Thursday, December 24, 2009

be a friend and I'll be a friend

First of all I know that sometimes I care too much and sometimes I'm completely careless. In this situation I care way too much. There are certain people in my life that immediately attract my desire to be friends with them. The thing that kills me is if I have to work at it. I like being friends with someone, pursuing it, and be not just a mediocre friend, but a true close friend. When someone just isn't emotionally available it kills me that they just wont accept that I really am just a complete extrovert and really friendly.
I always feel kind of like a failure if this does happen where the person just isn't interested in hanging out or just simply being a friend. Ha...when I reread that sentence it sounds like first grade, but this is probably my number one weakness I would say. REJECTION. I won't even get into high school where Elise Peak being fully accepted by her peers just wasn't going to happen.

If you don't want to be best friends with me, that's fine. Can't you simply open your heart to gain an ally? I just don't understand your withdrawal. Its a free hug from me every time you see me guaranteed unless you really don't want one. I'll be here for you to ever confide in whether you need spiritual advice or just an ear to listen to. I'd love to be a pandora's box.


to do in life

my "to do's" before life is over.
I'm sure the list will continue.

1. make pottery and glaze it
2. shoot a gun
3. go hunting...peasants and bunnies I don't feel so bad about shooting. there's an over population
4. read 100 books in one year
5. actually read all of Ann
e of Green Gable's books so that I can have something to connect with my Grandma.
6. sell a piece of art
7. take the photos for a wedding
8. work in a flower shop other than Daddy's.
9. go to Africa
10. go to Thailand
11. go to Ireland and Scotland on my 21st birthday
12. graduate with an undergrad in Speech and Language Pathology
13. eventually visit every country
14. be a missionary for a long term period from 1 to 2 years
15. get engaged
16. get married
17. attend a John Mayer's concert
18. actually own all of John Mayer's music
19. actually attend any kind
of secular concert besides rock (Christian and worship concerts are the only kind of concerts I've ever gone to)
20. go to A.C.L.
21. visit Seattle
22. hit up New York, Brooklyn, and Boston
23. climb a mountain
24. go four-wheeling
25. bike down a mountain
26. camp. I haven't since I was about 5.
27. go repelling off of a bridge or somewhere crazy
28. own my own slackline
29. turn my bike into a fixie and give it drop handles
30. zip line through an African forest
31. ride an elephant as a means of transportation in Thailand. a tuk tuk!
32. I want to parasail. I know it
s not that much of a thrill, but I still want to try it.
33. write a book, and for someone to actually publish it
34. skydive with my Dad
35. make babies so that my Dad can become "Pops"
36. get lasik surgery
37. I want to do yoga and palates. I've never attempted either.
38. go rollerblading
39. go iceskating
40. wakeboard and water ski
41. fish
42. icefish
43. deep sea fish


and the list shall go on
I'm tired and about gone
its as if I have insomnia
now I want coffee with some mocha
God, give me some sleep
I want to live for You and not just be skin-deep.





Sunday, November 22, 2009

thank you from your bride

Today, I was thanking JC
how, in my life, he's made so many changes
by working through and within me
even though I'm going to Spain to acquire new languages
to experience something completely new
but I'm progressing spiritually and meeting friends
I just don't want this to end when I take my cue
to board that plane just to get back, and have to make amends
with those I've recently gotten so close to.

I love the acceptance and love I'm receiving
whether its through my mentor, parents, boyfriend,
family, or friends that I feel are not being deceiving
This Godly love is the remedy to the wound that's needed to mend
then from last semester to right now
its as if I literally fell on my face
and Jesus Christ picked me up
and showed me his sovereignty and saving grace

The beauty He has defined for me
has been hard for me to welcome
but I've tried to grasp it fully
keeping my negative thoughts seldom
Josh has helped me understand
and I know he is being real
and just offering me his hand
when I look to models who are beyond ideal

I love knowing that Diana and Amy
are right here by my side
spiritually to lift me
whether we have laughed or cried
or felt emotionally sliced
I know they will be forever friends
and forever sisters in Christ

as for my habits of last year
there are no fickle guys,
no not even a sip of beer,
or the continuous lies
that covered me with ashes
smothering the innocence
with unhealing slashes
of my past and conscience


How refreshing it is to die
to myself not to the world
and not having to constantly try
to be that perfect superficial girl
I can be Lord God's bride
in a beautiful cleansed dress
riding that riptide
riding this life at my best

Thank you
my Lord, Jesus
for your grace and virtue
that loves all of us as he sees us






Monday, August 10, 2009

my weekend

This weekend was way better than I anticipated. Around 4, Mom and I left Midland and headed towards Amarillo. On our way, right before Lubbock city limits, I spotted a light blue VW beetle. It took me about 5 minutes after deciding that I'd like Mom to turn around to have a look at it. She laughed, said okay, then asked me why it took so long to say so.

When we did get a good look at it, it was a 1974 super beetle, light blue and rustic, new motor, cyllinders, and more. The only downside, it needs cosmetic work on the inside interior, but it is worth what the asking price asks for. Excited, I called Dad and he was all for it, but we were going to come back later for more logistics.

In Amarillo, Ali and I go to The 806 coffee shop to hang out with a couple of her buddies and boyfriend. Our friend Eric North came up and hung out with us. I hadn't really gotten to talk to him since highschool. It was long after he got there that we had to leave though. I was sad to shorten our time hanging out with Eric and gulp down my great coffee, but I was glad to leave the smoke filled place taking the stench along with us. Ali and I stayed up talking just like we did our whole senior year. We shared the couch bed. I love that she is my best friend.

Saturday moring was planned and ready. The agenda:
sleep in.
take our time getting semi-ready.
go to barnes and noble around noon.
read until we get sleepy.
go eat a late lunch, free late lunch, back at Ali's house.
read a little more.
take a nap,
read.

My afternoon was amazing! Neither of us have been that relaxed in a long time.
Ali helps me get ready for the wedding, and she drops me off at 5:45 at the Civic Center where Mom is waving to let me know where to go.

The wedding was beautiful, and I really wasn't expecting to cry. Lord, knows that you just can't help shedding a few tears when you see a girl you grew up with walk down an aisle as if she were gliding down a ice and her flowing dress is made of snowflakes that trails behind her. With her thick blonde curly hair and big smile, you just know that her near-future husband just couldn't stand the anticipation of her becoming his very own bride. The ceremony was that much better because my brother sang better than I've ever heard him sing while they light the unity candle. He'll sing at my wedding. No doubt.

I got to dance with my Daddy for almost an entire song before he knew he had to catch a few important pictures. I ate wedding cake, mmmm chocolate covered strawberries, and other finger foods they had. Honestly, my favorite part of the whole wedding was dancing with my brother and Dad and getting to visit with Jacki Thompson. It was neat to see her so soon after her wedding and getting to catch up from the past 4 years.

Funniest parts:
Brad's speech.
This guy Ethan asked me to dance. You could tell it had taken him a little while to work up the nerve. We started talking as we danced, and when the song was up we weren't quite done with our conversation so he asked if I'd like to dance one more song. He asked me how old I was, and when I said nineteen, he kind of sulked a little. This made me laugh because I knew he was younger than me. I asked him the same question and he said with lowered eyes, "eighteen." I asked him about highschool and where he was going to college. It was just so funny because he was really disappointed that I was older. aweeee poor freshman!

