Halloween in Corfu Greece- PINK PALACE

Halloween in Corfu Greece

I was going to spend Halloween in Rome but then I got an amazing opportunity and a great deal to go to Corfu, Greece with Euroadventures. It was a last minute decision, and although I had some near-death experiences, it was well worth it.

The travel to Corfu, Greece took over 24 hours. We had to take a bus, a train, a cab, a bus, two boats, and a bus to get to the Pink Palace, our hostel we were staying in. When we finally got there it was Friday morning. I quickly signed up for the ATV safari tour that was going to take place in an hour. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was one of the most fun times I have had on the trip. Riding an ATV is such a fun experience, especially throughout Greece looking over the beaches and the beautiful scenery. The tour guides were very fun and took us to fun places and on cool paths! I was absolutely obsessed with ATV riding. I was actually pretty good compared to most of the girls and I felt quite proud of myself.

Later that night when we got back, everyone showered and got ready for dinner. We played a few card games at the bar before dinner and our group became instantly very good friends, even though I had just met them a day ago. We all sat together at dinner, and the food was quite good! After dinner we played a round of pool, which I ended up losing =/. Pink Palace then got pretty fun and everyone was dancing all night and having a great time. After dancing some of us went down to the beach to look at the stars. It was absolutely gorgeous. You were able to see so many shooting stars, I loved it.

The next morning I went on a booze cruise, which lasted all day. There were about 90 people packed on a boat made for like 50. (The boat didn’t even look like it could hold 50). We all sailed off and made our first stop at rocks to go cliff jumping. There were two rocks you could jump off of, a 70 foot one and a 50 foot one. Of course I chose to do the 70 foot one. However, to get to the top of these rocks you had to actually scale up the side of the cliff…real rock climbing…with no rope, ladder, or anything…in a bathing suit and sandals. It was probably the stupidest decision I have ever made in my life. It was quite hard to find a place to put my hands and feet and I was wet and slippery and clinging to the side of a 70 foot cliff…not my wisest decision yet. It was taking everyone a long time to jump and I couldn’t understand why. My plan was to get up there and just jump without thinking. Well I then got to the top of the cliff and looked down, my second mistake. If you ever stand on top of a 70-foot cliff and look down to see that is where you will free fall to, it is pretty freaking scary. So before I could scare myself I jumped. The technique is:  half way down the jump you have to make a pencil. You cannot start off as a pencil because you will lean to the side. My third mistake: HALF WAY DOWN MY FREE FALL OF 70 FEET I HAD NO IDEA WHERE HALF WAY WAS AND I WAS NOT THINKING ABOUT PENCILING I WAS THINKING HOLY SHIT I AM FREE FALLING. I penciled too late and landed somewhat on my side. When I fell a friend immediately jumped off the boat into the water because I fell so terribly. As I made my way to the top of the water I thought I had broken a rib or popped my lung. I wasn’t thinking about swimming I was thinking about feeling my body parts. A friend came over to help me swim back. When I got out of the water I immediately had a bruise on my right thigh extending from my knee to my upper thigh. It was about a foot long and six inches wide and instantly purple. I had a huge bruise on my right ribcage and I had hurt my neck. Such an awesome thing to say I did but I would never ever do it again. I was in pain for a week. I was lucky though because the girl who jumped off the 50-foot rock before me actually broke her back and had to stay in Greece to get back surgery a week later. Yolo I guess 

Later that night was the toga party at the pink palace. I was in so much pain I did not even want to go but I rallied and went. The hostel gave everyone pink togas to wear and we ate dinner in them and then danced in them. Half way through the night the people who run the hostel put on a show for us. We all sat in a circle around the dance floor and they did tricks with fire, danced a Greek dance, lifted up chairs with their feet, and broke plates. They went around and broke a plate on everyone’s head. They even made a girl volunteer to sit on the ground in the circle and they broke 8 plates over her head at once. It was actually a pretty cool experience!

