Saturday, February 19, 2011

Paris continued and then some

so tomorrow really meant 3 days later (sorry...)

Luxembourg Palace
so we left off on friday night we all went to sleep after dinner. we woke up on saturday feeling fresh but still groggy eyed and needing some serious cafe au lait -- excuse me, "creme." so of course on our way we stopped into a bakery and got fresh chocolate croissants (the lady didnt hear when i said chocolate though so i ended up with a reg one that was still great). after breakfast we started aimlessly walking towards the Luxembourg gardens, ended up stumbling across some cool zoo-like thingy so we walked through it, walked through some more cool plazas (stopping in a couple shops along the way...) and eventually actually made it to the Luxembourg gardens/Palace. gotta say though -- the gardens not as cool in the winter when it's really just dirt....and not a garden yet....but whatevs. after that we walked along the Champs de Elysees which is a really long road where there's a buuunch of cool shops/restaurants/bakeries and at the end is the Arc de Triomphe! cooliooo. stopped for a photo op duh. 

after our fun-filled and busy day we went back to the hostel to shower and change and theeen we met up with some of Zoe's "friends" (read: she met them one time outside of a bar when they were visiting Copenhagen for the weekend but they live in Paris). turned out being really legit! it was the six of us girls + one of Zoe's girlfriends who is studying abroad in Spain and then the 6 local Parisian boys! haha they recommended this really yummy restaurant (but what isn't yummy in paris..) and they were really nice and fun! they also ended up picking up more than half of the bill which was tiight because we may or may not have gotten many bottles of wine. after dinner, since we were w/ locals, they obvi took us to this cool local discoteca that was actually really big called CAB. well zoe, courtney (her friend), and i only ended up being there a mere 15 minutes because zoe wasn't feelin too hot. on our way out we spotted a bike stand (they're like all over europe) so we thought itd be a greatttt idea to bike home (courtney actually knows the city). let me assure you, it was not. first of all, i kinda dont do so well with bikes thanks to my short stature and having a hard time with the pedals (dont laugh). so obviously my shoes kept falling off and i finally just decided to throw them in the little basket thingy in the front and go barefoot (well, with tights). ok i also haven't ridden a bike in i dont know at least TEN YEARS so i was a little wobbly to say the least.  after about 15 minutes of death-riding and 3 wipeouts by Zoe (very comical at the time), we decided to hop off and hail a cab. we also forgot that its nearly impossible to flag down a cab in paris (hoo woulda thunk?!) so we ended up walking the rest and safely made it back to our humble hostel. oh whaaattaaa night! (...did you try to sing that?)
the next day we wake up with everyone alive and not so well but its our last day and we're determined to make it great. we journeyed for some coffee and quick lunch and first stopped in the Musee d' Orsay which is like the museum of Impressionist painters like Monet, Manet, and some other old guys. they were suuuchhh pretty paintings but unfortunately starry night wasn't there. dang. so then we headed off to the Eiffel Tower! Of course we stopped for a crepe along the way. Took some neat-o pics in front of the Eiffel Tower -- it's so surreal looking at it - like it looks like this big metal toy from the 1800's. we wanted to go up it but lines were literally curving around the entire thing so we decided against it so we could do other stuff. we walked back over to see the Arc de Triomphe in daylight (real cool) and stopped at a cafe. next door there was a little bakery-food place (think HotCakes...oh how i miss it Kay!) and we saw some escargot chillin in the window so i kneww i had to get some! we asked the guy for three of them so we could try them. exquisite! jean was getting really freaked out by the fact that she had a snail in her mouth but i prefer to always refer to it as escargot so i dont have to think about the mental image haha. anyways, it was the perfect/appropriate way to end our wonderful, fun-filled, crepe-stuffing weekend in Paris. i looooved it and i wanna go backk!!

So there you have it. On another note, we booked tickets for Palma de Mallorca for March 24-27th, land of the topless beaches woo hoooo. im so excited to get to a beach!!!!! im starting to scare myself when i look in the mirror. aye.

also yesterday was the most perfect day we've had in Valencia so far...the sun was shining so bright and there wasn't a cloud in the sky...needless to say everyone had a little more pep in their step than usual aaand on top of all that, for our spanish arte class our teacher took us to a museum! he showed us some cool paintings from the "Románico" period including some with their "tetas" cut off and on top of a platter..weird? yeahhh...but after the museum we walked around the city a lot, got gelato, and did a lil shopping which is always fun.

this morning we finally got to visit the oceanográfico!! the biggest aquarium in europe and the third largest in the world! pretty neat...we also got to watch a dolphin show which was so cute but i feel a little bad for the animals because all the tanks are like really small compared to the amount of fish/sealife they have in those things...saddies. we also saw the infamous walrus from hannah shatzen's blog but luckily for us it didn't perform the same "trick". bummer.

im off to do some insanity and then we have dinner w/ madre. (who's starting to like us more btw but ill elaborate more later on that...). we're off to a discoteca tonight! hasta luegoooooo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sin dormir