I love weddings (:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Run and Hide.


GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!

I don't ever run away from the things I should either face or deal with, but when it comes to this...well I think it is for the best just to run away and stay hidden from it. My thoughts would overcome my rational conversation. So off to Amarillo away from it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the 9th

At 12:30, we headed to the Trevi Fountain.  Today was definitely a walking day.  WE zig zagged through the windy streets of Rome, trying to get the the fountain.  WE passed the colosseum, Trajoan's market ruins, and the monument Victor Emanuele taking Via dei Fori Imperiali.  WE turned onto via del Corso roaming in and out of random ancient churches.  Finally using the map, we turned right and found the Trevi Fountain.

We sat on the lip of the fountain tossing our coins and making our wishes.  Then we moved to the marble benches to get a better view, and only to move 30 min. later to the side to lean up against the wall and read some more.  WE stayed as long as we could bear the heat, then decided to find our way to the Paneon.

This building wowed us because we felt as though we'd taken 20 steps and BAM! here is a fantastically huge historic building built in 128 AD and is the finest remaining example of ancient Roman architecture.  I loved the outside more than the inside interior.  Just the enormous script left me in curiosity for it wsant in a readable loanguage for me to understand.  

After shopping and walking through Plazas we walked straight back to the hostel only stopping twice for desert and more desert.  Back at the hostel Elizabeth and I ate our bread and cheese for dinner.  Taking a long shower I was ready bed.. 

Naples. the 8th

At 9am, we grabbed some breakfast at the train station and set off to Naples, the origin of Pizza and icecream.  Hello..Neapolitan icecream!  Because we weren't aware of the acquired reservation, the ticket man charged us 18€ each.  WE tried not letting it bother us because it was the nicest train we'd been on since Germany.

In Naples, we asked for directions for an hour at every shop until we found the infamous L'antica pizzeria "da Michele."  Now I heard about this restaurant through the book Eat Pray Love.  The pizzab was cheap and describable exactly as Liz would say, the pizza is "thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise."  Even though the dough is the best thing I've ever had, the toppings just don't beat Luigi's pizza in Midland!  

The waiters took pride in the fact that I'd read the book and had heard of their place or work and life.  They showed us framed newspaper articles of Elizabeth Gilbert and her book, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt eating there, and others.  What a treat to eat a pizza for only 5 euros in a place where such famous people had been.  I had wonderful Neapolitan icecream for desert.  I was so full and jo yous trying to eat my homemade cone dripping with this sugary mess. My hands were in the air as I waddled trying to dodge the chocolate drops that had escaped my mouth.  All the time my purse was unguarded.  Little did I know my happiness was short lived for when I got to the train station my iphone had been....pick-pocketed.

I didn't panic this time when I was in the train station and had discovered this.  I just sad down recalling the only opportunity a thief could possible have at taking what is left of mine.

Now that my car has been totaled, my little camera has been eaten by the ocean, Florence owns my canon, and Naples has possession of my last valuable, my phone, I just have nothing left to give to those who may want to take something.  

Here! Have the 20€ left in my wallet or the sweat stained shirt I'm wearing, or the tattered shorts that have survived hiking through Cinque Terra.  When I sat down I in the Naples train station all I could say was, "I do not understand." I am just not irresponsible nor have I been known to have bad luck.  The only explanation I could surface from the unfortunate events in the past 3 months is that I have been broken.  I literally have nothing left, material wise.  I haven't leaned yet the spiritual lesson yet, but hopefully I will soon know what God is trying to teach me through this.  

Distraught. Confused.  Still seeking the Lord despite this. 

The train ride was long and emotion as I listened to a song on Elizabeths ipod by Jon Foreman, your love is strong.  Then Kate let me listen to this podcast by Breakaway Ministries.  I love it.  Back in Rome, Kate and I walked around looking for an ATM, stopping at this bakery.  We bought sweets then we bought cheeses for our bread.  Back at the hostel, we played a few games of gin while listening to music just to relax. what a day.

sixth and seventh of July

In the afternoon we walked through the market once again to a specific shoe store where Kate bought these amazing berkinstocks (that I want! and will buy in a few months).  Then we literally walked through Florence as if it were a maze trying to find the Biblioteca Nazionale, but when we finally did find it and enter it, this lady said in Italian (roughly translated), "members only, no visitors, leave!"

We had walked so far. But in the mean time we had seen the David and walked up and down the tiny streets seeing the Italian life.  Even though we werent granted access to the Library, the lady told us of another public library.  We asked about a dozen people directions in order to find it, but we did eventually find the hidden thing.  We settled in this modern library each sitting on our own love seat couch comfortably to read and journal.  After a few hours we decided to leave.  Elizabeth went back to the hostel while Kate and I went back to the restaurant that wed eaten at 2 days ago.

She ordered Lasagna and I ordered this specialty plate, I dont even know how to spell.mmmm...food is God saying " I love you" every time I take a bite!

At 7:30, I walked, alone, to Plazza della Signori, leaving Kate and Elizabeth at the hostel resting. I met up with Creede Newton and his Dad.  I just knew I was going to see someone I knew here in Europe. We caught up a little and then went to get some gelato. Creede paid for mine like a gentleman. Then we three walked across Ponte Vecchio, on e of Italy's most famous bridges, built in 1345.

We walked along the street the crossed the river again by taking the Point S Trinita to take a nice picture of the famous bridge.  I walked them to the station, hugged and watched them depart just like a perfect farewell you see on the movies. 

I love seeing people I know.

Now on to the next day.  

by 10, we were showered, primped and packed.  WE checked out and walked in the direction of the train station.  WE stopped along the way for breakfast.  At 11:13, our train sped away to the ever famous Rome.  It took longer than expected because of the numerous stops we  made along the way, but we finally made it there after 3 hours.

After this long train ride we were all starving and irritable. Especially when we were confused about the direction to get to the hostel so it was taking a long time to get there with out unbearably heavy backpacks.

Honestly, I have learned a lot about myself having time to observe the reetitions of my actions, others actions and reactions,  and my frustrations, plus conversing with Kate and Elizabeth about my personality.  When it comes to directions I am good at reading maps and I have that "feeling" to know the right direction or street to take.  So when someone says to go straight, and I dont feel at about that decision I cant just be easy going and make the mistake of wondering around.  I always have to make my opinion known. "Thats not the right way...It just makes sense to go this way."  Stupid big mouth and intuition.  It is in a way my strong point and my greatest flaw.   However, when it does come to directions, I am usually right, but it causes tension!

around 2 we had already checked into our slightly disappointing but cheap hostel, unloaded, walking down the 4 flights of spiraling stairs and on to eating.   We walked for what felt like a mile to find this small pizzeria.  I got a slice of hot dog mushroom olive tomato and cheese pizza.  It was delicious!  Right on the middle of us all enjoying our meal, this lady, stick thin, came in hysterically flailing around, yelling and just making a fool of herself along with a scene.  She was entertaining, but disturbing so we scarfed our food down to leave.  WE could tell she probably had some serious mental illness. She was crazy!

We found the Colosseum with no problem, probably because its ginormous! We paid 12 painful euros for admission then climbed the ancient stairs to see the giant spectacle.  De ja vu kept hitting me remembering years ago when I had climbed on rocks with Tamren posing as statues for pictures and peeking through the holes of the crumbling walls with Kristen.  It was nice to revisit.

