Wanderlust n. an impulse to travel and explore the world

Monthly Archives: March 2014

Hola mis amigos!

Yesterday, our study abroad program took everyone to the Southern city of Malaga for a day excursion! The exciting thing about Malaga: it’s on the beach!! Yay!!

However, sadly, we woke up yesterday morning at 6:30am to the sound of rain in Seville! Besides the fact that it was early, the bad weather outside made it almost impossible to get out of bed! But after 3 hours on a bus, the sun decided to make an appearance just in time for us to arrive in Malaga!

me

You can imagine I was a happy girl!

P1020159

But before we actually got to see the beach, we had a couple tours! First stop, the Cathedral of Malaga, also called “La Manquita” (which translates to one armed lady). Although this seems strange, let me explain! While the Cathedral of Malaga was trying to be finished, the American Revolutionary War was going on. As you may know, Spain supported the revolutionaries in their fight against the British. Instead of putting the money towards finishing the other bell tower, the city of Malaga decided to donate it to the American revolutionary war effort!

P1020179

Which is why one bell tower looks like this!! One is finished, the other is not: making this Cathedral a one armed lady, or manquita! Thanks Malaga for your support!!

Like most Cathedrals in Spain, the inside of this one is decadent and beautiful! There are some unique characteristics though..

P1020165

This painting…although nothing out of the ordinary, hangs above the main entrance to the Cathedral! What is unique about this painting, is the canvas that it is painted on: elephant skin!!

P1020171

P1020167

Also, notice how these windows don’t glow with colors from stained glass, like the other windows do? Part of the Malaga Cathedral was actually destroyed during the Spanish Civil war, when Franco bombed the city. The original stained glass was destroyed. (Very sad that a civil war destroyed part of such a beautiful Cathedral!)

After a little history lesson in the Cathedral, we headed off the Pablo Picasso Museum for a lesson in art! Picasso was born in Malaga but actually did most of his work in Paris (in Montmartre, if you remember from my last post.) This museum holds many of the pieces of work once privately kept by Picasso himself. We were unable to take any pictures inside the museum, so you’ll have to imagine the crazy cubist images we saw on your own!

P1020184

Finally, we got a quick walking tour of the city. Here is an Ancient Roman theater. They discovered the ruins about 60 years ago when they were hoping to make a garden/park area here! Behind the Roman ruins are the remains of a the Arab rule in the South of Spain. This picture captures two cultures in one! The Roman ruins date back to 1st century B.C! So crazy!

P1020182

Also something interesting, in a plaza near the Cathedral, large replicas of newspaper headlines are displayed on the ground, from the day when Constitution was announced in Spain.

Now for the good stuff!

P1020190

P1020191

“Malagueta”, the name of the beach sculpted in the sand!

P1020194

It felt nice to hang out on the beach for a while! Although we were dressed for rain, that didn’t stop us from taking off our boots and dipping our feet in the Mediterranean! After a long week, where I must admit, I felt very homesick, the beach cheered me up a lot! I’ve always believed there’s something healing about the ocean!

me2

xoxo

Advertisements

Bonjour (again)! I am attempting to complete my Paris blog posts while everything is fresh in my memory!! We did so much in two days, I don’t want to forget a single thing!

Lucky for us, our friend from St. A’s, Niles, is studying abroad in Paris this semester! On Sunday morning we had a plan to meet outside Notre Dame at 11:30 to meet up and see the city together!

norte dame

P1020067

It was really great to see someone from home!! Niles mapped out our whole day and we headed out walking around the city & catching up!!

P1020045

Just like the Spanish know how to do Plazas, the French know how to do gardens! First stop, the Gardens of Luxembourg!

luxembourg

In all honesty, I’m not sure of all the places we walked around to! All I can say is that Paris is beautiful, everywhere you go!! We visited the Latin Quarters, some small shopping markets, the Jewish quarters and the outside of the Modern Art Museum.

