Naples (part 3 spring break)

Naples. In the city where the margarita and marinera pizza were discovered what else besides pizza comes to mind? Thats what I thought until I woke up on the bus, looked outside to see piles and piles of trash. Walking through the city we kept passing overflowing trash dumpsters. We shortly learned that the garbage men are on strike.  LEGIT trash piled everywhere which was quite disappointing coming from Amafi… however the pizza was far from disappointing.

Every couple streets we asked people where we could find good pizza, but we could never actually understand them.  Finally, we found a family with a man who spoke broken english and he directed us to a pizza joint called Solo Pizza.The pizzas ranged from 3.50 to 7 euros.  A margarita pizza was 4 euros and very good.  I ended up having left overs and planned on taking it on the 3 hour bus ride to Rome Ciampino Airport but the Bus driver wouldn’t let anyone with food on the bus.  So three of us with left overs decided to give it to homeless people.  We gave 2 boxes to a family and the little boy grabbed a box, was so excited, and ran to a bench to eat it.  The third box was given to an old man who smiled and said “gratzie! gratzie! gratzie!”  On our way out of naples we saw the old man eating the pizza on a bench looking so happy.  It always feels good to do a good deed <3

Venzia, Fierenze, and Roma (part one of spring break)

Venice, Italy

I couldn’t think of a better way to see Italy than during spring break.  Beginning my adventure in Venice.  The city of canals, outdoor mazes, gondalas, and no cars was my first stop on this eurotrip.  I never imagined how difficult it would be to navigate through the alleys until we were hunting for our hotel.  We walked up and down the same streets asking for directions until we finally found someone who knew where we were headed: Hotel Cittá Di Milano.  After dropping off our luggage, we grabbed some pizza and wine.  Then sat at a cafe for a liter of vini della casa (house wine) and we were ready for our gondala ride!Needless to say, we were kinda buzzed and were trying to convince the gondalere to sing to us! You know, like the movies!  He said start to sing a song and I’ll sing along… so I said “row, row, row your boat…” and he didn’t join in.  He said that gondaleres do not sing; it is only in the movies.  He took us on a twenty mintute cruise through the canals of Venice and would tell us a little bit of history about the city surrounded by water.

Florence, Italy

After one night in Venice… we were ready to bounce.  We took a ferry to the train station, a train to the outskirts of Florence, and then a cab to Hotel Boboli.  Our cute little hotel was located next to Boboli Gardens and down the street from our favorite pizza place, Gusta Pizza.  Before coming to Florence we heard of an amazing pizza place that we had to go to when we got to Florence.  So obviously our first stop was to Gusta Pizza Osteria. We went to Gusta Osteria because Gusta Pizza was closed between five and seven in the evening.  We were so disappointed but soon found out that the Gusta’s are brothers and each owns a restaurant: Gusta Pizza, Gusta Osteria, and Gusta Panino.

After we ate, we were ready to do some wandering around the cute city, Florence.  We had to cross Rialto Bridge everytime we wanted to get to the other side of the river.  We wandered for quite some time, saw the outdoor market, the Duamo, and were even invited to a bar and then a club that night.  Next thing we new it was 7 or 8 p.m. and we headed straight to Gusta Pizza.  The Italians loved us and kept calling us “Barceonaaa” and gave us a little bit of special treatment… including a heart shaped pizza.Our next stop was to Astor a local bar, followed by a few others.  Astor was really cool, a live DJ, big screen TVs showing the hockey playoff games that were on that night and overall just a very cool layout. And on top of that… FREE DRINKS!! What more can a girl ask for =)

The next day we walked through Boboli Gardens, ate lunch…at no other than Gusta Pizza, and went to see David’s penis.. The David Statue within Accademia.  Boboli Gardens were gorgeous.  We walked through and up to a lawn where people were lying out everywhere and we could see a panoramic view of Florence.  Very relaxing… which was good because by the time we arrived at the Accademia, the line was sooo long. No way were we waiting in that.  We didn’t know we had to make a reservation, but luckily we were able to pay 4 euro each for a “reservation”/we could walk right in.  No pictures allowed in the Accademia unfortunately.

