Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I have found a new home!



LOVE!!!












Ciao,
Paris is officially my favorite place in the ENTIRE world!!!! Every sing building is beautiful, the streets are clean and the people are surprisingly very nice!

We made it!
Friday, Marissa, Elyse, Kelly, Danielle, Stephen and I headed straight to the mesmerizing Eiffel Tower where we had the chance to climb it! 669 steps later we reached the second floor where we stopped for pictures! The view was magnificent! The tower itself is maintained so well! You'd never know it's over 100 years old!

I definitely did not go hungry in Paris! I tried a Nutella Crepe, Creme Brulee, Croque Monsieur and a Chocolate Macaroon! Yes, I know, I sound like a fat kid, but I have to make sure I like the food before I move there!!!  :)  I was kinda bummed I didn't get to try the French Onion soup, but there is always next time! :)

 I also visited the Arc de Triophe, Concord Square, where a monument is in place from Napoleon's years, the bridge where Princess Diana was killed; I signed the wall, and the Louvre!!!!
Arc de Triophe


















The Louvre beats the Florence Accademia by a far! I could have spent an entire day inside! The Mona Lisa was beautiful, but my favorite section was Napoleon III apartments. He had SOOOOOO many chandeliers, which I am completely infatuated with! For those of you who have seen my facebook pictures, yes, I did fall asleep inside of it! In my defense, traveling for 4 weeks straight is extremely tiring! Such a hard life I live :( hahahaha.

We also made an extremely quick visit to Notre Dame Sunday! When I saw extremely quick, I'm not joking! We last track of time at lunch so we literally ran to Notre Dame, grabbed pictures and ran back to the Metro so we could catch our bus so we didn't miss our flight!!! Exhausting!
Notre Dame

I'm slightly disappointed how much I have spent with just transportation. Ryan Air usually has cheap flights, but the airports that you fly into require you to find another sort of transportation to the actual city you need to be! So in all you're still spending between 100-200 euro for transportation then another 50 or 60 for a hostel! I know I am extremely blessed and that I knew this would be expensive coming in, but it just get stressful at times. It is just making a wiser money spender. Just like my daddy!

Tweety :)
My favorite part of the trip was finding a figurine with Tweety standing next to the Eiffel Tower! I could NOT pass up buying it!! It had my name written all over it!!! I also really enjoyed watching the Eiffel Tower Sparkle after sunset! Talk about being speechless! There is nothing in this world more beautiful than the Eiffel Tower, especially at night!

We also stopped at a Starbucks and it had the Christmas flavors out!! I got Mocha Blanc Cranberry! Only way to explain it: Christmas in a cup!

Only 4 more weeks til I return home and I feel like I have so much left to see!!!! Brit and I are going to make a list of things to accomplish! :)

See you all in a few weeks,
It looked like Caesar!
Love ya,
Meek
There is an entire field of stone dolphins outside the Pisa airport!!!


Priceless!

Monday, November 7, 2011

When in Roma..Sleep doesn't exist, you walk more miles in a day than the calories you consume, and you see things you thought you'd never see!!!

Ciao!!!!!!

Well, I finally made it to Roma and it was beautiful! Although, it was not what I expected it to be at all, it was much worth the trip! I thought that the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps would be more secluded, but the fountain was surrounded a bunch of random buildings and the Spanish Steps just had a little fountain in front of it. The Spanish Steps are always packed with teens and young adults. In fact, Brit and I had the pleasure of meeting several Italian military men! haha..

When we arrived Friday afternoon we headed straight for the Colosseum! The history inside of it is fascinating, but I felt very weird standing inside such a place! I can't imagine filling that place to watch people be slaughtered!!! EW! ha. Afterwards, we toured the Roman Forum, which was very pretty! Both the Colosseum and Forum remind me of Pompeii, which has been my favorite thus far! The Forum existed before Jesus Christ, which makes me wonder why people do not believe in him! This trip I have met so many people who do not believe in God. I know I went through a time when I questioned things, but never doubted that there was a greater power above me! I have experienced too many miracles in my life not to believe. I know that having my dad make it through his accident and feeling my Papa close to me when I'm struggling that there is a God and I will one day walk through those Golden Gates and meet him! I may not agree with every rule in the Catholic Church, but I am truly proud to be a Catholic and I hope one day those who don't believe will experience such miracles and have the faith that I have.

