Friday, November 03, 2006

so scotland was great. we took an overnight bus from oxford to edinburgh which took about 9 hours. i got carsick on the bus- not a fun experience. we got to edinburgh at about 730 in the morning and got all bundled up to walk out of the bus station and it was pouring and really really windy. so we ended up sitting in burger king for a long time before we caught the shuttle to our hostel. then we watched braveheart, bc we had to wait a few hours before we could check in. then we took a nap. haha it sounds like we werent really taking full advantage of where we were, but we were just tired. that night we went out to eat with some americans we met at the hostel, and one of the girl's parents,grandparents and great grandparents had all gone to acu, but she ended up at belmont in nashville. that was kinda crazy. the next day we went on a twelve hour bus tour that took us into the highlands and loch ness! it was amazing, and made me really love scotland. the trees were all changing colors and it was just beautiful. our guides name was garry, and he had this speech problem and he would always say things like loch nessssss, riversssssss, mountainssssss, streamsssssss. he even did it on some th sounds and f sounds sometimes.

these are all pictures of the highlands. it was really foggy and cloudy, and some of them were taken through the window of the bus, so they arent all that great.









this is a highland cow named hamish.

these are all from loch ness. garry told us some crazy facts about, which i feel compelled to share bc really they are sorta unbelievable. scotland has over 30,000 lakes, loch ness is 23 miles long, and in some places 900 feet deep! the eiffel tower would fit in the lake and not stick out. and this is the craziest one- you could double the worlds population and everyone would fit in the lake and there would still be room. we were in shock when garry laid that one on us, i dont know how you could really even figure something like that out.



this is urqhart castle, with loch ness in the background.


we took a boat out on to loch ness and it was COLD and windy.



thats when i saw nessie.


we ate lunch at the cafe where jk rowling wrote a lot of the first hary potter book.


we went to the national museum of scotland, and this is a mask that a guy would wear so that no one know who he was when he was preaching against the catholic church.


"do you know how to spell guillotine?"-me


edinburgh castle.


the royal mile.

ok sorry it took me forever to put up these pictures, i had a lot of stuff due right when we got back, and then i went to switzerland, where i just got back from a few hours ago. ill put up some of those pictures in the next few days.

Friday, October 20, 2006

i just got back from a week traveling around italy, and it is now my new favorite place in the world.
we started out in rome and saw all the typical tourist sights, but we spent the first day at the beach, which was so great. we rented chairs and just laid out there for about three hours, and i got one of my books for class finished.


we couldn never really decide the name of this beach, but it was pretty, and there were quite a few topless people. i dont think i could ever get used to that.

we found this one gelato place that was amazing, and we went there every night. we also had the BEST tiramisu in the world at this one little place. italian food is one of my faves and rome did not disappoint.


the colosseum at night.


more colosseum.


our first dining experience in rome. we were sort of lost, and walked by this place and it looked good so we went in and it was.


me and g inside the colosseum. the maze like thing behind us is where the people and animals were kept before they were brought out to fight. there was a wooden flooring over it, but it was burned up or collapsed or something along time ago.


a better view of the inside. you can see where they built part of the flooring so you could see what it used to be like. it could hold 50,000 people and within the first 100 days of it's opening, 5000 wild animals were killed


these guys dressed up like gladiators, or maybe centurions, were walking around all over the place, trying to get people to pay to take pictures with them, but i was sneaky and got one from above. ha.


looks like sing song is a much older tradition than we thought, even the ancient romans had a sing song stage.


im pretty sure there was a lion in here at some point.


some ruins of the ancient city.


katie, me and kristin with the city behind us. the big white building with the statues on top is HUGE and was built for one of those world exhibitions. too bad the leveled parts of the ancient city to build it.


the pantheon. it was first used as a temple to seven different gods, but since the 7th century its been used as a basilica for the catholic church. the roof was the coolest part because it is this huge dome, but its not supported by arches, vaulting or ribs. i couldnt get a very good picture of it, because it was so big. the artist rafael is buried there.


