Love-Hate Relationship. The cities and the scenery is stunning- bus system is terrible! Walked up a steep, steep hill with all our luggage from the train station when we firs arrived. Waited 2 hours for the bus. Got to our hotel, borgo di campi, and took our luggage down a long, steep flight of stairs. Our condo hung over the mountain and had an absolutely beautiful view of the water. We stayed in riomaggiore, the first of the 5 cities.We slept in a bit the next day then once we finally caught the bus we checked out all of them except the 'C' city.. All uphill... My favorite was vernazza. Lots of shops! The water was a gorgeous blue and kids were cliff jumping across from us. It was a nice day until we missed the bus, again! But we got to have dinner over the city and watch the sunset.The next day, Regan and I headed to the beach of monterosso. Rock beaches. Great sun! Finally made it to Genova that night and stayed in the largest hotel room I've seen since being here! We celebrated a little talking about "all the activities" we could do.
On another train off to nice! My family doesn't seem to enjoy this lifestyle very much. Grandmommy doesn't understand why they don't give you more of things and asks where the "dubbya c" is. Mom and kris forget that the people here aren't here to wait on them like at any other tourist place in the US. Logan gets to pick up Beau today and I'm pretty jealous... I'm very excited to see nice and show my family Paris, but Its time for me to go home. Being with my family and hearing them ... Complain?... Makes me realize how much I miss things from home and how different and inconvient my life here has been. Then again, I realize how spoiled we all are and how wonderful this place is and how much Europe has to offer. So much history, so clean, so many unbelievable views and buildings. "I'm lucky, I know, but I wanna go home."
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Train from Florence to Rome. Snuck into hostel, discovered bunk beds! Bar free dinner!
Spanish steps, lots of piazzas and people watching. Great shopping. Gelato and best tortellini and lasagna. Lost traci, met up with the others that went to Vatican city. Went to the park to read new books. Drink wine. Leahs phone was stolen...
Naples- gross, dirty, great pizza!! Came
Across eat pray love restaurant, closed but we found some Across the street-3 stories, wood oven, tasty and cheap. Then train to Pompeii, the ancient city. Conserved by ash. Really neat. Gelato!
Meredith and I went to termi di caracalla. Walked around- first sign of tour groups! Blehh!!
Day alone- checke into hotel. Took a
Long, much needed nap. Headed off to piazza to read my book. People watching, avoiding boys. Walked around then anxiously waited for my family to be here.
Vatican city, piazza navola- everyone has a hard time walking, good sports though! Pantheon then Trevi fountain, first gelato!! Spanish steps and dinner. Early morning walk to colleseum and roman forum. Complicated!! Tour guides are a bad idea... Train to Pisa to see the leaning tower- leans a lot more than I had expected! Dirty town until you walk through the fence of the old town of Pisa. Bought my shot gloss that leans! :) off to cinque terre!!
Dinner- pizza! Terrace beautiful Florence
Wine tasting, grape escape: chianti region.
First winery taught the correct way to hold the glass, smell, and drink (slosh around in mouth) bought grappa, and truffle for crackers. All wonderful!
Another winery with lunch- cheese, and more wine) got to see process of making
San gimingnano. Small town with world champion gelato. Bought my hat.
Leather market after ride home.
Dinner with spaghetti and grappa- blehh!!
Duomo with rain! Gelato for lunch..and pizza. Dinner by the river. Walked around had a free glass of wine and tortellini. Went to bridge, warned not to lose my heart in cinque terre. More gelato! Pet the pigs snout for good luck! Watched a street show and raaaan to our hostel in the looting down rain.
Last morning, copy of David. Off to Rome!
Belgium Charleroi (makes me hate Belgium) met Joe on train. Intorduced us to old Amsterdam cheese sandwiches. Hotel experience was terrible! I bought a hotel room for two trying to fit 4 of us in there. It has never been a problem before. Of course, in Charleroi it would be! The front desk man would not let us have more than 2 people even in the HALLWAY leading to our room. I was furious! On top of that, I had to finish my 12 page paper. Bad night.
