Monday, May 18, 2009


It has been a VERY long day, but yes...I am finally home. I woke up at 4:30 Italy time and flew from Naples to Munich, Munich to Chicago (9.5 the middle seat...:P), and then Chicago to Minneapolis. So it is about 5 am for me right now. Time for bed. I will write more tomorrow about my thoughts...

Love you all...see you soon...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good-bye Italy:(

I just had my last Italian meal...margherita pizza...and it was delicious (Naples is famous for their pizza). I am all ready packed and ready to go. We are going to watch a movie and hit the hay (Heath is bringing me to the airport at 5 am). Night all! See you soon! Love you...


So Heath and I got up early and made our way to Sorrento. It is the first town along the Amalfi coast. Heath drove and it only took about an hour (it was so nice to travel in a car again:). It was a gorgeous drive! Luscious green mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. I have been looking at pictures and reading about this place and watching it in movies and ooohing and aaahing...I can't believe I was actually there and got to see it for myself. We walked around a bit and then actually got 2 chairs and just laid in the sun for about 3 hours. You have to walk down this huge winding ramp to get to the bottom where the water is. There isn't much of a beach so they build these docks and put chairs on them. You have to rent them of course but it was a great. A lovely way to end a very active trip. We were very lucky with the weather was cloudy this morning but as soon as we pulled into Sorrento the sun came out again. I actually got really sun-burnt...I hope I don't regret it when I'm sitting in a plane for 12 hours tomorrow:(

We are just going to hang out tonight and Heath is going to help me try to shove all my souvenirs into my suitcase. (I can't tell you how happy I am that I brought an extra suitcase along). Tomorrow will be a very long day but it will be good to have the comforts of home again (and a few more choices in clothing:). Can't wait to see you all again! Love you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


So Heath and I ventured into downtown Naples today....and it was very interesting. First of all, Italian drivers scare the shit out of me. Cars drive like 100 mph down the street, downtown too, I swear. Heath has aclimated well, so he drives just as fast, but is good at it, I must admit. There are a ton of scooters and they weave in and out of people like crazy and go in between 2 cars (between lanes) all the time. Scooters also carry entire families....seriously. They are only meant to hold 2 people but sometimes you'll see a mom, dad and a kid or 2 on there. I actually saw a baby...had to have been less than a year old between its mom and dad on the scooter seat. It couldn't even really sit on it's own yet, the mom was holding it up...I couldn't fricken believe it. Most of the time they don't have helmets. Heath said he saw a whole family riding on one once and the dad (the one driving) was the only one with a helmet on! Haha...insane! Anyway, we parked and walked around dowtown and just sort of got was great. Naples is beautiful...but dirty. It's on the coast and mountains are all around it. It is very charming, but the people don't really seem to respect the city. They throw their garbage everywhere and there is a lot of's too bad really. There were SOOO many people out today! And for once I felt like the only tourist in a sea of Italians, not a mixture of both locals and tourists. We saw some really great things while walking around. Like fresh seafood shops and this alleyway called "Christmas street". They apparently sell Christmas stuff all year round. It had nativity scenes that were built from scratch, ornaments, etc. They were beaUTIful! I will show you pictures...

Tonight we went back downtown to eat. We went to a restaurant along the water and we had some great food. Heath had seafood and I had pasta...again. I am really going to need to go carb free for awhile when I get home. It's just so GOOD though! I don't get how people in Europe aren't enormous! They eat carbs for EVERY meal! Pastries in the morning, pizza or a baguette or something for lunch, and pizza or pasta for dinner! It's great! The city was really pretty at night and the weather was gorgeous. It was very nice. Tomorrow we are going to drive along the Amalfi coastline. It should be neat...every picture I've ever seen of it is amazing. My last day in Europe! I can't believe it! Back to the real world soon:( Love you and miss you all...