The next day we were off to…

Rome, Italy

We took the speed train from Florence to Rome and checked into our hotel… Pensione Marsala. Lets just say we were luckey with the other two.  This hotel definces the phrase “you get what you pay for.”  But we were only there for three nights, basically only for showering and sleeping and then we were off to Amalfi Coast… so nbd.  Obviously we were hungry as soon as we arrived and found a cute restaurant called Trattoria la Antiche Carrozze and had a fabulous meal.  Our next stop was the Trevi fountain.  It was just as pretty as in the movies.. with the exception of all the trash.  We were in shock at how dirty Rome was.  It’s unfortunate that the city cannot be as clean as Barcelona.  We made wishes into the fountain, headed back to our hotel to lay down and get ready to go out for the night… but we crashed and didn’t make it out.The next morning we realized that we should go to Vatican City since we did not go out the night before.  We crammed in on a Bus and for about fourty mintutes too.  But we finally arrived and headed to the Vatican.  We stood in line, went through security to only discover that we were not wearing correct clothes…aka our knees weren’t covered, so we couldn’t go in!  We stood and watched people attempt to get in and get denyed then we bailed.  We went to see the Pantheon (temple to the Roman Gods) then went to a cute wine and cheese place called Cul de Sac and after we met up with some friends at a bar called The Drunken Ship and played beer pong!Day three in Roma, we me up with some friends who were in Rome at the Colesseum.  Again a long line and 12 euros to get in; we paid 20 euros to join a group, skipped the lines, then ditched the group.  Did our thing then went to see the gorgeous Spanish Steps taking minor details at some high end stores that I couldn’t even begin to afford, but wish I could.Our final day in Rome we attemped another day in Vatican City.  And by day I mean entire day.  Holy Thursday in fact and the place was PACKED. The line to enter the Vatican wrapped around the entire piazza.  We arrive around 11:30a.m. and the line started to move around 1p.m.  This was due to the Holy Thursday mass.  But once we were inside, it was beautiful.We went through the tombs, we took a lift and climbed a lot of stairs to reach the top of Saint Peter’s Basilica and saw amazing views of Vatican City and Rome, and we went inside the Sistine Chapel.The rest of the day flew by and the next thing we knew we were on our way to Rome Ciampino Airport to meet Bus2Alps and head to THE AMALFI COAST <3

Avicii, Laidback Luke, New Friends and AMAZING WEATHER

Wow… to think that my semester abroad is almost over is insane… 4 days in Barcelona (last week of classes), 10 days in Italy, 4 days in Barcelona (2 days of finals).. then HOME? ew.

This past week was by far one of the best here in Barcelona.

Monday: Return home from Copenhagen, Field trip to FC Barca Museum and Avicii at Up and Down (the old Oshum)

It was quite the eventful week.  I returned home Monday from visiting my family in Copenhagen around 4, got to my apartment around 5, and had to leave for my field trip to Camp Nou, the FC Barca stadium.  Monday was also my first house concert, or second if you consider Day Glow to be a house concert, and it exceeded all expectations.  From the music to the lights, the show was amazing.

Tuesday: Free Dinner at CDLC and cheap drinks at Shoko

Tuesday was tough… in Barcelona, Tuesdays are the hump day.  Once past it, the week cruises by.  Luckily I had the opportunity to attend a dinner at CDLC (Carpe Diem Lounge Club).  This was the second time I attended one of these events.  It included a glass of champaign when I first arrived, sushi, 2 courses of mediteranean food, fruit and chocolate fondue, and unlimited wine… atleast until the bucket for the group is empty. mmm soo good.  Afterwards we headed to Shoko which was 2 clubs down for a couple euro shots.. nopeee can’t beat that!

Wednesday:  Champaignería, beach, Field trip to The Olympic Museum

I had been looking forward to Wednesday all week! I couldn’t wait to skip my classes, go to my favorite Tapa’s restaurant and then to the beach… in my mind that was almost a perfect day.

Thursday: Laidback Luke at Opium Mar

The big day was finally here… LAIDBACK LUKE! My roommate had friends visiting, but they were not arriving in Barcelona until 1am on Friday so we met them at Laidback Luke around 2am… what a night!