Apartment was great!! Ate paella. Beach- dirty, topless, nice to be in the sand.
KFC and fountain for dinner. Walked aroundWill took us on a tour the next morning. Great breakfast place. Grrreat orange juice. 2 churches. Mexican lunch.
Tracis bag was stolen..We bought her some alcohol to take away the pain for the night. Later that day we went to the beach again. I got a 5euro massage from a little Chinese lady that was wonderful after all the stress of school. That night we ate dinner at a nasty burger place.My favorite day in Spain: Rented bikes and cruised around Spain. Beach again. Naked man, again! Mexican food for dinnerMoved hostels then beach all day! Finished dear John, always thinking of Logan. All the reading I've done.. Can't wait to see all the movies. Shopped, bought shoes for 12 euro that resemble TOM'S. That night we went to the pier- my favorite night of Spain. Ate paella, spiked our drinks bc we're poor! Sat on pier and looked at full moon, listened to music from nearby restaurant, then fireworks started! Had a scare with some french boys trying to follow us back to our hostel. We so cleverly told them the wrong stop and they headed there instead.
Sleeping with 11 other people is never comfortable. There was a "snore-off" going on next to us. If you know you snore- loudly!- a hostel is not the place for you. We had to put our own sheets on our bet (one sheet to be exact) and no pillows. Not the best hostel we stayed in, but after staying in an incredible apartment for 5 days, it was time for a reality check.Last day: off to Florence from Reus- ryanair seems to find the most random cities...
Birthday spent on the train for 9 hours. A Spanish man (at least, he only spoke spanish... played the accordian in honor of my birthday for an hour or so. It was great at first, then just became creepy. We played fun and silly camp games to pass the time. Unfortuantely this was not an overnight train- we had to sleep in regular chairs.
Balmer's Hostel- way cool! ate macaroni and apple sauce at a small restaurant by the train station and center of town. Once again we met some not so nice girls from Austin. It such a disappointment to talk to people from your home state and they believe they're better than you because they're from "Austin." Pshhh.
We took a bus to a private resort lake and got kicked out eventually. The water was freeeeeeezing. Beautiful mountains surrounded us as we Layed out. Dinner at hostel bar at funny farm.
Canyoning!!! Amazing! So fun! definitely one of the highlights of my whole summer. Switzerland is beautiful and to be able to adventure our way through the awesome canyons and experience its' nature was unexplainable.
Another manmade lake with a tall diving board, rope swing, lily pads, ducks, ate lunch. Funny farm storm came in an we watched on patio.
Hammock room- my favorite part of Balmer's. Switzerland was a relaxing weekend. There's no sightseeing, just seeing the wonderful, beautiful sights surrounding us. Went to balmers to watch germany uraguayLeft next morning so we could see holland play on championship world cup game!! So many people in highlander! So fun!
Earlier games: we beat uraguay and ran in the streets to listen to everyone blow their vuvuzellas and fly flags out the window as they drive down the street. People danced on other peoples cars and the people inside danced along.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
After a smooth trip from Maastricht to Paris Thursday evening, Bonnie, Jean, and I arrived in the City of Lights to a luxurious hotel room waiting for us across from the Arc de Triumph. A visitor from home, Hilary, had generously allowed us to stay with her in a nice hotel provided by her parents. That night we took a walk by the Arc and down the Champs Elysses then returned to our hotel for a great night’s sleep in our large, comfortable bed with fluffy pillows and an ice bucket.
The next morning we woke up early to explore the area surrounding our hotel. We walked through and around the Arc de Triumph while stopping to people watch for a while. There were many groups of school children in Paris this weekend, mostly American, that I found very interesting to watch because of the difference between a high school students experience, or how it appears to someone watching, and a college student’s experience. The gap in appreciation is very large for such a small age difference.