 The next morning I was in so much pain I just wanted to lie out on the beach and tan. Clouds were out, however, so that plan was a little hard. IN addition, Corfu had so many bees at this time of year I could not even sit still without being attacked by a bee. I am allergic to bees so I was constantly worried that I was going to get stung. My friend Joe asked me if I wanted to rent ATVs and go off on our own. I said yes, even though I knew it would hurt a lot and I would be in pain. We went through all of the paperwork, got o out ATVS and set off. Joe asked me which direction I thought would be best and I chose right…mistake number 1. We got about five feet and both ATVS shut off, we had to go back and get other ones…mistake number 2. We had been on the ATVS for about eight minutes and Joe said lets try this path (we were going to do a bit of off roading.) I was excited so I said sure…mistake number 3. We went up the path and it was a hill going up. It looked like a path that was going somewhere but it did not. We got to the top of a steep path and it went nowhere. We then had to maneuver our ATVS around in this small space so we could go back down the hill. I went first, only riding my break down the hill. I thought about walking it, but I seemed to be doing a good job and having a handle on it. When we got farther down, my ATV was going a bit faster because it was steep. A slight turn in the path came and the path became narrower. The side of my wheel went off the edge that was covered in grass. It started rolling down the side of a cliff and I had to jump off. I tried to grab the back of it with my hand to pull it back up but I did not even realize how heavy an ATV can be! I watched it roll a bit but I thought it would stop and Joe could help me bring it back to the top…WRONG. It rolled for about a second and then dropped 50 feet off the side of a cliff. I saw it smash onto the highway upside down, break into so many pieces and actually bounce off another cliff off the side of the highway. I was in absolute shock. My mouth dropped. I didn’t make a sound; I could not even believe what I just saw. Did this really happen? Did I just wreck a $2000+ ATV, did I almost just die? Did it really just fall off two cliffs? I looked at Joe and we both started laughing! You would think I would be crying but I did not believe what I just saw. I ran down to the bottom, slipped down the dirt path and scratched up my legs and everything and ran to the side of the second cliff. I could not even see my ATV. It flew down 50 feet and landed in someone’s backyard that I could not even see! Two men saw the ATV fall and stopped to find the driver. They saw that I was okay so they tried to help me look for my ATV. They couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Greek and we could not get our points across so they just left. Then it all started to kick in. I started shaking and crying. We were sort of far from the hotel, far enough for me not to walk. I walked back to a nearest gas station and Joe took his ATV back to the hotel to get someone to help us. When he got to the hotel he said to the receptionist after they asked, “back so soon?” he said my friend rode her ATV off two cliffs. Their faces I heard were priceless.

I sat at the gas station for 45 minutes waiting for someone to come. I was crying and bleeding and shaking. A nice woman at the gas station was from England and spoke English and she talked to me for a while and offered me something to clean up and some water. When the people from the hotel came I got in the truck and showed them where the ATV was. They were shocked. How did this even happen? They had to climb down the hill and drive down someone’s driveway around the corner to try to find this ATV. When it came back up it looked much better than I had actually anticipated. The frame was still there, the wheels were still on. It was missing all of the lights and was pretty banged up and all the wires were torn though. I let Joe go off and do more ATV exploring and I went back to the hotel. I immediately started hysterically crying because it was becoming more and more real.

I walked down the beach and saw one of the Euroadventures guys and he was very very nice to me. He helped me get some ice for my hand that I hurt and he calmed me down. He then went to the front desk with me while I got the bill and walked out to the ATV with me to assess the damages. Thank goodness for him because I felt very alone and he made me feel a lot better. They told me it was about $750 to replace the parts. That absolutely sucked. I could think of a lot better ways to spend that money. However as many people point out $750 is a good price to pay for still being alive.

For the rest of the day I really just relaxed, and thanked god I was alive. It was time to leave in a few hours to go to the long 24-hour+ ride back to Rome. The ride home was a bit painful, especially sitting in airplane seating with all of my bruises. It was fun though, we played some card games on the boat ride back and I enjoyed spending time with all of my new friends.

 I still keep in contact with my new friends and I have hung out with them a few times while I was in Rome. It was one of my most favorite and beautiful and adventure packed trips I have ever been on.  It sucked it had to pay so much money but hey I got a great story out of it. The men from the Pink Palace said that this was their record-setting week. They have never had someone get so hurt jumping off of the cliffs before (the girl who broke her back) and I was in the worst ATV crash that they have ever seen. YOLO?

Happy 21st Birthday Sheryl!!!!

Barcelona October 17-20.

Barcelona was my first trip that I took while abroad that I had to take a plane to. Up until this point I had only taken bus trips. I do not like to fly that much, I was a little nervous, but I did pretty good! The weekend before I was in the French Riviera and I got an ear infection. I was worried to fly because I was afraid it was going to hurt my ear. The entire flight and weekend in Barcelona I had a clogged ear and it was a bit of a pain and very uncomfortable =/

When we got to Barcelona we entered our hostel room to discover that our group was split up. Sheryl and Nikki and Danielle were in one room and Molly, Savannah, Jen, Becca and I were in a different room. When we opened our room we saw that we were with two guys but they weren’t there. We all went out for some food and then we got dressed and went out. There was a bar downstairs that we went to for a bit and then we took a walk to a local club. We were only out for a little bit but it was a good time. When we got back to our room we met our roommates. One was from France and the other was from Germany but lived in the French Rivera. They were about our age and we spent all night chatting with them and getting to know them. They were very nice young men.

