Thursday, July 8, 2010

June 24- June 30

This is my LAST BLOG POST for this trip! Ah!!!
Hm... Thursday I met for lunch with Jacky Jad and Laura. A girl Laura used to babysit was studying in Spain, so she visited Paris with 5 other American girls who were on the trip. We all met in Troccadero in front of the Eiffel Tower for a huge picnic. It was really fun and the girls visiting got to see the Eiffel Tower.
After, Laura and I had to leave because we were going to an Edun party. Edun is a new brand by Bono's wife that uses products made by Africans. After, Laura had to meet the girls up for dinner, and I went with a friend Kathrine to a Carrera party (its a sunglasses brand). It was totally dead because apparently there were 6 other designer promo parties that night or something, so I got to invite all my friends. Laura couldn't make it, but Jacky and Jad did. The place was beautiful! It was some famous French actors apartment (don't ask me who, I keep forgetting) in the 16th arrondissement (the most expensive area in paris) and it overlooked the seine and the eiffel tower. So nice!
Friday, I met up with a bunch of people from work, since they go out to lunch together every Friday. After, I met up with Laura in Bastille. I got there early, so I walked around on the docks near by. Its so beautiful, all the boats. It made me really excited to come home and spend time on our boat! Then Laura, Jad, and the girls met me and we walked to some stores though Bastille towards the Marais. By the end I was so exhausted, I went to Luxembourg Garden to lay down. After, I decided I wanted to make me and Noelle some dinner, so I made fried rice. But if you know me, I'm not a cook. So, I messed up right away with the eggs. The rice and the shrimp went well, but then when I put in the peas and carrots, there were just too many peas. It ended up being peas with fried rice instead of friend rice with peas. However, Noelle said she liked it and we did eat it! After, we watched Barefoot in the Park- such a good movie!!!
Saturday Jad and I went on a tour that a teacher of mine recommended. It went through a Carmelite church that was very pretty, but the tour was a little too detailed and a little boring. Finally, after an hour, we got to the cool stuff- a room where there is a splatter of blood from a massacre during the revolution and a room with skulls and bones from the people who were massacred. After, we walked through Luxembourg Garden and stumbled on the Gay Pride Parade going down St. Michel. It was actually really cool, with these huge flatbed trucks with music and djs and people dancing and dressed up. It was incredible. After, Jad had to go home to get something he had forgotten, so I went with him. He lives outside of Paris in a small suburban town on a river. I think its really quaint; he thinks its very lame.
Sunday.... i dont remember what we did Sunday...
Monday I went to the Chateau de Vincennes. It is this neat old chateau located on the eastern corner of Paris. It is very old and what you imagine what a real castle would look like with white brick stone walls and towers and everything. There was also a small chapel that was based on Saint Chapelle, one of the most beautiful chapels in France, but this one was disappointing.
Monday night I went to a club called Queen where they play disco music! There was even a Mickael Jackson impersonator. So funny, and I really felt like i was in the 70s haha
Tuesday I went to the catacombs. The catacombs were ok. The bones were stacked and it was mostly femurs and things and then there'd be a row of skulls and that was pretty cool. The bones on the top of the stacks were loose- you really could just pick them up if you wanted to (though they check at the end to make sure you don't steal any). I was a little disappointed though- I thought there would be more art using the bones, but really they were just stacked with a few designs randomly throughout the catacombs. After, we went for a walk in the Bastille because I wanted to see a railway track that was converted into a beautiful walkway. Then we met George and went to a bar to eat (I had fish and chips and they had hamburgers- so french haha)and to watch a World Cup game. After the game, George left and we went to another bar called the Long Hop to meet Jacky and Laura... I stayed as long as humanly possible before I had to leave to go and pack. My flight was at 8am, so I had to catch a 5am train. No sleep for Kristen.
That was definitely the best week of my life, and I really got attached to Jad, Jacky, and Laura since we spent so much amazing time together and really clicked well. I wouldn't trade that time for anything, and honestly I think I may have had more fun with them than on my last trip to paris....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday June 18- Wed. June 23

Wow, I cant believe how far behind I've fallen...
On Friday, we went to the Belvedere Castle, where there is a long lawn that was really nice and a wonderful castle. In the castle, there is a museum with the most Klimt's apparently. We went inside and I got to see The Kiss, my favorite of Klimt (I have a copy of it in my room) and a very famous French painting of Napoleon on a white horse. After, we went home for lunch and a nap.
The next day, it was pouring rain and Barbara was really tired so I ventured out on my own. By the time I got to schönbrunn castle, it was clearing up. Schönbrunn also has an enormous garden, but bigger than the Belvedere. And at the top is a large building where the emperor used to have his breakfast! The gardens were beautiful- roses, fountains, and statues everywhere. There was also one of the oldest zoos in europe there, but I didnt go in...
By the time I finished wandering around the gardens for hours, it was a beautiful sunny day. I went over to where there is a famous ferris wheel and amusement park. At the last minute I decided I didnt want to go up the ferris wheel. I decided to walk around the park that is behind the amusement park. I walk for hours and had a mexican lunch. Then I stopped and watched the Australia vs. Ghana game on a huge screen in front of the ferris wheel. That was really fun!
At half time, I decided to go the center of the city, by St. Stephens, one last time while it was still nice. I just wandered the streets trying to take in Vienna. To me, Vienna looks a lot like Paris but some how a little different. They have narrow cobbled streets, similar building facades, and wide boulevards just like Paris, but theres something different, and truthfully, I am a complete Paris-phile, and will always think it is the best. Its so weird- I love all the cities I've visited, but still Paris is the best to me. Even now (sine I'm home, and as you'll hear I had the best last leg in Paris ever), I think that Paris is even better- better than NYC even! Its so weird...
On Sunday, I had to leave. Barbara was an amazing host, and she really made the trip so amazing.
I took a bus from Vienna to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, to fly back to Paris. The bus ride was actually kind of cool. Towards the end there was a town where there was like a citadel or something on top of a hill over looking the old town. Very cool. Bratislava seemed ok too- its a pretty big city tucked away into the countryside. There was some sort of big castle there that I could see from the road, but otherwise it looked like a pretty new city.
When I got to Paris, I met Noelle and our friend Katherine for coffee in Paul, which is the staple good French chain food store. After, we went to Leon for unlimited mussels!! So delicious...
On Monday, I wandered around the Luxembourg Gardens and then went to where I used to live at Cite Universitaire. There is a nice park in the back of it so I walked around for a while to kill some time. After, I met Laura and Jacky at a cafe for drinks. So nice to see them again. I missed them a LOT. After, they were both tired from an epic night before, so they went home to sleep and I went home to get ready for the FETE DE LA MUSIQUE! The Fete is this really awesome thing in Paris where there is music everywhere- on the streets, in bars, in cafes! You can drink anywhere and everyone is having a great time. My friend from Binghamton, George, had just gotten to Paris to start an internship with the UN and he brought his friend from high school who now lives in Paris, Jad. Great thing I met Jad, because he was done with school and everything and so we spent the whole week together having a great time while others were working and things. The Fete was so much fun and totally amazing. You can only imagine the rowdiness.
Tuesday morning, me and Jad delivered letters for Noelle to different fancy hotels for a Christian Lacroix fashion show. After, I took him to Breakfast in America, an American-style diner, and introduced him to the root beer float haha! Then we went to the Jardin des Plantes, and in it there is a menagerie, which is a small zoo. We went in and saw exotic birds and monkeys and everything. I really regret that I didnt have my camera! After, we went to watch the last French soccer match of the World Cup on a giant screen in front of the Eiffel Tower. We couldn't really see from where we were sitting, so we stopped paying attention, but apparently France lost. After we separated to shower, and later we met up with George and his friend Zaid and just hung out for a few hours.
Wed. we met Laura and Jacky for a picnic in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which is a beautiful park with lots of hills and lawns and lakes. There were also a lot of kids there, and it seemed they were having a soap box car racing competition. We hung there for lunch for hours, taking in the sun- so nice to finally be having amazing weather! And it stayed like that for the whole week (of course, now theyre having a heat wave).
After, we went to a bar in Montmartre to meet Laura's boyfriend and watch the US vs. Algeria game. We had to be careful, because there were a lot of Algerians around and they don't take crap from anyone. After Algeria lost to the US, they burned cars down by where I used to live. Crazy!
Then we met Noelle after she got off work and hung out for a bit (that's when I saw Karl Lagarfeld). After, Jacky and Jad came over and we had pasta for dinner.
Ok, well I'm all out of steam for writing... I'm almost done! I'm sorry its so far behind, and probably no one cares any more, because I'm home now! But this last week was probably one of the best weeks of my life- it was amazing. I'm so excited for a beautiful, American 4th of July weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wed. June 17 and Thurs June 18