From there, the four of us checked out of the Renaissance Hotel and into the Garden Hotel. It was quite a big change to go from one to the other; yet, the Garden Hotel at least allowed us our own bathroom, which is an amenity we don’t get very often in our travels. We settled in quickly and moved on to the Latin Quarter for lunch and shopping. My favorite stand in the market was one overflowing with handmade soap in all different colors and scents. The saleswoman was very sweet to us American girls that I found to be a common and unexpected trend in Paris. I had heard many times that the French were hateful and arrogant towards Americans and had prepared myself for these harsh attitudes. I was pleasantly surprised to experience the complete opposite. I would go as far to say that Paris is one of the friendliest places I’ve visited (Ireland remains in first place).
The Netherlands played later that day against Brazil where we met up with a group of Baylor students to watch in front of the Eiffel Tower. This event was by far one of my favorites! It was an incredible feeling to be supporting my “homeland” while watching the game on a big screen television with the Eiffel Tower setting up an amazing landscape behind the screen and surrounded by the opposing team’s fans. On top of all that, Holland won! Throughout all this, it began to rain, and we realized who the true fans were and who the fair-weathered fans were. Soon after the game we returned to the Latin Quarter where I saw the Notre Dame for the first time. Later Friday night, a large group of us celebrated Leah’s birthday underneath the Eiffel Tower, which was absolutely gorgeous, lit up in the night sky.
Saturday we had planned to visit Versailles but woke up to a thunderstorm. We decided to make it a relaxing day and traveled to Versailles Sunday morning. After sleeping in and enjoying the rain outside our hotel window, we checked out the Montmartre area of Paris. I visited Sacre Coeur but spent more time on the steps of the Cathedral being entertained by street singers and performers. We took a walk through the red-light district to take a look at Moulin Rouge then walked through Notre Dame. Outside of Notre Dame sat “the bird lady.” This lady quietly walked up to Bonnie and I and sprinkled bird food on our hair. Pigeons came from all directions to eat off our heads and perch on our arms. As we did every night, we returned to the Eiffel Tower to soak up the beauty and romance of the city.
Sunday morning, July 4th, we headed to Versailles to tour the palace. From there we headed to the Louvre for a free look at the famous Mona Lisa. To celebrate the 4th of July, we went back to the Eiffel Tower, once again, and brought with us market fresh watermelon, chocolate chip cookies, and hot dogs. While there were no fireworks, I decided the twinkling of the tower would suffice.
Paris has been my favorite trip so far. The people were friendly, the city was lovely and the Eiffel Tower where we spent most of our time was magical. Maybe it’s because it is a place I’ve dreamed of visiting for a large portion of my life, or maybe it’s because the “city of lights” is captivating in itself. Either way, I look forward to traveling there again someday.
Monday, July 5, 2010
The last weekend of June, I finally traveled to London! This is the first place I have longed to see since childhood- since “The Parent Trap” came out in elementary school, to be exact. Once again, it was wonderful visiting a place that spoke English!
It was a long first night attempting to meet up with the rest of our party and frantically searching for “Journeys Arsenal Hostel.” Meredith and I walked up and down the street several times looking for our hostel… come to find out, it was directly across the street from where we came out of the station. It was stressful, frustrating and tiring then upsetting to find out we had passed it 3 times! Luckily, I brought my laptop to look up where exactly on the map we were- like I said, 3 times!
Our hostel: This was the first time I stayed with complete strangers; 7 other strangers to be exact. It was located above a bar and we apparently were the hostels first stayers! The shower was ridiculous: coldest and most inconvenient shower I’ve ever taken. There was only a piece of wood separating the stairway from the bathroom and the toilet was connected to the 2 showers… all of this for over 30 people? Not rational. You know those sinks that you push the lever over and over for enough water to come out for you to wash your hands? That’s how our shower worked; constantly have to push the button for more freezing water to come out. Miserable! It’s all a part of the experience though, right? Haha!
