Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spontaneous Adventure.

It all started the night before we went to Paris, we were packing and getting ready to go when Blake stormed into our room. He came in saying he found tickets for Portugal and asked if we wanted to come. We were all kinda talking about it and thinking about what to do when Blake chimes in and says, "Well. I bought my ticket, who's coming with me?"
So then we frantically were going through the steps, entering credit card numbers, talking to others who wanted to go and ultimately buying our tickets.
So here we go.
On our spontaneous beach vacation to Portugal. 
I know Marcie (among others) are dying of jealousy.
I'll be sure to update on how wonderful it is.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's WHAT time!?

A theme is starting to occur in daily life of the Centre. 
Late Nights.

They've always kinda happened. Just the random nights of staying up talking or being out late after an event but it's just getting out of hand.

It all started last week. 
We stayed up to watch the BYU game (moment of silence for their loss) and after it ended me, Maddy, Blake and Heather ended up staying up until 5am just chatting. Then the same thing has seemed to happen almost every night!

Tonight we went to a the England v. Ghana soccer game at Wembley Stadium (yes, it was awesome) and we got home at like 10:30 at the latest. We sat in the servery talking until it was at least 1am. Then we made our way upstairs only to stop in front of our room and talk some more. 

Yes, I'm always exhausted the next morning but I never regret my decision to stay up late because this is becoming a defining thing of my "London experience". 

It's pretty incredible how nearly 4 months ago we barely knew each other. We were friends on facebook and had probably asked each others names 3+ times each. Yet here we are. We often have conversations where we encourage the sharing of secrets, look-up our friends/family/stalkee's on facebook, and often just sit and laugh. I really wish I could put into words how much I love this aspect of being here. It's a sad thought that after spending nearly every waking moment together we are going to go back to the lives we led before. These people have just become the "regulars" of my life.

Maddy jumps falls off her bed every morning.
Laura at one point in the day will say "Where's my flash drive!?"
Julie will inevitably listen to me confess something.
Blake will give a creepy glare my way
(and to everyone else we encounter)
Collin will receive ridicule for his "bed head look"
Geoff will say something rude and swiftly apologize.
I, of course, will trip everyone at least once a day. 

But it's moments like these that I'll always remember. 
And the people too. 
Of course. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Expanding the Blogosphere

I often cite Maddy's blog but I'm doing it again.
She articulates things that I don't on her blog.
Just to give a more rounded out explanation of my life
Here it is again.
Maddy Fitz everybody!

The latest 4 posts are my favorites.
Because I feel the same.

More Chocolate? Don't Mind If I Do!

Our final overnight trip of study broad :(
How is my time going by so fast!?
We first hit Belgium then France.

Rather then telling the narrated story of our trip, I'll go with the main points.

1. Weather. 
It was sunny, warm and beautiful everyday of this trip (it has also continued here in London... please stay!) I brought a coat, sweatshirt and sweater in preparation for freezing weather. I wore my sweatshirt on the bus for comfort, my thin sweater everywhere else and my coat was used as Julie's pillow on my lap. We took full advantage of the beautiful weather by taking a boat ride around Bruges and soaking in the rays.

2. Travel Time.
The typical bus ride for our trips consist of the initial 5 minutes being chatty and fun, then the rest of the time silent because everyone falls asleep. We had a lot of bus time on this trip so there was a lot of this. Julie and I figured out an excellent bus/cuddle position and to be honest I'm a little bummed it took us so long to figure out!

3. Food.
This is the most important component of this trip (and all trips). If anyone ever has the opportunity to go to Bruges, Belgium, GO. The Belgians created french fries (yes them, not the French!), perfected chocolate and are famous for their waffles. We never ate a real meal while in Bruges unless you count french fries, a waffle and the best hot chocolate I've ever had as lunch?

4. Hot Chocolate.
Yes this could go in the "food" section but I just need to make everyone's mouth's water. This little cafe has excelled at the art of "Hot Chocolate". They serve you a bowl of hot milk (really a LARGE mug but whatever) and give you another mini bowl, that is made of chocolate, filled with chocolate chips. You dump all the chocolate and even the chocolate bowl into the milk and whisk to perfection. It was so good a member of our group cried (no names included to avoid punishment and embarrassment). 