The next day we got up rather early, went out for some breakfast and Statbucks coffee then we went to do some site seeing! We walked all around Barcelona. We saw the Sagrada Família , the park of Goul, La Rambla, and the markets. The park of Goul was the most amazing park I have ever been to. It was beautiful and filled with so much personality. 

By the time we were done with that day we were so hungry and tired. We got a quick bite to eat, took a nap, and prepared ourselves for the long night ahead. All of us went out together to get dinner for Sheryl’s birthday. I got Guacamole and chips with some chicken dish, it was pretty good. Most of my friends got paella but I do not like paella. Once we were done dinner we went back to the hostel to get dressed! This was the night we were celebrating Sheryl’s birthday and we were all wearing black dresses, colorful wigs, and crazy makeup. It took us a long time to get ready but when we were finally all done we looked amazing! When we walked down into the bar downstairs everyone was looking at us, asking us why we were dressed like that, we were the star of everywhere we went!

When we left the downstairs bar we then went to another bar, which was a make, your own drink bar! That was pretty interesting but low key. After that bar some of us decided to go back to the hostel while others went to a beach bar. I went back to the hostel and hung out with the boys from our room. They were very fun to talk to and I enjoyed their company.

The next morning we woke up early, went to get some Starbucks and then went off to the markets and the beaches. The beaches were beautiful! It was annoying, however, all the people trying to sell you beer, mojitos, massages, towels, etc. on the beach. It was cool that it was the middle of October and I was able to be in my bathing suit! It also was a topless beach so about half of the girls decided to stay topless. It was quite an experience to say the least!!! This was a very relaxing day. Later on at night we went to a nice restaurant where we all split peach wine and different tapas. It was very delicious. 

Later that night we all got ready together, spent an hour in the downstairs bar and were going to make our way to a beach club. Something happened, however, and I got separated from my group. I spent over an hour trying to find them but one of the guys from the hostel and I could not find them so we just decided to go back. Everyone had a fun night that night and I was jealous that I missed out. Hopefully I go back to Barcelona one night so I get to experience the nightlife a bit more.

 The next morning we woke up, ate breakfast and then had to catch our flight back to Rome. I liked Barcelona, it was fun. I did not like the food there, however. I could never study there. I had a lot of fun dressing up in wigs, I hope I get the chance to do that again. The topless beach was such a fun experience. I also liked the boys we met in our hostel. It is so much fun to travel to meet people from all over the world and make new friends. All in all it was such a fun weekend, a weekend I will never forget. 

My Adventures in the French Rivera

On October 10-13th I went to the French Rivera with Bus2Alps with my two friends Molly and Marc. It was a last minute decision and I booked the trip the day before, but it was a trip well worth it!!

The trip was only a 6-hour bus ride, which seems pretty short compared to the 12+ bus rides I have been taking each weekend. When we got there it was about 11:00pm. We checked into our 12-person hostel and everyone fell asleep to get a good night sleep for the next day!

The next morning we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hostel and then went on a walking tour of Nice. The tour guide was from out hostel and he gave a nice overview of the history of Nice. We then walked to the top of a hill and took great pictures overlooking Nice and the beautiful sea. 

After the walking tour Molly, Marc and I and few people decided to go Scuba Diving! It was such an amazing experience. For only 40 Euro we got to go out on a boat for 3 hours, and get a private 20-minute dive with a professional instructor! It was such a beautiful day and the surroundings are amazing! Right above where we went scuba diving was brad pitt’s house!! Scuba Diving was so much fun but it was difficult to get the handle on breathing from a tank under water. You have to focus on breathing, looking at the fish, keeping still, and popping your ears. I saw so many cool looking fish though! My instructor even let me pick this one living creature up! I do not even know what it was. It looked like a jellyfish type creature! Then I found a shiny shell from the bottom of the ocean and I brought it home with me!

We got to go diving in wet suits and everyone took theirs off after they went diving. They changed into their clothes and were freezing! I, however, kept my wetsuit on for the remainder of the boat ride and I was very warm! I looked very silly but at least I was warm!!

 When we got back from scuba diving we were all starving because we had not eaten anything since lunch! We basically raided a bakery and got so much food haha. We bought baguettes, cookies, sandwiches, and pastries and pigged out! We walked back to our hostel and took showers and took a quick nap before the night.

We ate dinner at the hostel that night and then went out to a bar with out Bus2Alps tour guides. When we got there the soccer game was playing on a giant screen and it was so cool to watch! Then a live band came on and played a bunch of 90s music. Everyone was getting up on the tables and dancing, it was a good time!