We walked/wondered to different churches exploring different streets and resting here and there.  From all the walking we were all dehydrated and delusional.  Everything made us laugh as if we were at a 6th grade sleepover and It was 3am and a hiccup would leave us in stitches.  

ON our way back to Hostel Beautiful (by the way on the door the "s" is peeled on so it says Ho tel Beautiful...there really isnt anything beautiful about it.).  In our room, we watched the Devil wears Prada, then had a dance party following the movie.  We danced as though we were elite free style dancers not caring just having a free spirit.  We laughed then talked for hours until we could sleep through the noisy streets of Rome.

Friday, July 10, 2009

july 5.

I woke and showered before the other girls and decided to look for my camera in the markets because they were all closed yesterday when i went back to look. I asked every man at every cart that I had even looked at their merchandise.  None had seen the camera. My heart was broken.

I saw Kate on my way back to our Plus hostel. We went and got coffee together, where I just sobbed.

Later Elizabeth gave me advil to get rid of the physical sickness I'd accumulated with this emotion.  We all got some food which helped a bit as an anecdote as well.

I knew it was going to be hard having a light spirit, but I didn't want to not see the beautiful Florence just because I didn't have a camera. At noon we wondered again through the thief market just to find ourselves standing at the feet of th emassive and towering Duoma, Campanille, and Baptistry of all baptistries.  These three historics combine to make the most eye opening green and white achitecture. 

We circled this then sat down for lunch.  Then we paraded through town to Santa Maria Novella. We paid 2€50 for admission.  I found an empty pew on the second row and sat admiring the church while Kate and Elizabeth explored every inch as if they might find Santa Maria herself.  

Although is was only 2:00 when we backtracked to our hostel, I was exhausted. The emotional drainage within the past 24 hours was really starting to take its toll.  We all hung out at the hostel for the rest of the night occupying our time by surfing the internet, sweating in the sona, breathing in the mint steam in the Turkish bath, and of course, back in our room playing around 50 games of gin.

The 4th of July

We already made arrangements with the manager to check out at 12; therefore, we had no intentions of waking up before 11.  At exactly 12:00, we were checked out and walking to the bus stop to take us to the train station.  Yea...all we really wanted out of Pisa was to see the leaning tow and a place to stay. Adios Pisa!

The train left not even 10 minutes later because a train runs from Pisa to Florence every 30 minutes.  Elizabeth and I took a spot across from eachother, as usual, in order to play each other at our favorite card game.  Kate sat in the set of seats behind me to have a quiet time borrowing my bible.

40 minutes later as Elizabeth and I continued playing our card game, we heard Kate say, "I'm sorry, I won't do it again...No! I'm not going to pay that.."  Apparantly, the ticket man was fining Kate 7€ 66 cents for simply putting her feet up on the seat in front of her.  We stood up in protest saying, "there is no sign! That is ridiculous! She won't do it again!" Instead of reason, the ticket man disregarded all of our outrage and even Kate's teary eyes.  When she still refused to pay the fee, the cold hearted man personally escorted us off the train at the next stop, Signa.

We waited 45 minutes and finally found a train to take us to Florence. Once in Florence we found our hostel after stopping for gelato.  Later we walked towards the flea market and the best place to bargain shop.  We stopped in a few stores, a clothing store, where I tried on a dress, then a shoe store, where I took my last picture with my canon camera.  ..I'll explain in a bit..at this moment I had no idea it would be my last.

We shopped in the overwhelming market that had everything you could ever think to buy out of Italian leather.  We walked up and down bargaining as if the few euros we were saving were going to feed 5 orphans and their dog.

In celebration for the 4th of July, we went to a nice sit down restaurant and each ordered a fattening Italian plate.  After our amazing dinner, we walked back to our hostel. I immediately plopped down on my bed, pulled up Kate's computer to download all of my pictures, and update my blog. I opened my purse in search of my camera. 
No camera. 
I looked under all my sheet and pillows.
No camera.
In my luggage, through all my clothes. Still..
No camera.

I panicked. I was short of breath and couldn't even breathe. I frantically tore the empty room apart, flew down the staircase just to find no camera had been turned in at the front desk.  Kate and Elizabeth followed me as I raced to the restaurant. 
No camera.
I can't even describe the emotion to the fullest that came over me.  I felt as if I hadn't been on this 2 month long trip at all.  As if someone was snickering in my ear whispering "you bought no souvenirs now you have no proof you were in any of those places."  I just felt like a part of my soul was erased, as melo-dramatic as that seems.

I walked back to the hostel quickly and silently with Kate and Elizabeth keeping their distance several paces behind me out of respect.  With lips pierced, my tears were dry and I was beyond sorrow.

In our room, I requested some alone time and spent the rest of the night finished the book Eat Pray Love, that I recommend all you ladies read immediately!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

july 3 Patience Pisa...freakin old lady.

We checked out at 10:00 (more like 10:30) ate breakfast and headed through the long blue tunnel to the train station.  We waited 30 minutes (always passing the time with a game or 2 of gin) and took the train to Monterosso. 

We found a nice spot in the middle of the most crowded touristy beach and tanned.  Elizabeth and Kate swam two different times, but I stayed out and continued tanning.  I ran around in my bathing suit and chacos like the typical tourist trying to find some stamps...finally I found some in the train station .  I went back down to the beach.  We all packed up, and dressed ourselves and walked up the stairs.  

We each bought a slice of pizza, I mailed some postcards and we made it to platform 4 just to wait for yet another train. Is the train waiting getting monotonous yet?  20 minutes later we were in La Spiza waiting for another ..can you guess it? a train to Pisa. The people working for the station were shuffling all the awaiting passengers from platform to platform, back and forth. Finally as soon as we went to the final platform and boarded the train, it left 2 minutes later.  

At the train station we sat down in McDonalds trying to get some wifi to book a hostel, but no such luck. Just as we were about to leave, this little old lady reminded me of a bird the way she spoke in short choppy sentences so quiet.  At first when she tried to ask me something I asked her if she knew English because her thick England accent didn't sound American English at all. She asked us to watch a few of her bags while she went to check in at her hotel. "Only half an hour, oh thank you! I'll be sure to make it a quick trip," is what I gathered from her chirps.

I laughed at how hard she was to understand, but just waited for her to return.  Her name was Wendy from Porkshire (something or other), England.  She had white wispy hair and pomegranate colored lipstick smudged on her petite lips.  

When she came back, she immediately slapped a map on the table and asked exactly where we had booked our hostel.  We told her we didn't know the location, but we had directions on how to get there. I really don't even think she listened to this statement because she told us to follow her as she loaded her red and white bag on to her blue and white striped baby stroller. She strolled out of the station and Mc Donalds to where all the buses were pulling in and out.  We all knew this is where we had to get on the bus #6, but she walked across the street passed the bus stops to the plaza.  She asked literally everyone that passed if they knew the Italian street our hostel was located.  

At this point my patience was gone. I wanted to tell this lady that we had been on our own for almost 2 months and she was clueless! But instead I kept my mouth shut because she was sweet, old, and just trying to take care of a couple of young girls...so I let her. When we stopped at a gelato shop, she asked if anyone had glasses or a magnifying glass...I laughed and said no. But I did tell her I could read the map without glasses or a magnifying glass, but she refused to lax her help she was trying to provide. She kept looking with no success. Finally, I lied and said, "oh! I know exactly where to go! Come on girls! Thanks Wendy! Have a nice stay and thank you again for your help," walking away and pushing Kate and Elizabeth with me.  

