Friday, December 20, 2013

Day 15--Vatican City

May 3rd, 2012

Arrivederchi Roma! Buon giorno Vatican City. And buon giorno indeed. Holy holy, is it a prerequisite to be a sexy Italian man to protect the Pope. My word. Hot. Everywhere. So we had the most amazing tour guide for The Vatican. She knew everything. She legit had a lady boner for The Vatican. The small courtyard we started in was so pretty! I love churches and cathedrals. She showed us a small replica of the ceiling of the Sistine Chape depicting the story of Jesus on one side and Moses on the other and the middle photos and what they represent. They are so cool! The Last Judgment was talked about, too and this is beyond amazing. The facts she gave us were so cool just explaining the different sections. So excited to see it live!

Walked through some sculptures which were pretty cool. Saw the porfino marble that takes 1 hour to cut 3 cm. Shit son. Then we walked through some beautiful tapestries and paintings. THEN out of nowhere the guide tells us we’re going through the Borgia apartments. Say. What? I didn’t even know this existed! And that they were preserved! Eep! The Pope after them didn’t want to touch the rooms because of all the horrible things that happened there. Sad yes. But so cool! I was standing in the same rooms Rodrigo, Lucrezia, and Cesare were in. Holy hell. Pun intended. I could NOT get over it. Wow. And so unexpected! I did know some of the stuff she talked about which made me feel pretty damn awesome.

Then it was the Sistine Chapel!! Not as big as I pictured it but wow. I know many people wont get it or appreciate it which I get. T and I were the only Catholics on the trip. Represent! If I wasn’t I probably wouldn’t have really enjoyed it. So anyways, it was so breathtaking. I couldn’t grasp that I was looking at the legit artwork of michaelangelo. So moving. Bought a magnet and a rosary for Nonna. Then walked around St. Peter’s Square and stood in 2 places at once! Italy and Vatican City! Seriously, the structures around the square are gorgeous. Perfect day. Just loved it. Everything is so beautiful. Now it’s off to Venice!

The 2 hour nap we passed off as a night of sleep finally caught up to us all. Rach had puked approximately 4 times by now. Relaxing evening. Fantastic dinner. Journal time for the evening. SO EXCITED FOR VENICE TOMORROW!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day 14--Rome, Italy

May 2nd, 2012

Viva la Roma!! The tour group hijacked the bus to the Metro station and into Rome we go! We started out at the Spanish Steps that was filled with flowers. Gorgeous. The plaza around it is so pretty. I love it here already. After the steps we walked to the Trevi Fountain. Eeep!!! Holy crap it is huge! And stunning! Seriously, words, pictures, nothing can do this justice! It is so pristine and clean looking. The sculptures are way more interesting and pretty than I thought. I enjoyed this SO much more and was so much more impressed than I thought I would be.

So they say, if you throw 2 coins over your opposite shoulder the first coin grants you a wish, the second coin guarantees your return to Rome. So romantic *sigh*. Of course, we all did that. Cross your fingers my wish comes true! There is also a drinking fountain to the side and the story goes that if you drink out of it your virginity is returned to you. Teresa and Rachel are going to have to drink quite a lot, haha. I drank it too even though clearly I didn’t need any help in this area. Still, ya gotta do it. When in Rome, right? I love this fountain. I just want to sit here and stare all day. Definitely in awe.

Then it was on to the Pantheon. Holy shit. This building is huge and epic and has been standing since 27 BC. Are you for real?! It. Was. Incredible. Oh my gosh, I couldn’t believe how old it is and how so many important people so long ago met here and discussed important things. Its unbelievable. Truly. The inside had beautiful altars and the hold in the ceiling is the only source of light so they obviously have a drainage system in the middle of the floor. Crazy!