Yesterday was a terrible day with pouring rain all day long. It was aweful. Barbaras husband had a friend visiting so we had a barbeque and watched the soccer games. Poor Sarah cried all day and didnt sleep once. She then continued to cry all night. Poor Barbara.
Today Barbara, Sarah and I went out to the city center again near St. Stephens cathedral. I went to the top of the cathedral; all 343 narrow, winding steps. The view was amazing, and because of the tough climb there werent many people obstructing my view.
Then we walked through the city to where there are old roman ruins. They are just bricks in the ground, but they reflect how old the city is, and to me its really cool. Behind the ruins is where the crown jewles are kept. Walking through the building,called the Mickaelerplatz, which has a green dome, you open up into an open area, and then you pass again under arches and then to your left is the Austrian National Library and on your right is Volksgarten. In front of you are the Natural Sciences and the Technical Museums. Barbara and I walked through Voksgarten, which is very beautiful. Towards the back of the garden is a rose garden which is full of beautiful roses and a fountain.
Behind the garden is the Parliament Building, which has a very romanesque style and a statue representing justice in front of it.
We then walked past the Theater and City Hall, which has a very gothic style in contrast to the Parliament Building.
We stopped to meet up with Barbaras husband Martin at the university, but since he wasnt there yet we stopped in. Apparently it is normally very quite but today there seemed to have been a job fair or something. There was a panel of people talking in the entranceway of the university and in the courtyard there were booths inside the arcades and there was a group of students sitting on the grass protesting something.
Then we met Martin and walked to the "Bermuda Triangle" which is where there are a bunch of bars and restaurants. We sat outside at a restuarant called Bermuda Bar. I got to have schnitzle, which is deep fried pork basically and tasted really really good.
After we walked towards the Danube canal and along there. We passed a cool bar along the Danube canal that had sand and a beach theme. They also had a huge screen where the World Cup was playing, so we had coffee and watched the first half of the Greece vs. Nigeria game. Then we continued walking. Along the Danube, they allow the walls to be used for graffiti, but its really cool and looks really good, not dumb names.
We continued along the canal, which eventually became much more park-like. There were nice trees and you could choose to walk on the paved walkway closer to the road or a gravel path closer to the canal and more hidden among the trees.
We eventually walked to the Hundertwasser Village. Hundertwasser was an artist who decided to become an architect. He believed that straight lines and bland colors were not natural, and therefore came up with the much more lively and vibrant buildings. The outsides of the buildings have different colors and the lines on the buildings suggest that each level is at an angle. We got to go inside the building, even though theyre private, because Martin is a cop and here the cops have a key to get access to all the appartment buildings in Vienna. So we went to the top of the building to go in the garden. Inside, the ground is not flat, but also not at an angle; it has bumps and curves and there are tiles on the walls in a squiggly line in different colors and the walls are white but also not smooth. Outside there was a great view of the city as well as the other parts of the village. After, we were exhausted and came home.
I went swimming in their pool just above their building! It was really nice and there was a guy there who i could talk to so it wasnt as boring as i thought it would be but that meant i was too embarrassed to take pictures of the view. After, Barbaras mother came over. She gave me a swarovski candle holder for me to remember Vienna by!! She also helped Barbara with the baby, who was being very coliky tonight, as well as ironing and cleaning! She was very sweet, though Barbara is exhausted from not getting much sleep and walking around all day so she was very impatient with her mom- haha sounds a little like me and my mom sometimes!
I can still hear the baby crying and Martin has to get up for work at 6am and Barbara wants to show me around again tomorrow! I wish I could be more helpful--- having a baby is so hard, especially on no sleep!
Pictures of Vienna are up! Ive already taken 150! But the camera is finally telling me its getting low on battery (I dont have my converter, i think i left it at Mikaels house or something, so I havent charged it for 2 weeks now!)... Im gonna have to steal Barbaras camera soon and take pics on hers haha
here is the link:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Friday June 11 to Tues June 15

Friday feels like it was so long ago... It was raining so we went to the mall. Malls are the same in Estonia and the US lol it was really big and clean. We had sushi for lunch, which was very cheap. I had a california roll with salmon and tuna rolled on top and shrimp tempura rolls. sooooooo good!
Then that night I went to a bar called Nimeta Baar, which means bar with no name. Triin told me its where a lot of English guys go, and there was a World Cup game between France and Uruguay (tie 0-0) that I wanted to watch. The game was so boring, no action, so I herd these guys speaking English and introduced myself to them since I was by myself. Turns out they are the national sailing teams from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, and later the Neatherlands, France, and Germany. It was dude central, and luckily they all thought I was cool. Some of them had been in the Olympics, and most of them were in Tallinn for the regata to qualify for the next summer olympics. I met the best North American sailor, and the coach of the German team. So cool. Suddenly i realized most of them were gone around 3am, and then i rememberd- they had a fligh at 6am! haha they must have gone to get their stuff and leave... so i went home... so awesome... I took a cab back. They have estonian kroons in Estonia, but they are switching to the euro next year, so they take euros too (luckily, since i realized AFTER i got in the cab that i had no more kroons)...
The next day we went to Parnu, the summer capital of estonia. While it was raining again in Tallinn, it was sunny in Parnu (pronounced par-no). We went to go see a wind surfing competition, and Timo was hoping he would get to get a little wind surfing in... unfortunately, the wind was about 12 knots (they didnt know the mph version, so thay told me in knots... good thing my parents are boaters!), too strong for even intermediated boarders. We could only watch the compition for a second, because the sand was whipping our faces and we couldnt take Stiina out of the car because she woud probably cry. Then we went around the town, had some pizza (i had a calzone that was bigger than you can even imagine, stuffed with tomatoes and ham and mushrooms). The town was pretty empty, and they seemed very surprised, since normally its getting very crowded on teh weekend this time of year. But it was super cold and windy, so thats probably why.
That night, we just hung out and watched the World Cup game US vs England (tie 1-1, much more exciting)...
Sunday was my last day, but again it was raining. So me and Triin went to see Sex and the City 2 (sooooooooooo funny!!!! mom- take all your girl friends to see it with you! its so great, and really meant for women your age, which never happens haha). Then we had lunch at a crepe place and I had a chicken crepe which was good. Then we went home and walked Stiina through the forest that is in their back yard. For dinner, Triin and I went to a restaurant called Olde Haas or something. Its very touristy, but very cool. It is in an old building from the 14th century or something and has all these paintings that make the place llook authentic and all the workers dress up and theres all different food that really was from the 14th century, like we had wild boar and they make beer there and you drink it in a real ceramic mug. The beer I had was honey beer with cinnamon in it- very tasty but heavy.
That morning I left for Vienna! I flew from Tallinn airport to Vienna where Barbara and her husband Martin and her 1 month old baby girl Sarah picked me up! For lunch we had pizza and I got to try Martins home made schnapps! Very, very good! But then I was too full to eat anything for the rest of the day, even when we went for ice cream! They have an awesome appartment at the end of the subway line, so its only 15 min or so from the center of Vienna. There is an outdoor pool just on the floor above their appt. They also have a balcony. Its so nice! And Sarah is so tiny, the first time I held her it was too hard, I was so afraid of hurting her neck or something!
Today, Barbaras best friend Teresa came over and we all went to Laxenburg, a large park/garden where there are a bunch of old castles and ponds. It was beautiful and fortunately a nice day.
After me and Barbara and the baby went into the center of the city where theres is an old famous church called St Stevens cathedral, its THE most famous thing in Vienna. We had some coffee in a chain coffee place so Barbara could feed the baby. Then we had to stop in a Nescaffe boutique to buy refills for their espresso machine, which was so cool because it was just a place to buy these little things for the coffee machine, but it was really fancy. The city is really beautiful and old. I really like it.
Then we went home and now were just hanging out, watching tv, and having pasta carbonera for dinner :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Estonia photos!