Friday: Beach, Attic, L’Ovella Negra, Dow Jones Bar

Perfect day for a beach day! Met up with some friends who were visiting for the weekend at the beach.  Went to Attic for dinner… it was delish then headed to L’Ovella Negra (probably the only place I don’t mind drinking beer) and then to Dow Jones Bar. They loved it all.  Its a great feeling when you can be a host and have the company enjoy every second of their trip in the amazing city Barcelona.

Saturday: Beach, La Hacienda, Chupitos (by the beach), Opium

Sunday: chillaxed and recovered from an amazing yet exhausting week.

The land of the vikings…. Copenhagen, Denmark

It’s been about 8 years since I have been to Denmark and I couldn’t wait to return and re-see where my MorMor grew up! Luckily, I still have family living in Denmark.  My mom’s cousins were more than happy to host me in their fabulous country.  I was greeted in the Copenhagen airport by Jytte and Emma with open arms and then we were on our way for lunch and to see a few things in Copenhagen.

The first amazing building dispite the grey sky… PALADS.  Palads is a movie theatre that was built in 1917 with 17 different screens.  One of my favorite buildings in Copenhagen… obviously because of the bright colors.

Soon after Emma and I climbed the Round Tower.   It was built by King Christian IV in 1642 as an observatory used by the University.  Instead of climbing stairs to the top, you follow a ramp to the top and in return get an amazing panoramic view of the city. ** insert pic

Day 2 in Copenhagen, I was with my mom’s cousin, Lars’, daugher, Rikke.  She lives about a 10-15 minute walk from center city Copenhagen.  The day started out a little dreary, but cleared up by the time of our canal tour.  Although first we started the day visiting The Little Mermaid.  She was one of my favorite sights when I was in Copenhagen eight years ago. We then walked around Kastellett where some of the guards and militia live with their families or by themselves.  Then we took a canal tour!  One of the stories the guides told on the tour was about the Kings Brewery.  The King believed the water wasn’t good to drink and he didn’t want his soldiers to get sick so he declared that they all drink beer.  They began to drink so much that he set a limit at how much beer a week they can drink… 10Liters/Person/day.  CRAZY.

One of the things that makes me love Denmark is the strong history that is seen where ever you step in the country and the strong line of courtship.  Its funny because when I was there when I was younger, I doubt I appreciated the historical ties; however, this changed during my visit.  I learned so much about the Kings, Queens, and Crown Price and his family.  For instance, the Crown Prince will become King, when Queen Margrethe II passes away or steps down.  Her father King Frederik IX had no sons and she was the oldest of the daughters, therefore was his successor.  Her heir is her oldest son Frederik, crown prince of Denmark.  When he becomes King he will become King Frederik X.  His successor will be his son Christian.  The names for all the Kings rotate every other from Frederik to Christian.  Another intersting fact is that the King had twins on January 8, 2011 and his childrens names are not made public until they are baptised so the people in Denmark were guessing what they thought the names would be based on lineage.

5 hour wander in the streets of Barcelona

65 degrees and sunny.  Couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore the streets of Barcelona a little bit more. Barre-Gothic Area is probably one of my favorites. It’s history and uniqueness really make me feel like I’m in another city.  But in the 5 hours I was walking up and down the streets beginning in Barceloneta, another one of my FAVORITE areas, and ending in Catalunya Plaza some strange things happened.

  1. I had been looking forward to eating at Bó de B for quite some time, and finally I had the chance.  We left my apartment a little after 1pm took the L1 to Urquoina then transferred to the L4 and got off at Jaume 1.  Head down via Latieana until we reached the end, make a right at the large Correos, then low and behold there was the infamous Bo de B… I had recently heard that it takes a long time, but the wait is hit or miss.  Welp, my wait was most definately a miss.  Waited in line for a solid hour and half. yikes. When we got close the man who worked there asked us what we wanted, chicken/pollo, so he could pre-cook it.  Finally we reached the window and the chicken wasn’t ready… however what we did notice was that the men sitting inside got to the line quite some time after us… the chicken sandwiches we were supposed to get.. were being served to the men who were not waiting as long as us… Next time: go inside or atleast skope out the line sitch… split up and who ever gets to the front of the line first is where the group goes.

