Archive | May, 2011

WE COMIN TO TEXAS!

18 May

Last weekend the family flew into Texas to celebrate Pat’s graduation! The ceremony was beautiful, but SO small, even smaller than my high school graduation! After the ceremony, we headed to get some good ol’ barbecue. After traveling Europe, pulled pork sandwiches and french fries welcomed us back to ‘merica! Haha We spent the rest of the day hoping from graduation party to graduation party. We met all of Pat’s friends and heard about all of their plans now that they are in the real world (ah!). Like most of his friends from school, Pat is staying in Fort Worth and has some potential job opportunities. Hopefully he still comes back to visit us in California to visit! We had such a fun weekend and I’m so glad the family got to be all together even if it was just for a weekend!

Ahhh America

back to america…

17 May

I can’t believe my time studying abroad is over! I feel like I have been dreaming of this adventure ever since I saw my sister Jacqui take off for Sevilla five years ago. While there were times I missed home, my time in Italy flew by! To think that I have been living in Florence for four months, and am officially a SENIOR (ah!) is crazy! It is definitely bitter sweet, I can’t wait to get home and see all of my friends and family. However, I have had an amazing time in Italy and I know I will miss it almost immediately! I will miss all of the amazing friends I have made, the man playing music outside of my house everynight, sitting in the Piazza drinking cappuccinos, traveling the world every weekend and of course all of the food and wine : )  Although I didn’t learn as much Italian as I expected, I discovered so much about a completely different way of life that I will never forget. I would definitely urge everyone to visit Florence, and especially students thinking of studying abroad to come, its the BEST CITY EVER : ) Florence I will miss you, but California here I come!!!

While this may be the end of my Italian adventure, the blog will continue!! Up next…TEXAS : )

Finally!

17 May

Sorry for the delay, I just got back to California after traveling with my sister Jacqui around Europe! She stayed in Florence for two nights to meet all of my friends and check out my favorite places. We even tried squeezing into my tiny European bed, but after one night we decided to check into a hotel to start our adventure off right. After I finished my finals we went out with a group of my friends and roommates to our favorite restaurant (Yellow Bar for spicy pasta, of course), and met everyone in our program to say goodbye! After shoving my life for four months into ONE suitcase, we headed to the train station to begin our journey! Our overnight train experience started out great, we were in a six-person cabin with only three other women around our age. Then smelly man walked in, you literally could not breathe. It was so bad it was funny haha. We made it into Vienna, Austria early and spent the day exploring the town! It was a cool city, with some beautiful architecture. We went to the Freud museum, an art museum, and walked around the gardens. The next day we took another train to Salzburg, another city in Austria that was AMAZING. It was one of my favorite cities while studying abroad; it had a small town feel and was very green. We got very touristy and did the Sound of Music tour right away, which gave us a feel for the city. The next day a mining tour, which was interesting considering our tour guide only spoke German haha. That night we went to a beer hall that used to be a church! We had such an amazing time in Austria, but after a few days we were definitely ready for some regular food. While in most other countries items on the menu look somewhat familiar, in Austria the food was completely foreign. When we tried to make a random guess one night at dinner I ended up with a flat fried chicken and Jacqui got a hot dog rolled in bacon filled with cheese (ew!) haha. From Austria, was made our way to Budapest. We showed up to our hostel terrified with what we had gotten ourselves into, our hostel was on the third floor of what looked like a sex shop and kabob stand! However, everyone at the hostel ended up being very friendly. We walked around exploring the city and shared a delicious hummus dish for dinner! The next morning Jacqui brought me on a cave spelunking trip. I expected to casually walk through caves, hearing about the history, the usual tour. But oh no, this was intense, crawling army style through tiny tiny holes I never thought I could fit through kind of caving. Lets just say this kind of tour would never fly in America! It was definitely a scary experience, but I am so so glad I did it!! Our last activity was the Bath Houses. While you may be imagining a luxurious spa-like environment like I was, you would be wrong. However, after I got over the fact that I was bathing with old, pot bellied Hungarian men, we were able to relax and have a great time soaking in the baths! Jacqui and I had an amazing time traveling Europe together, with our similar go-go –go personalities we saw it all and had so much fun together! Since we are both so busy living in different states, it was a great experience being able to spend so much time traveling together!

Jacqui on the Ponte Vecchio!

Our Overnight Cabin

Vienna

Salzburg

Sound of Music Tour!

Traveling with a Toddler

The gave me holy water in a Jager Bottle…hmmm

View from the Salzburg Castle

Beer Hall

Budapest!

Spelunking

Buona Pasqua!

17 May

Our last weekend in Italy happened to be Easter weekend. While I missed my family and wished I could be with them, I wanted to enjoy the few days I had left and we ended up having a great Easter in Florence! Since Italy is 90% Catholic, I knew it would be a big day. We all met to check out the celebration in the morning at the Duomo, it was crazy crowded! We stood in the cathedral, and a procession of religious figures walked through until a fake dove flew through from the baptistry to the middle of the cathedral. If the dove returns, it is good luck! There were fireworks and pink smoke surrounding the Duomo! Later we went got cappuccinos on top of Rinascente overlooking the parade. We had planned to have a picnic in the gardens, but  since it was cold and cloudy, we had a picnic at Chelsea’s apartment instead of the gardens. While I missed my family, we had a memorable easter in Italy and a great last weekend!

Almalfi Coast!

17 May

So this may be a little delayed, but now that I finally have some time I figured I should finish talking about my adventures I missed! Over one of my best friend Chelsea’s 21st birthday weekend, we went to the Almalfi Coast in Northern Italy to celebrate! We started by taking a boat to reach the island of Capri, but on our way we switched into a smaller boat to enter the Blue Grotto. It was SO beautiful, the water was very clear and electric blue! Once we got into Capri, we hiked to the top to go limoncello tasting and watch the shoemakers make custom leather sandals. We took a convertible limo back down the hill and saw the amazing views of the island! That night Chelsea turned 21 and we celebrated with dinner and later went to the English Inn bar. The next day we woke up early and headed to Positano. This was one of my favorite days abroad, and reminded me a little of home which was much needed at that point in my stay! It was a really cute little beach city, with colorful houses built on the cliffs and little stores squeezed in the town. We bought cheap, but delicious panini and drank frozen lemonade as we laid out on the beach. We even got some entertainment watching an American student try to teach a very greased up Italian how to play football haha! On our way back to Florence we stopped in Pompeii. It was an incredible experience, after hearing so much about the ancient city it was crazy to walk through the preserved ruins!