Gelato shop was our next stop and had roughly 100 flavors. Caramel, tiramisu, and kit kat. Solid choice. After that we went to the Victor Emmanuelle Memoirial. Wow, I mean wow. It is intense! First, it’s huge. Nexty, it is so white and bright it almost glows. And after that, it is so intricate and detailed its literally insane. I could not believe how effing gorgeous it is. This is the man that nified Italy. Yay! But I guess to build it they had to destroy a lot of Roman ruins that included a medieval village. That quite sucks. The locals hate it for that reason and that it is so white it doesn’t fit in with the surrounding browns. Whatevs. I think its gorgeous. And they hve two eternal flames for the toms of the unknown soliders. Very cool.

We also saw Mussolini’s balcony where he lied to the Italian people during WW II about how he was going to restore Italy to its former glory. Lying bastardo.

After that a short walk to the Coliseum!! They view on the way there is breathtaking. Rome is officially my favorite city. Everything is so old and the ruins are so beyond beautiful. I want to stay and never leave. All of it I just want to take with me

SO! The Coliseum. Um, yeah. So. Frickin. Cool. First, the actual structure itself is everything and more of what I imagined. Its immense and old and just so amazingly cool. We ended up buying tickets from a tour guide who would give us a guided tour as well as entrance into the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum that also includes a guided tour. Our tour guide was incredible. He knew everything! It was so interesting and so worth doing. He walked us through the small rooms they got ready in, where they went oup through the floor, where they slept and the entrance they walked through. Wow.

It was absolutely beautiful inside. The floor was not there and you could see the tunnels of the Coliseum where they used pulleys to lift people up into the arena. Little unknown face for me was gladiators were a huge financial investment and because of that the battles between gladiators rarely ended in death; weird. Only 1 in 10 actually died in battle. And a lot of times the people would use hand gestures (thumb tucked in fist to stay alive) to signify what they wanted to happen to the losing gladiator (thumb sideways to kill them). At the end of the day thought it was the Emperor who decided life or death. I also didn’t know that animal were the first creatures to fight in the arena. People would spend tons of money to import exotic animal to fight. Weird. Oh! They also flooded it one time to stage naval battles with ships. WTF?! How cool is that?! Like I couldn’t believe that! Amazing. We also went in a small tunnel/room where they threw the dead bodies. Ugh, it still stunk like they were there yesterday. Ick.

After the tour we walked around and took some pics; had a very nutritious and late lunch of Pringles and it was off to the Palatine Hill tour which I hd never head of until today. Oops. So this place of ruins used to be a palace. It if effing huge! Parts of the wall are still standing and actual pieces of the marble floor are there. It was so wicked cool to see. PS-our tour guide is a legit voide twin to Robin Leach. That shit was crazy. You close your eyes and you couldn’t tell the difference. Amazing.

The palace was really interesting to see actually, moreso than I thought it would be. I kept trying to imagine what this place looked like when it was in all its glory. Probably ridiculously lavish. Most interesting story was about one of the men who lived here and used to have like 50 course dinners and for people to accommodate the massive amounts of food, they would have people in the bathroom tickle their throats with feathers to make them throw up. Then they would go back out there and keep eating. Ew.

Sidenote: after the Coliseum, Palatine Hill, and reading Julius Caesar, I have come to the conclusion that Suzanne Collins was so inspired by Roman history. All this stuff is in her books. From the puking, to the arena, the fight to the death, the fighters coming up from the floor, the names, all of it! Incredible! It is unreal and totally amazing. She is even cooler than I thought.

After the hill we did a quick walk through the Forum and took a pic of T stabbing me. Et tu, Brute? Famished—walked around until we found a restaurant. The entire staff was very attentive…and creepy. Meh. They gave us free champagne, so whatever.

Eventually made it back to near the Spanish Stephs. Long story short, Jarrah wanted to buy sunglasses so we went into a lot of the high end stores; Louis Vuitton, D&G, Burberry, etc. to try and find some. Well, she is so damn indecisive she can’t make up her effing mind and I’m dragging ass with this task because I don’t give a shit. They’re sunglasses. C’mon, it’s not that big of a deal. We literally walked in and out of each of these stores at least twice. Back and forth, back and forth. What also grinded my gears is that it was getting late, stuff shuts down early, and the ONLY thing I wanted to do and that I’ve been talking about for days is go to this bookstore underground that Becs told me about.