    Out front Correos and Bo-de-b

  2. Then I found a scarf for my mom’s cousin that I am staying with in Copenhagen this weekend in a small boutique near Jaume 1, like I said before.. love that area. Anyways I decide to wander around the area a bit.. in and out of stores… trying on some clothes just to kill the time, keep myself entertained and outside in this beautiful weather… but first, lets go back to when I first decided to go to Spain to study abroad.  Everyone warned me how there are not very man blonds and also that some spanish men love to holler at girls… welp today was a strange day for that.  I came out of a store and immediately a man said “caliente” and him and his friend were stairing at me… following me… and repeated “caliente, guapa rubia” and he patted me on my back. I repeated no a few times and he asked me “ingles,” I said no.. trying to look for an escape.  He asked me “deutch” and I said “no”, “frances” he asked again, and my response was “no” as I ducked out and into a store I extremely dispise.. actually I just find it werid…Desigual.
  3. I realized when I am not with my roommate, Fianna, I’m always BBMing (BlackBerry Instant Messenger) her… if this was my twitter I’d say #truefriendship.
  4. Why do some Spaniards hold the lever on the metro? It needs to completely stop until it opens… so what is the point of holding it the entire time?… answers welcome!
  5. What happened to chivalry? Men holding doors… or even elevators?! Recently, a CEA student displayed what I believe to be chivalry.  The smallest things really go a long way.  The elevators at CEA’s smaller campus, COACB, never stay open and always close on people. After my Sport and Culure in Spain class I headed to the elevator.  It was very full and when we went from floor 5 to floor 4 there appeared to be no room.  One of the guys was rude about not letting anyone else on, but one of them made room for the guy on floor 4 to get in with us.  Then as we were all getting out, this mystery man stood in the way of the elevator so the girls could be let out without the doors closing on them.  We def need more men like him in the world.
  6. People watching is very enjoyable especially on crowded metros… today, I noticed a man with a booger on his nose and a man who reaked of B.O…. not okay dudes.

21st Birthday in Barcelona

Turning 21 in the states is a big deal consisting of a new dress (for girls atleast)!  The normal routine consists of having all your friends come to your place to pregame the night of your 21st (aka midnight)… usually BYOB obvs bc the birthday girl/dude shouldn’t have to pay to get everyone else drunk. Then whoever is 21 at the time, takes the verge blackout birthday person to the bar… this person usually has on a ton of tacky 21st birthday gear: shotglass necklace, hat, sunglasses, tiarra.. whatever his/her friends give the to wear… he/she must wear it.  So then at the bars, everyone else buys the 21 yr old drinks the entire night in hopes of watching them black out  and either make bad decisions or get kicked out of the bar.

Eventually the birthday kid makes it back safely due to atleast one maybe two friends who were not at the same level of drunk.  Here are two aftermaths of 21st birthdays:

exhibit a:

Before the blackout

exhibit b:

Morning of...

But here in Europe, it isn’t important, AT ALL.  The big deal in the states is that its the first day one can legally drink at bars or purchase alcohol..  My 21st birthday was March 21st… this is considered to be my Golden Year… turing the same age as the day (number) you were born… kinda legit that mine happens to be on my 21st.  So everything that is supposed to happen on a 21st birthday… welp not exactly my birthday experience.

My birthday activities consisted of:
Sunday March 20: still locked out of my apartment from being robbed in Valencia.. bye bye keys… then with no money, my friend took me out to dinner.  We made reservations at my favorite restaurant so far here in Barcelona… La Bella Napoli (AMAZING)… its off of Para-Lel.  Then the rumor was that some of our friends were going to George Paynes (an Irish Pub).

my fav <3

Monday March 21 Day:  Played hookie. LOVE not going to class.  Woke up and my dad was trying to find a way to wire me money so i wasn’t broke on my birthday.  But he was taking forever and I legit didn’t want to wait in my apartment anymore… So some of my friends and I went to two of my other favorite places here.. Champaigneria… where you purchase 2 tapas and then get a bottle of cava for 5 euro… always turns into about 5 bucks for me and my friend. DELISH.  We met up with a few friends there, but then my dad called me and told me he wired the money… So Fianna and I went on a hunt for a Correos.  Luckily there was one about 5 minutes from Champaigneria. Then I was in Business =)  We didn’t feel like going back to Champaigneria so our next stop was Tapa Tapa <3 off of Port Vell.  We got some banging Tapas and Sangriaaaa mmmmm.