Hey it worked and I was polite. I mean...We've been on our own for this long and we didn't need anyones help in this circumstance. We were in Pisa and had all the time in the world to find our place.  

We finally found our hostel after running away from Wendy, walking a mile with our heavy backpacks, sprinting and waving frantically in front of bus #6 to stop it and get on it, walking around a corner and finally seeing our semi-disappointing hostel.  It was decorated nicely, but our actually bread was concrete with a satin bed spread to make it look fancy.  

We unloaded and took the bus back to the train station to catch another bus that would take us to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  We took the cliche pictures leaning on it and such and just spent 20 minutes admiring the probability and reality of this building falling and actually staying standing tall.  We took a taxi back to our hostel because the buses stopped, and it was too far to walk.  mmmmm sleep. Can't get enough of it.

July 2.

Today our original plan was to wake up and leave by 9:30, but instead we woke up at 10:00 and left by 11:00.  We went straight to the train station and jumped on a train that took us to the most northern mountain, Monterosso, so that we could hike back down the coast.  We had a cup of coffee and set our, not knowing, on the hardest hike we've yet trekked.

The trail was so narrow there was no room to pass nor to make a faulty step.  There was the mountain always to our left and to our right was a drop off of vegetation, cliffs, and the ocean in the background.  Poor Elizabeth is terrified of heights.  

At one point, we couldn't complete the entire staircase so we rested right in the middle of it.  This group of 3 passed us looking in their mid life age.  

We caught up to them at the top of the stair case where they found their resting place.  This is where we got an introduction.  Debbie and Todd, married, and Gorgine all in their mid-fifties.  They were hiking the trail as if they were marathon runners, which they weren't, just in shape. They became our hiking buddies as we continued on this trail.  I mentioned to Kate that I wish I had eaten before we had left, but I didn't..Debbie over heard me and insisted on me taking one of her bananas and an apricot. She was so sweet, and I couldn't have thanked her enough. 

Then on top of that generosity, we were just about to complete the mountain trail, and they wanted to buy us lunch. So they did. We walked up these steps to one of the nicest remote restaurants where you could see the mountain, bay, boats, people, and dock on one side, and on the other the broad ocean.  Our meal was heavenly due to our frugal eating and our hunger after a hard hike.  I mean...for real...after that grueling hike this meal was the best feeling in the world and it didn't cost us a penny. I kept insisting to pay for my own meal, but Debbie said, "honey, I'm fifty-four, can you think of a better way to spend my money at my age?" I smiled and promised to pay it forward one of these days.

We hugged and exchanged emails etc...just in case we ever go up to Wisconsin we would have someone to stay with.  We spent the next 4 hours laying lazily on the dock watching little kids jump in the water, climb out, and jump in again.

We walked back into the town of Vernazza and up to the train station.  It was 7:00 and Elizabeth's chacos were not being nice giving her painful blisters on her heals; therefore, she decided to take the train back to our hostel.  Somehow, I talked Kate into hiking all the way back with me.  We went down back into town and we had to wait 20 minutes for what was said to have the best coffee in town to open up.  After coffee it was around 7:40, and we decided to walked the remaining mountains all the way back to our hostel.  

When we got to Cornilgia, I got some icecream while Kate ate her twix, and we were ready for the next mountain.  From there the hike was a peice of cake compared to the first hike we had that day regardless of our shaky legs.  Plus, I think we got a second wind, and it was all familiar because we had hiked it the day before.  

The only trail that came even close to as hard as the first one, come to think of it, was the first part of the trail leaving Vernazza going to Cornilgia.  But the feeling of hiking all five mountains was one of the greatest achievements. WE DID IT!

I had such an adrenaline rush when we finished in the dark I sat my stuff next to Kate on a bench and ran, yes I ran, up a hill all the way to the top and came back down. 

I think I'm going to train for a half marathon. yea..

July 1.

the next morning we started our adventure.  We hiked along the path to the 2nd village, Manarola.  We blew through the village, only stopping to take a few pictures.  Right after we left Manarola, we veered off the hiking path down to a nice spot on a cliff where a few other people had found the little spot of paradise as well.  We jumped into the icey but nice ocean water. We swam along the mountain side..able to look into this one cave. We could see little fish swimming deeper under us because the water was so clear.  I loved the large almost ramp-like staircase that led down into the water.

An hour later, we hiked all the way to Cornilgia, where we found coffee!! I tried to order a nice sized cup of coffee, but they told me they had 3 choices: coffee latte macchiato,  cappuccino, or an espresso shot.  I got the latte macchiato.  mmmmm.

It was already 4:30, and we still had to hike all the way back and we were all a little tired so we decided to go ahead and make our way back. Our feet were heavy as we climbed all the way up to our penthouse hostel, but we made it.

The rest of the night we spent out on the balcony playing a gin tournament. shocked?

the 30th. I mean...what are ya gonna do?

Yay! we were up early. Italia Day! It was 8:00, and I jumped in the shower.  We went and got some breakfast. Instead of the usual McDonalds that we had been having every morning we got some pizza slices and Elizabeth got a quiche and a croissant. Dont judge the pizza...its good in the morning isn't it Brother? Do you remember you used to always eat cold pizza for breakfast in high school? haha. awe I love you by the way.

By 9:30am, all 6 of us headed to the train station to head to Monaco. Now Monaco is the smallest country in the world and is composed of only 2 small cities.  When we got there at 11:00, we decided that the actual setting of our foot on the ground was satisfying enough and we had to take a train 10 minutes later to the first Italian town across the France border.  We gave hugs and said goodbye to our California friends and boarded the train.

In Ventimiglia, we had an hour lay over so we wanted to spend that time at their beach close by.  We found a nice spot and set our stuff down stripping to our bathing suits.  elizabeth and I found a little stream with a strong current coming from a small pond to the ocean.  It was so much fun! I went first and as soon as I sat in the pond the current was like a shoot and carried me way out into the ocean. Thats when my thoughts started to go a little crazy because I knew I wouldn't be able to fight the current and make it back to shore. Then, to my complete surprise I could stand up.  We both laughed and Elizabeth went ahead and road the stream.

I was so excited I wanted to go a second time.  As soon as the savage waves carried me out right past the part where I could touch, it startled me a little and I told Elizabeth I couldn't reach, but it was okay because the current had smoothed out.  But the second I told her this I felt my water proof olympus camera slip from my grasp and plunge to the bottom.  I tried to save it, but nothing but cold water ran through my fingers and my mind was in panic. I looked and looked for an hour until we had to leave in order to catch our train. I was upset but not devastated because I didn't have that many pictures on it and I still had my big camera. We all lighten the mood by saying, "at least its not your big camera." "Yea I don't know what I would do." I let it go and declared the days motto I mean...what are ya gonna do?

When we came closer to the steps we see three familiar people, Ryan, Peter, and Leah.  We ended up taking the same train with them to Genova, but their destination was farther than ours.  We played a few games of B.S. and said our actual final goodbyes.

In Genova, we went straight to the info desk and they told us we had ten minutes to catch the train to Riomaggiore, Cinque Terra, Italy...exactly where we wanted to go.  He said we needed to go to platform 13. So we did. the subway platform 13.  We realized our mistake as soon as we got to the next station still in Genova, and had to take another subway back to the first station missing our original train. 