5. History.
Just for Dursteler I'll say that this was an educational experience. We went to a chocolate museum (don't worry, chocolate won't make you fat or cause acne!), a WWI museum and WWI battlefield. It was really cool to see the WWI places because they played such a big part in history. Sorry to say that I didn't make it through the lecture on the bus. The combination of exhaustion and Julie's neck pillow made listening impossible. Whoops!

6. Ibis.
When we were told we were staying at an Ibis we cheered! It is so nice compared to a lot of the random places we stay but in reality, it's a hotel furnished by Ikea, or so you would think. But considering the two towns we stayed in closed down at like 7pm we spent a lot of time there. We piled 6-7 people on 2 twin beds and watched movies at night. Those are the nights that we wonder what in the world we're doing traveling around Europe. No steamrolls to account for on this trip though. 

To Recap: We love love loved Brugge and are continuing to eat our way through Europe. I advise all others to find time to do the same. You'll regret eating rice cakes and pita all the time. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Harry Hunter

Why didn't I see this sooner? 
As you may remember, I love Prince Harry. If only I had been on my game to find him and woo him before now. I'll have to get on it immediately so that I can stay here and be a Princess forever. 

Princess Sara.
I like the sound of that.

"The objective: find, seduce, and eventually marry Prince Harry."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hey London!

I can barely keep up with my own life so it is impressive if anyone else can. 

We're headed to Belgium tomorrow morning then onto France.

My mom told me today that she told someone that I am "eating my way through Europe". 
While I'm slightly perturbed that she would say that. 
It's true. 
I can't deny it.
I'm fully prepared to take on Belgium.

I've been listening to this song all day and it seems appropriate for our pit stop for 2 days in London between trips.
I love my life.
I love that London is home.
I love the people I'm with.
I love traveling.
Love. Love. Love.

I Don't Even Know...

Lately, we've all been wondering about who we're living with in the Centre. It is quite the ridiculous living situation.

I have 13 girls in my room.
Our professors live on the other side of our flat.
There are 33 girls living in one building.
And only 6 boys.
None of us knew each other before.
Now we know everything about each other.
Then we'll leave and go back to life.
So strange.

I think we really started talking about this when in Ireland. It's hilarious because we know everything about eachother. How many people everyone's kissed, what their current relationship status is, how many family members they have, their mom's maiden names, sleeping habits, how we travel, clothing style, foods they like/don't like, kinds of music we like, how we act when emotionally unstable or grumpy, things we like to do in London, etc. etc.

Then we'll leave in a month and sadly probably not talk to a lot of people for awhile. Then think, "wait a second, who was I living with for 4 months!?"

Over our last trips we have shared a bathroom with our Professor and his family and the 6 boys that are here with us. Blake put it well when he said, "I know more about you girls then your husbands will in your first year of marriage." The boys know things that all boys are supposed to be shielded from in girl world. Like how often we shave our legs, what we look like when we haven't showered for a few days, what we wear when we're desperate for a new outfit.

What an experience.

Luck o' the Irish

"PS I Love You" music was my soundtrack while in Ireland, take a listen while reading:

I wish I had a more creative way of recounting my trips but play-by-plays seem to be the best way, boring as they may be. So here we go:

Tuesday: I have to say up front that this day was a mess. Not a bad mess, but a mess all the same. We left the Centre at 3:30am, AM. Got to the airport and slept while we waited for our plane and arrived in Ireland around 10ish. Our first stop was the Guiness Factory. Oh, the art of making beer. I think we all decided that it would have been a lot cooler if we drank. It was still pretty interesting though and provided some good views of Dublin.

We then checked into our hotel which was 1000000x nicer than a lot of the other places we've stayed throughout this trip so we were SO happy to have clean sheets and comfy beds. After lounging for a few minutes we headed out into the city. We wanted to go to the jail and we knew that it was a bit of a walk but we didn't mind. It was a nice day and we were walking along the river. 

It turned out to be the longest walk ever. Combine the fact that we all woke up at 2:30am and were all exhausted... we were a mess.