Here are some Estonia photos! Today was super rainy, so we just are hanging with the baby and had sushi for lunch... hope you like the pics!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monday June 7 to Thurs. June 10

On Monday, I woke up at 6am and met my friend Molly early in the morning to go with her to work. Molly teaches English at an elementary school in Paris. I went to two classes with her and helped her teach a 2nd and 3rd grade class about numbers. In the first class, the teacher was absent so they were very roudy and difficult to work with. The second class was really great and more cooperative. At the end they sang me songs like "if youre happy and you know it" and "Jingle bells" it was really adorable! I wanted to go because I am interested in doing that too, but I have no teaching experience and often you need teaching experience to do these things.
One really interesting thing about elementary schools is that all the children get picked up by their moms to go to lunch at home.
Then I went to the airport and flew to Helsinki. I arrived at Helsinki and there was a ship i needed to take at 9:30 to Talliin, Estonia. I had to take a bus to the city center and then power walk to the ferry. I didnt get to take any pictures of Helsinki, but from what I saw, it was really beautiful.
The ferry was also really nice. It wasnt really a ferry at all, but really a cruise ship. There were restaurants and bars and gambling, but everything was pretty expensive, so I had a small meal and just watched tv. When we left the port, it was also very beautiful and the sun was still out. In fact, the sun doesnt set here until 10:30 and when I got off the ship at midnight, there was still bright red on the horizon.
Tuesday I just hung out with Triin and her beautiful 8 month old baby girl Stiina. We woke up at about 9am and then had breakfast and got dress and around 11:30 Stiina was ready for her nap which meant we had to go for a walk with her in the stroller. Near where Triin lives, maybe about a 7min walk away, there is a beach! There is a paved walkway that follows the shore from about 50 feet away. The path can go for many many miles along the shore. Unfortunately, its been too cold to go swimming and its definitely not as nice as Tobay!
On the way back, we went to the supermarket, which is just like the supermarkets in the US, I didnt really notice any difference.
Then we came back for lunch. In Estonia, normally people have sandwiches for breakfast, a big meal for lunch, and then salad for dinner.
When Stiina was ready for her next nap we went on a walk to a park that is near by. Triins neighborhood is nice, just a 15 min bus ride to the center of Tallinn or a 7 min car ride. She lives in a one bedroom appartment with her husband Timo and her dog Tommy. My favorite part about their appartment is that they have a small balcony with 2 chairs on it that over looks a forest. It is very picturesque.
When Timo came home from work, Triin and I went in the car to go to see Tallinn. Tallinn is a really cool city that has the "old town" in the center which is basically the original medieval town. Its actually really amazing and beautiful, but it is very touristy. Outside of the old town is "city center" which is much more modern and not as beautiful. Triin and I wandered the streets just so I could see what it looks like and get a feel of it. There is a cool square in the center of it and right now there is a stage because they are having a festival called "old town days" lucky me! They have all kinds of performances and special things going on around the city. Good timing!
After wandering around for a while, Triin and I became hungry again so we ate at Hesburger. Hesburger is this really great fast food place. They have amazing burgers, better than McDonalds I would say. Then we just went home and had a nice quiet evening.
The next day, Triins husband Timo stayed home with Stiina so that Triin could take me to see more of the site in the Old Town. Like I said, this week is the week of Old Town Days, so this day was Museum day (other days are Classical music day, Jazz Day, etc). This meant that a lot of museums were free. Triin took me through the town, starting by walking up a steep hill to a really great look out point over the city. Then we walked through the back part of this city to pass a Russian church. We also saw some people dressed up as medieval archers trying to advertise archery games to tourists. There was a courtyard called the Danish Kings Garden, which is supposedly where the Danish flag was invented. Old Town has a lot of old cobble streets that are narrow and winding and it is easy to get lost there, though it is small so you dont have too much to worry about. We also saw Kiek in de Kok (say it out loud). It is this old tower that also has a great look out and was free because it was the museum day. Apparently there are underground passages beneath the city that have just recently been opened up and you can access them through this museum, but this wasnt free so we didnt do it. Eventually, Triin had to go home because Timo had to stop in his office for some work. So I stayed in the Old Town to look around and enjoy some alone time. I went into the Tallinn museum, again free. They were giving tours in Estonian on their treasury, so I signed up for one and then walked around the museum. They actually had a quite nice museum, which lots of old relics and the history of Tallinn, and a cool area with different old maps of Tallinn and a 3d interactive light up map where you press a button and it lights up on the map. The treasury was kind of boring, just a lot of old stuff they didnt know what to do with, but to me it was kind of neat, since ive always wonder what one would look like. They had a lot of old pots and ceramics and tiles. In the back room there were the remains of a very old well, and some rocks from the foundations of old buildings that were uncovered.
After I walked to the Nigulist Museum which is in a 13th century church. I really wanted to go here because there is a Danse Macabre painting by Bernt Notke that I had studied in my Black Death class.
I then needed to kill some time before Triin was going to come back, so I went into a temporary exhibit on Medieval torture. It was so awesome, with real (copies i guess) devices you can see as well as copies of images (usually woodcuts) and great descriptions. Some things I saw were the rack, a chastity belt, and masks that people wore as a form of shame punishment. I definitly think this was one of the coolest museums Ive ever seen.
After, I had to wait for Triin to come back, so I sat in the square and people watched.
When Triin was able to get back, we went to St. Olafs church which is the highest point in Tallinn. We went to the top, and it was really crazy because you have to walk up these narrow winding stairs very very high up and then you get to the top and its super narrow, the width of 3 wooden planks (i know, bc that is what the ground actually was). The view was spectacular though. The city is on the Baltic Sea, so you can see the water from these high points. Tallinn is also a popular cruise destination, so there are often 3 or 4 large cruise ships in the harbor.
We then went down, there is an actual church but its pretty lame with white walls and no decorations. We sped over to the Estonian Maritime Museum, which was also free. There were a lot of old people in the museum, I think there must have been a show about to go on or something. So Triin and I beat our way through the crowd up the stairs to the top of another spectacular view on top of what is called Fat Margarets cannon tower. This view was much closer to the water than St. Olafs, but it was much lower. Then we sped down the stairs because we needed to be home before Stiina needed dinner. We stopped for our own dinner on the way back at an Italian restaurant that had really great pizzas, salada, and pastas. At this restaurant, you get a card and you order at different areas. They make the food right in front of you. Triin and I both had different types of raviolis that were superbe. Then they wave your card in front of the resgister and when youre ready to leave you go to the front desk and pay there and everything you ordered comes up on the card. I thought that was pretty cool and modern. Food is also very cheap here compared to Paris and Denmark. It was about 10 euro for one of our dinners at this place, and Triin said that was on the expensive side.
Today Triin had to stay home with Stiina, so I took a 15 min bus into the city by myself. It was really nice to have this day to myself, since it was such a beautiful day out and the Old Town is so charming to me. I ran to catch up to a free 2 hour tour that goes through the city. By the time I got there I was an hour late, but it was ok bc it was sooooo boring. The tourguide was a young girl, and it was in English, but her jokes were so bad. So I started talking to this girl from San Diego who went to Harvard (gasp!) and is now living in Berlin or something. We decided to ditch the tour, which had now gone past 2 hours long, and have some lunch. After searching for a good but reasonably priced place, we found a little bakery where I had some pastry with ham and cheese in it, a yogurt, and water. The whole thing came out to the equivalent of 3 euros!!! AMAZING!
After having lunch with the girl, I realized I wasnt really in the mood to make friends and wanted to be on my own again. We went to the oldest pharmacy in Tallinn together, which I thought would just be a modern pharmacy but just in the place of where the old one had been for centuries. Negative. It was so cool! It was a regular pharmacy, but it also had old jars and siringes, herbs, and cool remedies such as mummy parts and dried dog poop. Then I told the girl I was shipping off and just started to wander the streets. I really love this part of the city, and to be honest, I dont have too much interest in seeing the more modern part of the city. So I walked around. I hung out in Freedom Square, catching some rays and writing some postcards. Then I wandered behind the square to see the opera house, which really wasnt anything too special. So I stopped and had an ice cream and went back to Freedom Square to enjoy it. Then I went back through the city to look at the streets again. There is a tourist booth meant for young people subsidised by the state or something so I talked with a guy my age about different bars and travelling and stuff which was nice to finally talk to another person. Then I walked to the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin which has all the coats of arms of Tallinns old nobility which was really cool!
I also saw a group of people who do reinactments of Medieval times all day long! They were just hanging out in old looking clothes with a fire and a tee pee and sewing or chatting.
There is also a park that makes a cresent around the east side of the city that is very beautiful so I walked around there for a long while, then wandered back to the bus station and went to go home.
When I got back, Triin was walking the baby and the dog with her younger sister who is 17. When we got back, Timo was home so we played with the baby until dinner was ready. For dinner Triin made this amazing meal with carrots, potatoes, broccoli, califlower, and chicken with coconut oil. It was actually really amazing and I ate all the veggies!!!
After dinner and chores, Triin and I went to Pirita beach. Here there is a huge outdoor concert hall that looks like it would be so awesome for festivals. It has a really nice park around it that we walked in.
After we drove to the boardwalk that is along the beach. The sun was setting so it was really beautiful! We had the dog too so that fun too.
Im trying to upload pictures from Estonia, but facebook is being a pain, so it may take a while...
Also, if youre reading this, leave comments every now and then, because thats how I know people are actually reading this and Im not just writing to myself! haha