I finally asked the lady in Max and Co. where it was and I snapped that I was going to find my bookstore and I’ll be back and hauled ass out of there. Probably not the best decision objectively but I have a short fuse, I’m irritated with this superficial material bullshit, and I want out for a few minutes. But honestly, I’ll take my chances against a mugger or rapist rather than take it out on Jarrah for a few reasons. One- I would feel bad about snapping on her. Two-awkward would not begin to describe the feelings of the next 9 days after my having exploded verbally at her. And three-at least my rage at a raist would be rage well spent…SO, off I went. Got slightly turned around BUT I did eventually find the bookshop! Yay! And no English books. Fuck. Me. Bookshop worker told me about the galleria and they have inglese libres. Success! Bought a non-fiction book about the Borgia family. Score. Done. Purchased. Finito. Let’s go before Teresa ends up calling my mother to tell her I ran off alone in Rome. That rage I spoke about prior, remember that? Yeah, that would be child’s play compared to the Sicilian wrath that would be reigned down on me if my mother found out I started blindly running around by myself…in an unknown city…in a foreign country. I’d be fuckign every way for 20 years of Sundays. Shit.

Anyways, made it back to the store, they were all there. Thank goodness. Hopped the Metro and bus back to the hostel. Stopped at the mini market the hostel has and bought a pack of cards for my Nonna, she’s gonna love it.

Started getting ready, skulling rose wine, pure class. Rach and T finished a whole bottle of limoncella. Wonder how that’s gonna feel tomorrow? So we finished putting on the hot girl disguises, tried for longer than I’d like to admit to to tie a toga, and we were off to the bar. It was 11:30 by this point…oops. Still had a rockin good time. I don’t think you can’t NOT have fun running around in a toga. There was this totally cute lawyer from the other tour that Rach made take shots with us and I coerced into dancing with me. Apparently the girls on his tour told me he doesn’t do shots or dance…welp, I can be quite persuasive and I really don’t take no for an answer. However, while adorable, he was super awkward and made no move. Story of my life.

Super fun time dancing. And then one of the chefs kept flirting with me…I said to him, ‘I thought you had a girlfriend.’ He said, ‘I do, I love her more than anything.’ Um…how about you stop telling me how beautiful I am then? Not that I was interested but if I had a boyfriend (lol), and he was telling other girls they were beautiful, he would no longer hold the prestigious title of boyfriend. Gosh, guys are such retards.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 13--Rome, Italy

May 1st, 2012

Well, after wonderful 3 ½ hours of sleep its up and out for a walking tour of Florence. Kill me. My feet hurt so badly it feels as if they are bruised across the entire bottom of my foot. Oh my gosh, the pain. Every step is agony. But I supposed it’s better than my hip…perspective. Florence is gorgeous. The Piazzas are supre pretty, the Duomos and Baptistery is where we started. Michelangelo designed the Duomo’s dome. The woman doing the walking tour was excellent. Super knowledgeable and informative but had way too many erroneous details that took too long to explain. We saw the pig in the maret that I rubbed for good luck and threw some money in. Hope that means I’ll be back!

The Ponte Vecchio bridge was quite pretty. The Piazza della Signoria had some amazing sculptures. I totally have a thing for sculptures. After the tour we had a short demo at Leonardo’s Leather which was actually really cool to see. And the guy was from Minnesota. Go USA! We at lunch at a restaurant Becs suggested—diavola pizza…delicious.

Did some market shopping after that and ate some tasty gelato. I am gonna eat my weight in this. No joke. When in Rome…er, Italy. And F me, we made it to the bus JUST as it started pouring. Phew. Then it was off to Rome! Eeep!