So I slept in a bit yesterday and felt a little better, so I decided to do the whole Vatican adventure. I hopped on the metro and made my way over. The Vatican museum was very cool. It was basically a museum set up by a pope, somewhere along the line, to house all of the gifts, art, artifacts that the popes throughout time have gathered. There were sculptures, Egyptian art (including mummies), paintings, tapestry, etc. It was cool. The Vatican museum also includes "apartments" where some of the popes have lived and the Sistine chapel. The Sistine chapel was amazing of course. It was just PACKED with people though. It is so huge and so detailed that unless you bring binoculars and find a place to sit along the side you can't totally enjoy it. It was so packed with people too that I couldn't hear my audioguide very well (it's a little machine they give you that you punch in the numbers and it gives you a little blurb about what you're seeing). I walked outside of the Sistine chapel and finally was able to hear it. It is fascinating actually and should get a book to read about it because its so detailed and so involved. So I followed the crowd out of the Sistine chapel and ended up outside. Well, here it where I got confused I think. There were about 4 routes you could go and I couldn't follow my map, it was confusing for some reason, so I just followed a crowd into the tombs of the popes. That was very cool actually. Pope John Paul was buried there. It was actually a very simple tomb compared to some of the other lavish ones. People were crying and was interesting. Again, when I exited I just kind of followed some people. I saw Swiss guards ahead (they guard the Vatican and dress in crazy outfits) so I kept going because I wanted a picture. Well I motioned to one of them if it was ok to take a picture and he shook his head yes. So I took the picture and then turned around and realized I was outside of the museum in front of St. Peters basilica...AND I still had my audioguide. Well, I definitely had to return it because they hold your ID as collateral (my driver's license). So I turned around to walk back from where I came from....that's where I got yelled at. Both guards yelled "NOOOO! You can't go back!" Everyone within 100 feet turned and stared at me. My eyes got huge and I swirled around...super embarassed of course...and motioned to them that I was holding the audioguide. They just shrugged there shoulders and motioned for me to go around. Well, going around was not exactly simple. I had to completely exit the Vatican city and walk all the way around the walled fortress. The whole mistake caused me at LEAST another mile or 2 of walking...I was super unhappy about it.

I also went to St. Peters Basilica. It was HUGE. There were statues everywhere of different saints and martyrs. I am not catholic so I just don't understand why people pray to these different people. I don't know who these saints and martyrs are and I don't understand how Catholics learn about them. Is it the bible? Why haven't I learned about it before? For instance, there was one saint that everyone kept walking by and rubbing the foot of the statue. Why? Is his foot important for some reason? I made a mental note to look all of these things up when I got home (I have ALOT of reading to do!). I haven't decided if being in these huge holy places makes me feel MORE or LESS religious. You do get a feeling of being in a holy and sacred place, but there is so much money put into these buildings to honor different people that it doesn't feel right. For instance, there is a treasury in St. Peters Basilica. It's almost surreal. There are candlesticks made of pure gold...not little either....larger than me. And not one, like 16. And there are things called monarches (I think) that I don't even know what they are set on tables or something. That were pure gold and bejeweled like you wouldn't believe...I mean diamonds, jade, rubies, emeralds, etc. It is absolutely unbelievable. They have chalices (cups to use during the sacrament) like that and a staff they carry...all bejeweled. Oh, and don't let me forget the popes jewelry. The largest gems I've ever seen anywhere in my life. Pictures were forbidden in there, I wish I could have shown you guys. All I know is that the Catholic church has more money than we could EVER fathom. I don't mean to be sacriligous here, but is that right?

Anyway, it was beautiful. But I was done. I gathered my things and headed to the train station. I finally found the right train (I had hoped). It is a bit scary because the train only stops like once every hour or so so if you mess up and get onto the wrong train, it could be a few hours before you end up back on track. Well I got on the train, found an empty seat and sat down. Well, then it got interesting. A lady came to the doorway and was pointing at my seat. Everyone was looking at me and saying stuff in Italian. I told them I couldn't speak Italian and they looked at my ticket and told me I was on the wrong train. I freaked cause it was pulling away and then realized I was showing them my old ticket. I showed them the new one, they said I was on the right train but in the wrong seat. I wasn't aware there were assigned seats...I just down anywhere last time too. Well, I gathered my things to stand in the aisle for the 2 hour trip and then a nice gentleman who spoke English told me I could sit next to him. Whew... I am glad to be back but it was good for me to feel uncomfortable for awhile.