The next morning we got up early to go to Eze! Eze was absolutely one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been. The little town was so cute filled with so many different shops, winding roads, and stone buildings. It had SO much character. I want to go back to that place one day. We then went up to the top of a hill to visit Eze’s famous garden. The garden was filled with plants and flowers and cactuses and it over looked Nice and the sea. It was one of the most gorgeous scenes I have ever seen. I did not want to leave.

When we were finished with the garden we decided to get lunch. We got a crepe from a man who was selling them out of his house. It was a ham and cheese crepe and it was one of the

 Monaco for the day. We visited Monte Carlo and got to gamble in the Monte Carlo casinos! Although I did not win anything, I only spent 15 euro on slot machines. Some of the people we went with, however, won about 100 euro! After we spent a little bit of time walking around the city. We checked out the Prince of Monaco’s castle and overlooked the gorgeous view of Monte Carlo. After I had one of the most amazing Nutella crepes I have ever had! Once we finished our nice walk we got back on the bus and headed back home. We relaxed for a bit and then headed out to have dinner at an authentic French restaurant. It was amazing. It was a small little place with one man working there seating people, taking orders, clearing dishes and COOKING. It was so cool and he was so nice. For an appetizer I got this fried cheese ball. Everyone else who got them seemed to like them but the cheese was too strong for me. For dinner, though, I got veal in a mushroom sauce and it was AMAZING. The sides were a pureed broccoli and potatoes. For dessert I got a homemade peach pie and it was also to die for.

After dinner we were all so tired we decided to go home and sleep rather than go out that night. We got a good night sleep and we were all ready in the morning to go explore Antibes. Antibes was actually so beautiful. We explored the town just a bit but we decided to go to the markets and get a bunch of food and then sit on the beach and the jetty and have a picnic. Antibes is a beautiful beach town with a marina and beautiful beaches. I believe I could live there one day. It was a bit too cold to go swimming but I went in to my waist. After our picnic we walked around more and took some beautiful scenic pictures. Right before I went home I got a mango coconut smoothie and it was delicious! I brought that on the bus and then it was time to go back to Rome. I had so much fun in the French Rivera and I hope I can go back sometime soon.

“PROST!” – Oktoberfest in Munich Germany

Last weekend I went to Oktoberfest…

I have bee looking forward to going to Germany since I was a young girl because I am very German. I have heard a lot about Oktoberfest so I was very excited to experience a real German beer festival. This trip exceeded my expectations!

I went with a student travel company, Euroadventures. We left Rome at 7:00 and took a fast train to Florence to pick up students there and start the 9-hour bus ride to Munich, Germany. The bus rides are long to these places that I am visiting, but it is well worth it. I usually just try to sleep and when I wake up we are there!

When we arrived there it was about 5am. We had just enough time to change our clothes, grab a quick breakfast and then we headed off to stand in line at Oktoberfest. You have to get there early so you are one of the first people allowed in the tents so you can get a table. Over 6 million people go to Oktoberfest and hundreds of thousands of people are in a tent at one time. It is absolutely insane!

We decided to go into the Hofbrau tent on Friday morning. That is the tent where most international people go. We got in at 10 and found a table with standing room. We stayed there for a few hours and tasted the most delicious beer I have ever tasted and ate giant delicious pretzels and donuts. These were the best pretzels and donuts I have ever had in my life. Inside the tent was absolutely crazy! The beer maidens were carrying 11 steins at a time filled with beer. One stein holds about 2.9 beers! Everyone was singing and dancing to the music, standing on tables, chanting, and singing drinking songs. It was insane.

When we left the tent we went to another place where we could sit outside for a bit. We only stayed there for a little while and then decided to walk around the carnival. I went on two rides, the swings and a ride that takes you to the top and drops you. The rides were expensive but so fun! After I got a 1/2meter bratwurst sandwich and it was the best bratwurst I have ever had. It would remind you of an amped up hotdog. It was amazing!!

We left Oktoberfest after this to go back to the hostel and take a nap before we went out again at nighttime. Once we all woke up again we walked around Oktoberfest to find a tent to get back into. Unfortunately, we did not know that it is very difficult to get back into tents later at night. Thankfully we were able to get into an area outside a tent called Hacker. That was just as fun as being in a tent. I was with Molly, Maria, Meaghan, Jen, Mark, Steve, and Joe at this point. We met some very fun people to talk to from Germany and from Ireland. It is fun meeting people from other countries and learning about them and their culture. This was one of my most fun nights.