a not very good picture of the trevi fountain. there were people everywhere, so we just sat for a while and people watched. we saw a lady with some sort of stick contraption getting money out of the fountain,and then a police woman came and followed her around. it was pretty funny.


the spanish steps, also covered with tons of people. we sat there for a while, but didnt climb them.

on friday, we went to the vatican and waited in this huge long line to get into the vatican museum. it took about an hour, and when we got in, we looked around for a while,saw a mummy, which was sick. then we set off to find the sistine chapel, and it felt like we were going through a maze. when we finally got there, it was super crowded and of course most of what you're supposed to look at is on the ceiling, so my neck started to hurt after a while. it was very beautiful though, but i wish i could just go in there and lay on the floor and see it. when we got out of the chapel, we were sick of looking at art so we left to go find a place to eat. then we went to st peter's basilica, which is where peter is supposed to be buried. we waited in line for a long time, then realized that it was for something that we didnt want to do so we got out and walked around in the tombs of the popes. then we went into the basilica and that was crazy. ive never seen something so grandly decorated in my whole life. there were paintings and statues everywhere, and it was HUGE! we kept trying to follow tour guides that spoke english, and one fact i picked up was that the building is absolutely the biggest it could possibly be, otherwise it wouldnt be able to stand. also there are dead popes in glass cases in different places throughout the basilica. they sorta look like statues laying down, but they really are the remains of the popes, it was a little weird to me.

the next day we caught a train to cinque terre, which are five little towns on these hills next to the mediterranean sea. it was gorgeous, and we stayed in this amazingly clean and nice hostel. it was in this tiny little town, that only had one restaurant and one little grocery store in it. the restaurant turned out to be really good and we had dinner both nights with some australians and new zealanders from our hostel.


this is the view out of our window. i decided that this is my new vacation spot- who needs ruidoso?

the next day we took a bus to the first of the five towns- riomaggiore. we did a little shopping and then walked to the next town. between the first two, there is a paved walkway and its real easy. the next one was a little more difficult and from then on we just took the train. the towns were all so cute,and i went a little crazy on the shopping. i had the best,or maybe second best pizza of my life- cheese pizza with pesto. so good. at the last town we sat on the beach for a little while.


the jetty in riomaggiore.




you can see the trail we walked on in this one, and the water was soo blue!


someone caught a shark in the second town, manarola


this is one of the towns, i think riomaggiore.


i just like this one.


we climbed down these stairs to get to this big rock that we sat on for a while.


me on the big rock.


the beach in monterosso.


the sunset we saw on our train ride back to the hostel. we were all scrambling to get good pictures of it everytime the train stopped. once we got to train station, we discovered that we had missed the last bus to the hostel, so we had to wait about an hour for taxis to come get us. it was quite an experience, but we got to hang out with the aussies and new zealanders, so it was fun.

i took a ton more pictures, but most of them look a lot alike. it was soo beautiful though and if any of you ever go to italy, i definitely recommend going to cinque terre. i wish we could've spent a few more days there.

next on our trip was venice, and it was amazing too. i cant really pick between cinque terre and venice as to which was my favorite bc cinque terre was soo beautiful, but venice is just a cool place. we actually got to stay in a hotel there and that was soo nice. we had a lot of great food and found a lot of cute stores, and i went a bit crazy with the shopping there too. we didnt really do too much except walk around, shop, eat and ride on the boats. gondolas are like 90 bucks so we opted to use the public transportaion boats.


the grand canal. you can see one of the boats like what we road around on. they even have little boat taxis.




one of the canals.


more gondolas.


me and dre on the ponte rialto, one of three bridges that goes over the grand canal.


turns out freckles made his way to Venice. lucky.


more gondolas. I love black and white pictures.


I also love sepia.


we love trying to take pictures of all four of us, this was on our last boat ride.

we are back in school for about a week before our next break-im going to scotland! we also found out that we have another break between now and thanksgiving, so im going to try and make it to ireland. my family is coming over thanksgiving and we're going to florence for a few days and im pretty pumped about that. it's pretty hard to do school when the real reason i came here was to travel, but its not too bad. hope all is well with all of you! much love!