P1020074

P1020056

P1020057

P1020061

P1020083

The weather on Sunday was a little wild, first sun, then rain, then sun, then hail! It was so on and off again! After walking around for a couple of hours we stopped for breaks when the weather got strange. I tried a French chocolate croissant during one break, it was very good! Outside the Modern Art museum, we got drinks together and talked about our study abroad adventures during another rain shower! Of course, I got wine…when in France, right!

With a little pep in our step from the alcohol, we decided to venture up to Montmartre, a hill in the Northern part of Paris that overlooks the whole city! It is known for night clubs, artists and Moulin Rouge! Many artists, such as Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh had studios in Montmartre.

P1020085

You might be surprised we were willing to do more stairs after climbing to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica but I think the wine numbed our legs enough so we could do it!

P1020087

Still climbing!!! The white domed church at the top is called Sacre Couer. It was built in the hopes to change Montmartre from being such a party area of the city. They thought that the artists might view the church as God looking down upon their bad behavior and change their ways! I don’t think it worked so well.

When we finally made it to the top, it started raining and fog crept into our view of the city!!

P1020090

We waited out the storm under Sacre Couer, and eventually the sun started to peek out!

view of paris

My pictures (like always) do not do this view justice!! It is worth the hike up!! (Just get a glass-or two- of wine before hand and you’ll be fine!)

montmarte

P1020094

A little foggy still, but we got an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower from Montmartre as well!

P1020096

To this day, it still remains a very artsy district in Paris! Artists come to showcase their work in this plaza! Although Moulin Rouge is located in this area also, we did not stop by because it isn’t in the best neighborhood!

On our way back down from Montmartre, we stopped for a snack! And what’s more French than splitting a baguette! (Big thanks to Niles for showing us around all day!!)

niles and me

Finally, we headed back downtown towards the Arc de Triomphe!

arc de triomphe

This infamous monument in Paris was commissioned by Napoleon so he would have a place to march his troops under it after victory! Unfortunately, they were restoring part of the Arc (top left) so I didn’t get the beautiful picture I had hoped for!

sac

St. A’s takes on Paris!! So happy we got to all meet up! Again, huge thanks to Niles for showing us around all day! We had the best time!!

After walking for nearly 5 hours, we said goodbye to Niles and he pointed us in the direction of the Eiffel Tower (our final stop of the day!) But first, a quick snack!! I had to try a macaroon before leaving Paris!!

macaroon

It was so delicious!!! I highly recommend getting them when you visit! Macaroons might be my new favorite desert!

P1020147

And finally! Here we are!! The Eiffel Tower!! Now maybe you are wondering if we made it to the top. I am sorry to say we did not. We contemplated it for a while, but our feet were so sore from walking all over Paris that we didn’t think we could muster up the energy! The temperature was also beginning to drop quickly as the sun was setting so we opted out of climbing to the top. If we had more time, we would have made it up!

P1020157

After the longest (and best) day in Paris, I felt as if the soles of my feet were bleeding from all the walking we did! As we were on our way to the metro, I actually rolled my ankle on the crooked cobblestone! Unfortunately, by the time we were back at the hostel it was swollen and hurt too bad to walk on! We were hoping to make it out to the light show again Sunday night to meet Niles, but with my swollen ankle, we never made it! I am still very disappointed by my bad luck, but we were blessed with an amazing trip nonetheless, so I cannot complain! (In case anyone is wondering, my foot is getting better after icing and resting it!)

I must say that Paris is everything you dream about and more. The streets are clean and beautiful, the Seine River and bridges are magnificent, the food-delicious, the bread-fresh, and the deserts-to die for. The Eiffel Tower is more incredible than any picture could have prepared me for! I fell in love with the city of Paris and 100% will be going back again soon (hopefully with my Mom)…this time to spend a full day in the Louvre, climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and eat 100 macaroons.