Got to Rome, had some amazing food. There was a traffic light party tonight but no appearances by us. I did buy a hilarious green t-shirt that says, ‘F*** Me I’m Famous @ Ciao Bella.’ My mother is going to kill me but I find it hil-arious! Spend the night hanging out and relaxing and writing in the journal. It’s nice to have a chill night every few days. Walking tour of Rome tomorrow! So excited!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Day 12--Florence, Italy

April 30th, 2012

Adieu Switzerland! Italy, here we come! Super long drive this morning and afternoon. I’m personally pissed at the world because Team New Zealand shoved their lame asses up to the front of the line for the bus and each took a seat for themselves. There are 6 of them. When the 4 of us have our own seat, we rotate. 2 of us go solo, the other two share. It’s just so childish that they all scrambled ahead, obviously so, to swipe their own seats. This is why I don’t get along with females, they are too transparent and predictable.

THEN the subject of reading came up and one of the guys told me he thinks a day spent reading is a day wasted. Are you fucking kidding me? I told him, ‘I think it’s the best way to spend a day. Why wouldn’t you want to spend a day enhancing your intelligence?’ Then they all started mumbling so I turned around and shut up before I said something id’ maybe (probably not) regret. Stupid, ignorant fools. People that don’t read or at least appreciate reading, I feel honest pity for. Reading give you stories and experiences of people and situations you would never be exposed to otherwise. You can travel the world and in time without leaving your house. Keep on with your linear one-dimensional experience of life. Have fun. Morons.

Ok, enough with the angry writing, I’m over it…ish. K, so loooong bus ride to Florence. Buon giorno Italia!! Ah! So excited! I felt home. I really did. I was also irritated at everybody on the bus because I felt protective of my homeland. I know that sounds weird but I did. Nobody else knows how much I’ve wanted this or how long I’ve waited for this. I felt it in my soul and my heart and I wanted to hear and know everything Italy has to offer in its history. Becs was talking about how Italians are super family oriented and they Momma runs the household and they have long life expectancies and 600 different words for pasta—all I could think of was, yep that’s about right! I felt so proud to be a part of a nation with such distinct and amazing history. I am home.

And if I wasn’t sure of it before I def felt at home in italy after Pisa. Its in a small square that is walled off in a courtyard and its beautiful! The Leaning Tower of Pisa is gorgeous and just incredible to look at. But the best part was Becs telling us how the Baptistery here has one of the jugs of water that Jesus turned to wine. AND there is building with a cemetery inside that is supposed to have the sand from Christ’s crucifixion, and if you bury somebody in there, the body disappears in 24 hours because of the sand. Goo. I just go chills. I love Italy. I love that we are in a Catholic nation with a huge emphasis on Jesus and spirituality. I cannot gush enough!

Got to our hostel in Florence, or Firenze in Italian, and it has a kickass bar, good drinks—strong—and good food. Run the World was playing when we started actively drinking. Bitch, please. Like that isn’t my favorite song of the moment. It was fate.

Hostel dancing was quite fun. Great jams. T and I did the Dougie and the Crazy in Love dance. Of course, Team New Zealand had to comment and ask why we always knew all the dances?, idk, because we’re awesome? We headed for the karaoke bar after that and the streets were PACKED. It was Notte Bianche (White Night) so everything was open all night long. It was a legit cluster fuck trying to get all these people to the same place. Wall to wall people. Becs said they usually see about 50 people on the walk…there were easily thousands. We finally got there and immediately signed up to sing the only song that mattered…Spice Up Your Life…hells to the yes. Shots tasted awful but were cheap so choking that down wasn’t the most fun. Ick.

By the way, Italian men are aggressive. Fuck. I like an assertive man but this was insane. Keep our hands to yourself, sir and stop being such a creepy bastard. Attention is nice and flattering but whoa. Rachel literally kicked a guy in the sternum. Yes…that happened. The guy made the mistake of saying he thought she was prettier than Teresa so Rachel yelled back, ‘don’t talk shit about my friend!’ and proceeded to kick him in the chest. Well played. We ended the evening with ‘It’s Raining Men’ because some fucking retard jacked Barbie Girl from me. Uh…that was my pick! I was so upset!