Heath and I are going to check out Naples. Talk to you you!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Back in Naples....again

What a fricken whirlwind...whew. I'm back in Naples....yay! It will be nice to hang out here for a few days before I head home. Today I actually felt a little better (I think I just need to sleep for about 3 days straight and I'll be right as rain:). I went to the Vatican and St. Peters Basilica today. It was unbelievable! I have a few stories (I got yelled at by 2 Swiss guards...typical Steph ditzyness:), but it's a good story at least:) So I will have to fill you in later but I just wanted you to know that I was safe. Love you!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Im ok!

Hey all. Thought I would let you know that Im fine. I am using the internet right next to my hostel and then Im going to hit the hay. I know...Im in Rome for 1 night and Im going to bed at 10. Booo.... Next time I come to Europe I am bringing some of my girls and I am going to take my damn time in a place. This trip has been fabulous, but there is always more to see. Since you never know what life will bring and whether or not I will be back to any of these places, I feel I need to hit the highlights. Heath is a whirlwind traveler too. Thank goodness though, otherwise I might not have seen anything:) I am more of a "see one big thing a day and then sit in a cafe or restaurant and meet people and relax" type of gal. Nothing wrong with that:) I read that you are supposed to travel like you will assume you will come back someday so you enjoy it while your there. I like that theory...

I am proud of myself however... Tonight I read a map and made it to both the Pantheon and Trevi fountain and back...yep, on my own. Its rather amazing since I dont read maps all that well (Im directionally challenged). Its a good thing Rome is super touristy so that I can usually just follow the stream of people...and there are alot of people that speak English which helps. Its amazing though...the Pantheon and Trevi fountain are these HUGE famous sites and they just pop up in the middle of a bunch of restaurants, stores, and homes. Its second you are hopelessly lost through the winding streets (they are very narrow and you cant see much beyond them) and then...BOOM...the Pantheon...this enormous building! Its insane... I couldnt go in the Pantheon because they were having some sort of mass but it was cool because the doors were open so I could peak inside and listen to the choir (it was a childrens that was cool. I think there may have been some VIPs at the mass because some very fancy cars spend up immediately after the service was over and whisked some people away. I didnt get a good look though:( Trevi fountain is beaUTIful! So many people... It is VERY hard to get a good picture next to these monuments when you are traveling by yourself. I asked 3 different sets of people to take my picture in front of the fountain and I still dont really like any of them:( Oh well...better luck next time:)

Night all. Im going to try do Vatican city tomorrow (St. Peters Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican museum) before I leave to go back to Naples. Im not feeling the best so wish me luck! Love you all! Arivaderci!


So I am now in Rome. Im either getting a cold or my allergies are in full force, Im not sure, but Ive felt better in my life. I wasnt going to come but I laid awake last night just thinking about what a waste it would be not to go to Rome because its so close. So I had to give it a shot. I got up early, packed, and Heath brought me to the train station. He literally walked me to the train I was suppose to be on after helping figure out how to buy my ticket. Its very helpful to have someone who has done all this before. He told me he would come with if I wanted him to but I feel like at the age of 29 I should be able to spend a day and a half in a foreign city by myself. Ive done fine so far. The train was interesting. The old lady next to me was very nice but she kept trying to talk to me in Italian. I told her 3 times that I dont speak Italian (I looked it up in my language book, I know I said it right too:). She finally gave up and gave me a piece of was funny. Grandmas are the same in every country:) Then there was a lady at the end of the car I was in that started yelling. At first I thought it was just a normal Italian conversation...loud...but it kept getting louder and more intense. The woman then came stomping down the aisle to another train car. I was super confused but then the women sitting next to me all started laughing. I knew then that she was just fighting with her husband or boyfriend etc. I kept trying to pick out words and look it up so I could follow along but she was speaking so quickly. 5 minutes later she came walking back. The landscape was beautiful though! Big green mountains and small Italian villas...loved it.