If you have the chance: VISIT PARIS. Just go, please! It’s amazing and worth seeing! I am so grateful I had the chance to go this past weekend, and very thankful we had a friend to show us around the city! I have dreamed of Paris my entire life (with pictures of the Eiffel Tower hanging on my walls since Middle School) and finally, I made it! Two full days was not nearly enough time! I’m not sure even a week in Paris will do the city justice, but it is a must see!!

Now I am both sad and relieved to say that the next time I will be getting on a place will be to come home in a month! Paris was the last of our big trips, but in two weeks we will be spending time on the gorgeous beaches in Lagos, Portugal! My Mom & my boyfriend’s mom will be coming to visit in April also! And there is Santa Semana (or Holy Week) that is huge here in Seville! I am looking forward to some downtime in Seville, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather in this beautiful city I call home! I promise to keep posts coming during this last month! I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by! Thanks for joining me along this incredible journey!

P1020142

Au Revoir Paris, I will be back to see you soon! xoxo

 


me

Bonjour everyone! I am safely back in Seville after spending a couple days in the beautiful city of Paris this past weekend! Like all my trips, I had the most amazing time!! Paris was everything I expected it to be, and much more. I  understand why artists and writers live in Paris, or why great romances begin there…it is an incredible city, each street as beautiful as the next one! I think I will do two posts about Paris, describing my two adventurous days!

We arrived in Paris late on Friday, exhausted as usual after a long day of travel. Although we could have ventured out, we decided to go to bed early so we would be refreshed for a busy day of touring around! Our hostel (St. Christopher’s Inn, on the Canal) recommended to us a free walking tour of Paris, called Sandeman’s New Paris Free Tour. They are unpaid tour guides and work off of tips! Our guide was very informative, interesting and funny!

We met our guide at 11:00am and begin walking all over the city, listening to the history behind the buildings in Paris and the country of France! Although it actually rained while on our tour, the sun came out a little later, making Saturday an incredible day! (I unfortunately did not take many pictures while it was raining!)

P1010882

A view of the Seine River before the storm! (Even a rainy day in Paris is still beautiful!)

lock bridge

The sun came out in time to visit the incredible “Lock Bridge”. This is where lovers of all ages, from all around the world, write their names on a lock, clip it to the chained fence of the bridge and toss the key into the river! I think the concept of this bridge is great, it is literally FILLED with love… we can always use more love in this world!!

P1010892

lock bridge and me

P1020012

On one side of the Lock Bridge, there is this beautiful building, where very educated people in France determine the rules and words of the French language! (For example, our tour guide explained that it took them 5 months to decide if the iPod would be masculine or feminine! It’s now officially a masculine noun, in case you were wondering.)

The opposite side of the bridge is part of the Louvre! We quickly moved through the large area of the museums and to some beautiful gardens!

P1010917

Our tour ended around these gardens between the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe (which can be seen in the distance).

P1010928

Beyond these gardens is the “Place de la Concorde”, one of Paris’ largest squares…also known for being the location of many executions after the Revolution in France. Our tour guide said there was so much blood spilt in this square, that even 10 years later, when kids would jump on loose stones, blood would seep up from the ground! (You know how the French loved the guillotine.)

P1010933

After our walking tour ended, Kayla and I headed back through the gardens to the Louvre!

lourve 2

Lucky for us, since we are students, our admission was free!! But beware, if you plan to do the Louvre, do not expect to see everything!! It might honestly be impossible!! It is such a massive museum, I was in awe! Our tour guide told us that if you were to spend 10 seconds looking at every piece of art in the museum, it would take you over 3 MONTHS to see it all!!!

P1010963

We spent a little over 2 hours in the museum and was only able to visit 4 sections: Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Renaissance. Lucky for us, we were able to see two of the most famous pieces of work in the museum!!