Anyways, I lost the other girls at one point and walked home with Becs. She is the best tour guide ever. She is just awesome. Lots of creeps overall for the night though. I think Teresa may or may not have punched a guy in the face at some point…not too sure. Italy must bring out the aggression in everyone, eh? Stumbled in to the hostel at around 4 am…oops.

OMG!! I forgot the BEST part of the night! One of my life’s bucket list check marks has been completed. Drumroll please…I threw some guy The Face…and held it…and it worked!! Jenna Marbles, I thank you! So, here’s the story. Creeper was bothering us, rach tried to throw The Face and couldn’t hold it so I did it. I threw it, committed to it, and the guy totally laughed at first, looked around, and slooooowly walked away. Works every time. Jenna Marbles, you are genius.

Go Florence. Play hard. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I Learned in Switzerland

What I Learned in Switzerland

1. Don't trust anyone from the Czech Republic 
according to the lovely woman at the desk
...or anyone from the Eastern Bloc
...cuz that's isn't totally prejudiced or anything...
Not that it matters that not only am I Czech but also Polish and German
...Eastern European mutt and proud of it right here.

2. Apparently the entire town of Lauterbrunnen knows when a Czech man is in their midst. 
Turn your locks...oh wait, you don't have any...

3. Dancing on tables singing Spice Girls and N***** in Paris and Miley Cyrus, in that order, is totally normal and totally epic.

4. Swiss people go crazy over 'a little wind.'

5. Switzerland does not need to be in the EU because they are financially stable enough not to need it. This is because of all the money they basically embezzled after the Nazi's couldn't get their money back out of their Swiss bank accounts. I have quite an opinion about this and it is not a positive one. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Day 11--Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

April 29th, 2012

This. Weather. Sucks. The wind is too strong and we cannot go up the mountain or skydive. Noooo!!! I am so frickin’ sad I wanted to do it so badly! I would have felt so badass. Ultimate sad face.

So we spent the morning writing. Went and sat at a bar. Walked up a hill to overlook the town. Breathtaking. Wow. I couldn’t believe where I was in my life. How did I get so blessed? I felt so lucky to be sitting there enjoying lunch just overlooking the town. God’s work. It was a perfect day.

We walked around the little town, saw some Swatches and Swiss Army knives. Went to a cafĂ© where they had this book swap thing where you can exchange books. They actually had quite an impressive collection! Lots of populat books! Except they had a copy of The Historian and it was so destroyed I had to walk away, it was too sad. But since I didn’t get a book in France, I bought an English UK edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I’m saying I bought this in Paris and it counts as my daring sword fights, magic spells, and princes in disguise book. I almost bought The Alchemist for Switzerland to count as my inspiration book but I decided I didn’t need it…I have to watch the luggage weight after all.

And we got hot chocolate! Check! It actually tasted only okay but still, gotta do it. Rachel talked to the waitress and she told us about a walking trail to see waterfalls inside the mountain. Sweet.

So we set off and it should have only taken about 30 minutes to walk there…it took 50. I was so slow, my hip didn’t hurt but it was weird achy. I finally found a walking stick which helped kind of. Teresa kind of irritated me because I was getting kind of cranky because I was kind of hungry, my hip ached, like wtf? I just got off crutches 4 days before we left. You’re gonna be a doctor so you should know that the way I pushed this hip to walk probably wasn’t the best way to go. Rachel and Jarrah were all, ‘we’ll take a bus back, are you okay?’ So nice and supportive. Teresa? Opposite. I ask one time, not even in a mean way, ‘how much farther?’ and I get massive attitude and this response, ‘Well do you wanna go back? It closes in 20 minutes and then this walk is for nothing.’ Whoa. What the fuck. I just got off crutches and limped about
3 miles. Show a little fucking compassion. Some future doctor. Do I still feel this way? No. was I pissed and enraged at the time? Yes. So I didn’t talk to her the whole time we were in the mountain. Took my pics, saw the waterfalls, and had a good time. It really was cool. It reminded me of that movie Gold Diggers for some reason. It was cool. AND the elevator up the mountain was like a mine shaft. So of course, I had to drop a District 12 reference…obvi.