We finally arrived and the tour was pretty cool but I cannot even explain how pathetic we all were. We had to wait like 45 minutes for our tour to start and I fell asleep in the cafe I was so exhausted. Then throughout the tour we had to entertain ourselves to not completely lose it making us extremely obnoxious. Once it was over, half of us decided that the walk back into town would be completely unbearable and we decided to take the bus. And that's where things really went downhill.

Blake, Heather, Devon and I all were going to take the bus and we had barely enough euros to pay our way. Thanks to Blake's handful of change we made it on. Then when we got off the bus I was near tears I was so happy we didn't have to walk. So I was profusely thanking Blake and then he turned on me. We got into an "argument" (don't worry no one was ACTUALLY angry, we were all just an emotional wreck) about something that happened like a month ago. So Blake and I are arguing, then Heather chimes in to tell us that we're acting like children and she's the adult in the situation. So then we turned on Heather because she is in fact the youngest person in our study abroad group. Then Devon freaked out because we were freaking out and at that point, we were all yelling, I was sitting on the curb between laughing, crying and screaming and we were getting stares from every direction. Thankfully we arrived at the Brazenhead Inn for dinner quickly after our meltdown.

We had a delicious dinner with everyone and enjoyed the Irish music in the background while we ate. Yet our emotional state wasn't resolved. I whole heartedly admit I was being mean, others were grumpy and later that night in our hotel Maddy and I drove Laura away with our late night talking... at 9:30pm. 

Wednesday: I think we were all happy to see a new day after our out of control first day in Dublin. I again admit I was grumpy in the morning but got over it when we hung out on a couch in a cathedral then walked around the Dublin Castle. I think the final thing to get me over my mood was to get a milkshake. Skittles milkshake. Yummmmm. After getting some sugar we went to do some St. Patrick's Day shopping. While I didn't buy the pictured hat, We got some good stuff.

After another re-group, we went and did some Irish Dancing! It was so fun and a lot of our group was there so we had a good time learning some Irish steps and mostly just being fools celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

Afterwards we were starving and left our food wants up to Blake who always complains that we don't do what heeeee wants. We were all happy to go to get Ray's Pizza followed by another milkshake. Others branched out, I stuck with what I knew. Skittles. I should explain that they put a whole bag of skittles in the shake. Incredible.

After getting our milkshakes I made it known that I had to go to the bathroom. Bad. While everyone meandered their way home, I ran. I even had someone yell after me, "Run, Forrest, Run!" How embarrassing. No worries, I made it to Burger King to go to the bathroom. 

Thursday (ST PATRICKS DAY!): We got decked out in our green and went out to the parade. Note: St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin is the WEIRDEST thing ever. We were pretty sure we were supposed to be on drugs throughout because it was so trippy and ridiculous. Needless to say, our stomachs got the best of us and we left early to go to Mongolian Barbeque (another Blake choice). 

We were loving being in Dublin! It was out of control, all the streets were shut down, everyone was wearing ridiculous green, dancing, drinking, and basically going nuts. We fit right in with our ridiculousness. We pretty much just wandered around all day taking pictures and being crazy. We loved it. And yes, we got another milkshake. Skittles.
Loved it. We left that night to go to Kilkenny which was not nearly as exciting as Dublin but atleast we heard a screamo band perform Poker Face. 

Friday: More wandering around Kilkenny. Went to a few cafe's, drank Diet Coke, bought some snacks, and did some shopping. I think we were all ready to head back to London.

Final stop was a castle. It was pretty and fun but we were exhausted and spent most of our time sitting around talking. I think that's become the best part of our trips. Hanging out together.

Until next time Ireland. You treated us well.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hurry Love!

On the beautiful sunny days in London, we jump on the opportunity to go outside. So today we decided to knock off something that's been on our list and go paddle boating in Hyde Park. We trekked over there and hopped in our boats. My boat included me, Julie, Laura and Collin. Laura and Collin were great little paddlers while Julie and I enjoyed the ride. Then the other boat was Heather, Devon and Maddy. They all traded off paddling.