P1010967

The Venus de Milo! (Famous statue from Ancient Greece of the Goddess Aphrodite of Milos)

P1010979

And of course, Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous “Mona Lisa”. The picture quality is poor because the painting is actually behind two glass sheets (one that protects the painting against flash, and the other that’s bullet proof…not sure why someone would shoot a painting, but better safe than sorry!)

Although it was incredible to see this Renaissance painting, it’s definitely not what you expect! For starters, it is very small!! And everyone crowds around it so it’s hard to get a really good view!

P1010980

Something that truly puzzled me, was the fact that the Mona Lisa is in this room, with a crowd of people surrounding it…and on the opposite wall was this massive painting of the Last Supper.

P1010976

It literally covers the entire wall opposite the Mona Lisa! This is also an amazing piece of art work but is brushed to the side by a tiny painting of one ambiguous woman. I must say however, the only very cool thing about the Mona Lisa, is the fact that no matter where you stand in the room, it always looks like she is looking at you!! Kind of crazy!

P1010974

P1010994

I highly recommend visiting the Louvre if you are in Paris. It is one of the most incredible museums I have been in, and as a nerd who enjoys history and art, it’s a great place to wander around for hours! I have to admit that Kayla and I got lost trying to find the exit!!

me and lourve

But we eventually made it out!!

After a very long day, we slowly made our way back to the hostel. Before catching the metro, I got a crepe for a snack!! (I mean, hey, when in France?! It was so delicious)

After resting up at the hostel, we decided to get dinner and drinks before catching the infamous Eiffel Tower light show! For those who don’t know, the Eiffel Tower lights up every hour, on the hour for about 5 minutes! We were unsure of where to watch the show from, but our friend recommended getting off at metro stop Trocaderno! At first we were unsure where the Eiffel Tower was, until we turned a corner and saw this incredible view!!

light show

After waiting a couple minutes, 10:00pm rolled around and the Eiffel Tower began to sparkle! I’m not kidding, the tower actually glitters!! It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen!!

eiffel tower light show

I understand now why Paris is called the City of Love. xoxo

 


big ben

Cheers everyone! I’m sorry this post is a little delayed, but I finally have time to write about my weekend in London! Kayla and I knew we wanted to make it to London but didn’t know if we would have the time or money. However, when Kayla found out we could stay in her friend, Steph’s, apartment for the weekend, we spontaneously booked a flight and before we knew it, found ourselves in England!

Our flight landed very late Friday night (1:00am, so technically it was Saturday) and we missed the last bus that would take us from Stansted airport to downtown London. Guess it wouldn’t be a real study abroad experience if we didn’t have to sleep in the airport at least one night, right? We were only able to really get an hour of (uncomfortable) sleep and then caught the 4:30am bus to London. We finally made it to Steph’s apartment at 6:30am…as the sun was rising and people were heading to work! Lucky for us, we got to take a quick 3 hour nap and then we were off to explore the wonderful city of London!!

First thing we did when we woke up, was head off to Buckingham Palace to meet my best friend from home, Julia, who is studying abroad in London! It was so awesome to see someone from home!!

julia and me

Lucky for us, Julia took us on a little walking tour of the city! Here are some pictures of what we saw!!

P1010848

Buckingham Palace!

P1010654

P1010665

Although we had bad luck missing our bus at the beginning of the trip, we were lucky enough to have amazing weather in London! It was sunny and 60 all weekend!

P1010675

Beautiful park across from Buckingham Palace!

P1010681

P1010720

Tower of London! Once the location of many executions, now the home of the Royal Jewels!! We didn’t have time to go in but we stopped by!

tower bridge

Everyone recognizes this bridge, and mistakes it for London Bridge! It is actually called Tower Bridge! London bridge is nothing special, but we did walk along the river to see it!

P1010735

It’s difficult to see in this picture, but this is Millennium Bridge! I referred to it as the “Harry Potter bridge” because it is in the 7th movie! I didn’t know the bridge was real, but it is made for pedestrians to walk across to get to the other side of the river!