We did catch the mine shaft down and started walking back, which clearly I was dreading…however, the man who ran the elevator drove up and asked if we wanted a ride. Now I must premise this with yes, objectively this is a very, very bad idea. Random stranger man, foreign country, accepting to get into a car…BUT this is the safest country we will be in, these people don’t even put locks on their doors, my hip hurts, there are 4 of us, it’s down the road…well, giddy up, let’s go. One safe ride and we arrived at our hostel all in one piece. Solid. BTW, the second he asked if we wanted a ride, 2 thoughts popped into my head. 1. Only Teresa and me 2. How do I get in these situations?

So one of the Team New Zealand girls was outside and goes, ‘who is that guy you got a ride with?’ L.O.L. We totally called that in the car that we hoped these bitches would see us riding in style—well, you know what I mean. THEN 2 other Team New Zealand girls came out and told us the lady inside asked who we were, about how dangerous it is, we were so unsafe, yadda yadda yadda. These bitches are so passive aggressive and catty I just wanna punch them. Shut up already. Keep wearing your “trendy” clothes in bumfuck Switzerland, population 20 and wasting a perfectly good outfit on nobody. You’re so cool. I can’t stand these girls. After this encounter, we all decided to be as obnoxious as possible. Might as well live up to the perception. You’re nobody until you’re talked about.

Dinner was amaze. Chicken with roasted potatoes. *drool* We started drinking a little after that and another tour group had arrived and we were challenged to a flip cup game. Oh. Hell. Yes. Fools. You don’t know who you’re dealing with. 30 minutes later these idiots finally got organized. We were the anchor of the team. Duh. And after a very nerve-wracking observation of the front half we pulled it out and legit dominated. Holla! We ended up talking to the other group and were super cool…while the people from our group went back to being hermits. Have fun!

Drank a little more and eventually got on the tables to dance. Eesh, I am so not like this at home. Going out in other countries is so much better than at home. Must bring out my wild side. Of course, our fan club were very keen observers. Such loyal fans we have. This place was hot as hell by the way. I was sweating like I was in a boiler room. I had to sleep in my underwear because I just couldn’t cool down. Oof. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Day 10--Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

April 28th, 2012

After another very restful night of 4 hours of sleep, we're back on the bus. Croissant breakfast and eggs--tasty. Everyone on the tour was all, ‘oh, how are you feeling? What time did you get in? Blah blah blah.’ Shut up. Story trying to pretend you actually care when in reality you’re wishing we looked and felt like shit because you know you’re lame as hell. I don’t know what’s wrong with these people that they don’t want to go out and have fun. I mean, that’s fine, do what you want but don’t judge me for my choices.

Anyways, got a seat to myself which was glorious. Totally able to curl up and sleep sporadically. Various stops throughout the day until we got to Switzerland around 5:30 pm. The scenery during the drive was (of course) beautiful. Pictures don’t do it justice—again. You can’t see the depth and color and intricacy of the landscape. It’s ridiculous. The cabin we’re staying in are nice. Only bad part is that the bathroom are like across the street. No lie. It’ll be fine.

The optional for Lauterbrunnen are the train up the mountain to the highest point you can get to without being a legit climber. Totally want to do that. And skydiving!! Out of a helicopter!! Made of a glass floor!! Over the Alps!! Eeep! Sign me the F up. YOLO. However, the weather is debatable due to the wind so I’m HOPING it all works out because I wanna do this SO badly. It’s just a little wind, right?

After settling in we had dinner at the bar at the camp grounds. This is the bar where all the coasters are all over the walls and hanging up! Teresa said Adam and his sister have coasters somewhere in here; he wants her to find it…good luck with that. In Swiss fashion, we had fondue; so good!! I love using the little skewers. We stayed around for a little while chatting and hanging out but hell, we partied hard last night, we were tired and left to journal. And get a good night’s sleep in prep for skydiving!!