Alas, I write the first post about the trip. sorry its taken me a few procrastination + realizing i actually am taking five spanish courses is not a good combo. ANYWAYSSSS

so as we were planning this trip, we found these 60 euro round trip tickets on RyanAir. i dont know if any of you have heard of this airline (i hadn't before i came here..) but its basically this ridiculously cheap airline that flies around europe but they have really weird baggage requirements and are realyyyy strict about them aka no checking bags and you cant have more than one carry-on. not like a carry on and a purse. just the carry on. and it cant weigh more than 22 lbs (they weigh it). i digress

so besides weird baggage requirements ryan air also has a knack for flying into weird airports so its not just a cab ride away to the center of whatever city. in order to be wise & frugal, we decided to take a 4 hour bus ride to Barcelona at like 6pm, with our friend Anahi who's studying there this semester, and take our 8am flight to paris. since we were only in barc for less than 12 hours, we figured it would be best if we just went out and stayed out until our flight.

bad. idea.

anahi took us to this really hoppin bar near her place owned by these 3 local boys who have the bar "for fun" and have real finance jobs during the day. not a bad gig if i do say so myself. anyways so when 4:30am rolls around, everyone decides they're hungry and we stroll over to a bakery (europe is the BEST for latenight!), grab some pastries (Jean got a tuna melt......) and decide we have just enough time to take a 45 minute catnap before catching a cab to the airport.
an hour later....everyone wakes up from beds, floors, chairs, etc in a tizzy (is that a word?) throwing stuff in their bags and trying to look semi-decent. we hop in a cab and phewww made the flight!

look at those veggies!
after the flight, shuttle, and a cab, we got to check into the hostel. the first thing we wanted to do was eat (typical) so we mozied (sp?) into a rando restaurant and got food. first of all i just have to say that all the french people we met (minus the one waiter who told me and zoe that people will respect us more if we call coffee a "creme" instead of "café au lait") were soo nice. they obvi could tell we were americans but they were so patient with us and nice! So since my diet in espana has been seriously lacking in the vegetable department (see previous posts), i decided to get a decision. ever. it had every type of veggie i could ask for and CORN! (sorry aleesh) i miss corn!!! ugh it was delish and all the salads in france have this mustard-y dressing that is divineeee. since café con leche converted into café au lait this weekend, i obvi had to try many. after lunch we wanted to hit the town and do some sightseeing since it was still early so we started walking. i know it's really cliche to say this but paris is like literally sooo beautiful. it's exactly like every movie you've seen with paris in it. the streets are soo cute and there is a crepe man on every corner (heaven!). i stopped every chance i could..woopsiessss..on the way to the notre dame. lucky for us the weather was sunny and perfect that day so pics turned out really nice! (see fbook for more). i couldn't stop thinking about quasimoto hangin off the roof when we there haha but it was really cool.

then we ventured over to a little building called the Louvre - probs one of eliz's faves - which is really too big to see the whole thing in one day but we def hit the hot spots: Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Napolean's apartments.  we went back to the hostel, showered/changed, and went to a small place by our hostel for dins and it was deliciousssss. i got this salad with three pieces of toast and on each toast they had a phenom big hunk of cheese: mozzarella on one, brie on one, and goat cheese on the last. yummy in my tummy. we were contemplating going out afterwards but thought it would be best if we slept a little considering it had been like 36 hours and we had a full day planned for sightseeing on saturday!

More tomorrow! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Vday teaser

hold onto your knickers kiddies!! 

this weekend in paris was way too packed to put into one blog post SO im going to split it into a couple posts! ughhh just wait till you see the pics...i die. paris is amazing but for now i have 2 hours to finish a paper and email it to my prof. BRB!

here's a little teaser for ya ;)
oh and HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! if you are reading this, then i know i love you :) if you feel like sending a single gal across the ocean some chocolate chip cookies (the lack of them here has been killin me), then we can be best friends. hasta luego!

Monday, February 7, 2011

¿Quines son tus clientes favoritas?

So much to fill you guys in on!

so first things first....i got a camera this weekend!!! yippeeee so now i can finally post (my own) pictures on the since i know you're dying to see is sarah and i's room
her bed on the left, mine on the right. fun fact: theres a SAFE behind that photo above sarah's bed. oh yeah and that photo is of swastika's (creepy).

cute huh? madre cleans it every week and does our laundry which is pretty tight.