Then next morning we woke up very early, grabbed breakfast, and stood in line for another tent. This was a very German tent. When we got in there we were too late to get our own table. Instead we found a table of 16-year-old German boys who were willing to let me, Jen, Meaghan, Maria, Joe, and Steve join them. They were young, but very mature for their ages. They told us a lot about German culture and we asked them tons of questions. They were fun to hang out with, very lively and spirited. It became very packed as the day went on and the band was playing so many good songs. Because this was a German tent they played SOOO many German songs and drinking songs. I was able to learn how to sing German drinking songs and the word for cheers “Prost!” Everyone was standing on the tables and dancing the entire time. It was one of the most exciting experiences I have had so far!

After the tent we decided to go home and take a rest before the nighttime! When we came back to the tents we went to the same place as the night before, Hacker. We sat outside again. I got schnitzel for dinner and it was so delicious. I loved every single bite. We stayed there for a while and danced a bit outside! This was more of a relaxing night. Later on Andrew I lost everyone so we decided to find a new tent to go into at the last minute. We walked up to the most popular tent that was not letting anyone in all weekend, it was pretty exclusive. We stood in line and they denied us. Then a random drunk man looked at us and said, “Are you two lovers from New York City?” We obviously weren’t at all but we just said yes. He then handed us two wristbands and sent us right in side. It was weird but awesome!! We went inside and were able to catch a few songs before it closed!

When we got back to our hostel we met a room full of men from Denmark who were staying in the room next door. We hung out with two of them who happened to be in the Navy in Denmark. They were fun to hang out with for a few hours in the hostel.

The next morning we woke up at a decent time and decided to go to see a concentration camp. We saw Dachau Concentration camp. We spent about 2 hours there and it was a very eye opening experience to see. You cannot even explain the feeling you get at being in a concentration camp to someone unless they have been there. Standing in the prison rooms, the dorms, and the crematorium are beyond anything that words can explain.

After Dachau we boarded onto the bus for our 12-hour bus ride back to Rome. We got home at 4am in the morning and we were exhausted from the weekend. I had lost my voice on Friday afternoon and did not get it back until Tuesday morning. It was a great time and I hope one day I can go back.

Now today I am off to the South of France to the French Riveria!

(If you are wondering about school, school is going fine. My classes are good, it is right around Mid-terms which is a bit stressful, especially when all you can think about is traveling, but I am pushing through. I like most of my classes and teachers. I also am learning a bit more Italian which is exciting because I can begin to understand people more! I also have a lot to worry about when it comes to classes next semester and finding a job. Being a senior abroad is a bit more tricky.)

A Weekend on the Amalfi Coast

So it has been a little bit since I have written because I have had relative no free time! It is right around midterms and I have been super busy studying, writing papers, and going on life-changing and amazing trips.

Not this weekend but last weekend, September 27th to September 29th the program that I am studying abroad with, API, took our group of 50 API students on a trip to the Amalfi coast. It was prepaid through the program so I did not have to pay for this program!

We left on Friday morning and took a bus ride, maybe around four hours, to get to Mount Vesuvius. When we got there we were able to hike the active volcano to the top. It was quite the hike, very steep, but so worth it. We were so high up that we were actually in the clouds! I wish it were not as cloudy that day because it obstructed the awesome view a bit. We had to wait for certain clouds to pass and then we could overlook Naples below. We got some amazing pictures, and I even took a rock, a piece of the volcano, home with me for a souvenir.

After about two hours at the volcano we left for the town of Sorrento. The hotel we stayed at in Sorrento was quite nice and I was rooming with my three roommates from back in Rome. We got in to Sorrento around 5:30. Everyone relaxed for a bit and then got changed for the big family dinner. Around 7:00 we all walked to a nice restaurant in Sorrento, which had three huge long tables for the 50 of us to sit at. The waiters and waitresses were so accommodating bringing us out two types of bread, waters and sodas all night when they were empty. For our first course we had an appetizer, which was different types of meats and mozzarella. It was absolutely delicious! Our second meal was a pasta dish famous in Sorrento. It was a type of gnocchi with an orange sauce…it was out of this world! Then for dessert we had a lemon cake. Sorrento is known for their lemon-flavored products. The cake was good but it was also very rich, you could not eat a lot of it!

After dinner we all walked back to the hotel. Right outside my room and another group’s room there was an enclosed terrace. About all 50 of us spent a good part of the night sitting on the terrace, talking and laughing. One really good thing about our group of API students is that we all get along so well. It really is like one big family.

After we sat around on the terrace for a bit we decided to go out and explore Sorrento at night. It was fun because there was a big crowd of us. We went dancing at a nice place that was located outside and our group took up a lot of the dance floor.