After the train ride I found my hostel (super close thank goodness) and then went to the Roman Forum and the Colloseum. They were both very interesting. The Roman Forum is basically a bunch of ruins. I couldnt tell you much more because my audioguide battery ran out early in the tour and I didnt feel like going back to get a new one. Its a large area and it was super hot today (I got fried). I took a guided tour of the colloseum which was nice because they dont really have any information about it there. It was extremely interesting that people used to find that type of thing entertaining. They say that around 1 million people and 3 million animals died in the colloseum (for people to watch). Gruesome but interesting.

I am going to head to Trevi fountain later after a good shower. It should be cool. I am staying in a hostel again. Its very cheap and very convenient (super close to the subway) but Im getting too old for this. I like my own space. It will be nice to have my own space again. I love you guys. Have a good day...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back in Naples

I know! Can you believe it? Yep we just arrived back in Naples about an hour or so ago. And this time we got all our luggage:) Sorry I didn't write sooner but I had a hell of a time logging into my blog at the last hostel. I will fill you in (if I can remember:)... The last time I wrote was Monday night I believe, and we were going to try go to a Flamenco show. It was fate...when we were standing outside looking at the place earlier in the day a woman came up and gave us a flier for the show. We thought we'd give it a whirl. We came back that night and ended up standing in line with a couple from Tel Aviv, Israel. They were in their 50's and spoke English very well. They were extremely interesting people. They talked about growing up in Israel and living with the constant fear of terrorism. They said when they were on their first big trip (to Prague), was the first time they realized they could just sit...and relax, and didn't have to think about a bomb going off at any moment. But they love Israel...they said it was a serious, but very enigmatic and special place. We sat by them at the show also...front and center in this teeny tiny venue. It held maybe 30 people. It was fabulous! The show started with a Spanish guitar player...I absolutely LOVE Spanish guitar... Then the rest of the band came out and played. The singer was amazing... They clap as they sing to keep the rhythm. He sang with such emotion, you felt like he was in pain (sad, not physical pain...well, I suppose they could be one in the same). Then the female flamenco dancer came out. She was SOO intense! She started dancing and I almost started was weird. I think it was just surprising! She danced with so much fire...CON FUEGO! We were sitting so close we could see every expression on her face and see every drop of sweat. She looked like she was furious and determined all at the same time. I loved it....absolutely loved it.

The next day we went to another Gaudi house...which was closed for renovation. It seemed like they were renovating at least some part of every building in Barcelona...haha. We then went to this HUGE park on the mountainside. We were going to take the funicular (cable car) to the top so I was happy about that, but we ended up walking a good mile up a street and took a couple hundred steps to get to the cable car to take you up the mountain. It was good for me I suppose:) On top of the mountain was a castle. There wasn't much left of the castle but the views were amazing. They still had old canons out on top pointing in every direction towards the ocean from the castle...very cool. The rest of the day we spent just walking around, looking at the shops, and eating tapas. Since we liked the other flamenco show much we decided to go to another one that night. This one was more of a touristy show. It was in a theater that housed a few hundred people. There were opera singers, regular singers, a band, and both a male and female flamenco dancer. It was a lot longer (and more expensive of course) but still good. The male dancer was great, but the female dancer just wasn't as convincing as the one the night before. And thats how we ended our last night in Barcelona. We went back early because I was sneezing like crazy! For some reason my allergies flared up BIG time the last day there. I don't know what it was...weird. And because we had to get up at 5 to head to the airport.

Well, we made it back to Naples safely. We are doing some laundry now (yay!) and getting organized for tomorrow. Well, Heath and I talked about it, and (don't freak out mom) I'm going to head to Rome by myself tomorrow. He was going to be a good sport and come with, but he's all ready seen everything a few times and I felt bad having him waste all that money just so I could have some company. So he's going to stay and work and I'm heading to Rome tomorrow! Don't worry...Heath has given me explicit instructions...I know exactly what to do, where I'm staying, and how to get around. I'll be fine. If all the American 18 year olds can do it so can I:) So I'm heading out by train tomorrow...wish me luck! I'll try be in touch but again am not sure if the hostel has internet. I will have a phone though in case I need to use it. Love you all!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gaudi took me like 20 minutes to figure out how to get into my blog on this computer! Barcelona has been wonderful! The pace here is so much better. Yesterday we visited a few cathedrals, went to a popular section of town called Las Ramblas and saw a large number of street was crazy. They also have a flea market along the was very very cool. Last night we went to a sports bar (it was very American looking) to watch the football game. We got there just in time to get a table. It was craziness...people chanting, singing, yelling. The game was awesome...but totally left us ended with a tie...3 to 3. I dont know why, but they just end was very anticlimactic when no one wins.