So after we get in our boats, we are feeling snacky. In the park they have food stands all over the place with crepes, sandwiches, crisps (aka potato chips) etc etc. So we decided that it would be easy enough to paddle over to the edge and Julie could hop out and buy us all crepes! Excellent plan. So off she goes and runs over to the stand. Quickly after she left the staff guy in his motor boat came over to scold us. Whoops! He was nice enough he just told us to be careful when we let her back in. Okay, thanks sir! So we just hover near the edge until she comes back... and the guy hovers over us. So eventually he comes over and pins us to the bank so that Julie can get back in safely. This would all be fine and dandy if the crepe ladies didn't take FOREVER! Julie was waiting over there forever to get the crepes which meant me, Laura and Collin had to stay with the motor boat man for awhile. All he kept saying is, "what is she getting?" "hurry up love!" We all giggled through the awkwardness and our sister boat with Maddy, Heather and Collin all flip cam-ed the whole interaction.

Finally Julie comes back, gets in the boat and the motor boat man leaves us to our crepes. Turns out Julie felt completely ridiculous getting the crepes because she got 4 and had to wait around and keep adding crepes to her pile. Then as she went to pay she didn't have enough money so the girls working let a pound slide.

So we ate our crepes, laughed about how embarrassing it was, and kept on paddling. We didn't let the other boat steal any of our crepes. We did let them lick our plates though. They did.

The Woes of a Lost Camera

I like to think of myself as a semi-organized person most of the time. Sure I occasionally misplace things and things may sometimes look messy. But I know where stuff is. The common problem at our house is when I put something down and someone moves it (mom) and THEN I can't find it. I know where I left it, it just got moved.

Before even getting here I camera troubles. (My dad is rolling his eyes right now because he is so sick of cameras, and all electronics in general-- except the iPad he loves.) I got a new one for Christmas that we delayed ordering one day too long because it got to my house in Virginia the day after I arrived in London. So that's where it all started.

But for some reason, since being here in London, I have misplaced my camera THREE TIMES.

1) We were in Edinburgh and while we waited on everyone to be ready for dinner in the lobby of our hostel, I was flipping through my pictures and put it onto my lap where I assume it slid off and I left for dinner and the camera remained on the couch. I discovered at dinner that my camera was gone and prayed that it was at the hostel. It was. When we came back that night I asked the girl at the front desk if they'd found a camera. Sure enough it was mine.

2) We went to Oxford for the day and I took many a picture and was showing them all to Julie on the bus ride home. Once I was back in my bed ready to upload pictures, I couldn't find my camera. I knew I'd had it on the bus so the only solution was that it was on the bus. So I e-mailed professor Crowe and he gave me the bus drivers phone number. I called at least 4 times and he NEVER answered. I was frustrated to say the least. Then a few days later as I sifted through my purse... there was my camera. I was carrying it around with me for days while I thought it sat on an abandoned bus somewhere.

3) We stayed in a hostel in the Cotswolds last week and after our first day I was looking through pictures (this sounds familiar doesn't it?) and after hanging out in the lounge all night I picked my stuff up and went to bed. The next morning on the bus I discovered that I didn't have it. I told everyone to say a "mini prayer" that it was locked away safely in my duffel bag that was stowed under the bus. It wasn't I later discovered. So when we got back into London, Dursteler announced that they found a camera in the hostel. Phew. When I approached him to tell me how I could get it back, Crowe was present and said, "weren't you the one who lost your camera on the bus?" Yes. That was me. Dang it.

So I'm in the process of trying to get it back from that hostel and I'm somewhat frustrated because we're going to Ireland tomorrow and I need a camera. I have my old one but the battery charger is lost among all my junk. Everyone say a "mini prayer" that I find my charger, get my other camera back and don't lose it again. Sheesh! Laura also suggested putting it on a necklace... not a bad idea.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Where Are We Again?

This weekend was our trip to Wales.
Or so we thought.

We left Thursday morning and were woken up on the bus by our "church history tour guy". He was talking about all this church history stuff and I'm pretty sure most of us slept through whatever he was saying. We went to a handful of different places and the following happened at every stop:
1. He would talk about where we were going.
2. We would all fall asleep
3. We would wake up as the bus stopped.
4. Got off the bus.
5. "Listened" to his little informative lectures
6. Get back on the bus.
7. Repeat.