The next day we had to wake up early and catch a ferry to Capri. We grabbed a quick breakfast in the hotel and then jumped on the ferry. The ferry was about 20 minutes. When we landed in Capri it was amazing! One of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen. Clear clear blue waters. Blue grotto. Cliffs like you have never seen before. I absolutely fell in love. We had a scheduled boat tour when we first got there, so all 50 of us loaded onto a boat. All of us sat up top or on the front of the boat. It was such a nice and beautiful sunny day. This might have been one of my favorite moments so far. I had missed the sea and the sea wind blowing in my hair. I got some of the most amazing pictures of the beautiful scenery and of the Mediterranean.

After the boat tour we were own our own for the rest of the day. A big group of us decided to take a bus ride to the top of Capri for a scenic look and some lunch. The bus ride to the top was insane though! It was so packed people could barely move. The bus driver was also crazy. It is a one-way road to the top and he was going very fast! If you look out the window you are so close to the edge…of a cliff. I could barely look, I just held my camera to the window to take the pictures for me.

When we got to the top we broke up into smaller groups. 6 of us had a nice little lunch. I had a Panini with mozzarella, tomatoes, oregano and olive oil. It was very tasty. Then we decided to take a lift to the top top of Capri to see the gorgeous view. The lift would remind you of a ski lift. I do not like heights very much and I thought it was very scary. I almost did not want to go but my friends convinced me to…It was scary. You were dangling at the top of this rope with a cart attached to it going higher and higher up a mountain!! The view on the way up was gorgeous though and it was beautiful when you were up there. We were so high up we were literally inside clouds.

When we were done exploring the top of Capri we decided to go back down to the bottom and swim in the Mediterranean. Our plan was to go cliff jumping but we ran out of time, which made me really sad. We jumped off little rocks though, about 10 feet high and all swam in the water as a group. The water was the perfect temperature and so blue. I was in love.

When we got back to the hotel that day everyone was so tired, we took a quick nap and then we were on our own for dinner. About six of us went out to get an authentic Sorrento cuisine. I got homemade lasagna, which was AMAZING! Some other people got pizzas and one other person got seafood risotto. There was not a single complaint from any of us. Then for dessert I got a chocolate and coconut cake and my friend got a fruit tart smothered in rum. Mine was to die for, his was a little strong!

That night a good 20 of us hung out in my room just chatting and laughing. We then decided to go out again, to the same place we went the night before and go dancing again because it was so fun! The second night was even more fun than the first night!

In the morning we woke up early and took a bus to leave for Pompeii. That was about an hour drive. Pompeii might be one of my favorite historical sites I have seen since I have been here. It was literally amazing!!! I never knew the story of Pompeii, but we were explained the story and actually able to see the ruins. In the year 79 A.D mount Vesuvius erupted. The volcano buried the town of Pompeii under 40 feet of volcanic ash. The ash poured across the land burying the town and all of the people in it. Two thousand people died. The city was abandoned for many years. In 1748 a group of explorers rediscovered the sight and found that most of it was intact just still covered in debris. They dug it out and found buildings, artifacts, and skeletons. You were able to see what the city looked like during the time. You could tell which places were houses, restaurants, whorehouses, gyms, and places of recreation. I found it an absolutely amazing place to be. I was actually sad when the tour was over. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and I learned so much. After the tour we grabbed some authentic pizza and then headed back on the bus for home.

All in all it was an amazing trip filled with so many exciting sites. Climbing an active volcano, looking at blue blue waters of the Mediterranean, standing on the top of a mountain looking over Capri, swimming in the Mediterranean, and walking around a city where thousands of years ago two thousand people died from the explosion of the active volcano I hiked.

“Get Busy Living” Day 2

The next day we woke up at 8:00, went downstairs and had some breakfast at the hotel and then headed over to Outdoor Interlaken for our canyoning excursion! We were introduced to our instructor and the four other people in our group that we did not know. All 10 of us instantly became really great friends! We got suited up in our more intense wetsuits and helmets than yesterday and we were off. Everyone had a nickname on his or her helmet and mine was “Pee Wee” hahah. We took about a 20-minute drive to the top of a mountain and then began our excursion. I feel like I can barely explain how amazing the experience was. It was the most liberating, scariest and adventurous thing I have ever done. We were sliding down canyon slides and jumping off rocks! I jumped off a 30 foot rock! We went walking through the inside of a canyon! The water was freezing! It was melted glacier water! The people we went with though were awesome everyone was cheering the other people on and helping each other up and holding on to each other. I fell in love with this experience. The only way to explain how amazing this experience was is to show it so we had to buy the video. This is the link https://www.hightail.com/dl?phi_action=app/orchestrateDownload&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hightail.com%2Ftransfer.php%3Faction%3Dbatch_download%26send_id%3D2322005006%26email%3D53ae8aa26797c4347bb4a03edc8f9f25.