Today we went to a part of town where there is a lot of architecture by Antonio Gaudi. It was amazing. We went to a single family residence that he designed. He takes his inspiration from nature, so its very interesting. There are no straight lines in the entire building...including the roof. Everything is arched, with natural light and ventilation...even the doors. Soooo cool. We then went to his most famous work. A cathedral called La Sagrada should look in up online. He started working on it in 1883 and died before its completion. They continued to work on it but say it wont be done for another 20 years or so. It is very intricate and very interesting.

We then stopped at La Boqueria...its a market in town. That was really neat too. Sooo many people just milling around. Everything is super fresh...meat, cheese, fruits, veggies, candy. Its great because you can go and buy one apple if you want, one sausage. Thats how a lot of people do their grocery shopping there. They get what they need for the day and get more tomorrow. We arent sure what we are doing tonight yet...some food and then we might try out a flamenco show. Yay! You all know how I love dancing:) Miss you:(

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Couldnt get the fricken thing to work...

We are in Barcelona! Yesterday was another very long travel day. We thought we had the transportation system down pat, but man it was a struggle to get to the airport yesterday. We did fine but once we got to the airport we couldnt get in! We needed a metro ticket to ENTER the airport! We didnt know and there were no ticket stations around, so I ended up dodging the electronic gate and getting my thumb all bruised up. Heath lifted my luggage over but then he was stuck on the other side! I tried to buy him a ticket from the INSIDE but I couldnt figure the thing out because it was in French (turns out I was just at the wrong maching) but Heath ended up finding a different entrance because the stupid gate was open. took us probably half an hour just to enter the airport:) We got in and then I about threw a fit because we had to pay to use the bathroom. Alot of public places in Europe (even in restaurants) you have to pay, but seriously? We bought a fricken plane ticket...toilet paper isnt included in that price?

Anyway...we made it to Barcelona and its absolutely fantastic! It has winding little streets like Venice (same charm) but was HOPPIN! So many people, restaurants, cafes, bars, markets its insane. Something fabulous around every corner! These are my people and this could be my home. I am going to make it big somehow, learn Catalan Spanish, and buy a home here. LOVES it! Its alot more relaxed than Paris...and Im happy about that. The soccer game was all sold out (it seats 98,000 people!) so Heath and I are just going to get ready and watch it in a bar. Should be fun...Europeans are crazy about soccer.

Love you all and will write soon!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Last Night in Paris....

Tonight was super fun! It was so great that I had to write about it immediately so I wouldn't forget. We started out at St. Germaine Street...a popular spot apparently. It wasn't even that nice out and it was the brim. We ate at a sushi place...I know...weird but we were craving it. Note to self....NEVER try to order Japanese food in France! It was nearly impossible to communicate with ourJapanese/French waitress...thank God there were pictures of the food on the menu. We both managed to get food...and some sort of beverage (whether or not it was what we actually ordered:) and it was really good! Our next stop was at an Irish pub. We watched a bit of the football (soccer) game and listened briefly to the live music (a terrible singer who also played guitar). I then discovered the downstairs to the pub (while I was trying to find the restroom). The downstairs was teeny...about 10 chairs worth...but had a DJ:) Best discovery ever:) The dance floor was big enough for...well Heath and I and maybe 2 other people...but we got our groove on anyway...haha. Do French people dance? I don't know...there was music playing and they just sat around talking and looking it a faux pax to dance at a teeny tiny bar? I don't know...I didn't really care...