The next morning began our adventures in England. We woke up that morning and headed straight for shopping! Oxford Street had amazing shopping (London, in general has great shopping!) but pretty expensive, unfortunately. After buying a pair of shoes, we headed for the Camden Market. Basically, it’s a cheap market full of cute clothes that are seen in other stores around the city. It was here that I bought my crème dress (it will definitely be worn at some point during this trip).
After we spent WAY too much money, we decided to take part in a few things that wouldn’t require us to spend any pounds. (side note: never have I gained and lost so many pounds in one weekend.. J) We stopped by “The Beatles Store” which is right next door to Sherlock Holmes museum. This is where Blake finally met up with us after having a terrible previous 24 hours- he missed his first flight to London, need I say more? Before returning to our hostel to get ready for The Lion King (!!!! Yayyy!!) we stopped by Abbey Road to take THE picture crossing the road, of course, I was the barefoot one.
We headed back to the hostel early to get ready for The Lion King! Covent Gardens/West End area was by far my favorite section of London. The West End (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was considered) was filled with lights, people, and lots of action- it reminded me a lot of Broadway, only with English accents. When we got off the train, I was handed a flier. While I usually would throw it away, this was a Mexican food restaurant with a buy one get one free coupon!! Of course we found this underground eatery and left completely satisfied with stomachs full of half price Mexican food and margaritas.
The Lion King was awesome! Definitely one of the best musicals I’ve seen. The colors and costumes were amazing! So intricate and creative. At the beginning during “Circle of Life,” the performers walked down the aisles in their animal costumes. Towards the height of the song, an elephant came from behind me! By far my favorite part of the whole musical! The dancers were so talented- trying to dance, sing, and operate horns or a backset of legs must be so difficult. I loved it!
I have become confused about which way to look before crossing the street. I went for a run after returning to the Maas and I noticed myself looking both ways multiple times making sure I could cross. Since UKer’s drive on the left/wrong side of the road, it’s very helpful that they write “Look Right” or “Look Left” at the edge of each street.
Saturday was the busiest day we had. Meredith, Traci, Blake and I took a double-decker bus tour through the city. We got to see everything; Hyde Park, Harrod’s, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge (much more exciting than London Bridge), Shakespeare’s Globe, Sherlock Holmes Pub, Westminster Abbey, and more! It was worth it to take a bus around the city to see more sights rather than staying underground and in the subway. Along with our bus tour, we were given a free boat ride. We went under London Bridge (and prayed it wouldn’t fall down!), and many other places we had passed on the road- it was nice to see everything from a different angle… I think everything is prettier from the water anyways.
After sticking our feet in Trafalgar Square’s fountain, we met up with the rest of the group at Texas Embassy. This restaurant used to be the Texas Embassy for London and is where survivors of Titanic fled after the wreck to meet their loved ones. There was Texas memorabilia everywhere! Baylor flag, Baylor license plates, wooden frames, and queso! It was the perfect night to end up there since it was the USA vs. Ghana game. USA lost, but it was still exciting and different to be surrounded by lots of Americans.
That night, the group walked across the bridge to admire Big Ben and Parliament in the moonlight. It was much prettier at night and the city was a lot quieter… at least in this part of town. We asked each other questions like “if you were any structure, which would you be?” I couldn’t pick one particular structure I would want to be, instead I described what I would want: something that isn’t talked up to be much (not the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, etc.) but is beautiful when you stumble upon it; Some place that is relaxing and is easily enjoyed by others.
It has been such a blessing making so many new friends and getting to know all of them so well. It’s going to be weird going back to Waco and not seeing my ‘hall mates,’ travel buddies, or classmates everyday!