P1010745

Usually I am not a fan of bridges, but we had to take a walk on it and check out the view! In the background: St. Paul’s Cathedral (where Princess Diana got married)! I wasn’t a big fan of walking on this bridge because you could feel it moving!! Didn’t stay on it too long!

P1010736

Across the river, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater! It is not the actual original theater because it burned down, but it is a replica of what it did look like!

P1010751

We had the chance to walk around St. Paul’s Cathedral after leaving the river!

julia kayla and me

Next stop, Big Ben and Parliament!

london eye

Then the London Eye!! Unfortunately, Julia had to go after this but she sent Kayla and I off with some places to visit! So very happy I got to see her though!!

P1010755

We walked around Piccadilly Circus, which is kind of like Time’s Square but on a much smaller scale! This is also where part of the 7th Harry Potter movie was filmed!! (Can you tell I love Harry Potter…?)

P1010753

Then we visited Covent Gardens! I really enjoyed this part of London and recommend it to anyone looking for a cool place to shop! It reminded me of Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market in Boston! There were street performers, lot’s of people walking around, cute shops and good food! We visited this outdoor market in Covent Gardens with a lot of really cool hand made things!

After some shopping & a couple metro stops later, we made it to King’s Cross Station!! And of course we found Platform 9 3/4!!!

harry potter

In case anyone was wondering, I’m transferring to Hogwarts!!!

Finally….after running around the city, navigating the Tube and shopping, we made our way back to Steph’s apartment in Camden town! (Don’t ask me how we were still awake!) The three of us ventured around Camden Town for a bit (a very nice, artsy part of London that I suggest you visit if you go!) We were told by Steph’s roommates to try this restaurant near their apartment called “Poppies”.

P1010772

Little did we know that “Poppies” happened to be voted the best fish & chips in London for 2014!! I actually don’t like fish, but Kayla tried the fish & ships, and said it was awesome! I got chicken pot pie, it was REALLY good! The restaurant had a really great environment and had a live band playing music! If you are ever in Camden town, go check it out!

P1010769

After dinner, we mustered up the energy to go to a pub! (You can’t visit London and not get a beer, right??) Luckily, we stayed in Camden Town and went to this bar up the street called “The World’s End”. It was a big bar, that had an edgy vibe and played rock music! It was a really cool place, and seemed to be where a lot of locals in Camden Town go!

P1010779

We went to the top level to sit at a table and here is a view of below!

me

Steph recommended we try the Cider beer…and we loved it!!! After one drink, we all went back early to crash! I never knew a couch could feel so comfortable, but missing a night of sleep can do that to ya!

The next day, we got up early and packed our bags! Unfortunately, Steph was going to be gone all day so we would not be able to get back into her apartment…this meant we had to carry our bags all over London with us!! (My shoulder’s are still sore…) Oh well, it was an adventure!

Our main goal of the day was to find Abbey Road! We hopped on a double decker red bus and headed to Westminster! We didn’t realize there was more than one stop on Abbey Road, so we hopped off at the first stop and started walking…we walked for almost 30 minutes before we found the infamous Abbey Road Studio and crosswalk.

These pictures are for you Dad! xoxo

P1010795

Below a picture of Abbey Road studio!

P1010805

Abbey Road is actually a pretty busy street, so it is harder than you think to get a picture like this!

abbey road

But I did it!

abbey road

It’s hard to see, but Abbey Road studio is on the left side of the cross walk! This was one of my favorite parts of my trip. The whole time I just kept saying, “this is so cool, my Dad would love this” (Miss you Dad!!!!)

After crossing the infamous road, like the Beatles once did, we headed back to central London! We walked around Big Ben again and saw Westminster Abbey (where Will and Kate got married!)

P1010830

Then we hiked back to Buckingham Palace (bags included…) to see the Changing of the Guards! It was very crowded!!