Not that the information couldn't have been interesting, we just weren't particularly entertained by it all. Our coach (not bus) driver even mentioned to someone over the phone that we were, "in the middle of nowhere." Of the numerous places we stopped at though there were 2 places that were notable. 

Herefordshire Beacon: This was a place where Wilford Woodruff would come to think when he was there. It was really pretty but I think the fun thing about it was the wind. It was crazy! My scarf started to untie itself, my glasses flew away momentarily and my hair was out of control. It was quite the chore to brush it later. It was a really nice view of the countryside that was surrounding and just everything really. 
Gadfield Elm Chapel: This was a little Mormon chapel that was restored and was just kind of a charming little place and I thought the stories we heard there were interesting. Plus we all sang a hymn that was pitched terribly due to the lack of accompaniment and the fact that none of us knew this song.

So after all this on and off of the bus, cat naps, and less than interesting tours, we arrived at our hostel. 
Which was in the Cotswalds. 
Which is England.
After preparing for our trip to Wales our first day was spent entirely in England.

So we stayed in a dinky little hostel, where there were 4 pubs around us and not much else and pretty much just swapped stories late into the night. That's one of the best things about our trips I think is just kind of spending a lot of our time really hanging out with each other and getting to know people really well.

Friday we hopped on the bus bright and earlier and drove, drove, drove. Which meant I slept, slept, slept. When I woke up we were at Tintern Abbey. I think we could all agree that the Abbey's are cool because they're all pretty old and partially destroyed which makes them very pretty. On this trip however, it was raining and it was pretty cold. So we took shelter in the crevices of the Abbey and stayed in one part of it for the entirety of our stay. 

Next on the list was the mine, I think the most anticipated part of the trip. We went down into a coal mine. That's 300 feet below ground. Yikes! We fashioned a hardhat with a headlamp and a belt with a battery for our light and a air mask in case of emergencies (which we were instructed on how to use AFTER we were above ground, useful.) All the workers there were so friendly and fun to be around, I was dubbed Goldilocks when they were fitting my helmet. Once we were down there, I think we were all slightly on edge because of the intensity of it. Our tour was pretty interesting but also sad! The guide kept telling us awful stories about accidents, some of which involved some of his closest friends. It was awful. We even went in one enclosed area where we turned off our headlamps and experienced the intense darkness that the miners would experience. It was definitely an enlightening experience. 
We stayed in Cardiff for the night and topped off the day by going to dinner at an Italian Restaurant in the Bay and finished off with milkshakes from an American diner with Elvis videos playing on repeat (We were completely mesmerized by him and stayed there longer than we should have probably.) As we were leaving a woman said under her breath with disdain, "Americans..." and glared as we made our exit. 
We were glared at for being Americans.
In an American style Diner.

Our final day in Wales we started by just wandering around Cardiff which was actually so fun! There was a huge rugby game that day between Wales and Ireland so there was national pride everywhere! Some girls got their faces painted with the Wales dragon, there were competitions to win merchandise, and just red everywhere. It was a good day to be wandering around aimlessly in Cardiff, Wales. Our final stop before heading home was at St. Fagans. It's basically a place that shows you what Wales is all about. There's a castle, some thatched cottages, the best ice cream ever (okay, that may not have anything to do with Wales but it was delicious) and some Wales styled children films that were like a car wreck... we couldn't stop watching. Then we headed home to London.

I think we all didn't really have any expectations for this trip because we knew nothing about Wales other than the fact that no one really speaks Welsh and that Princess Diana was the Princess of Wales. We had a good time and certainly laughed about some of our circumstances we found ourselves in.

PS: all the pictures are from Laura because my camera got lost... again. Don't worry. The hostel in the Cotswalds found it and it will be returned. I found this out when Dursteler got on the microphone on the bus so he could tell me... and everyone on the bus. I have a feeling I'll be the girl who always sleeps on the bus and always loses her camera.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quand J'étais à Paris ...

