Paris aka that time I saved a mans life.
The Paris metro system is a dangerous thing. Normally, the automatic doors will beep and then a moment later start to close. In Paris: when that buzzer goes off those door will slam shut whether or not you got out of the way.
A miracle occurred on the platform. As Danielle and I arrived on the train platform, we run into Jennifer. Our team was reunited at last! Little did we know that we would be threatened to be torn apart again…
The train arrives and the masses get on the train. Our group was split when a man jumped in front of Jenn trying to get on the metro. Danielle and I were safely on board, then the dreaded beep. The man who was in front of Jenn was determined to get on this train and stuck his arm out, only to the have the doors come crashing down onto his forearm.
Jenn was outside the doors and we were in. And this man was in metro-limbo. Me and the man’s friend who was on the train grabbed the doors and began prying them off of the man. After some effort the doors gave in and the man and Jenn both ran onto the metro.
The man came up to me and shook my hand and said “Merci, Mademoiselle!” I like to believe that saved a mans life that day…
Here’s a picture of my in front of the Louvre.
Dublin: Journey to the homeland.
Next, I was in Dublin.
Missing our bus stop and walking a quarter mile back.
Receiving a Potato and a Druids upon arrival.
Trying my first Guiness (and liking it).
Buying a new Claddagh ring (because I’m the idiot that lost hers in scotland).
Making Leap Year references as we were walking through the Dublin downtown.
Knowing that this guy was “Fortitude”.
Edinburgh, Scotland (Ed-In-Burrow).
I apologize for not posting over the last month and a half nearly. School and living have been insane but I’ve reached the point in my semester where I’m done all my big assignments and can reflect back on all the adventures I’ve had this semester. I won’t be as detailed as before, but really I feel the brief summaries are more interesting than the detailed accounts.
Edinburgh, the most beautiful little city in the world (that I’ve seen so far). It looks just like Harry Potter, which is convenient since J.K. Rowling lives and wrote Harry Potter there.
Did you know Edinburgh had an inactive volcano? Neither did I.
It’s a city where I could see myself living. The Scottish accents are WONDERFUL, by the way.
Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered.
The feeling of relief you would think that comes with being in an English speaking country didn’t quite wash over me. Truly it was more of a, “Wait, you understand me. Right. I’ll try to remember that next time. Mi dispiace! WAIT I MEAN SORRY! Shit.”
My story begins in a little airport called “Ciampino” (Cham pee-no). This airport is so small they have to first bus you out to the tarmac, then you get out and walk up the plane’s stairs. Besides the bus driver fooling us into letting go out the safety bars, hitting the gas, and making us all go flying… not a bad experience. A cold experience yes, but I got to pretend I was a celebrity or the President of the United States for just a moment.
Getting to London was a long process. It was first a long flight, followed by a long bus ride (with a rather sassy bus driver might I add), followed by our attempt to navigate the tube (London’s never ending metro system).
We get out at the Waterloo metro station… and standing there in it’s glowing green glory… STARBUCKS (1/7). It was to-go, it was filled with sugar, it tasted like caramel, it was TO-GO. A bit of coffee-fueled wandering led us to the Walrus Pub, which lucky for us meant that the Waterloo Walrus Hostel was just upstairs.
First hostel experience: Not bad. The three of us shared a room with one other girl from France. She was so nice she let us use her lap-top. Many thanks and eternal gratitude goes out to her wherever she might be today.
Exploring happened this evening though. We stumbled upon a little thing you may have heard of called the London Eye…
We had a view of this from the window of our Hostel. It is truly spectacular at night. We never went up in it. We only had 2 nights here and the tickets to ride it are pretty pricey. Also it’s really tall. Heights and myself have never really been on speaking terms.
We wandered a but more that evening, and we managed to pick up apple juice (2/7), peanut butter (3/7), and BAGELS (4/7). Along with the British Gent asking us if anything was happening at King’s College that evening, it was a very productive evening.
The next day we headed off to Wellington Arch to meet the New London free tour group. The concept behind this company is great. It’s a free tour, the tour guides work on tips, and you tip based on what you think the tour was worth when it’s over. So you could just walk off when it’s over, but if you thought it was awesome you can slip a little money the tour guides way.
Of course at some point in the tour I mistakenly volunteered to be the example of what was done to traitors of the state, so I was ceremonially “Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered.” Honestly, if you want to know what that means, I’ll let you Google it. A bit gruesome really. But hey! I recovered, right!?
That evening we took a tour of the East End of London and heard all the gruesome details of Jack the Ripper and the Plague. Possibly one the most interesting tours I’ve been on.
Leaving London was the real spectacle. It involved rising at 3, leaving by 4, catching a bus, walking down a few dark scary roads, seeing a prostitute get picked up by a John, getting lost, finding our bus, sleeping on the bus for an hour, getting to the hour point round 6 and catching our flight by 8.
All in all, London was wonderful, but overwhelming. It is an enormous and sprawling city and if you don’t come prepared it is easy to get lost. The upside, everyone speaks English so if you are lost, you can ask for help right away without issue.
Spring Break: The Saga
I’d like to begin this entry with a sincere apology for my scattered and at times lazy and uncreative blog entries. My excuse for limited blogging was that I had no camera and blogging can be boring without pictures, but I have it now and have no excuses for postponing this any longer.