P1010853

Unfortunately, since our bags slowed us down, we were late and had to stand very far away! We were unable to really see what was happening in front of Buckingham Palace but we hung around anyways! After 20 minutes, we decided to head towards the street our bus stop was on that would take us back to the airport. We wanted to have time for lunch before leaving.

And, since Kayla and I seem to have very strange luck, as we were trying to cross the road to leave Buckingham Palace, the police officer helping to direct traffic told us we had to wait until the guards went by before we could cross the street… Leave it to us to be front row…

P1010859

P1010863

After this, we grabbed some food and headed to the airport! I still feel like I am catching up on the sleep I missed our first night in London!

Overall, the weekend was amazing. London surpassed my expectations and I am so happy we had the chance to go. Two days was not long enough, and I wish we had more time! I will definitely be making the trip back one day to visit again. The city was beautiful, but very huge! I didn’t realize how bust and crowded it was either! Also, it was nice hearing English everywhere and to be able to read signs and menus again! My only complaint about London was how expensive it was! The exchange rate for the pound is ridiculous! We managed to visit on a budget, however, which was perfect!

I’m not exactly sure how we were able to see so much in 24 hours (running on no sleep) but we did! We saw…Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Gardens, King’s Cross Station and Abbey Road.

me and big ben

I fell in love with London and hopefully will be going back to visit again! Next stop: Paris!!

xoxo


P1010341

Ciao again! I know I’m posting two in a row, but I am attempting to get my Rome posts finished early because I have midterms this week!

After getting barely 5 hours of sleep Tuesday night, Kayla and I woke up early and headed to the Vatican! We learned online before leaving that the Pope does a general audience prayer every Wednesday morning at 10:30am in St. Peter’s Basilica Square.  However, it warned us to go early because it gets crowded very quickly! Lucky for us, the people at the hostel were very helpful and we were able to take a bus there! The stop we were dropped off at brought us into a side entrance. We went through security and before we knew it we had a really good spot for the prayer service!!

P1010248

People as far as the eye can see!! We were right along the barrier!!

P1010267

They had screens up so you could see the Pope if you were further away! So many people!

P1010243

Pope Francis, or Papa Francisco! This picture was zoomed in of him coming up the aisle on the Pope-mobile because I took a video when he actually went by us! It’s too difficult for me to upload now, but I will put it in the slideshow I am making when I get back home! He was less than 10 feet away from us!!

At this moment, I was filled with a strange mix of emotions again! As a Catholic, the Pope is the head of the church. I have always seen Vatican city on TV and read about the Pope…and there he was right in front of me!

P1010262

P1010260

We listened to the Pope read a passage and then speak about it. Then we heard his message summarized in many different languages…French, English, Polish, German, Spanish, Portuguese and even Arabic. It was an amazing experience to take part in something with people from all over the world. At the end, we  all said the Our Father in Latin together. Then the Pope bestowed the Apostolic Blessing on the audience, which extends to our loved ones. (This blessing can only be given by the Pope, it is also called the Papal blessing). It was such an amazing experience. I feel so honored to have made the Holy Pilgrimage to Vatican City to hear the Pope speak.

Our second day in Rome, we returned to Vatican City to visit the Vatican Museum where Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is. We had no idea there was so much to see in the museum and spent over 2 hours there!

P1010358

P1010377

P1010366

We could not take any pictures inside the Sistine Chapel, but it is one of Michelangelo’s most famous piece of work. We stood inside the chapel in silence for about 15 minutes looking UP. It is amazing to think that one man painted the entire ceiling. The longer I looked at it, the more life like the people in the paintings became. After studying Michelangelo in humanities classes at school, it was incredible to see it in person.

We were so impressed with Vatican City, we returned again on our last day in Rome…this time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica. We decided to purchase tickets that got you to the top of the dome.  It was 7 Euros to take the elevator, and 5 Euros to take the stairs…and as cheap college students, the stairs it was!!