After canyoning we decided to grab some lunch at a thai place, which was awesome!! After Molly, Marc, Steve and I took an adventure to the top of Harder Kulm. We took an 8 minute straight up to the top train ride. It would remind you of a cable car, train and roller coaster mix. It was terrifying. The train takes you 4338 feet in the air to the top of this overlook mountain. When you get there there is a balcony that is just hanging off of this mountain which is 4338 feet in the air! Everyone stands on this balcony and takes pictures. It is one of the most beautiful scenes you will ever see but it is also partially terrifying!

Later that night we went under our hostel, which used to be a bomb shelter but it was turned into a bar. It was actually a really cool scene! We saw all of the people on our trip and all of the different instructors who had helped us do our sports the days before! They were very friendly and nice!

It was very sad the next morning to leave! I wish I could have stayed for a month it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. On the way home we stopped for two hours in Lake Como for lunch and to walk around. After that I was on the bus for another 8 hours. I had so much fun but it was so sad to leave. I just know I will be going back one day! =)

“Get Busy Living”- Interlaken Switzerland Day 1

This past weekend I went to Interlaken Switzerland with three friends. Oh.my.goodness…I have to say it was one of the best weekends I have ever had in my life thus far. First off, the swiss alps are beautiful, second off the people are so nice, and the water sport activities I did were so intense!!

I took a bus with three friends and we left on Thursday. We went with a company Bus2Alps which offers a cheap way to travel Europe by a bus and booking hostels. The bus ride was about 12 hours (which was not the most fun part of the trip) however, the time seemed to pass by rather quickly. When we arrived in Interlaken it was about 6:00 am and we were exhausted. We took a quick nap until about 9:30am, then grabbed some breakfast and started one of the most fun adventures I have ever been on.

This past weekend I went to Interlaken Switzerland with three friends. Oh.my.goodness…I have to say it was one of the best weekends I have ever had in my life thus far. First off, the Swiss Alps are beautiful, second off the people are so nice, and the water sport activities I did were so intense!!

I took a bus with three friends and we left on Thursday. We went with a company Bus2Alps that offers a cheap way to travel Europe by a bus and booking hostels. The bus ride was about 12 hours (which was not the most fun part of the trip) however; the time seemed to pass by rather quickly. When we arrived in Interlaken it was about 6:00 am and we were exhausted. We took a quick nap until about 9:30am, then grabbed some breakfast and started one of the most fun adventures I have ever been on.

That day we were scheduled to go white water rafting at 3:30pm, so we decided to explore the town of Interlaken. My breath was instantly taken away when I walked around this town; it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The Swiss Alps were all around you and you could see the snow capped mountains in the distance. Above your head were paragliders soaring through the skies and on the ground there were friendly people everywhere. During our walk we stopped into a chocolate shop and oh.my.goodness…Swiss chocolate is the best thing you have ever tasted. I immediately bought a piece for me to eat and then purchased a box for a few bars and myself for my family back at home! We walked around for three hours exploring the shops and taking numerous pictures (over 300+). Then we stopped for lunch and decided to taste some of the local food. I got bratwurst with French fries (these fries however were unlike anything I have ever tasted. The closest comparison would be to a ramen noodle). After our lunch we decided to rest up for our white water rafting adventure!! When we got to the Outdoor Interlaken place the instructors were very friendly and helped us into our wetsuits. I felt so legit in these suits! It was a tight wet suit with a wet suit jacket, a life vest, a helmet and special shoes! It was quite a funny scene seeing everyone dressed up in these! We then took about a 20-minute bus ride to the water rafting location, were explained some safety rules and then we were on the water!! 

I have been white water rafting before but only on the Delaware River. Nothing compared to white water rafting through the Swiss Alps! We were literally paddling through melted clear glacier water! The intensity of the rapids was not too high so it made the rafting experience quite peaceful. It was beautiful to look back and forwards and all around you at the mountains, the beautiful scenery and just being in Switzerland!! Our instructor, Julian, was a sweetheart and very knowledgeable. He told us about all of the different mountains and scenery we were passing and even gave us a good recommendation for a place to go to dinner! I cannot imagine ever going white water rafting again because the experience and the scenery I saw in Interlaken can never be topped! 