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Pictures!

Here are more photos at the following link!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thurs June 3 to Sunday June 6

Thursday I had a late start and went to the Bois de bologne. It is an enormous park in the east of Paris. I started at the bottom of it and walked up past this enormous lake that was picturesque with lots of trees and couples in row boats. Then I went on a long walk to find a garden in the park bagatelle which was amazing. I got lost on the way so it took about an hour walking through the woods and streets to get there (i told you this park was big). In the park bagatelle, which was big in its own right, there were peacocks and waterfalls and a rose garden and iris garden. I must have spent 2 or 3 hours there. Then I went to jardin du pre catalin which had one of the biggest trees in paris. there is also a small garden in the park that has different plants that can be seen in shakeaspere's plays, but there are only 2 hours per day that you can go in, so i missed it. In total I spent about 5 or 6 hours in the park and I was exhausted. After I left the park, I passed the Rolland Garros, which is the French tennis open. It was a relief when my friend Noelle called and invited me for a soda right near where I was.
Friday I spent most of the morning trying to move my stuff from Noelle's appartment to Javier's dorm room. When I finally got there, it was a gorgeous day and I wanted to get outside, so I met my friend Jacky from Binghamton and his friend Laura at Trocadero, right in front of the Eiffel Tower, to hang out and picnic. Laura has a cute dog too that we got to play with! After I met with Javier and one of his friends and we had burritos. I was supposed to meet people from work, but they ended up not getting together so I met my old friend Anna and 2 of her british friend for some drinks. Before I knew it it was already 9pm! I went to Noelle's to get ready and meet her new roommate Dave who's British. Then we met my friend Angela at the Seine since it was her last night in Paris before she went travelling around Europe with her sister.
Saturday it was crazy hot out. So me and Javier met up with Jacky and Laura and 2 of their friends for another picnic, this time in Park Monceau. This park was closer to the Arc du triomphe and had nice flowers and waterfalls. There were tons of people there trying to take advantage of the beautiful day. We just hung out in our bathingsuits and sunbathed for most of the day. By the end of the day I was so tired I didnt want to go out, so I went to Noelle's around 8pm to take a nap and then when I woke up she had pasta ready for me (best friend ever haha!)
Today I went to an exotic bird market that had zillions of birds as well as some small pets like kittens and bunnies. then I met Laura at her appt. and dropped off my backpack since I cant take it with me to Estonia and vienna. We watched the last match of the Rolland Garros to watch Nadal win. then I went to Noelle's since her friends boyfriend is a chef and he wanted to cook dinner for us. We had chicken and duck curry with rice. It was sooooooo good and we had so much fun.
I'm trying to upload more photos now, but it's taking a long time so I dont think it will work, so I'll let you know soon!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sun May 29 to Wed June 2