We then decided to head back towards our hostel to this place I had read about in the guidebook. It looks like a little shack on the outside...dark, with a cartoon rabbit painted on a shutter. Weird...I realize...but quirky and called "a favorite of the locals" by the guidebook. We went and it was probably the coolest place I have ever stepped foot into! Teeny, lit in red lighting, seating for maybe 50 people...maybe. It was so incredibly charming that I had a permasmile from the second I walked in. The doorman and Heath and I were the only people that spoke English in the entire place. It was a cabaret...there were a variety of performers. They sang, played piano and guitar and were funny...apparently (the French people were laughing anyway). Everyone was singing along and was great! I had no idea what they were saying or singing but it was cheeks still hurt from smiling so much. The last performer was a teeny lesbian woman (I'm just assuming from her butch haircut and male manorisms...she looked as if she was trying to emmulate an Italian man) with a huge, deep voice. It was fantastic...I didn't know whether to laugh because it was so humorous and over the top or cry because it was so beautiful. She was extremely serious and ended every song with a yell of some sort and a spin (she almost knocked over her stool twice:). It was great! I didn't take a picture because it didn't seem appropriate. It seemed as if we were intruding on the one thing still untouched by tourists in Paris...that's why it was so great! Loved it!

Now I'm headed to sleep in...I hope. I am praying for better weather in Barcelona! I'm getting sick of my cold-weather clothes:( Good night! Bon sour!

Hmmm...I'm going to have to think...

Sorry I didn't write yesterday...the internet at the hostel was down and I was too tired to try find an internet cafe. Wow....what did we do yesterday? Yes...we went to Versailles. Versailles is a palace on the outskirts of Paris. We took a train about 40 minutes or so to get there. It was built by one of the kings...Louis XIV? It gets a little fuzzy after awhile... We were blessed with VERY nice weather...sunny, 70s...which was lovely because Versailles is HUGE! We started in the garden...I should say crazy maze of multiple gardens. The garden is abosuletly ginormous but gorgeous. They said it literally took thousands of people to keep the gardens manicured back in the day (I'm sure it still takes more than a few:). There are sculptures and fountains everywhere and it is a very long walk. I think we spent at least 3 hours just walking in the gardens...not even counting the palace. On one edge of the garden is the humble abode of Marie Antionette (the horrible queen that was hated by her people and eventually hung). It is unbelievable! She just visited every once in awhile and they gave her this ornate mini-palace to stay in. The actual palace was or gold-plated objects everywhere. It's beautiful but actually makes you sad when you think about the reality of it...the royalty of the day lived in absolutely ridiculously lavish palaces with paintings and sculptures of themselves everywhere while their people lived in squalor (there was wide-spread poverty at that time). We eventually took the train and then the subway back to our hostel (I completely passed out on the train...I was worn out:) and hurried to get ready to head down to the Eiffel tower so we could see it at night.

The Eiffel tower area is beautiful. The Seine (river) is right there and parks nearby...everything is's hardly worth mentioning anymore. I am sad to say that I did not go to the top. Well...I'm not really sad about it to tell you the truth, I'm pretty happy I didn't go up. Honestly...I had all ready gotten my view of Paris from a very tall building and I wasn't thrilled with the thought of doing it again. Just looking up at it from the bottom made me dizzy. Plus, once you're up there it's a few hours before you can get down...sounded like a nightmare to me actually:( So Heath went up and I hung out down below. It was fine...I got some great pictures.

So that brings us to today....whew. I'm going to get carpal tunnel I think...haha. This morning we headed to the Latin Quarter (I know...Latin...I should love it right? :). We went to the Parthenon. The Parthenon was ordered to be built by Napolean (I think) because he was so grateful for being alive (it has something to do with the patron Saint Genevive). The parthenon was beautiful...of course...but my favorite part was the crypt. The crypt is underneath and houses the tombs of some very famous French people...Voltaire, Rousseau, Louis Braille (yep...invented Braille:), and patron Saint Genevive least that's what it said. Seriously, I need to do some reading. There is so much to learn... We then grabbed a Starbucks (yep...they really ARE everywhere) and headed to the Museum of War (it's called something else in French but I can't remember). It holds an arsenal...guns, cannons, swords, plus coats of armor and old knights gear, old military uniforms, etc. Then it has a more current war display which includes video and pictures of World War II, Normandy, etc. I know...I didn't think I'd like it, but it was very interesting actually. Again...I need to do some reading...there is so much I don't know about history. It also houses Napoleans tomb (the famous emperor). The tomb isn't really a tomb...well the tomb is there and all...but it's an entire huge building. It was neat. Heath LOVED it...he's actually still there:) I came back because I am tired and museumed out... I thought about trying to head to another museum but I just couldn't do it...feet hurt. I need a shower... I also need to do some laundry and prepare for our departure to Barcelona tomorrow. Holy shit...another day of travel...I might need a nap:)