Everyone's sick of me talking about Paris I'm SURE, but this post will be better than a play-by-play (Wamp, wampppp)

Things that I have learned about our group, me, and other things in general:

1) We sleep too much. Or not enough? Who knows. We pretty much just sleep every chance that we get. The second we sit on a train, metro, bus, etc etc. we're done for. It's kinda wonderful... except when your friends take pictures of you sleeping or take a video of you.

2) My French skills are actually pretty awesome. (No, I will not be humble about it) I very effectively conversed with many a french person on this trip and I loved it! My two finest moments were when we were at the Opera House and I was getting all the information about it and when I was chatting it up with the man working at the boulangerie about macaroons! I was really quite proud of myself. FINALLY all those years of french paid off!

3) I eat entirely too much. My mother always said of me that she admired the fact that I can stop eating when I'm full. That skill has somehow slipped away. On Sunday I went to lunch with Maddy and Laura and when we were discussing going to get a cupcake I replied by saying, "I'm too tired, and I'm too fat for that". So on my way home naturally I stopped for a chocolate eclair. Oh dear. My diet begins the second I get home.

4) Ramzi dubbed our little "group" the cuddliest group in the centre. Which I thought was just funny until this weekend. It's true. Completely, 100% true. Laura, Maddy and I shared a bed for 4 nights, inside a duvet cover, huddling together for warmth. After our last night, Maddy informed us that we were so close to her that in her efforts to roll over or move at all resulted in Laura and I groaning at her. 

5) I take a lot of ridiculous pictures. Maddy has a growing collection of unattractive photos of just me doing embarrassing things in front of her camera. I should act like the adult I am. 

6) This isn't necessarily related to Paris (actually not at all), but I am obsessed with Prince Harry. I don't know what it is but he is quite attractive and so English gentlemanly. William has started to look too much like his father which is quite a tragedy so I'm clinging to the hope that Harry will stay attractive, find me while I'm here and I can be a princess and live here forever. 

Just some facts to keep everyone "in the know".

Oh PS: I'm going here at the end of the month. Algarve, Portugal.
No Big Deal.

J'adore Paris!

Once upon a time I was 6.
And when I was 6 I started French class.
My love for the language has had it's ups and downs.
But my need to go to Paris hasn't.
So when I decided to go to London,
it also meant going to Paris.
So I did.

This last week was our designated "travel week" from our study abroad program. I toyed with ideas of Prague or Rome or any of the other places everyone else went but ultimately decided I couldn't demote Paris to a mere 2 day excursion. While the trip was amazing, we did have some bumps along the way. Just one of those things that you keep saying to yourself, "what is going on?" and then laugh it off.

Tuesday: Before even leaving I was sick. I was quite worried I would pass out but trudged along anyway and slept on the Chunnel, which greatly helped. We left London having the great idea that me, Heather, Laura and Maddy could head off taking Lyse and Jamie's luggage so that we could drop off their stuff at the hotel and then be off in the city. There was a blip in this plan because when the "luggage team" went to drop off the stuff at the hotel, it took them 3 hours to get back to us in the train station. So we sat in the station, huddling around heaters with homeless people waiting for them to show up. 

Finally they did and we ate some food to fill our empty stomachs and then hurried over to see L'Arc de Triomphe. It was gorgeous. There was a huge French Flag that was whipping in the wind making it incredible. Throughout the whole trip I kept thinking to myself, "So THAT'S why this is always on postcards and stuff." Everything is so beautiful!

We arrived to our hotel- or villa- late that night and CRASHED. We loved having a full sized shower and nice comfy beds. Laura, Maddy and I cuddled the whole trip in our little bed. There was no better way to end each day then to cuddle up with my best friends and fall asleep. (We of course missed Julie though)

Wednesday: All the touristing would really began! We started at Le Louvre. We loved the photo opps naturally, and then we made a point to see the main pieces of art and wandered around looking at the glamorous building and everything in it. 

After wandering around in Le Louvre and being highly critical of the art- yes. we are that pretentious.- we walked from Le Louvre, through Les Tuilieries towards L'Arc de Triomphe. We stopped along the way to bask in the sun and eat paninis and crepes. It was a wonderful thing to have to use sunglasses!

We then got back to L'Arc de Triomphe, compared the number of steps to those of the William Wallace monument (there were less at William Wallace fyi), and hiked up to the top! It was super windy but pretty dang beautiful. 

