing museum. I always knew the Louvre was famous, but I didn’t realize just how many extremely well known pieces can be found within the walls of this place. No joke saw the Mona Lisa, the statue of Venus de Milo, Mary Magdalene, and more works things that I can even remember. Definitely a place everyone should have on their bucket lists. We wandered the halls for hours, got lost a few times (It was recommended to us by a couple “Things to see in Paris” websites) and enjoyed one great collection. A definite MUST SEE!

Saturday started at Sacre Ceur. Really amazing Cathedral and in the district where a lot of the Parisian artists used to live. This place is conveniently located up on a hill so another great view of the cloudy landscape. We walked down the hill to find the hustle and bustle of a crowded tourist trap. Dodged that to head to the Arc de Triumphed to get some great shots of another famous landmark. Walked down the street where I thought of my sisters as we passed Louis Voittan.  (Sorry didn’t get you a souvenir from there) Made it to the Louvre to get some daytime pictures of the pyramid. Then made our way down to Notre Dame and toured there. I kept an eye out for the hunchback but Quasi must have been asleep while we were there. AND thank goodness no Esmeralda either. Gypsies can stay away! We ended this day by treating ourselves to an amazing Parisian dinner. The girls got some ratatouille while I tired the mussels. We even met some Stanford kids at the bar/restaurant. Dessert at this place was a must see. Literally a GIANT bowl of chocolate mousse that they put in front of us and said, “Eat as much as you can”! Fat kids paradise. Sad thing that we only got maybe a quarter of the way through the bowl.

The last day we set off to see the last must see place left in Paris, well at least for the girls: Moulin Rouge. From there we headed back to the Eiffel tower on the first day we saw of sunshine. Unfortunately it only lasted a few hours. Typical! But we did get some more pictures of ol’ Eiffy. (Made up that nickname all by myself!) From there we really wanted to go into the catacombs under the city, but unfortunately the line was too long so we went and got one last crepe before we headed to the airport. IDK how we found this place, but this last crepe in the city was by far the best consumed during the weekend. (We had to try a variety of flavors to best compare). Flight home was pretty uneventful. BUT it felt so good to be back home in Alicante. Although our ghetto hotel in Paris did have some pretty comfortable beds.

Time seems to be flying by here in Spain, and I’m still soaking in as much as I can.  The weather is slowly getting nicer each week and this weekend is Carnival! I think I’m going to dress up as a cowboy. Haha I know, but I have the boots so I only need a bandana and a hat. Going for the cheap route. Have a lot of traveling plans for March: San Sebastian, Valencia, Sevilla and Morocco. And that’s just what’s going on this month! Know that I think about home a lot and miss you all, I mean not enough to come home for the summer. But that just means you should be visiting me here in Spain! Well got to go have roomie dinner. It’s Spain’s version of buck night at this restaurant called 100 Montaditos and ya’ll know I can’t pass up a special like that.

Ohh and shout out to Corrin, Katie, Lisa and Fiona who have sent me mail here in Spain!

At the Palace of Versailles

Hall of Mirrors
My first crepe in France

 The gang

 Oh, Hey Mona!

 Experiencing the culture of France
 Now that's a lot of mousse. 
 Moulin Rouge