On Sunday we went to get Wills bag at CDG airport. We got his bag!!!!!
After, we went down the block from Mickeals house to the Sunday markets and got his mom flowers because it was mothers day in france! We then ate lunch with Mickael and his mom and relaxed.
Later, we had dinner with our friend Alana for all-you-can-eat mussels at a restaurant called Leon. I'm not going to lie, I had 3 buckets of mussels that were in this amazing tomato-based sauce. Definitely the best. My mom would have gone crazy for them.
After, we went to a bar called the Mad Maker that has a cool pirate theme. The tables are barrels and the ceiling has old sails on it and there are cool candle-like lights with chandeliers.
On Monday, Will and I went to Monmartre, a beautiful quater in Paris that is on top of a hill with a beautiful byzantine church that over looks the whole city. We Started off at Pigalle, the "sex district," and walked over to the Moulin Rouge. From there we began walking up the non-traditional way to the top, walking through the winding streets. We made it to the cute little square perched on top by the church that hosts painters and bistros, just as you would imagine Paris to be. At the other corner of the square, in front of an old church there were some performers doing kapoera. We went into the church, but there was actually a funeral going on- very awkward. Then we made it over to the Sacre Coeur, one of the most famous churches in Paris. It is incredibly massive inside and outside there was a fantastic view of Paris. Despite the bad weather, there were still lots of people there, though not as many as on a normal tourist day there. Then we walked behind the Sacre Coeur and down the back way of the hill to wander the streets. We saw the only vineyard in Paris, the only 2 remaining "moulins" or windmills, Picasso's studio and some famous painters house- haha i forget who!
We then went to the cemetary near by to sit down and relax because we were getting very tired. After resting we went back to Luxembourg to hang out with Alana and Noelle- it was alanas last night! So we went to an old hot spot that we used to go to every monday night when I was here last semester: the Great Canadian! Its a fun bar that has "wing night" on monday night- however, despite the name, the wings are not cheap. We had a fun time and went to an American bar near rue Moufftard afterwards to play American drinking games like flip cup and beer pong since you don't play those here and we thought it would be hilarious to go and play. It was definitely a great last night for Alana.
The next day we had to move out of Mickaels to go to Noelle's since now there is an extra room there now that alana's left. We spent a lot of time moseying around and then when we got to the appartment we spent most of the day cleaning. We did go with my friend Mirielle, who's also crashing at Noelle's, to the Marais- a really popular district to walk around and that is known for is Jewish and gay communities. We stopped in Eglise St. Paul, a really old beautiful church, to rest our feet- by this point in the week Will and I are exhausted. We went back to the appartment soon after to nap.
It was Mirielle's birthday, so we went out to sushi, which was actually very good and very cheap. I was really surprised. We then went to an Irish pub for a private party of a friend of a friend of a friend who was leaving. It was fun, and I think will's last night wasn't as epic as Alana's but we still had a good time.
Today, Will left and I took him to the airport to make sure he got there ok. I was really sad to see him off.
After I met with my old language exchange pair, Monique. We went to the area near the Louvre and went into Eglise de Roch, which had been the church for the artists in Paris. It was surprisingly beautiful inside, since the outside is so tiny. After we took the metro to Bercy, which used to be where wine was imported to Paris. Now, there are cute restaurants and boutiques in the old wine stalls. I've never been there so it was really nice, and I was surprised I've never herd of it. After, I went back to Luxembourg and met with Mirielle and her Turkish friend to hang out in the park, which was beautiful on this nice day, especially with the palm trees! After I made dinner for Noelle and me: pasta with tomato sauce and mini shrimps :) you'd all be proud, it was delicious! :D :D :D

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday-Sat (May 25-29)

On Tuesday,we went to Annita's parents' farm where we got to go on a real carriage ride! It was so beautiful, you can't even imagine! We drove through a near by preservation. So nice. We also did more shopping for some more clothes for will. For the rest of our stay in Denmark, we most chilled and hung out, which was nice, especially since we would spend the next week in Paris running all over the place.
After safely and uneventfully arriving in Paris on Wednesday night, we met up with my friends Alana and Noelle from the program I was on last semester, Mickael, who we have been staying with this week, and this guy Dave who we met at the airport who had also had his luggage lost and was from NY. We hung out in alana and noelle's apartment in Luxembourg and then went down to the Seine to hang out. A great way to start off the week.
On Thurs, we woke up pretty early and walked to the Eiffel Tower. There was a giant ramp in front of the tower since someone was going to do an epic fall into it on roller blades. Unfortunately it was raining. Fortunately, not many people ventured out and we had a nice umbrella. Walking around we found a cool park that I've never seen before that had nice bridges and foliage. We also walked along the Seine to look at the house boats. I think that would be so awesome to have a boat on the seine in Paris!
We walked to les egouts, which are the sewers of Paris that you can tour around, but they were closed :( Then we walked to the Petit and Grand Palaises. The Petit palais is free, but right now theyre doing a special Yves Saint Laurent exhibit so there was a line and it was raining so we nixed that. We walked to the nearest Metro to go to La Defence, the modern NYC-ish part of Paris.
when we got out at La Defence it was pouring rain, so we went to eat at Hippopotamus, a easy steak and burgers place thats not too expensive and would fill us up with its American sized portions. By the time we were done eating, the rain let up a little bit and we walked to the arche there. The arche is huge and very impressive. You can see from the steps of the arche down to the Arc du Triomphe which was cool. There is also a lot of neat modern art around which made it really nice to walk around. It has very modern skyscrapers, not at all like the traditional Paris most people know.
Then I was able to get in touch with my friend Pat, who is French and works at Societe General, a French bank. the next day would be his last day, so it was ok for him to take a break and meet with us to chat. Unfortunately, he left Paris this past Monday and will be back from June 11-19, but I won't be in Paris around then. At least I got to catch him this one last time! He was supposed to have a job in NY this summer, which would have been SO awesome, but the "budget was cut" so they cancelled the job/internship he was gonna have. Mega bummer...
Then we took the metro over to the Arc du Triomphe. It was suddenly pretty nice out so we went to the top of the Arc and had the most awesome view of Paris. So great! We must have stayed up there for about half an hour...
then we went down, and suddenly it was raining again. We hung out by the tomb of the unknown soldier under the arc, since we were going to meet my old penpal Salome right near by so we figured we'd wait it out.
We met Salome at La Flamme, a cafe right by the Arc. She also had a bunch of her friends come, which was really nice and they wanted to improve their English so we'd talk to them in english, but then they'd get frustrated and start talking in french, which really helped my french, since its a little rusty from not really having used it this semester as much.
After having some sodas with them there, we went back to Mickaels and had dinner with him and his mom. She made chicken and potatoes which was sooo tasty! we stayed in that night because we were so tired.
On Friday, Noelle, Alana, Will, and I went to Giverny, which is where Monet's garden is. We had the most amazing day ever! We got really lucky, since it was the only nice day in Paris this week. We walked to Monet's garden, about a one hour walk, and had stopped in a Lidl (a super cheap super market) on the way to get sandwiches. We saw the garden, which, compared to when I saw it just before it closed for the season last fall, was amazing, though some people said it is usually more full this time of year but there was a late frost or something. The garden was amazing and the pond was as beautiful as you can imagine. We also went into his house which was nice. However, there were a lot of school children that day so there were times where it was very very crowded.
We had a picnic for lunch, eating our sandwiches in a field next to a restaurant. We cat napped and sunbathed and just enjoyed the sun in general. I kept reminding myself how lucky I am...
On the way back to the train station, we went kayaking. I couldnt really take pictures for this but it was so much fun. They kayaks were cheap and we got to do it for 2 hours. We packed some bread and wine and off we went along the Seine- so fun and beautiful!!! there wasnt much to see in terms of a description, but it was beautiful with the blue sky and all the foliage and the boats cruising by us.
That night we met up with one of Salomes friends and went traipsing around Paris into the wee hours of the night, having a total blast! It was really great...
On Saturday, we went to where I used to live in the Cite Universitaire because they were doing a cultural event called Fete de la Cite. We saw spanish dancers and there was a lot of food, though you had to pay for it and we were too cheap to do that. So after wandering amongst the buildings there, which there is one for all different countries and they are all different, we walked across the street to Parc Montsouris. There were picnickers and families, despite the cloudy weather. will and I sat at a bench there to rest our exhausted feet.
Then we met up with alana and had some sandwiches at a cheap place. we went to the eiffel tower to see that guy do that jump I mentioned earlier. It was super windy, his shirt was blowing like crazy. He jumped from 10m high and roller bladed down a 40m ramp. It was really intense, since he clearly lost his balance but he didnt fall. We left right after, but apparently he did another jump because he wasnt satisfied with the first one.
After that, we went to a sports bar because there was the championship rugby game, on par with the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, everyone seemed tired and my friend Noelle joined us, but she did not seem at all interested in the sport, so we left. I was kind of bummed, but it was 3 against one haha. So we went to a friend of Alana and Noelle's couscous restaurant. It was so nice! I had chicken on a skewer with cousous and this great sauce. It was nice to rest our feet and the food was free! So awesome, but we that meant we missed the game. We tried to go out after on rue Moufftard, but I was super exhausted so we went back.
Alright, well I'm using alana's computer and shes trying to pack (its her last night!) and its not looking good, so I'm gonna help her b/c we are waiting on her to finish before going out to dinner and drinks... talk to you all soon!!!!