I mean...what are ya gonna do?

Finally 2 hours later we were in Riomaggiore.  It was around 10 at night, and the manager at the biggest hostel was "nice enough" to let us have a room paying 25 euros each and only 2 beds.  It was 9 flights of stairs up only after 3 flights up outside of the building and 2 steep hills.  phew...we made it and just laughed at how exhausted and out of shape we were.

For dinner we got peaches, fresh olives, and croissants. We took them out to the cliffs where we walked down the steps carved out of the mountain to sit on the rocks on the water.  These two italian boys, our age, came and introduced themselves as Eddy and Fabio.  When Eddy asked me to borrow the lighter I had found on the rock, he told me in broken English to toss it to him. Because of the dim lighting I knew he would never catch it...I walked over cautiously as to not slip. With his hand and the lighter inches from eachother..I slipped of course.  The moment turned into slow motion as my body flattened into the water between the two rocks and my feet went from the slippery green moss covered rock to high in the air.

i mean...what are ya gonna do? .. when you face plant in front of two cute Italian guys.


the 29th..still in Nice, France.

Okay so the plan was to rent bicycles with Peter, Ryan, and Leah, but that changed early in the morning, when we decided we didn't want to pay 14 euros. that is 3 and a half meals that we could buy instead!

At 10:30, we walked down the street and used the internet for an hour and ate lunch there at Subway.  You may be thinking, 'why in the bucket-full-of-Jesus would you eat Subway in France?' But by this time we had already gotten our taste full of bread cheese and wine.  We wanted veggies and at a cheap price dang it!

After lunch, we walked down to another part of the beach and decided to play the beach bum role all day long.  At one point after I was journaling, Kate and Elizabeth decided to go swimming.  I told them I didn't want to join them, but to go ahead. When they were all the way out there they waved for me to come in.  I just smiled and ran into the water.  We treaded for 45 minutes just giggling and telling secrets then waded back to to the shore. We laid out some more and Elizabeth and I swam one more time out so far we were nervous a giant ship was going to run us over! 

But we were fine! We all three went back into town and bought postcards etc...but were starving!!!! We, again, ate subway for dinner.  God bless America.

Later, Elizabeth decided to stay in, but Kate and I wanted to walk around.  We walked in the direction of the ocean, but stopped at the store called Ten with hideous clothing.  Kate tried on these skin tight sliver sequence pants with black pockets and a white jacket with her swimsuit underneath.  She put on red high heels to boot.  Then I put on this hot pink fringe dress, perfect for a flapper costume on Halloween.  It was skin tight and scandalous. I had black high heels. Oh the fun of trying on clothes that you know youll never buy.

We walked out laughing and made our way to the blue beach.  We walked for 30 minutes towards the lowering sun and sat on a dock. We talked on a dock for a while then walked 30 more minutes.  We walked as far as we could stand and decided to walk back through the busy night streets to our hostel.  We looked in every window of every shoe store. We liked the berkinstocks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Train anyone? the 27th and 28th


After our free breakfast, we jumped on the metro to the train station in Paris.  Our train left around 9:00am.  We again did not have reservations, and the train was completely full. We knew if we sat in seats we might have gotten kicked off; therefore, we sat in the luggage/lounge car on the floor for 4 hours as stow-aways.  
In Limoges, we were supposed to meet Emilie, Elizabeths French T.A, but with no internet, no phone, and no way to get in touch we were running out of options after 2 hours in the train station.  We jumped into another train taking us to Narbonne, the ticket man said it didn't matter if we were sitting in the stow away section, we still had to have a reservation.  We knew that we were going to have to pay, so we just went and sat in the comfortable chairs across from our soon to be Merlyn Jackson. He was a serious bike rider from South Africa. He was white!
We got off in Narbonne at 8pm and ran across the street where we scrambled enough money to get french fries. An hour later, our next train was leaving to Marseille. Back in the cargospace for us.  We sat on the floor and began yet another hour of playing gin.  Getting resless, but hanging in there we awaited our arrival.  Marseille has the reputation of being rough and not safe for 3 American girls; therefore, we were nervous that we weren't going to be able to catch another train and we would be stranded there.  When we did arrive, the board told us the next train to Cannes would be at 6:15 in the morning, but we could go to Toulon (a city closer to Cannes and safer than Marseille) in 5 minutes.  We sprinted to the most sketchiest (if that is a word) graffitied train ever that took us to Toulon.
When we arrived in Toulon it was around 11pm, and that was it for our journey..we would have to continue it the next morning at 6:00am because the trains stopped running. We made a new friend Chris from Canada, talked him into protecting us while we spent the night in the train station and made a spot in the waiting room.  Soon after our comfort settled in, the security brought the bad news kicking us out because "the station now close sorry."  The same facial expression on our faces was the same of those who were sitting next to us.  They were a group of 3, 2 boys and a girl.  I asked if they were from the US and stranded likewise.  They smiled and said yes and introduced themselves. Peter, Leah, and Ryan..all in Law school and all 22 from California.
All 7 of us decided to group up and protect eachother awaiting our early morning train.  We went to the only open place and bought a drink.  We sat getting to know eachother and playing B.S.  just like all Americans know how to play.  Around 2, they were closing.  We all packed up like mules with our backpacks and found a spot not far from the train station in the courtyard and played the ever fun game, spoons!  Around 4, this creepy group of 4 approached us.  2 boys and 2 girls…more like men and women. Anyhow, we couldn’t tell if they were drunk and just being dumb or if they were scammers. Peter and Ryan stood up and said well…its time to go. At 4:30, the station opened and I slept on top of all the luggage.  I was so sleepy, I didn’t even realize that they had helped me on the train. In no time, we had passed Cannes and were getting of the train in Nice, France. 
Chris had left us back in Toulon and boarded another train.  We followed Ryan, Peter, and Leah to their hostel and booked a room as well.  Ryan stayed in our room because there was 4 beds and Peter and Leah (dating) were in a double private. 
It was now the 28th and we were all delirious.  We changed into our swim suites and found the beach easily. We all napped on the pebble beach for 2 hours. Then taking another nap later in a grassy area by some beautiful fountains under big trees.  This was really just a peaceful day of napping.
That night the California people went for dinner while Elizabeth, Kate and I decided to watch the sunset again at the beach.  We sat on these beach chairs. The security guard let us stay even though it was against the rules. I love being a girl. 

NUTSHELL TIME

ready for the update in a nutshell?

We checked out of the hotel. Took a God-aweful expensive taxi all the way across town to our hostel. Checked in, ate, met people, took a nap.

Around 4:30, we took the metro to Sacre Coeur, where we climbed the hill, and the endless staircases to the very highest point in Paris.  This cathedral is notorious for having the best view of Paris, and was loaded with people all over the place.

We then walked down to the shadiest place ever, the red light district. Moulin Rouge. We saw, and left just as quickly as we came. 