Love you all...have a lovely night

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Today has been another very long day. There is so much to do that we wake up every morning by about 8 am. For those of you who know me well, that does not make me happy:) It is 1915 and I'm exhausted. We started out this morning by going to the Louvre. Even the walk there was amazing. There is so much to look at it's ridiculous. The Louvre is huge, so we just hit the main points. I discovered that I like pretty paintings but they all start to look the same after awhile (all the older, religious ones anyway). I do, however, really like sculptures...who knew? We saw the Mona Lisa (too many people you can't even get close), Venus of Milo, and Winged Victory (the ones you may have heard of). One of my favorite exhibits was Napoleans old living quarters (in the Louvre). So opulent it's unbelievable! Wait til you see the pictures!

We then made our way over to Notre Dame. Now THAT is gorgeous! It was huge and unbelievably...well opulent....and holy:) I'm not catholic but sometimes I kind of wish I was....those places make you FEEL religious. I loved it. We walked through the treasury which supposedly holds the crown of thorns....THE crown of thorns! That Jesus wore on his head! You couldn't really see it because it's enshrined in glass and jewels...still cool though. Heath suggested we go to the top of Notre Dame...yes...outside...for an amazing view of Paris. It was worth it...I guess. We climbed a winding staircase of about 400 stairs to get there though. On the way up as I was looking out the teeny sliver of windows, getting out of breath and light-headed, I remembered that I'm rather afraid of heights. No going back though...I paid my 8 euros and I was going up. Holy shit....we were about a hundred stories up on a teeny balcony and I nearly had a panic attack. But you have to walk the whole walkway to get down so I had to man up. At times the walkway was so narrow you could only fit one person through...the wall on one side, and 100 stories down on the other. There was a fence...I wasn't going to fall, but I did feel a bit dizzy and nauseous! Oh well...I made it. Pretty proud of myself actually for talking myself out of a panic attack and all:)

Well, we are back at the hostel...the sun is FINALLY out (yay! it was chilly today) and we are trying to decide what to do tonight. I need a good shower and an attitude check. Right now I'm sleepy and my legs and feet hurt. It's 1929 and I could probably just hit the hay. But I'm in Paris dammit and I'm going to man up!

I love you all! I miss you!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Sooo...this may have to be a short entry. This is a European keyboard or something and all the letters are screwed up...Im hunting and pecking here. Another long day of travel...I will be extremely excited to settle in for a bit. Paris is insane. To get here today we had to take a waterbus, a regular bus, the airplane, a train, a subway and then found our hostel. Insane! After this trip i should be able to navigate anything! my favorite part of today was seeing a mugging in the subway...seriously. Super cool because it was like a movie...and it happened right in front of us! And because no one got hurt:) One guy came sprinting out of one tunnel, jumped the subway tracks, and ran into another tunnel. At the same time another dude came running out of the opposite tunnel towards the track while the guy whose wallet was stolen came running after the first guy! He yelled and then the second guy threw an empty wallet over the tracks almost right behind Heath and I! It happened so fast that everyone just stood there looking around! And the only people to witness it were like us and 6 other was awesome! Like I said...only bc no one got hurt.