hey everyone! Sorry its been so long before I could update. I dont have my laptop here, so I've been using other peoples' computers. Here are some picks i put up on facebook and made public so everyone can see!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday May 24

Hey everyone! Im at the Aalborg airport waiting for my flight to paris and they have these free computers, so I have 15 min to make an update!
Wills bag is no where to be found! :( we told them that when it is retrieved to just send it home, because the effort to get it back to paris will be unbareable...
On Monday will, Ninna, Annita, Johnny, and I went to a monastary and museum called Borglum. In it there was a carriage museum with old carriages and sleighs as well as old cothing that people really used to wear! Then we saw the beautiful view from the hilltop there as well as the herb garden.
Ill skip the kind of boring parts of the museum and cut to the cool stuff. There was a really nice church that has its oldest parts originating from the 13th century. It is a beautiful church. We were lucky enough to have a quartet of visitors just bust out in song. It was perfect full tonal sounds (not like gospel) that sounded like they were made for that church. The sounds vibrated off the walls and really amplified the quality. I loved that.
Apparently Hans Christian Anderson stayed in the monastary once, so they have refurbished the room he stayed in, which was kind of funny, especially the dummy of him dressed up.
There was a cool kitchen with real meats and a washroom with old washing and cleaning tools.
Across the street is a windmill that we walked too. It was on a hill where again there was a breathtaking view.
Then we went to a town called Løkken. There they have a hard candy making place where they use original techniques to make it first into taffy and then stretch it out to make tiny hard candies with shapes inside. Its hard to describe, but they make the taffy into layers that are applied in different way to have a huge string. Then it is stretched out very thin and the candies are tiny but keep thi image in the middle. They have all kinds, ones that spell things, ones that have faces, or sunsets, or flags. Anything. It was really cool
Then we ate at a small, cheap restaurant that was really nice with a lot of wood (ambiance). Will had a traditional boef sandwich (beef sandwich) which was beef on hamburger bun (kind of like an american hamburger) but there is gravy drizzled all over it so you cant eat it with your hands.
Then we had these desserts that were interesting. They were these pancake balls, nice and light and fluffy, with vanilla ice cream and rasberry sauce. mmmmmmmmmmm
Finally, we went to Annitas friends shop. They are glass blowers, and the husband is actually an American. Funny, but he actually makes a lot of the glass just like how they made the candy. He would make a flower like shape, then wrap it in clear glass (this is all super hot so its moldable) and then stretch it out to make tiny bead like things that he can use later to use to make bowls and cups and things. We also saw him actually blow glass, and he made super thing bubbles of glass and we got to feel them- theyre like plastic pieces of paper! So cool...
Well gotta catch my plane back to Paris now!!! Will check in soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (May 21-23)

After going out with Line around Aalborg, we relaxed in their beautiful backyard and got to finally meet the kiddies! Line and Søren have 2 children. Laura (pronounced la-wa) is 3 with white hair. She can speak Danish and wants to do everything herself. She was very very shy with me and Will since she couldnt speak to us and she didnt know us. They also have a 1 year old boy Viktor. He is so alert, with big eyes that are always looking around.
Will and I also walked to the park that is around the corner from Line and Soren. It has a nice little lake and trees and plants. there are lots of paths, and there is a field where kids picnic and drink and hang out. There is a university in Aalborg so apparently there is a large youth population there. It was quite beautiful and definitely worth the walk. Will met some kids who had a rope or something tied between 2 trees that you cant try to walk on. He was pretty good actually.
That night was an early night and Line, Soren, Will and I watched a little tv and then went to bed.
Friday Line and Soren took Will and me out for a drive. We went to the Aalborg Tower, the tallest point in Aalborg where you can see the whole city. You can see the zoo and the river and all the houses.
Then we went to a hill that also had a nice look out point where kids were sunning since it was so unusually hot.
After we drove for about half an hour to the place where Line and Soren got married. It was a castle that Sorens friend owns now and its like a catering hall. I was very beautiful, especially the rooms where Line and Soren got married. I dont know the name of the castle, but it is not what you expect a castle to look like. Its big, but not enormous and it is white stucco it is wide but not tall and there isnt any kind of fortification or towers like english castles and such.
There is also a beautiful cemetery where there are trees and plants, which is funny for a cemetery. There was a funeral in the church, so we went to lunch and came back.
We had pizza for lunch in the town where Soren grew up... We even saw the house he grew up in! The pizza was crazy. There was a pizza with kebab and fries on it, one with spaghetti and meats, a vegetable type one, and a chili one that was spicey. We were so full, and it was surprisingly very good, considering it wasnt ny pizza!
The church was amazaing. Apparently when they were refurbishing it they uncovered these paintings from the 1400s under the paint. They were beautiful and reminded me of what the danse macabre paintings i had studied looked like. The church was the similar style to the one in the city and was very cool.
On the drive back we passed these "tumuli" or hills that were used as far back as 900bc for burials. they are just randomly placed around the countryside among the farm land! crazy!
Then Line dropped us off in the city center to walk around while her and Soren went home to get the kids and do stuff around the house. When we were in the mall there were was a drumline and these girls dressed in sparkly exotic dancing outfits with these feather things on their backs dancing through the mall. It was really awesome, and Im glad we stopped in for a minute.
After we walked home and tanned and napped for a little bit. Then a babysitter came for the kids and the 4 adults went out for dinner. Will had a steak thing and I had some sort of danish meat thing that was kind of like a hamburger without the bun. The restaurant was beautiful with these cool floating vases. The restaurant was located on a street full of bars and restaurants that they said is full on friday and saturday nights with students. However, in the summer the sun doesnt set here until about 930pm. It is still not totally dark at 11pm, so after dinner we had a few drinks at different bars but it was pretty empty, especially since there was a concert going on that was apparently very popular... The bars were funny too. We went to the one where Line and Soren met. There was also one called Kvisten (close enough). And others called Hollywood Blvd, Manhattan, LA, and American Spirit. You think they like the US a little?
Sat. we woke up and went on Sorens parents boat. They have a beautiful boat that they got after they got rid of their sailboat. Its wayyyy bigger than the Endless Summer, and so nice. apparently it is made of iron and only a few were made like that. They will be taking it to Germany for a month this summer cruising up the Reine. Thats the life!
AFterwards we went and got sandwiches and went to see a viking burial ground. It was soooo cool! There were tons of graves (i think like 400) and it used to be the site of a village as well. There were sheep too, and when we were eating our sandwiches they tried to take them right from us. They were definitely not afraid of people.
Then we went back home and watched a big handball game that was on tv, but Aalborg lost :( Next, will and I went for another walk to that near by park. After, we started playing this really awesome game called the viking game. Its pretty simple, you throw sticks at the other peoples blocks that are sticking up in the ground. I was pretty aweful and they finally had to give me a handicap for the last game hahaha!
then we hung out the 4 of us, and later will and i went to the bars around midnight. It was definitely a lot more active. People were dressed up like it was Carnivale or something, apparently because there is a huge parade next week (for those of you who go to Binghamton, think parade day!). It was really weird, since I didnt even know how to ask "do you speak english" in danish. I wasnt really too fond of that, it was very uncomfortable and I felt rude not knowing more Danish...
Speaking of Danish, the few words weve picked up:
Tak (pronounced tock, like tick tock)= thank you
Hej (pronounced hi)= hi, hey
Flodeboller= a wonderful chocolate everyone should get

Thats pretty much it haha However, everyone here really does speak English. I mean everyone. TV shows are in English with Danish subtitles, the songs are American, and children start learning english in 3rd grade.