P1010565

It is 551 steps total to get to the top. And let me tell you, the stairways just keep getting tinier and tinier the higher you get!! We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into when we first started, but it was worth it! After a while, you reach a door that brings you out into the actual church. You look down on the altar and everyone below! There is a very high fence but here’s a picture to show how high up we were!!

P1010575

And for those people who know I am afraid of heights…I made it!! And took this picture as proof!!

P1010580

P1010626

And here’s the view from the bottom! We were up in the dome area where all the windows are!! After that, we followed the line of people out another door and up some more windy spiral stairs!! (We thought they would never end!)

P1010587

But 551 stairs later, we could feel a cool breeze and see sunshine! And once we made it outside, at the very top of the dome…this is what we saw…

st. peters basilica

This was my favorite part of my trip to Italy. It was so beautiful.

P1010608

A seemingly never ending view of Rome…

P1010598

Even zoomed in, the people look like ants!

P1010607

And another picture as proof that I was there!! (Not the best, but hey what do you expect after I just climbed 551 stairs?!)

P1010614

On our way down we stopped outside on the normal roof of the Basilica, and this is a picture of where we just were, up at the very top by the white pillars.

P1010615

Just hanging out on the roof top!!

P1010618

I was amazed at how huge the statues on top of the Basilica were, because from below they don’t look so big!

P1010621

Now you can see how massive they really are, because of the people standing by the statue!

P1010553

So now let me show you a view from the bottom again… See those statues on top…they are actually massive! (That’s where I was on the roof) And see that tiny part of the dome at the top…I was up there too! Just trying to put it all into perspective how awesome it was!!

And what goes up, must come down…551 steps down! When we came out of the staircase we were inside the Basilica so we decided to walk around for a little!

P1010641

P1010642

Holy water!

P1010633

The statue of St. Peter! People line up to touch and kiss the foot of the statue asking for St. Peter’s blessing! The statue is over 800 years old, and the feet of the statue are worn down from so many visitors touching it! Of course Kayla and I touched the feet of the statue…so now I have the Pope and St. Peter’s blessing…what a holy week!

P1010643

And lastly, wandering around the Basilica, we stumbled upon another of Michelangelo’s famous pieces: The Pieta! I wrote a paper on this statue in humanities my freshmen year! Really awesome to see it in person!

To say the least, Rome was an incredible trip. I somehow managed to get around the city all three days with a cold, saw some pretty historic sites, was blessed by the Pope, observed Michelangelo’s masterpieces…and of course tried gelato, pizza & wine!

What can I say besides Rome was good to me!?

trevi fountain

Ciao bellas! xoxo


P1010455

Ciao!! I am back from my three day trip to Italia and have a lot of exciting things to share! Unfortunetaly I got sick right before we left, but that didn’t stop us from spending three days adventuring around the city each day! We flew from Seville to Rome late Tuesday evening, and after a bus, plane and another bus, we finally made it to Termini Station in downtown Rome! With the help of a map, we were able to find Hostel Mosaic, where we were staying! We had three full days in the eternal city, and flew home late Friday evening! It was an amazing trip!

Rome is many different things. It is a city filled with history & beautiful ruins, grand displays of religion, crazy moped drivers, delicious food and antiquity. I have always wanted to travel to Italy, from a very young age, so heading off to Rome was a dream come true for me! I know many members of my family were excited I had the chance to visit Italy!

We spent our three days in Rome, visiting three big things: Vatican City, the Colosseum/Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. All three things, we visited each day we were there! I will do a separate post on our time spent in Vatican City, but for now let me talk about the other two!!

P1010271

First, the Trevi Fountain…the best place to make a wish! Surprisingly, it was not what I was expecting. Movies and television make it seem different than it really is! It is beautiful and large, but the fountain is actually tucked away between many buildings. I always imagined this fountain being in an open plaza, but from where I am talking this picture, there is a building right behind me! Seems strange when you wind down some streets and stumble upon it!!