Roof of the Pantheon
The last destination of Friday was the Pantheon. It was pretty but not one of my favorite places. An interesting fact is that it has a hole in the ceiling and it is the only original roof in Rome!

Spanish Steps!
The Vatican was my favorite part of the trip!! We started in the Vatican Museo, which consists of 10,000 rooms!!! How insane!! We spent all of Saturday morning there then went into the Sistine Chapel! We weren't allowed to take photos, but everyone was so I snagged a few! It was soooo packed and consumed by beautiful architecture! :) From there we headed inside of St. Peter's Basilica!!!!! OMGGGG it is HUGEEEE!!!! The Firenze Cathedral would fit inside of it!!! The architectural style is extremely Renaissance! I love all the gold trimming and the High alter is so beautiful!! (I feel like I always use the same words over and over, but really these places are unexplainable!) The beauty and history is so extraordinary!

Once our tour was finished we headed down to the Catacombs where most of the Popes are buried. Marissa, Brit, Ian and I then climbed to the Dome of the Vatican! It was about 300 steps, but the view was soooo worth it! The view reaches miles and miles wide!

Sunday was an extremely long day! We were all so tired, but we made it out alive!! We went on a walking tour then we literally booked it from one end of Rome to the other in order to see Pop Benedict the 16th give a speech!!! I was dripping sweat and wanted to fall over, but I think my life is finally complete! He spoke 7 different languages, drew a crowd of 1000s, and gave me goosebumps! The applause from the the crowd was so overwhelming, I nearly cried!!

I hope everyone is doing well and I miss you all but only a month and a half til I am home!!!!! Time is Flying!!!

Love and Miss you all!,
Meek






Making a wish and throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain



Sistine chapel




View from the Dome!




video

Monday, October 31, 2011

A beautiful weekend in Barcelona!

Ciao Amici,

Well, this past weekend I was in Barcelona. It was nothing like I imagined it to be! The city is HUGE and so much cleaner than I expected! (In most areas. Some places were dirty! In fact I was informed that traces of Cocaine and Acid are found in Barcelona's air.) hahaha

We arrived late Thursday night, so we headed straight to bed. Friday we walked just about the entire city and my feet still hate me for that! haha. It was so much nicer than taking the metro though, because we stumbled upon so many cool things! We got to see the Christopher Columbus monument, walked along Port Vell, Sagrada Familia and enjoyed a delicious Spanish meal!


Sagrada Familia is a church that was built in the late 1800s by Antoni Gaudi! The architecture is so creative and different from anything in Italy! It reminds me of a sand castle you'd build at the beach as a kid!
The best part of my day though was getting STARBUCKS!!! I have never been so happy in my life to see a Starbucks!! They spelled mine and Stephen's name wrong on our cups. :( but it was still delicious as ever!
For dinner, I had Paella which was very good and I had probably the biggest glass of pop known to man! It was a little more expensive than I had expected, but well worth it!!

Saturday morning we kinda just got lost in the city! We walked down to the beach and I fell asleep on a chair! No worries, I was holding on tightly to my things!! Kelly, Jen, Stephen and I just kept wandering and found a cute little park so we sat there for a while then took pictures by a gorgeous fountain!


Later in the afternoon we made our way over to Park Guell! It is a mosaic park created by Antoni Gaudi! It is absolutely unbelievable how pretty it is and we had to take escalators up to the park! My favorite part of that was eating Subway there!! I missed it so much!!


The BEST part of the night though, was a fountain light show! OMG I have NEVER in my life seen anything so beautiful! The water shot up so high and they had such pretty music to go along with it! Behind the fountain is a huge government building that also had beautiful lights and fountains! I would have been perfectly content staying there the rest of the evening!