Later that night we went to the place that Julian recommended and we got one of the most local dishes in Switzerland called Rosti, otherwise known as a potato pancake. It was delicious! However, food in Switzerland is very very expensive so the dish was rather pricy! After a nice dinner with my three friends and one of the boys we met on the rafting trip we decided to go back to the hostel and get some sleep. We were very tired from only getting a few hours of sleep that night and from white water rafting. Plus, we knew that we had to wake up early the next morning to go cannoning!

Under the Tuscan Sun

This weekend the program I am studying abroad through, API, took all fifty of us to tuscany to do a wine tasting and to explore Tuscany. We boarded the bus early Friday morning, some of us not ready to be awake that early, and we headed for Tuscany! It was a little over four hours for the bus ride, but it went relatively quick. When we got there we arrived at Montepuiciao and walked through the historical city. (Fun fact: that was the place that they shot Twighlight’s New Moon.) Then we headed for a guided visit through the town’s historical wine cellars, which was amazing to see where they keep the wine and the process they go through to age the wine! There were medieval tools and artifacts dating back to Etruscan times! Then we went above the cellars and had a wine tasting. We were given an appiertivo which consisted of three different kinds of cheeses, six different kinds of meat, bread, and two little biscotti with different dips. In addition we were able to taste three different types of red wine, two from 2010 and one from 2007. After the wine tasting we had the opportunity to buy a bottle. The most tasty wine was the one from 2007, which had been aged longer, so I bought one bottle. It was 20 Euro, not too bad. Then we departed for Castigilion where we were to stay in our hotel for the night. We had free time  to enjoy the pool and just relax. Some of us went to the pool for a bit, but it was somewhat chilly. I just spent the rest of the day chatting with some of the people from the program and getting to know my friends a bit better. Later on that night we had dinner at the hotel which was very good. Our first course was a pasta with meat in it, and our second course was bread crusted pork chops with potatoes and our dessert was a chocolate pudding. After dinner everyone from the program decided we wanted to go exploring. We walked up a hill which was a little bit away from our hotel and found a nice little piazza with a great view, park, and fun activities for the night. We also ran into a salsa club that was extremely popular that night so we went in and got our salsa on!

The next day we woke up early for breakfast and then headed out to Cortona! Cortona is right between Arezzo, Perugia, Florence and Siena and it looks right over the Umbrian valleys. It was an amazing spot to experience the heart of Italy. The views were incredible and literally took my breath away. We enjoyed a nice guided tour of the city and learned it’s history. After we had about two hours to explore the city on our own and get food and go shopping! I enjoyed two slices of pizza (not uncommon I have had pizza every day, sometimes two times a day since i have been here) Every region has a different way of making pizza though, it was a lot different than the pizza I have been having in Rome. However, I loved them both equally!!! I then went shopping and it was a great day for shopping. It was a Saturday so there were many markets and stands up selling fruits, shoes, candies, purses, clothing, etc. I was able to find great deals on purses and I actually bought 3!! After that we left Cortona and headed for the Thermal Baths! Southern Tuscany has abundant mineral-rich thermal spring waters which were founded by ancient Etruscans. These thermal baths were AMAZING! Exactly what we needed after a long few days of walking and exploring. It was so relaxing and peaceful. What made it even better was that we were with a huge group and my most closest friends I have made from the trip were there with me. After that we departed home, back to Rome. It was about three hours which seemed long but the bus ride was actually comical and it went by fast.

This trip was very entertaining, relaxing, informative, and exciting! I feel like I got to bond more with the people I will be spending my time with for the next four months! All in all I am loving Rome and I am enjoying it here more than I ever thought!

Now its off to my first full week of learning. I almost forgot I am here to study! Arrivederci! 

First Day of Classes

I really enjoyed spending the weekend exploring Rome and seeing the Parthanon, the Colosseum, Trastevere (the town I live in), and the Vatican (I went to stand in St. Peters Square on Sunday morning to listen to the pope address the crowd, it was one of the most magical and moving experiences I have had so far). I feel like I have become much closer to my roommates and friends I have met. We have planned family dinners once a week and we are planning trips to visit other countries together!

Monday, however, started the first day of classes at my new school John Cabot University. I wasn’t nervous at all, I was just very excited! I enjoyed my classes on Monday, I just know it is going to take a little while to understand some of the heavy accents of my professors. My classes on Tuesday were my Economics and Finance classes and I actually enjoyed them the most. My professors seem very smart and I am excited for them to give me a more international perspective on Economics and Finance. 

I have already planned out a schedule with my friends around what time we are going to eat between classes and when we are going to walk home together! Although it stinks that  the vacation period is over and I have to start classes as a senior, I am in one of the most amazing cities in the world. When in Rome right?