Okay readers, please bare with me with the short blogs and no pictures. I have zero money for internet, and very little time to share a computer with 2 other beautiful girls! I will put up a ton of pictures when I can with captions. 

the 25th


We woke up earlier than we have the entire Europe trip. Ha...8am doesn't seem early, but when your agenda is to roam around doing as you please, checking off life's to-do list, 8am is not necessary.  
We walked to Le Lourve, entered into the glass pyrymid, and found the ticket line.  This line is notorious for people to wait for at least an hour and sometimes up to three.  Luckily, we stood in line for maybe 10 minutes, and we wondered to the statue wing of the famous museum.  The statues were intense! The majority of them were life proportioned men or women, or a little larger.  The symbolic features were interesting to figure out, but honestly we had the most fun setting the camera on a timer and all of us posing in front of the statues imitating them.  Sometimes when there was no place to set the camera, we would ask someone to take it...they never knew English.  Thank God for body language.
After a while, we all wanted to go see actual paintings such as the Mona Lisa, Van Gouge paintings...  We had a little lunch, and headed that way.  We literally looked at hundreds of beautiful paintings. Some of the paintings were longer than my house! I cant even phathom how long it must have took them!
After being on our feet for hours and hours, walking around, we were all exhausted.  At 12:30, we went back to our hotel, and literally took a 3 hour nap. It was almost as satisfying as seeing the Eiffel Tower light up. We decided to get over our groggy-selves, and go see another historic artifact.
Notre Dame. 
How can I possibly describe how dark and bright it is. How tall and yet so compact.  How it is so much better than the hunch back of Notre Dame's illustration.  The stained glass windows have every color of the spectrum while having a pattern to make you stare and wonder who deciphered this brilliant placement. No really. This place was amazing. Mass was taking place, but this didn't stop the tourists, nor me, from walking around the church.  The gargoyles really are perched every 5 feet away from eachother, and the dark architecture intensifies the all the stereotypes really.  The way they describe Notre Dame as almost a spooky entourage, well it seems so.
The Gothic cathedral is beautiful though. Dimly lit purely by the stained glass windows and candle light.  Although we only spent maybe 10 to 15 minutes touring the place...I found the visit a century long because I tried to soak in the entire atmosphere as if I was obliged to know every pew, window, painting, or tile.  It was one of my favorites.  
Because we walked all the way from the Eiffle Tower to the Pennisula where Notre Dame was located, we were exhausted from the mileage.  We found the nearest metro and made our way back to our hotel. SLEEEEEP.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27

6:55am, Elizabeth woke me up. I rolled out of my bunk bed, and made myself get ready for traveling day.

7:30, FREE BREAKFAST!  Bread, cereal, orange juice, milk, and coffee.  8:00, we took the metro on a long ride to the train station.  We only waited 10 minutes until we boarded the train.  The very first seats we sat in we only sat for 2 minutes.  Immediatly these ticket holders showed us their reseration for the seats.  We walked (outside the train) to the very first cargo train.  There were lounge areas where people stored their luggage, so we took a seat on the floor with our luggage.  Our intent was to seat ourselves when the train started moving, but we settled and the ticket-checkers never checked our tickets!

This young couple had the same idea.  They were so annoying!!!!!! We had to watch them makeout for 2 hours. I mean...go get a room.

Finally, 12:00 we were in Limoges! Emilie was supposed to pick us up, but we werent sure if she was going to be there because she hadnt replied to any of Elizabeth's texts.

An hour passed, and we still couldn't find internet or a means of communication to reach Emilie.  Our only solution was to get back on the train and head to Cannes.  The next train that was heading south was going to Cerbere, the very south tip of France.

2:06, we sat down where the bicycles were being stowed.  We thought our plan was 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Versailles on the 24th

Yesterday, we got up and showered in our glamorous luxury shower.  Elizabeth smuggled some of the tasty jellies and cheese circles from the breakfast buffet for our lunch.  We headed out on the subway to Versailles.

As soon as we got to the busy small town, we stopped by a bakery and bought un baguette; which is a long long stick of bread.  After walking in the wrong direction for 10 minutes, we bump into the most precious blonde haired family from Oregon.  They redirected us to the Chateau, the castle or palace of Versailles. 

We waited in line for 30 minutes and bought tickets to tour the mere home of the Royale King Louis XIV and his family. IT WAS AMAZING!!!! 

As we walked through, room to room, every room was so intricate.  The first room was red velvet victorian wall paper from ceiling to floor.  The drapes matches.  Then green. Then blue!!! All velvet and victorian filled with giant paintings (most likely duplicates but they looked so real!).  The blue room had all the Queens, decendant after decendant. To be honest all the Queens looked alike and they werent that attractive.  They actually looked like men in giant poofy accordian dresses.

Most of the paintings of women were beautiful, but ironic. Let me tell you why Elizabeth and I think so. They were all either completely naked or showing at least one boob.  And didnt they dress soooooo conservatively back in the day?As in dresses buttoned up to their neck and draping down poofing  out with a diameter of 6 feet?  Then it is a beautiful and innocent thing to be photographed or painted naked.  Titanic anyone? Now lets speed up the clock.. Now-a-days, you can dress while showing a considerable amount of skin without looking "skanky." (pardon the phrase). But to pose for anytype of art may it be photography or paintings it is considered provacative and not acceptable.  Hmmmmm.

After seeing the Kings and Queens Chamber, we found a spot in the courtyard to have lunch.  We pulled out the baguette, jelly, and cheese we smuggled in through securtity, and I had a tube of dijon spicy mustard that Susan gave me from Switzerland. Ps. Im obsessed with this mustard! It tastes good on everything! 

After lunch, we found our way down the marble steps, that are slightly slanting because of the wear and tear, outside, and to the gardens. We walked through the life-size mazes for a while talking in British accents losing our breath from either laughing at ourself or at the beautiful flower gardens or fountains or at the couples going at it making out. Oh people watching. Thats half the fun of it ya know.

We found a spot down by the water in a shady spot against a tree.  We stayed there for almost 2 hours, listening to music, reading, writing, or playing gin.

We strolled through town for a little bit, then jumped back in the subway to head back to Paris.  We hung out at the hotel for a little bit, gaining some energy and waiting on Kate. She went and got the cutest hair cut EVER! Then we went to a restaurant and ate some pizza.  We reached our goal fattening our bellies and walked to the Eiffel Tower. We wanted to see it glitter. We people watched and played gin waiting for the light show.  Finally, at exactly 11:00pm it lit up as if it were a light house, and China was looking for the dock.


Life is grand.

for the love of wine, bread, and cheese, let us on that train!

 Getting to Paris was a little crazy.  When I got out of the shower, Susan said we had 20 minutes to leave.  This put franzy all over my face for I thought I had an entire hour. I threw clothes on my body and practically flew down the stair well for  couple of bites of cereal.  I made it!

At 8:37am we loaded onto a bus where we got off 2 stops later. Then we loaded onto another bu 2 mintues later and got off the bus at 9:04, and waited for the tram. Susan said this was a long ride (this is when anxiety was taking place because our train was to leave at 9:34!), but we got off and raced in the train station to our train. YESSSS, some running exercise!

9:34 our train left for Paris.  We had to get off to get on our connecting train in another town...this is where the real problems started.  We found our gate with help from a British man, but the ticket man gaurding the train would not let us on. He repeated over and over, and finally saying each syllable, "res er va tioooooon," as though we couldnt comprehend.  We ran back to the ticket counter and printed a number to wait in line. 141....15 minutes..142..5 minutes. Bahhhh it was 10:57 and our train left at 11:02. We said, "forget it!" throwing our papers in the air. We ran back to the train with intentions to sneak on with no res er va tioooooon. The ticket man was talking to some people, and we practically ran by him. He started to follow but we jumped on the train and sprinted down the aisle.