Sunday morning Leah, Traci, Meredith and I explored the parts of London we hadn’t seen yet. Our first stop was the Tower of London. Traci and I were the only ones that went in, but I’m so happy we did! Not only did we view the beautiful crown jewels, but also I got to shoot a catapult! There was a cheesy show going on in what used to be “the moat” of the tower that shot an old weapon from the time England and Scotland were at war and four girls were chosen to launch the catapult… of course, I was one of them! After our walk around the tower and my attempt at making an English guard laugh, we did as the English do and ate fish and chips at a small café outside the tower with Meredith and Leah.
In our search for the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, we stumbled upon the Kensington gardens and palace. I have to say I was pretty disappointed in London’s gardens. We heard a story while on our tour that an old Queen gave her King a flower from her garden and told him, “give this to the fairest lady in the land.” To her surprise and dismay, he gave it to their maid. As most women would do, she ordered all flowers to be dug up from the garden and the park remains an area of green grass and trees. What I didn’t realize is that this idea is spread across all gardens that we saw. Hardly any flowers… not what I expected in a “garden.”
The Princess Diana Memorial was fun! I had thought it to be a large, elaborate fountain with people quietly surrounding the memorial and reminiscing about her meaningful life. Basically, it’s the complete opposite. There are no spouts for water to shoot out of and the people are definitely not quiet. It was a small, lazy river made of granite with children and parents playing as if it’s a miniature water park. The four of us girls spent a lot of time there people watching and soaking our feet from the miles/kilometers (J) of walking and searching.
The four of us girls had to carry not only our own huge, heavy backpacks to the train station, on the bus to the airport, then the airport bus to our hotel, but also Jean, Bonnie, and Blake’s luggage to make it easier for them. It was worth it when we gave ourselves the treat of taking the bed and giving them the floor for the night.
While studying for our History midterm (going to school and traveling is pretty tough, by the way), the movie “Wimbledon” came on- perfect! It was so neat to see the London eye and other sites we’d seen throughout the weekend. We’ve started a long movie list (wasn’t started until standing in line at Versailles. Which by the way, I’m a little behind on my blogs, obviously) that includes all the movies we’ve watched waiting for the day we will actually have the chance to see these places in person! Plus, we figure we won’t have any money this coming semester and will have LOTS of movie nights!
London was a great break from the exhaustion of trying to read German or Dutch. This is the first place I know I will go back to one day (God willing) and the first thing on my list is another show at the West End and another night along the river across of Parliament.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
you're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even
Get halfway through
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Maastricht Group Trip
The group trip started off chaotically for Bonnie and I. The night before our departure, I decided to set my alarm... not knowing until later it was for 7:15PM, not AM. At 7:50am, Jean woke us up in a panic telling us that we were late for the bus- we were supposed to be on the bus around 7:40AM. None of our bags were packed since we had planned to do so in the morning. I grabbed the stack of laundry sitting on my bed, threw in some makeup, toothbrush and moisturizer, picked up m fanny pack and was out the door. Luckily, Mama Jean had thrown in my liquids bag I took to Ireland. We didn't cause any delays in the trip so I figure it's a laughable situation. This should somewhat explain my clothing selection for the week and my rough appearance the first day (my makeup remained underneath the bus all day).
The whole first day was spent traveling through Germany. We made a stop at the intersection of the Rhine River and the ??? River. It was neat to see the differences the two rivers had as far as coloring is concerned. This was followed by a lovely boat cruise down the Rhine from Boppard to St. Goar where we saw over 5 castles, many vineyards, and classic German architecture.
Residenz Palace in Wurzburg: The palace we toured was gorgeous! The detail in the decor was unbelievable. No one is really sure what the palace was used for, but it was interesting to witness the amount of time and money pt into one room. Plus, it's not only decorated to look nice; every painting, every animal, every color has a symbolic meaning. We took a walk through the garden of the palace then returned to the bus.