arts & sciences museo
BKP at its finest on friday afternoon
ME-uh [supermegaguay]
so this weekend sarah left me to travel to madrid with some other peeps from our program. me jackie and jean stayed behind so we fully intended on being supermega touristy and attend lots of museums/cafe's/shops/discotecas/etc. Cue thursday night. sarahs gone by the time i get home which means me and madre have our first dinner alone together. you guessed it! fried fish and potatoes. shocker. as a side note, madre went nutso this weekend with the seafood since sarah was gone. que lastima. k so after dinner my stomach wasn't feeling the greatest (again..shocker..) so when i was skyping with jackie & jean later, i told them i didnt think i was gonna make it out tonight despite our big plans. well peer pressured or not, i ended up rallying myself to not be so lame on a thursday night and took a cab over to first get yackie and then to get jean (aka carmen -- ppl in spain cant say jean so she now has the spanish name of carmen) and then we headed off to a NEW (to us, again) discoteca called MYA. pronounced like MEE-uh (the cab driver had no idea what we were talking about when we said MY-uh). this place is so cool its underground-- under the arts and sciences museum which is that big museum that looks like an eyeball that valencia is famous for. looks like this ^  . So we're botellóning on the steps right in front and 3 really nice, ENGLISH-speaking Valencian girls (very rare) ask us if we want to get in with them because they're on a special list. so were like tiiight and we go in with them...the place is awesome (as is every discoteca in espana). --> that pic is me and yackie in front of the entrance before you go downstairs to the club. so we dance dance the night away...enter jean/carmen's italian lover she met on her smoke break (talk about a muffin) aaand we go home via taxi cerca 5:30am. We sleep until 2pm on Friday (typical) but lucky for us -- no classes! yippee. we all met up in BKP which is really the Plaza de Ayuntamiento but we like to call it the Burger King Plaza (i now know how to get there all by myself without getting lost!!!! this is a big step for me). we had suuuch a fun day. the sun was shining, it was warm (hallelujah!), and we had lots of time to walk around and explore valencia. stopped for a cafe (or two....or three), bought my new camera!! and decided we were all gonna take it easy that night because our eyelids were already starting to droop around 7pm. 
when i got back to my house for dins, madre had a big salad on the table and i almost cried when i saw how good it looked. GREENERY! it was like the heavens opened up and dropped crisp green heavenly leaves with circular orange carrots of happiness. it was great. and then after i wolfed down my salad she brought me a plate of seafood with red sauce and well, you probably didn't guess this one......potato chips. what?? whatevs.  i quickly fell asleep after dinner. 

pretty park!

saturday morning madre tells me she prefers if i eat lunch with her today so im like okay maybe shes gonna make something special or something...i go for a quick run in the parque and when i come back to eat lunch, she brings me a huge bowl of soup. at first i thought it was a vegetable soup but then i saw mini octopus legs (otherwise known as the squid-y calamaris) floating around and i tried not to gag as i ate around the legs with no bodies. yuck i have the heebies just thinking about those squirming around in my soup. i wish i had a pic to show you but alas, i don't. ok so after lunch the gals and i meet up again, do some more walking around, taking pics in the tourist-y stores (the owners were not too happy...), and then it started to get cold because the sun was going down. on our way we passed by two different starbucks and it took all my energy not to go in but by the time we passed the third, i felt it was a sign (im sorry mama). i gotta tell ya i dont hate those sweet vanilla-y lattes with a generous helping of cinnamon thrown on top especially in comparison to the bitter coffee i down every morning en mi casa. i think ive developed quite a taste for the bitterness though but sometimes sugar calls ya know? plus they put an accent over the o in my was a cultural experience okay?! (i kept the cup.........)

for dinner we had one of sarahs favorites (not really) - the baked/fried apples with potatoes. except this time she gave me 
TWO apples
a salad
and cheese in addition to my potatoes! 
i think she is starting to realize i eat a lot more than i look like i can eat. which is like good and bad ya know.
jean and friends
that night we reunír en taxi (first i went to yackie's house which is REALLY nice and her madre's super cool/super diva) and then we picked up jeannie (who always loves to ask the cab drivers if we're their favorite clients of the night.) yackie had some connections because her madre's sobrina (niece) is 19 and very keen on social scene so we went with her back to los mirrores (see previous posts) where we got to skip the whooole line (i felt really cool) and quickly made lots of valencian friends!! niice. 

"La Ratonera"
on sunday, we decided NOT to be wastes of life the whole day so we set out on the town again and stumbled across a theater that was selling 10 euro tickets to see Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap." We thought it'd be totally cultural of us if we went and it was only 10 euros! well the 10 euro ticket was literally the absolute last row in the house but during intermission, carmen/jean had the sneaky brilliant idea to sneak into the boxes in the front that no one was even sitting in. SUCCESS! the view was much better and kept us from falling asleep. well, we really only understood about 1/3 of it. but after discussing it later (over coffee of course) we pieced together the plot (for the most part). all in all, great experience. :)

alrighty well it's 1:30 AM and i haven't started my homework yet but we had a two hour dinner tonight because the Feli show lasted an hour and a half! def the longest running since we've gotten here. but tonight was juicy . i think she's starting to like us more. for starters she gave us pizza which is our fave (she makes a mean pizza) but she also told us she's going to london on friday-monday to see her daughter (who lives there). then she told us a 45-minute long story about how one year she had two girls who had a party at her house when she went out of town for a night and how she lost all respect for the girls because they lied and cried, she told the director who got them in trouble, etc etc and basically scared sarah and i to death. SO i guess there goes having amigos over on sunday night. dang. okay well thats all for now! tomorrow is my first day tutoring english to these two cute kids (ages 6 & 9) yay im excited. hasta luego!! :)