Sunday we slept in and Annita picked us up. She lives in Astrup, a small suburb-like town only 20 minutes from Lines. We kind of just cat napped during the day, looked at old photos from when we were kids, and chatted about old times.
Annita has a wonderful daughter called Ninna. She is 7 and very cute. She loves to chat and draw. Shes actually quite good at drawing! (just like annita!)
One of the interesting things about reminiscing was when Annita found the list of rules my mom and dad gave her when she first arrived in ny. Curfew was 2am... onthe weekends! and 11pm on the weekdays! She was supposed to brush my hair 5 times a day and potty train will for 45 min per day! hahah!
We also drove out to the beach for ice cream. Apparently the Blue House is the best place for ice cream. The ice creams were huge, and there was a line, though they said the line gets massive during hot summer days and nights. There was a great view from a near by hill and the beach was very windy and chilly, but very beautiful.

Ok so this is very long already, so Ill stop here, since Monday was packed, but Im almost caught up... No news on Wills bag. It should be in Aalborg, but the different people weve been speaking to have not been very helpful. Hopefully will have it tomorrow. Thanks to all the support of Line, Soren, Annita, and Johnny (Annitas husband) as we harass the hell out of British Airways, Aalborg Airport, and Copenhagen Airport. Gah!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

First week back in Europe!

Ok, so for those of you out of the loop, Will and I left last monday for the airport. We were supposed to take Icelandair from JFK to Iceland to CDG in Paris. BEcause of the volcano activity, however, we were told to take Air France directly to CDG. We spent about 6 hours in JFK, before finally getting on a British Air flight to London. When we got to London, we had a paper ticket. The people at BA were confused, and told us to stay in the terminal to wait on all these lines to get our real ticket. well i got a little plane sick so i had no energy anyway, so i didnt mind sitting in lines. when we finally got to someone who had half a brain (after talking to 4 different people) he told us we were supposed to go on Air France, in a totally different terminal and that the flight was at 1 and it was already 12:30 so wed missed it! so frustrating. but we got on a flight at 4pm with BA to CDG. only to arrive without williams bag that we had put through because there were large liquids on it. We still dont have that bag, its floating around europe somewhere.
so after 24 hours of travelling, sitting in lines, and waiting around, we finally made it to paris after midnight on wed morning (reminder: we had left on monday afternoon). we stayed with my friends noelle and alana who áre 2 american girls who were on my study abroad program with me. noelle is in paris doing an internship. alana stayed in the program to do one more semester. the next morning, alana had a final at 10am and noelle had to get up for work, so we all got up at 8am... Will and i went to the Luxembourg gardens to walk around and we went to the rooftop of where i had class which has an amazing view. we then met with alana when she got out of her final and had pastries in front of the sorbonne. we also saw the pantheon and then walked past the cluny museum where you can see the old roman baths. we cut through the latin quater with its old french cobble stone streets and came out at the seine river. we went in the notre dame quickly and when we get back we are going to try to get on the top (it opens at 10am so well get there early but the line is often long). we then went to shakespeare & co which is a great english bookstore with a lot of character that will loved. alana went to her next final and we walked up the seine browsing the small waterfront booths called bouqinists. we passed the musee d´orsay and walk to the louvre. then we cut up past the arch du triomphe du caravel (i htink thats what its called), through the beautiful tuileries garden, to place de la concorde with the obelisk and the view of the arc de triomphe. we then walked to the madeline church, which is a stunning greco-romesque style. definitely google it. we met noelle for lunch. turns out she now works with one of the girls she and i had grammer class with, so she came along too and we ate sandwiches in front of the church. then we walked along through paris kind of wandering in the general direction back towards where we were staying with the girls in luxembourg. we stopped at h&m to get will some clothes since BA will reimburse us for them. we ended up running into two guys who had also lost their clothes who were on the same flight as us! Weirder coincidence: they are from NJ and one of them goes to buffalo! paris is huge, running into them is very unlikely. unfortunately, they leave thurs and we dont get back to paris til wed night, so maybe well see them on their last night out...
the flight to denmark that night was uneventful, that god. we got in after 11pm and Line picked us up. her and her husband (Søren) welcomed us to their beautiful home just on the outside of Aalborg, the 4th largest city in DK. It is only a 20 min walk to the center of the small city which is on a fjord (think salty river). The city is very strange. it has very old bits, but then there are lots of modern buildings mixed in. its also very developing and there is a lot of industry that they are trying to move away to beautify the city. its very tiny to american standards as well.
When we arrived they had philidelphia cream cheese for us! We ate it with some of Sørens home made bread! for breakfast there was cereal called american crunch which was granola, very tasty! haha. they also dont have their cereal with milk but with this liquidy yogurt. kind of like the kids drinkable yogurts but less sugary. eitherway, it was sooooo good.
Our first day there, Line was so awesome and took us to see the city. we walked to the center of the city where we saw really old buildings and narrow cobbeled streets as well as the main street which is much wider and has a lot of shops. i loved the character of the old buildings. we then went into this museum that is in the middle of the main shopping street. you put some danish coins in and then an elevator comes up. you take the elevator down underground to the museum. there is no receptionist or anything. the lights to the hallway light up and you walk in. very much like getting on space mountain at disney. apparently when a shop had done some remodelling they realized they were right on top of an oldddd monastary. Ok so here's a summary: there was a village starting at 900AD. Then some franciscans came to Aalborg and built a church there in the mid-13th century, then tore it down around 1300 and build another church which didnt close down until 1530 (Reformation?). so there were some cool skeletons and they had a lot of cool buttons you could press that would light up certain sections of what you were looking at and there would be a description. i liked this museum a lot. then we went to a cool tea house that had all kinds of tea, like one that had something champagne. i didnt even know you could have champagne flavored leaves?? lol there was a chocolate store next door and we had free samples of flodeboller, a marshmellow type thing with marzipan and covered with chocolate!!! soooo good! they also had chocolate 'sushi'. they were pieces of chocolate that you ate with chop sticks and dipped in the different sauces it came with! very cool
we also saw the local church that apparently no one goes to lol. very different from american or southern/eastern european churches. its hard to describe, but they are all white, very high ceilings, and very bright paints on the ornamentations.
we then had sandwiches from this great sandwich place (I forget the name). they had bagels! apparently it was the last day of school for high school so the kids were dressed like it was halloween! there were star wars ranger things and lots of super mans and others.
we ate by these fountains by the water. all the little blonde kids were there with the babysitters playing in the fountains. speaking of which, we have been really lucky so far, its been all nice hot weather, unusually so!
we finished the day in the utzon center, which is a beautiful building you should google since i dont know when ill have pics up next... it over looks the water and the ceilings are shaped funny so that its almost like being in a ship. there were some cool architecture models from the architecture schools students and some modern art stuff. the building was designed by the guy who designed the opera house in sydney australia. who knew it was a dane? apparently all the danes do... there was also a very very bizarre modern art exhibit we werent too fond of. lots of square cubby holder looking things.
its really late now so im going to go to bed! sorry its so behind! theres so much to say, im sure im forgetting something! xoxo