These last two weeks have been pretty intense. It all started with Midterms. I was studying more than I ever had in my life. It drove me to the point of insanity. Well, midterms and a few other things drove me to insanity…
STORY BREAK! I was in my apartment a few weeks ago relaxing and studying before midterms. It was a Wednesday afternoon so I was alone in our apartment in between my classes. The maid had come and gone, so I figured I could put my headphones in and walk around the apartment minding my own business since I wouldn’t be receiving any more visitors at this time. I had my bedroom door closed and walked out onto my balcony to put away some laundry I had done that morning. It was a beautiful and sunny day with just the slightest of breezes. I finally finished folding my clothing and came back inside. I opened my bedroom door and walked into the hallway only to end up face to face with a man coming out of my bathroom. Terror flooded through me like an electric shock as I realized there was a stranger that somehow got into my apartment. The man looked back at me with equal surprise and distress. He quickly held up a new shower liner and pointed to it frantically. This is when I realized he was the maintenance man here to replace our shower curtain which was torn. And this, children, is why Christine is a paranoid and jumpy mess.
Anyway… Midterms happened and my fate is set in some alternate world called Rome. I fled as fast I can once they ended. Lucky for me the Mulenbergers/Dubliners were in town at this time and I was able to join them as they experienced all of the great Roman monuments for the first time. Cacio e Pepe was revisited as well. Also, there was a tailless cat (picture to come later).
I should say that I’m typing all of this from Dublin, Ireland. After Midterms ended, I fled the country faster than you can say “uscita lado destro.” My spring break plans are as follows:
- London, England (2 nights)
- Edinburgh, Scotland (1 night)
- Dublin, Ireland (2 nights)
- Paris, France (2 nights)
I will be updating this blog for each one of the locations we hit. I should also mention that I have to accomplish a very important goal while on this trip, and that’s to eat the top 7 foods that you can’t find in Italy:
- Apple Juice
- Peanut Butter
- Ginger Ale
- Indian Food
- Fish and Chips
- To-Go Coffee
Will Christine reach the stars? Will Christine get sick all over the EU? Will Christine finally stop talking in third person? You’ll just have to tune in next week to see.
10 Updates and Such
- I purchased a 5 Euro umbrella from a street vendor which broke immediately and then got stolen within the hour.
- But I also bought new boots that look like turn of the century boots, however their lack of traction makes walking in icy conditions difficult.
- I dreamed about being judged by Italians for wearing flip flops outside.
- Most shoe vendors don’t carry sizes over EUR 41 (which luckily is just my size).
- I touched the Colosseum.
- I watched the Superbowl until 430 last Sunday night (Monday morning I guess) in an Irish Pub right outside Piazza Venezia.
- I still don’t have my camera charger, so I still suck.
- I had a pigeon poop on me in Piazza del Popolo. I at least got some new socks that day.
- I love blood orange juice beyond belief. I nearly drank an entire 1.5 Liter bottle within two hours after I purchased it. Regrets, I have none.
- Finally, I’ve tasted heaven in the form of “Cacio e Pepe”. The restaurant, not the dish. But the Cacio e Pepe at Cacio e Pepe is fantastic. Go there. No seriously. Go there.
Snowpocalypse: Rome Edition
For the first time in 15 years, Rome experienced snow. I’d say the city received no more than 3 or 4 inches. So what, you ask? All hell broke loose, that’s what.
No one here really understands the stuff (“What is this, sky cheese or something?”). Cars were abandoned on the highway and in the middle of city streets. Every car that felt they were too far to walk home from their car stopped in the middle of the street to put chains on their tires. The city has no capacity for this type of weather either. Few plows and a limited salt supply caused many streets to freeze over.
Me, being the highly intelligent person that I am, went on a bus trip a couple of hours north of the city. I didn’t think this would be a problem, but the bus left the city before the snow began to fall. So, on the way home at 4:00 PM, we get stuck behind a line of trucks and cars attempting to change their tires. The bus driver has no experience with the weather either, so we spend the next few hours either sitting in the middle of the road or crawling at around 10 mph. We made it home at around 10:30 to find Rome in a state of chaos.
I walked around the city the next day to see all the monuments covered in snow. Not only were there hoards of tourists, every Roman was out on the street. People were standing in the middle of the busiest roads having snow ball fights because there were no cars out anyway. Also, many Romans (fearing the almighty power of frozen water) wrapped their shoes in plastic grocery bags. It was a sight to say the least.
So that’s that. Rome can’t handle snow, and I can’t handle 6+ hours on a bus.
Here’s me with a strange man sitting on a claw.
Villa D’Este, aka that place in the Lizzie Mcguire movie with the fountains.
So as promised, this is the Villa D’Este.
This place is first recognizable to all you ladies like me who love that Lizze Mcguire, and yes, this is the garden Paolo took her too with all the fountains.
There are roughly 300 fountains in this expansive garden and I think I’m in love with it. I’m going to marry this garden and we will be happy together forever.
Also, the reoccuring theme of this trip is cats. look at this cat. look at him right now. he is adorable and i pet him. Can you tell i’m far too intrigued by roman cats?
And how about a couple of me just for the hell of it…
It’s just an amazing place, unfortunately I’m just at a loss for words, so I’m just gonna wrap it up now.