Sunday, Kelly, Stephen, Jen and I woke up at 6 to watch the sun rise on the beach! We took a bunch of goofy pictures and were lucky enough to witness a fight! We all saw a surfer and a man walking his dog. Well I thought it'd be cute to get a picture of a man walking his dog.. Next thing I know the two men are wrestling on the beach! Everyone just stood and stared! The man walking his dog had stolen the surfer's bag. The surfer walked away with his belongings and the other guy was NOT happy about it! He ripped off his shirt, fell over himself to take his shoes off and chased the surfer down! The surfer just planted him right into the ground! Funniest thing I have ever witnessed!


We concluded our weekend by visiting a chocolate museum. Apparently, Barcelona is the first and still is the main import of chocolate into Europe! There were so many amazing sculptures made purely out of chocolate! My favorite was UP! I wish my mom could have been there with me though! She loves chocolate more than anyone I know!!!


Next weekend I'm off to Roma then Paris the following one!!! I hope everyone is having a great Halloween!!!!
Love and miss you all!
Monique









Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blissful Italia!

The beautiful city of Venice!
Ciao Amici,

beautiful!
I am currently procrastinating on packing, so I thought I'd catch up on my blog! This past weekend I spent in Venice! It was probably one of my favorite destinations so far. We arrived Thursday and visited the Accadamia. The art work was outstanding!

                                            Later that night we all grabbed dinner and I tried Bellini!  It is a peach champagne that originated in Venice! It was very good.
delicious!
:) We then roamed the city. As we were walking, a Nutella sign caught my eye. (How surprising!) It said Nutella Pizza!!! We all sprinted into the shop to find that they only had Nutella calzones. Stephen and I had an entire conversation saying the same things at the same time! It was so funny! Of course I had to try one! So they heated it up and Stephen and I split it! It was probably the best thing I've had in Italy so far.... Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's pretty close!

Outside of Basilica of San Marco
 Friday we visited the Basilica of San Marco, which was my favorite part of the trip! It was huge and so decorative inside! Everyone told me I had to see it but I never really knew why. Well now I am saying EVERYONE MUST SEE IT! The basilica is huge architecture inside and out is gorgeous!

We visited a few other places along the way and then ended the trip with a Gondola ride! It's one of those things you have to do atleast once. I'm so glad I had the chance to because it was extremely peaceful and beautiful! Fortunantly for me, that was our last stop because after that is when my camera died! :( It was dropped in Milano and had been acting up since then. When I'd turn it on a message would come across saying lens error. Stephen had temporarly fixed it for me, but it finally gave out! :( I was so upset because I just got that for my birthday AND IT'S PINK!!!!!! I just bought a new one today. It's a very nice blue camera, but it's not pink! hahaha

inside of Basilica of San Marco
I actually had to be a student this week! I had Comparative Media and Art History midterms Tuesday and Wednesday! Comparative Media was very easy but I was freaking out about Art History! I made a powerpoint, retyped all my notes and another study guide! I told my professor and he looked at me like I was nuts and told me I was drowning myself in it! He clearly doesn't know me because I always do this! I was at the school from 1p.m. until 12:30a.m studying last night and it paid off! The test was so easy! I think I only missed one or two! So, if anyone has any questions on Italian Gothic or Renaissance history please let me know!

I'm now off to finally pack for Barcelona! Stephen, Jen, Ali, Kelly and I all leave tomorrow evening and return Sunday!! Please pray I do not get pick pocketed! If this camera is stolen I will chase whoever took it down! hahaha

Cutest puppy!!!
Oh, I almost forgot!!! We finished another episode of Flashes of Florence!!! It's all about the night life here!! Watch it and let me know what ya think!! :) Student Night Life in Florence!

 Love and miss you all!!!
Less than 2 months until we are all reunited!!!!! yayyyy!!!





Marco Polo's home
The oldest bridge in Venice!
Gondola