This hostel is much nicer than the other one so Im happy about that. We get our own bathroom...yay! Tomorrow is supposed to be crappy out so we are headed to a few museums. I will try to write more often since there are multiple compters here. Bon sour! (Good night)

Monday, May 4, 2009


Wow!!! I has been a long couple of days. Yesterday Heath and I were supposed to leave Naples at 1315. Well, there was something wrong with our plane so our flight kept getting delayed. Finally at 1830 they told us that they were going to fly in a different plane so we could leave. Well at that point it was too late to go anywhere in Naples so we ended up staying in the airport for a good 10 hours. It was very long and we were very bored. I did however learn a lot of Italian culture from watching people all day I guess that was good. We finally arrived in Venice at about 2315. We then took a bus at midnight to the train station. Well, we had allready missed the last train into Venice so we then had to take a taxi. Whew....I know. Well, there are no motor vehicles in Venice...just water taxis. Water taxis stop running after about 2230, so we were SOL. We walked about a mile through the streets of Venice with our luggage til we found our hostel. It sounds a bit insane, I realize but I thought it was fabulous. Poor Heath...I was shooting pictures like crazy and he was desperately searching the map to figure out how to get where we were going. Venice is extremely confusing...most streets are not marked. But we finally arrived at our destination at about 3 am.

We got some sleep though thank goodness and we had a fabulous day here. It was gorgeous weather and Venice is completely amazing. I all ready took a million pictures. It is very confusing but very charming...I LOVE it! We all ready leave tomorrow for Paris so we will see how that goes! I will be happy to settle into a city for a bit...I am all ready tired!

Love you all...hope all is well!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


My trip wasn't too terrible actually. My flight from Chicago to Munich was....interesting. I think it was the plane of screaming babies. There was a child on there who screamed bloody murder for about 7 out of the 9 hours we were in the air. I think that was enough birth control to last for the rest of my life. Thank goodness I was prepared with ear plugs and an eye mask...I got a tiny bit of sleep on the plane. The Munich airport was weird. I have to admit I get a little freaked out when I see German polic officers for some reason. The whole Nazi thing still throws me for a loop. The flight from Munich to Naples was unbelievable. We flew over the Bavarian Alps and it was gorgeous! There were beautiful green mountains, snow-capped, and tiny German villages in the valleys between. I can't believe people actually live in places like that! My first view of Italy was the coastline so of course that was gorgeous too.

I arrived in the Naples airport at about 4 pm. And that was an experience as well. Italians are a little pushy and it was a bit of a struggle getting by to get my luggage...but I was pretty tough;) I kept looking around and thinking that it was so unfair for people to be that beautiful. Italians are extremely good-looking and always dress to impress. Heath picked me up from the airport and I have to admit that even though my trip alone was fine, I was very happy to see a familiar face. Heath took me to the naval base and showed me around and then we went back to his place to get settled. He lives in an amazing little town in a great apartment...I'm super jealous's adorable. off my first night here with a bang! We went to Heath's friend's place...amazing! They are renting this amazing place in a town nearby. They have lemon, tangerine, and olive trees in their yard! We then went to dinner at a local place where they are regulars. They treated us very well there. It's their realtor's son's place....and he definitely hooked us up. We had amazing food, wine and plenty of limoncello. If you've never had it, it's this lemony delicious drink....usually a dessert drink...but lethal because it's so good;) It has a very high alcohol content. Their realtor and his wife met us at the restaurant. They are lovely people, who speak English very well, and we had a great time. We ended the night at a local Italian bar where I tried Kriek...a delicious cherry flavored beer. Lets just say that I'm extremely happy they don't have it in the states because I might have a problem with's that good. Soooo....not going to lie...not feeling the best this morning but it was well worth it. I'm all ready completey in love with Italy and can't wait for more!

We leave for Venice in about an hour so I better get showered up! we go! I'll try be in touch as much as possible....depending on computer access. I love you all and hope all is well in the states.
Hey all! I FINALLY made it! I can't believe it! Heath and I are meeting some of his friends for dinner, so I have to run but I will write you all about my day when I get back from dinner. Love you all!

Friday, May 1, 2009

God is good

I laid in bed extra long this morning because I knew it would be the last time I would be in this oh-so-comfy bed for awhile. I laid there thinking about how lucky I am. For some reason, either the long-line of worriers that I come from or from my many past experiences of being let down, I just feel as if the things in life that I'm so excited about will never come into fruition. Like I am just waiting for the ball to drop where I'm going to be let down. Sad...I know...I try very hard to qwell those thoughts and live my life with the dogma of positive-thinking, but this feeling is very hard for me to shake most of the time...

But it's TODAY! I leave for the airport in a few short hours to go on the trip of a lifetime. Amazing....God is so good...