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ok, so big week just passed!
On Sunday Jan 10 I had girl scouts! Since the 6th was "Epiphany" and girl scouts here is religious, we had a "Gallett du Roi" its a French traditional cake with a little ceramic thing inside that has a sort of almond paste or apple inside. AMAZING. In the morning we played games and read books, and in the afternoon we went to the park behind my dorm, which is a good 25 minute walk. it was snowing. and there were like 20 8 year olds. a little difficult to keep tabs on all, but we did. Once we got to the park, it was awesome! We did a snowball fight, and since I was the only leader who would play, they ALL attacked me with snowballs. Good thing I'm a giant compared to them and they were all very slow in comparison to me lol Then I made a little snowman. And i mean little. There wasnt really enough snow to make a giant snowman, so I joked that it was a little snowman for little girls. Finally by the end they were helping me make it and seemed very satisfied that they did what they did lol
Monday was a little weird. I went into work in the morning b/c I was having a make up class in the afternoon. I was one of the 1st people in and went straight to working. I saw in my e-mail we were going to have a meeting at 11am to discuss plans for 2010. At the meeting we discovered that they had to lay people off. Since Friday was my last day, it didn't seem like such a big deal. But it quickly became awkward when one of my coworkers was fired! People were crying. They had to the leave that day! It was sooo uncomfortable. So we all got the rest of the day off, and went out for drinks. Imagine if I hadn't gone in in the morning, but in the afternoon and walked in on this scene??? I also got the next day off, for my bday :)
That night, after class, me and my friends went out kind of for my bday for a quiet night of beer and wings, which is a little tradition of ours. It was really nice and I was shocked when my friends got me a slice of cake and sang happy birthday!! Mary Beth was there too, and it was soo nice! I really loved it
Tuesday, my birthday, I mostly studied. On wed. I had class at 9am, and exam at noon, and then work!
Thursday I had an exam 10-12. After, my friend Noelle's friend Noel (lol) was leaving, so we went out for lunch for sandwiches/crepes, and to another place for coffee. Then she left for the airport and I met with my friend Angela, she was my TA at Binghamton (aka my teacher lol). We had a really great lunch- I had soup and fresh squeezed o.j. So good! We had a nice chat about French history, and it made me realize how much I actually miss studying it, and also a little stressed that I hadn't done everything I've wanted to do... work, and then a final 7-9. After, my class went out for drinks, which was really really cool.
Friday was really super busy: class 9am, had to get my 25 page french paper bound, then lunch with work (Italian- I was sooo disappointed) and then work til 6:30... It was my last day of work so we had cake and I hung out for a long time with a few co workers which was really really fun. Me and my friends didn't end up going out Friday, but rather hanging out in the basement here. Found out I got the CAF, which is a thing for students in Paris with a bank account! Read: free money. (I hadn't mentioned this earlier, in case I didn't get it, but filling out all the paper work and going to the places I needed to go to was such a pain and really time consuming- but obviously worth it in the end!) As a result, we celebrated :)
Saturday, I sold my fridge to a kid in my building, then tried to go to a convent with the most evidence of the September massacres. AKA blood on the walls. Unfortunately, it was closed, but thanks to the help of an American in a band (he gave me his band name and said he'd send me a cd- but i lost the paper!!! :( )
and a 13 year old french boy, i learned that it was closed and I need permission. So now im on the hunt for that lol
Then I met with friends for a drink and dinner, then to Noelle's new apartment to drink some more, and then out. We went to a bunch of places, but finally ended up at a Scottish bar called the Highlander. This was a little chaotic for me because I was with my dorm friends (there were like 9 of us), then had Pat and his french friend meet us there too, and Angela and one of her friends was there. So 3 groups of friends, loud crowded bar... I didn't know if they would just be clicky or if they were intermingle well, but in the end I had sooo much fun! It really worked out well.
Sunday I was supposed to meet Angela and go to a church, but she was really late and didnt have a phone and then I found out it was closed between masses anyway so it was a no-go. I played basketball with friends (im so bad!). Then met up with Angela and Pat for lunch in an American/French coffee place and had a really great hamburger. Pat and Angela are around the same age, and they'll both be here after I leave, so I helped them both make a new friend! Yay!
After we went for a drink, and then they met up w/ 2 of Pat's friends (french) and I went to dinner with my dorm friends b/c one of the guys from my program, John, was leaving the next day. We ate Indian, I had chicken tikka massala- sooo good!
After we went to an American bar called the Moose and the Jets game was on- that was really cool, but I can already tell there will be a little counter culture shock.
I came back early b/c I had a presentation to day and I wanted to practice and go to bed early.
The presentation on my 25 page paper went really well, it was very easy. They told me my French was very good.
No plans for today... Less than one week til I come home!! It's really weird, b/c sometimes I cannot wait, and other times I get really sad b/c I don't want to leave...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I forgot to mention last time that I saw a special exhibit called "Rembrandt to Vermeer" and it was about the golden age of Holland art. very cool
Well, after England, I went to work full time for 3 days which stunk.
For New Years Eve I ended up getting sucked into going to a club, which ended up being totally awesome! A little too fun... But it was cool, there was a count down and lots of "Bonne Annees!" lol
Sat. I tried to go to the catacombes b/c they just reopened with my friend Sara. Ended up being like a 2 or 3 hour wait, so we went to a garden on top of a train station. Very nice and quiet! Really loved it. Then we met my friend Pat. He's from Strasbourg and working in Paris and I know him b/c he studied when Julian was a Strasbourg so I met him once. His English is so fluent he doesn't have an accent or anything! We met for lunch and hung out for like 2 hours (me Pat and Sara) so fun! I ate a hamburger! AMAZING!
That night I made Mexican with some friends. Burritos! With Chicken and Rice!! Yessss!!
After we went to a bar where you can buy 10 shots for 20 euros and Emily's friends from NY met up with us. That was also very fun lol
Sunday I played basketball with friends and then we went to the Centre Pompidu b/c it was the 1st sunday of the month so it was free. We had KFC! I've never had it before... apparently its better in the US lol
The Centre Pompidu is cool, but I'm not really into modern art, so it was a little wearing after a while. But the view from the top is breath taking!!! You can see the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and the Hotel de Ville (which glitters at night) and since it was night, everything was lit up! Really worth the whole trip...
On Monday I met Monique, my French tour guide. She's really too sweet! She took me out to lunch, and we had real Breton food. That means crepe with cheese, egg, and sausage. Then a crepe suzette and some other delicious crepe. they had apples in them (bretagne is known for its apples) and some liquor from apples that they set on fire when they serve it to you! that was really cool. We also drank hard cider, which I really liked. And then we had coffee!! Really was too nice of her!
Tuesday was a busy day... work class, and then noelle's friends from ny were here... We went to Chez Georges. Its this awesome wine bar where the bottom is like a cave (ie: wine cellar) and its totally french, not touristy at all. I really like that place but I've had a cold for the last 2 days, so I was kinda tired. :(
Today I met Pat for tea at Laduree, which is a famous french place for macaroons. Very fancy! Definitely google it! I had some fancy tea and he had fancy hot chocolate. It was sooo nice!!!
Well I miss everyone and cant wait to come home!!! Next week is my birthday, but also 3 finals, so I dont think im going to get to celebrate :(
I also might take advantage of "Les Soldes" 2x a year the french stores are allowed to have big sales. This is that time! It goes on until Feb 9th, so I might reward myself for surviving such a difficult semester with a little shopping (haha!!)
17 days til I come home!!!!