Rothenburg: This has to be the most adorable town in Germany. A wall to preserve the city’s original look surrounds the village. We stayed in a hotel that has been active since 1380 called Roter Hahn (or Red Hen). It had a homey feel that was nothing like the typical hotel.
The next morning we walked across the street to the Criminal Museum: so cool!! yet, terrible. It's hard to imagine that people actually tortured other people in these horrible ways. Stretching limbs, dunking caged people into the water, chopping off hands, etc. Our favorite part was the mask display. Apparently, those who were wild, talkative, gossipy, pig-like and more had to wear a heavy, metal mask to display their bad personality trait(s). Bonnie and I chose which ones we would've had to wear if we lived during that time period. It was a common thing to have to wear one and it was a form of entertainment for everyone in the town.. I' sure it was fun until you or a family member were the ones being punished.
Neuschwanstein Castle: Next we headed out of Rothenburg to Hohenschwangau to see a castle—but not just any castle, the one that inspired the Disney castle! Sure the castle was nice and pretty, but the scenery was definitely what made it something to be inspired by. It was built in the 1800’s, so fairly recently, on top of a hill surrounded by snow covered mountains and greenery with a small waterfall below and a lake behind. I also found out that this castle is featured in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” More facts
Austria: for such a pretty place, the people sure are ugly.. Since our group was only passing through for the night, I have reason to believe that we didn’t get to see the best parts of the country. It was more of a trip to be able to cross off our list. Once arriving, most people immediately went to the townsquare—Jean, Bonnie and I weren’t far behind, but we took a bit of a detour through the city. We hopped on the wrong bus and went out of the way about an hour until we finally ended up where we wanted to in the first place. We had some pizza downtown then headed back to the hotel. So typical of us to get lost!
Luckily, this weekend I will have the chance to go back to Austria and see Salzburg and Vienna! I wonder if the hills really are alive..? J
Switzerland: my favorite place so far! The most beautiful place I’ve ever been. My two favorite things: mountains and water. Switzerland has the best of both! We had the opportunity to sit by 2 lakes; both royal blue and so clear you could see to the bottom. Surrounding each were mountains; some covered in trees and hicking paths and some covered in snow. All in one place!!? That’s how I imagine heaven. We had lunch at the top of a mountain looking over the lake (Vitznau-Rigi Kaltbad, to be exact). Afterwards, a bunch of us went for a walk down a hill where a large cross was built into the ground. Such an amazing concept, I thought. I’m sure there are TONS of people that visit that exact spot every year, believers and nonbelievers. Why not set up a cross at the edge for everyone to reflect over His gorgeous creation and remember (or realize) we are all a part of His awesome creation and should appreciate these priceless gifts given to us.
That night, we stayed in Montreaux, Switzerland. Our hotel sat right on Lake Geneva and our balcony view included more mountains and the lake. In Vitznau our group had discussed how great it would be to jump in the lake rather than only being able to dip our feet in. Once we found out our destination for the night would be on another lake, jumping in was a must! So, after dinner, each of us showed up at a central dock on the lake and did just that! Jumped into the freezinggg cold Lake Geneva. So exhilarating! Definitely my favorite memory of the trip.
From here on out, nothing we did topped Switzerland. While I learned a lot of historical information and facts and experienced lots of different cultures, I don't have much to write about the other places since they were not AS enjoyable (plus, after riding a bus for over 2500km, things begin to run together and start to take a toll on our energy levels). So, the rest of this blog is basically to jot down small thoughts to be able to remember the places we went.
Chateau de Chillon: This castle, only 20 minutes from Montreaux, was by far the most interesting one of all that I have visited. This castle was so authentic and was full of so much history that it was hard to take it all in. It was really fun for us to run around the courtyards into the "keep" and pretend to be princesses and knights (as if we were 5 years old). Good times... Facts.
Another cruise from Chillon to Vevey followed the castle tour and was a refreshing break between all the bus riding and museum tours.