After seeing the views we went over to see the Centre Pompidou which is a modern art museum that they constructed to look "inside out" (secretly, I thought it was ugly but that's okay haha). This was followed by our first... of many... crepe! It was delicious. We went over to the church exhibition after that where we ran into a whole bunch of awkward missionaries that made us feel a little bit at home. 

Then we went to Hotel de Ville (aka Town Hall basically), which had a merry-go-round conveniently in front of it. They're everywhere in Paris which is actually quite charming. Then we headed home by ourselves, no help from tour guide Ryan. We may have gotten off the bus too early/late ...twice... but we made it home, made ourselves some dinner and got to sleep in the burrito that was our bed. 

Thursday: First stop was Les Catacombs. [Definition: in the empty underground tunnels of Paris there are 6 billion peoples bones buried there because they ran out of rooms in cemetaries and moved them there in the late 1700s] Creepy right? Yes. It started out pretty cool seeing all the skulls and creepy designs with bones and THEN.... it just kept going. And going. And going. So many bones! Super creepy!

We then went over to Notre Dame and made the hike up to the top. It was FA-REEZING but so worth it. I loved seeing the view with all the gargoyles around. They are actually pretty awesome and make the beautiful view even cooler. 

Then we headed over to Le Tour Eiffel! It is actually quite humungous. It kind of blew me away how huge it is! We went up to the top (some got scared, I surprisingly did not) and loved seeing how gorgeous the city is! It was a little smoggy but it didn't diminish the view at all. This was probably the most cold we had ever been. Waiting in line for the lift was the coldest few minutes (that felt like hours) of the trip. We were dying! So we went up, came back down, took tons of pictures, went to dinner, went back and took MORE picture then left. Definitely a place where we needed a ton of pictures. Obviously.

Afterwards we went to Musee d'Orsay which is the impressionist museum in Paris. I love love loved the Degas stuff, I declare him as my favorite. I did a project on him senior year and loved his ballerinas so it was great to see them in Paris (I've actually seen other "ballerina" paintings here in London at various museums too). Great end to a great day.

BTW: length of this post is embarrassing, apologies

Friday: VERSAILLES! We watched Marie Antoinette in preparation for our trip (the one with Kirsten Dunst) and all I could think about was the scene where she says to her ladies, "this is ridiculous" and they responded with, "this is Versailles". Perfect explanation. The inside was outrageously beautiful but the grounds were spectacular! It was a gorgeous day so it was nice to just wander around the gardens, grab some lunch, and take some pictures. 

After losing Lyse on the metro (don't worry she was later found at the hotel), we arrived at Sacre Couer. I loved this! (I keep saying that!) It was such a pretty view and it was so fun to see all the street performers, fun shops and artists that were there. 

More wandering after Sacre Couer, we ended up down by Notre Dame and got some kebabs for dinner then headed home. Note: Lisa, I ate lamb. I thought of you the whole time.

Saturday: Our final day, our tour guide Ryan, left us on our own. Which was a little nerve wrecking but turned out to be fabulous! I was a little stressed in that I was really the only one who could get around using my French but it ended up being so fun! We started at the Opera House which was so beautiful, I think we were all pleasantly surprised and kept humming Masquerade from The Phantom of the Opera as we wandered around... or at least I did. 

We of course had to go take some photos in front of Moulin Rouge as we said "oh la la!" It was really just a quick stop followed by crepes and a lovely walk up a street full of boulangeries, patisseries, fromageries etc etc. We loved it.

Another trip up to Sacre Couer to check it all out again, and mostly to shop. I was pretty tame even though I wanted to buy all the crazy tourist things that were there. (Including a stuffed Eiffel Tower for Erin... shoulda gotten it.)

We picked up food for a picnic at the base of the Eiffel Tower to end the trip and ended up waiting for Laura to go to the bathroom for like 45 minutes. Geez. It was fine, we were surrounded by men trying to sell Eiffel Tower keychains. I can't even count the number of times I turned people down in French. 

Overall, Paris was wonderful. I think we were all super happy and pleasantly surprised by how fabulous everything was. 
J'adore, J'adore!