P1010277

P1010276

Next: The Roman Forum! It is a large area of Roman ruins right near the Colosseum!

P1010409

P1010412

P1010421

P1010416

It amazes me that the Romans could build such huge and beautiful buildings so long ago! I really like history and this is every history-lover’s dream to see it all in person!

P1010444

P1010424

Even though we were tired, we continued to follow the path up to the higher level of the Forum with more ruins. After walking around for a while, we came across this awesome view of the Colosseum! (Worth the hike!)

P1010446

It’s amazing what you can find when you just wander!

P1010449

And speaking of the Colosseum…

P1010326

Now let me begin by saying, there were a couple times that I was awestruck in Rome. I experienced many different emotions at once, while visiting these beautiful sites, and one time in particular happened at the Colosseum. We first stumbled upon this once massive Roman amphitheater the first day in Rome. I was so excited just to see the Colosseum in person, I took about 30 pictures of the same side!  The second day, we came back to check it out at night. Also, very beautiful, but my camera did not do it justice! The last day, I finally went inside! Kayla actually went inside the Colosseum the first day we were there, with her friend who was visiting Rome for the day! Friday morning, I went in to check it out while she waited outside for me. Since we had a lot to do in our last day, we arrived at the Colosseum early, right as it was opening. Since I already had my ticket from visiting the Roman Forum the day before, I skipped the lines and was able to enter very quickly. I went straight to the top, to over look the whole Colosseum. It was magnificent. I had the entire place to myself for about 10 minutes before people slowly started filtering in. It was truly breathtaking. I cannot describe the feeling of being alone in this massive, old structure. I will never forget that moment.

P1010512

Rome is honestly a mix between a chaotic city and old historic ruins!  The drivers are absolutely crazy, the people are loud and the streets are dirty. But sometimes, when you least expect it, you can find some peace in this bustling capital city. And that, is the best part.

P1010454

Arrivederci! xoxo

 


IMG_3215

Hello again! As I mentioned in my previous post, last night, my friends and I headed off to Cadiz to spend the night at Carnaval. Cadiz is a beautiful city, in the South of Spain that sits right on the beach! It was decorated with lights and signs all over downtown!

What is Carnaval you may be wondering? I myself, am actually still wondering…(and I spent a night there!)

Basically, it is a two week long celebration…with performances by groups who sing witty songs, contests and other events! Saturday night of Carnaval (the night we went) everyone wears costumes!! The crazier, sillier and more outrageous-the better! I noticed that a lot of men will cross-dress as women, or dress like babies. I saw some pretty creative outfits! Unfortunately, Kayla & I were on a budget, so here’s what we went as!

IMG_3169

We were fairies, or “hadas” in Spanish. We wore white tights and tutu’s, put flowers in our hair & painted our faces!! It was cheap and easy, but still very fun!

IMG_3159

Fairy makeup & hair!!

IMG_3216

My other (crazy) friends…Jess & Kristina went as nerds, Stef went as a Discover Excursions tour guide (the group of people we went with) and Allie went as a vampire!

Since I didn’t bring my camera to Carnaval, I didn’t take a lot of pictures. It was hard to capture the amount of people dressed up and in the streets!

IMG_3188

IMG_3196

People…everywhere!! Drinking, singing and hanging out in the streets….all…night…long.

Carnaval was certainly a crazy experience!! We arrived in Cadiz at 7:30pm and our bus didn’t leave until 3:00am to go back to Seville! It’s hard to keep up with the Spanish, who are used to partying until 5-6am on weekends! My friends and I just barely made it to 3:00am! By the time we got back to Seville, and made it to our beds…the birds were chirping good morning!!

photo

Although it was a long night, Carnaval was certainly an experience unlike any other. This country is so full of life and their celebrations truly show that. Again, I am so blessed to be living here! xoxo