Vevey to Schaffhausen: We stood next to the Rhine Falls which is apparently the "Niagra Falls" of Europe. It was pretty neat to sit somewhat underneath the falls and once again was a refreshing break from the traveling.
The scenic drive through the Black Forest in Germany was very... green..? It began to rain as we drove through but the amount of trees surrounding us was more than I've ever seen. The trees are so thick that light cannot shine through-- I know understand why it's called the black forest. More.
Freiburg: the hotel we stayed in was not my favorite and the city was a lot dirtier than I had expected. The townsquare was nice and I wish we could have spent more time there. Since it was a Sunday night, Freiburg was an absolute ghost town. The shopping would have been awesome and if the weather were better we would've walked around a bit more. Maybe another day I'll get to revisit and my outlook will change, but for now, not in my top lists.
Verdun: (say it with a country accent and it's really fun!..) My first time to France! It's so intriguing how different the culture and architecture as soon as you cross the border into a new country. The weather was great and food was excellent! I'm so excited to go back to France later in this trip.
Bastogne, Belgium: I'm not a big history buff.. facts
Maastricht: It was sooooo great to come back "home" after traveling for days! The trip as a whole was overwhelming, but it was great getting to know all the people that we are living with, eating with, and traveling for the next couple of months! I feel like we have a fun and diverse group of people that will make (and already have made) this summer this best ever! :)
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Courting Couples in the Voyer d'Argenson Park in Asnieres
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I recently realized that we have only been here for a little over a day!
I have already learned so much and had so many fun and unforgettable experiences;
I can't imagine what's in store for these next 3 months!
Bonnie, Jean, Caleb, our new friend Zach –who we are very fortunate to have to show us around the city-- and I explored downtown Maastricht last night. We hit up all the coolest local bars and one of the hottest clubs. Shamrock's was VERY fun! We began by trying out The Netherlands home beer: Grolsch! Once successfully winning over a Maastricht Rugby teams heart (don’t worry Logan, they were about 30 years old—surprising for a rugby team I thought) we received a FREE pitcher of Grolsch. We continued onto the "club" in downtown Maastricht… It is sooo beautiful walking down the street, and during the daytime it’s even more gorgeous… Oddly enough, one of the songs played in a mix of techno music was “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!” I found it odd and goofy that all the European boys knew the words and sang along!
This morning we went to brunch, which consisted of cereal and egg rolls (still the only aspect of being in another country I have been disappointed by.. the food). From there all 32 of us took a walk to the location where our classes will be held, through the market/mall (seems like shops go on for miles!), over the river, to the train station, and back. Of course we were shown pictures of the river, but never did I expect it to look so picture perfect. The building our classrooms are in used to be a monastery. The doors, staircase, and courtyard are still in place but the walls are painted an array of bright colors with artwork scattered throughout. The lecture room’s chairs are all different colors such as yellow, red, purple, green and orange. Very modern and uplifting.
One of my favorite differences is that every place there would normally be a basketball court in a park in America, there is a soccer/futbol court with metal goals. Jean so graciously attempted to help out some of the boys playing futbol by fetching their ball for them that had gone over the short fence surrounding the court. Instead, she made a fool out of herself because she was trying to "play it cool!" The ball was thrown right into the fence and bounced back to her. The next time she stood a bit closer to the court and lightly tossed the ball over the fence and back to the boys.
Once we returned Bonnie and I finally tried the spreadable sausage we’d been anxious to taste. Turns out, it’s not all that bad.. the cheese on the other hand- gross! We’ll have to try again when we return to the market… But for now, we will more than likely enjoy all of our meals at our new favorite restaurant—Nora’s!
Today was the championship game in the European Champions League between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. A group of us made our first trip to he Highlander and felt as though we were locals cheering on our favorite team: Bayern Munich (the red team!). We were livin' the life: watching good ol’ futbol while drinking a Heineken with our new Dutch friends. J