Tapa Tapa

Tapa Tapa

Monday March 21 Night:  Originally the plan was to go to Nasty Mondays at Apolo… but last minute change of plans and we were headed to the guys for a normal Monday night of Loco Lunes at Otto Zutz… with just about every other American in Barcelona… nothing special.

the crew at otto zutz

But atleast I have 3 more birthdays when I arrive home in the states… going to bars with my dad and my mom as DD… “Okay, a bar it is. We’ll hit West Chester (a little). Mom can be the designated driver!”, West Chester bars and of course the Bars with all my lovers in State College!!!!!! CANT WAIT =)

Amsterdam… boat rides, cafes, red light district… oh my

Going into visiting Amsterdam, Netherlands… otherwise known as Holland, I only knew a few things… the city of Anne Frank, Heinekin and surrounded by Canals, Marijuana, and Prostitution.  This pretty much sums it up… or so I thought.  Amsterdam was much more than a liberal city.  It was a city where all worries vanish, including mine.

I had an amazing time in Amsterdam…possibly tops my trip to the Swiss Alps.

When I arrived in Amsterdam and got to the hostel… I checked in, carried my luggage up the five STEEP flights of stairs and left for a coffee shop called the Grey Area.

loungeThis is where I bought and smoked my first pre-rolled joint…great atmosphere very mellow and relaxed.

Eventually the guys arrived Thursday night and we went out on the town for a few beers.  It wasn’t a late night because their friend.. Uncle Davies… was arriving Friday morning between 10 and 11 a.m.  The first thing we did that day was go to the Anne Frank Huis.  We def should have expected a long line and contemplated leaving and coming back on a different day; however, we thought that whenever we went, the line would be long.  After all, Anne Frank’s diary is a world known story.

I never read The Diary of Anne Frank… only heard of her and learned about her in classes so experiencing her story in 3D was mesmerizing.  I was able to see her house.  It was well preserved and I learned that her father did not want any furniture back in the house.  This kept it looking the way the Nazi’s left it after discovering the Franks.  Anne Frank was a strong girl and would have grown up to be an amazing woman.  It is unfortunate the way the world used to be, but I suppose a way of thinking about it is without the past, we would never know.

After Anne Frank Fianna and I showed the guys our favorite coffee shop so far.  Cannot remember the name, but it played Bob Marley music among others and had parrots.

counter

To the left of the picture is the small corner where the parrots were, unfortunately I did not have a strong enough flash to capture them.  But chilling with the parrots was definitely an experience.

 

Siestas in Sevilla

After a long not even long, just felt like forever, journey from Jerez back to Sevilla, we all craved Siestas before reconvening at 11:15pm on the bridge.  Pretty sure my hour “siesta” was one of the most needed in my life!  After meeting on the bridge we crossed to the other side… the typical pregame spot… cracked open some wine bottles and started the night. About half a bottle down… some spanish men come over and asked if they could have some of the 2L coke bottle one of the girls brought.  She said sure.  Then he asks her if he can have some of her rum… she said nope.  Then another girl offered some of her gin.  As he was reaching over with a cup, he takes the gin from her hand and runs away.  Milaseconds later, another guy comes and grabs the girls rum.  She tried to fight for it, but wasn’t strong enought.  The five guys than ran away with the bottles of gin and rum.  We were all in shock, screamed a little, then got over it.  About five minutues later two other men come over and we’re telling them the story… probably not such a smart move considering we discovered they pulled the same trick… so they offered us some of their wine because they “felt bad.”  Next thing i know, they’re running off with my wine bottle. FML. Two of the girls spoke excellent spanish and were fed up with those men.  So they decided to go after the guys.  Yelling at them in perfect spanish the men were shocked and didn’t know what to do.  One girl punched the one guy in the face and kneed him in the balls after he spit on her and the other girl poured her drink on a different man.  Then they left.  All the girls were promising this doesn’t normally happen because they didn’t want it to ruin my trip, but hey… its a story to tell… gotta love those.  Afterwards we went to a dollar shot bar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! C-yah night… whattup hangover.