2 stops and an hour later, he asked me if I had my reservation.  I did the Saturday Night Live response, "yes honey no...yes..no."  He said, "will you be paying in Francs or Euros?" We each had to pay only 10 Euros and he made us move twice to the lowest dirtiest secluded part of the train.

PARRRRRIS! 

we bought a 3 day all inclusive transportation pass.  We took the subway to the Eiffel Tower, and made our way underneath it to our hotel.  Poor little Kate has a backpack she could sleep in. We went to every hotel, but every one turned us down because they were full. Plus every hostel was already full.  We went to the Eiffel Park hotel, where we painfully had to book the most expensive suit in Paris.  It was 260...which is a discount considering it was 280 plus 12 euros for breakfast a person, but she gave us breakfast free.  260 is 457 dollars people.  This made my stomach drop, but now all we can do is laugh and say, "I mean what ya gonna do?" So not only are we safe in Paris but we stayed in the nicest room ever!

We walked around and across one of the most ornate bridges in the world. We came back to the hotel where Elizabeth and I played Gin like no ones business. We played probably 30 games!

We were bored of sitting around so we walked to a wine bar not far away and each ordered a drink. We walked back and SLEEEEEPt in the nicest bed ever.  Bon soir.

Monday, June 22, 2009

oh my gramps.

I love you Grandpa Joe! Mamma told me you are reading this! I hope you are enjoying it! I actually was talking about you the other day to my friend Elizabeth, and I told her how I used to crawl up in your lap every time I came to visit you...oh, I still do that! I told her about your trains, birds, and just you! awe, I love my "Grampaw Joe!"

hiking in the vinyards








in the rain...E and Eli


















me and Elizabeth...it was raining if you can tell.











the name of the village. the "weine" means wine. ps. that is me if you can spot me. WHERES WALDO...mom (: teehee...I love inside jokes. you havent been able to cut out those in a year Mom, sad day.







the grape vinyard.











Kate and I decided to hike while Alicia went to a communion/mass in a monestary or convent? Actually I could be butchering that with the spelling and even location. To be honest, I cant remember and she is asleep, but she did tell me that the service was full of nuns and the actual mass was on Sunday but she went today, Monday for this service. Anyhow, Elizabeth decided to chill at home and read.

We set off and hiked for two hours! We walked through a village before we actually started getting to the steep part. We really didnt know our way, but we wanted to go all the way up the mountain to the giant words that said the name of the village on there. The words looked like the "Hollywood" in Beverly Hills. Anyway, we ate rasberries on the way, and saw a gnome statue garden. It was hilarious. Yes I did take a few pictures.

Here in switzerland, there are millions of planted flowers EVERYWHERE! They are in the fountains, where they make arrangements and change them every week, in the flower boxes under the windows, lining the houses and streets, and most importantly the gardens. The typical Switzerland garden is loaded with flowers that are so ...hmmm almost unheard of in the US. As in, there is no way we could plant them and the flowers survive. They had every flower you imagine also. They had lavender every where.

Kate and I walked through a couple of these in peoples backyards to make it up the mountian. At one point this man caught us, laughed and let us go on our way telling us the best path to take. We made all the way to the top!

On our way down, we found the nastiest biggest slug we have ever seen! And believe me, we have seen several slugs, this mamma was HUGE! we touched it, leaving our fingers with permanent nasty on them. It shrunk up and hid its little eye lookin` antennas. Kate and I both attempted to poke it and try to move it but it was stuck to the ground just like they teach you in 6th grade science.

After watching the last half of Chocolat with Elizabeth because she didnt see it all the night before, we watched a little of Fried Green Tomatoes (my favorite movie) in German. But because some of the people got annoyed with me translating the movie (not because of my fluent German comprehension, but because of my knowledge of every word of the script), we changed the movie to Mamma Mia. We watched this twice, just because, while Elizabeth and I played 15 hands of Gin during the second time we watched the musical.

Our reasoning for indoor activity, was the rain of course. It rained all afternoon.
Finally, we were able to go for a little walk for an hour which is where a few of the pictures derive from.

photos




This was an incredible display of stained glass. It was right by the market where we bought the best chocolate ever! I like this because #1 I like all the colors and the stained glass, but #2 I really like the globe or maps in general so the glass countries were awesome.










This is in Lucerne, a small city close to the mountain that we went up to.



















this was a castle in Lucerne.










Universal love.














the city.













another beautiful church.












more of the city and water.












kate and me in the mirror of the elevator ceiling













the snow















me in the snow.


















me and kate in front of the window and all the scenery..I mean snow.













the food I ate in the fancy restaurant.


the ice cube

Kate and me in front of this creepy chef at the highest restaurant in Europe.

The snow...little blurry because I took this out of a foggy window


half way up the mountain taking the cable car. we had to wait 30 minutes there to get accostumed to the altitude.
In the cable car on our way up. Good bye green. The fog settled in.





It rained on our little cable car.





Some more of the view from the cable car.











Elizabeth and I got to ride in our own while everyone else squished in one. we told them to come with us to even it out!







the water.







This was so neat. They had quotes in Swiss German along the walls at a certain point by the water.






This big Swiss guy came and picked us all up at 10am. We climbed into his old van and made our way 2 hours away from Zürich. I slept the whole time. If Im not driving I sleep dont I Dad?
Anyway when we did finally get there we all got onto this cable car and we rode up for 30 minutes. We went from 280 feet above sea level to 10,000 feet above. After the second cable car that took about the same amount of time, it was completely blinding white. The snow and fog over came any green that might be seen from the lower part of the mountain.
We ate at this restaurant known to be the highest in all of Europe. I was a little skeptical when I read the prices on the menu. Because I got 50 francs out of an atm and it pulled 46 dollars out of my account, I knew the currencies were similar, but their swiss money was worth just a little less than our American money. But when you see 33 francs to 56 francs, you know that is a dang expensive meal. I was going to order a side salad with nothing to drink to keep my bill at 8.50 francs. Then the man showing us around said he was paying the bill and to order a nice main meal. He also said that if we were paying we wouldnt be eating up here, and that we would have packed a lunch. So 3 of us ordered a plate with the cost of 38 francs, and another one of the girls ordered something different with the same price. Plus we all got a drink. Whoa, he`s got a hole in his pocket. It was the best meal EVERRRR!
After we ate, we actually went up a little higher in the mountain where the glacier was found. We got to walk on a giant ice cube! It was so exciting! Even though it was all white it was still an adrenaline rush. Okay, funny side note. Elizabeth and I just got back from India correct? Indians were the majority of the tourists! They had signs everywhere saying Indian groups this way, and there were Indians every where wearing their tunics with scarfs and tennis shoes. It made me laugh. Anyway comes to find out this is their Bollywood. Basically their Hollywood what is to us. They had pictures of all the Indian movie stars hanging up. And at the very bottom of the mountain there was a stand with Indian food and tea. Cracked me up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday Mornnnnning in Austria. Afternooooon in Switzerland.

Zürich

One of the gorgeous churches

Switzerland flag...notice its not rectangular..its square. and the blue and white is the Zürich flag




There flower pots were enormous and so colorful! I want one. Every year they have an object all over town that the stores buy and it is just a tradition. Like theyve had cows or benches etc...and all painted uniquely. I want a giant pott!