The following day Alex and I woke up around 1pm, she was perfectly fine, but me on the other hand… extremely hungover, but I was only in Sevilla for another 24 hours so I got my ass up, showered, and changed for the day.  First we went to Plaza España… gorgeous.  Then we went to climbed the cathedral….30+ flights of ramps… man was I sore the next day, but the view from the top was beautiful and well worth the needed exercise.  Unfortunately still hungover… it was a good thing I stopped at the bathroom before climbing it.. if you know what I mean :/

My favorite tapas place in Sevilla was Cien Bocadillas y Cerversaría… where they offered 100 types of bocadillas for anywhere between 1 € and 3€ !  If only they had those in Barcelona.

Until next time Sevilla. See you later! — Aún el tiempo proximo Sevilla, “Hatah luego!”

Jerez… Tio Pepe

I departed for Sevilla on the 18th… bright and early, however the weekend was not as bright as I had hoped it would be.  This flight was also my first with the dreaded “RyanAir” and it wasn’t as terrible as I was expecting.

I arrived in Sevilla around 10am, waiting in line for a bus until 11am when I realized that I would miss the train for the Sherry wine tour in Jerez — Tio Pepe. EW.  I wonder if I still would have gone on the tour knowing it was Sherry.. I mean who actually enjoys drinking Sherry? Because it is def. not my cup of tea.  Besides the Sherry, the tour was definately interesting.  We saw a wine cellar that hadn’t been touched in ages. You could actually see the cobwebs touching each wine/sherry bottle.Really old wineTowards the end of the tour, probably my favorite part, we saw the Tio Pepe mouse.  Well not exactly the mouse but the wine glass and cheese that the family gives the mouse… He is known as the drunk mouse.

Then comes the sherry and the tapas.  Pan y jamón… typical spanish food also cheese and these small bread/cracker things.  We don’t have them in Barcelona.  We were also given two types of Sherry… a sweeter kind and a bitter kind.Tapas and SherryAfter the tour we wandered around Jerez… the sleeping town of Jerez.  Of course it was siesta when we got out of the tour and all we wanted was icecream. Epic Fail.  Then the rain comes and we headed to the train back to Sevilla.  Until next time Tio Pepe

“Welcome to París”

Close

It is assumed that French people, specifically the ones who live in Paris are snobby and rude; however, the first couple my friend, Alyssa, and I met were as sweet as can be.  The only name we caught was Emma, their 20 month daughter.

After arriving in Paris ORLY, Alyssa and I figured we´d wing it through the metro to get to our hostel.  Luckily we met 2 american men from Barcelona who were heading in the same direction.  (It´s a good thing we decided to wing the 10.25 euro metro ride because otherwise Alyssa and I would have had to split 78euro cab ride.)

When we got to our hostel, St. Christopher’s, and checked in, our other friends had not arrived yet because they were on a later flight, so our job was to find a good place to eat dinner.  We asked the front desk and we were told to go around the corner to Le Bastringoe.  Obviously, we went to check it out.  It looked cute, local, and very good so we decided we would go there but still had a few hours to kill before the rest of the girls checked in. So we dicided to walk around to see if another restaurant could top Le Bastringoe.

About 10 mintues later we found ourselves under an awning trying to decifer the french menu.  A gorgeous tiny woman asked us what we were doing in her broken english accent and we attempted to tell her that we were searching for a place to eat.  As she lowered her cigarette, she told us that the place was much better for lunch.  We began taking, and when I said talking it was more like she was trying to speak in english but couldn’t complete her sentences, somehow I was able to do it for her.  Then she asked us where we were from and what we wanted to see in Paris.  We told her we were studying abroad in Barcelona so she said ¨Hablas español?”  I responded, “Sí hablo pequito español”  That point on our conversations were a mix between french, english and spanish.

The woman then invited us in to meet “es el amor de mi vida” and Emma.  We sat at their table, looked at each other as we both though the same thing… what are we doing?! The woman asked us what we wanted to drink as she pointed to herself, meaning its on me.  We said surprise us.  She ordered 3 glasses of champaign.  The bartender brought the classes and bottle to the table and poured each of us a glass.  The woman said “Salut i Wecome to París!”

This just goes to show that if you keep a smile and are always kind, the same will be reciprocated even when in a city that is notorios for being rude.

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