After breakfast, the entire Burger family with Andreas, Rachel, Hannah, David, and Jakob loaded Elizabeth and I up into their van and we sped down to the train station. We got there at 9:56am and our train left at 10:06am...no big deal. We had a few minutes before the train arrived so we played a few more games of Gin Rummy. The train arrived and usually it waits for 5 minutes so we decided to finish our hand. The very second we sat down on the train, the man blew his whistle and we were moving. AWEEEE! note to Elise and Elizabeth...get on the train the second it arrives!
We didnt have to switch to a connection train, thank goodness! We went straight on to Zürich, Switzerland. We were supposed to meet Kate, Alicia (her friend), and Susan (her aunt) under a blue angel. We were expecting a nice exentric innocent angel. This angel was ginormous with huge boobs and a head that was smaller than one of the boobs! Plus the dress that the angel was wearing was really colorful and soooo modern. This was really a moment of, "I guess you had to be there." Anyway it was so funny...not what we were expecting.
When we saw Kate, it was such a relief. Hugs and greetings and meetings and handshakes and finally we were ready to leave the train station. We jumped on a tram, then a bus, then another bus....then I lost count of what all we rode and just followed the line of girls.

Susan`s house is so cute and European. It is a three story house and petite. There is a small but comfortable kitchen and the dining area and living room merge into a perfect space for fellowship. There is a spiral staircase, and the second floor there are 3 different bedrooms where the parents sleep, the two girls share a room, and the boys share a room. (they have 2 daughters and 2 sons...for those of you and think like me and was confused.) The oldest daughter is studying in Cali, so Kate took her spot on the top of the bunk bed. The remaining 3 of us slept on the third floor which is a cozy little study/office.

Silas, the oldest son, T...somthing or other, the younger son, and Oris, the dad showed us four around Zürich. Everything that he attempted to show us was closed or opening a few hours later like the temple tower, the church, and the boatride. We walked around looking ooing and aweing killing time until we could see these historic artifacts. When we did walk up to the church, there was a wedding postponing our tour. The bride was wearing a black wedding dress. Crazy. I took a picture Dad. Anyway, it was the most bizzare thing Ive ever seen.

We did get to view the Fraumünster Zürich which means Fraum Church, I believe. We saw Marc Chagall`s Windows. My favorite was the Zion Window that was mainly yellow with King David playing his harp at the botton of the stained window. MMMMMMMmmmmm...I loved just sitting in the wooden pews looking this glass art.



The boat we finally caught was flat and completely inclosed. As in there was no dock or anywhere to stick your hand out. I called it the sinking bus, because we were half way in the water and the seats were those of a bus....not a genius name I know. Anyway it took us through Lake Zürich.
There are a ton of swans here and ducks. I think Ive seen a few geese too. Made me think of you Brother.

Later, we went back to the house, and honestly we were all so exhausted we ate breads and assorted cheeses for dinner and watched Chocolat, with sexy Jonny Depp and went to bed. What a great day!

Ill update what we did today tomorrow...Im too tired! Happy Father`s Day Daddyyyy! I hope this one was your best one yet!

Friday, June 19, 2009

the rain

my entry literally for the day is a few sentences with little detail.
we slept in because of the rain.
we stayed in because of the rain.
David and I walked and picked up Jakob from school in the rain.
We watched three movies because of the rain.
I love the rain.
Now I feel like a zombie in the rain.
Elizabeth and I are about to go have a gelatto and a coffee in the rain.
the end of the day will end in the rain.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

champagne and icecream with a little bit of paradise...is that too much to ask for?






































































































Okay today has pretty much topped anything that we've done so far. Rachel took us up the mountain side and we hiked for about 2 and half hours. The last picture you see is just a typical house and their hay in the background. We were so high up I felt as though I could see Texas. There were parts of the trails that that we had to walk across logs and balance to not fall into the mud. This typical hike might not have been any extra ordinary but on one side you could see all of Austria plus 100s of Mountains fading back like a painting and when you look in the other direction you can see the enormous lake and three different countries at the same time. Not to mention EXERCISE!

After our hike, we went down the road a little bit and had stinky thick cheese on whole wheat bread for lunch. (the reason I say stinky cheese is because its literal and because it isnt just american cheese.) We sat in between a garden and a grave yard. In the picture where I am sitting under a window on a bench is where we all sat. In America this might seem disturbing, but in Europe the grave yards are very different. They are apart of the church, the graveyards that is, and they are maintained daily. You will never see fake flowers on these graves, and people visit every single day to water and take care of these graves. At the end of each grave is a small bowl usually of some sort with holy water where they either use a brush or a natural leave to splash the water on the grave. It is actually beautiful with the colorful flowers and roses. Such a culture shock.

Because I already have pictures in bathing suits etc...I just enjoyed the lake today. Elizabeth and I biked down through the town, past an enormous outdoor theater built on the water, down a bike trail, and we found ourselves at a pebble beach a little farther away from the road and a little larger than the other one we had been on. We tanned, treaded water for 30 minutes, swam, dried off and went back into town. We tried to look through some of the shops but we just have this mentality to not spend anything because we have no room to store our purchase in our tiny backpacks!

okay...PAUSE....It is 2:30am and it is pouring harder than if we were in the desert and God decided to dump the Pacific right over the only building to be seen for 400 miles..and we are sittin in it. The thunder is so close my heart is actually peeing its pants and I personally have NEVER been scared of thunder storms. I stayed awake because I am just in love with this thunder storm, but being on the 3rd floor in a room made of glass is a little bit scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BAHAHAHAHAHA okay something else funny just happened. All these windows are actually doors and can be opened, which they are most of the time, and as I am writing this a little scared...I hear a noise of one of the windows banging and I scream! ...okay this is what is going through my head, 'the windows are being ripped from the flesh of this house, and a tornado has come to suck Elizabeth and me away, but its okay because I LOVE JESUS and the last thing that I did on earth was the best day of my life!'.....turns out Rachel came up to see if they were closed but she didnt see me because we should be asleep, and I didnt see her because she came up the stairs as silent and quickly as the rain enveloped our pretty day.

Okay skipping on to dinner. Jacob went to sleep around 6:45 and Andreas' brother was going to watch over him while Andreas, Rachel, Hannah, David, Elizabeth, and I went on a nice ride to a restaraunt. Little did we know that this would top the untopable restaraunt we ate at the night before! I put a picture up of our mountain side\lake view under yellow umbrellas and in an authentic Austrian restaraunt. It was unbelievable! Elizabeth and I both had Wiener Snitzel (what we all associate with a hot dog). Wiener Snitzel is veal cutlets with a breading and a hint of lemon. It was delicious and to me it tasted like chicken fried chicken with a little bit different texture and tendency. FREAKIN YUM!

Afterwards we vistited a little chapel then made our way to another restaraunt not far away. This restaraunt is right next to the gandala that we wanted to take but didnt have the time. It has the best view, and the has the highest rate of attraction for tourists. Plus the owner is Rachels best friend Michelle which is from Austrialia...ironic eh? Anyway, Michelle, her husband and the others were so excited to have us we all had house champagne and a bowl of strawberry and vanilla icecream with a waffer in the middle. We laughed, drank, ate, and watched the sun hide making the sky look as though Id thrown my icecream and stained the sky. It was gorgeous...or beyond what I can describe. I put a picture there, but the is only a grain of the beach of the experience of actually seeing it yourself. Wish you could have come along.

I think Ill pack it in. Traum und...meaning dream well.