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Sara’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 19 Apr 2007

Location: Firenze, Italy

MapHey everyone! Wow, it's been so long since I've written! Sorry, been sooooo busy with traveling! So....where to begin....Spring break was a blast! I went to Barcelona first with my friends Jill and Michelle. We also had some other friends from our program there so we met up with them too! Barcelona was interesting, but we had terrible weather the whole 3 days we were there. The first day was ok, just cold, but we went the to Mediteranean and walked along the beach for a while. Then it started to rain so we went back to our hostel and then had paella and sangria for dinner! The next day we bought tickets for one of the big tour busses that stops at all the tourist spots. We got to see some of Gaudi's architecture, which was reall interesting! He designed this huge church that is still under construction! He started building it in the late 1800's and it's still not finished! It's absolutely magnificent! If you want you can probably go on line and find pictures of it! It is unlike any building in the entire world! After that it started raining cats and dogs, so it was hard to see much more. The third day it poured all day too. Overall, we liked it, but I think the weather prevented us from falling in love with Spain. We were so glad to head to Paris! We spent 6 days and five nights in Paris. It was probably my favorite trip so far! It was nice to have a lot of time there so we didn't have to rush through everything. Our hotel was really close to the eifle tower, which was really nice! Paris has a really great Metro system, which made getting around to all the sights really easy. Things we did: Climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomph, walked down the Champs Elysees, went to the Saint Sulpice church (from the Da Vinci Code!), went to Sacre Coeur, went to Versailles, the Louvre (and saw the Mona Lisa!!!!), the Tuilleries gardens, had dinner on a boat cruise down the Seine, and much more! It was sooo amazing! We had georgous weather too! The gardens at the palace in Versailles were the most beautiful gardens I have every seen in my life! Can't wait to show everyone pictures of it! We sat there almost all day soaking up the sun and enjoying its beauty! I was actually surprised to find that the French people aren't as rude as everyone thinks theyt are. Plus French men are way less aggressive than Italian men so it was nice to get a break from being hit on all day! haha! Jill and Michelle are great traveling buddies! We got along great and had a wonderful time! When I got back, I had three days of classes and then headed off to Amsterdam last weekend! I was with Michelle and Jill again and also our friend Matt. Amsterdam is a very interesting place! It's very pretty, but a little strange. Its weird to be in a city where drugs are legal and theres prostitutes posing in windows!!!! VERY weird! But the weather was sooo hot and nice! We went to the Anne Frank house which was a very touching and memorable experience. The walls of her bedroom are still decorated with the magazine pictures she pasted on, and her real diary was there as well. It was very eerie to be in the house that she hid in for all that time. We also went to the Van Gough museum! He was such a brilliant painter! I loved all of his paintings! One of the best days was when we went to the Heiniken factory! It's like Disney world for adults! (actually all of amsterdam is!) There's a show where you stand on a moving floor that makes you feel like you're a bottle of Heiniken being bottled! So silly! They also give you free beer, which tasted so good! We spent a lot of time relaxing in the sun and walking around. One night we went to the Red Light District to check it out...but after about 10 minutes we had to get the hell out of there! It's just rows and rows of windows with protitutes trying to lure in customers!! All of the windows have red lights at the top (hence the name), and there are red curtains that they close when the rooms are occupied! SOOO STRANGE! It was definatley culture shock! It was just so degrading. You cound tell that men on the street had no respect for women and were very vulgar and gross! We were very glad to have Matt with us! But don't worry, as I said we pretty much ran out of there after about 5 minutes! Overall, Amsterdam was an interesting experience but I really can't see myself ever having a desire to go back. So, I got back this monday, and I'm leaving again today!!! I'm going to the Almalfi Coast for the weekend on a orgainized trip with a company called Euro Adventures that organizes trips for American students. Here's a description of the trip!! :

Set out for Capri by ferry to see the celebrated island considered by some to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
A highlight is sure to include one of the 7 wonders of the natural world, The Blue Grotto. There are chances to swim in the Blue Grotto and cliff jump, so bring yourbathing suit!

Go to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. Its ruins have been excavated and now exist as one of the finest archeological sites in the world.

Wind your way along the awe-inspiring UNESCO protected Amalfi Coast (via bus, car, or scooter) and enjoy stops in the towns of Positano and Amalfi. Paestum has some of the best preserved ancient Greek ruins and temples in the world.

Head to the birthplace of pizza, the chaotic and cosmopolitan city of love it, or leave it, Naples. Naples contains some of the finest museums in all of Italy.

Your accommodations will in 3-star private bungalows each with their own private porch/deck. There is a swimming pool and restaurant on site and the hotel is only a few minutes walk from the beach.

SOOOO COOL! I'm really excited to be at the beach in fabulous weather!!! Really looking forward to it! Two of my girl friends, Jill and Justine, will be going with me. We return on Sunday, then next week we have a long weekend, so on Tuesday I'm heading to Greece! We will be spending 6 days on the Island of Corfu!!! All of my friends here are going so it should be a blast! We will also spend some time in Athens! We are all staying at a really famous hostel called the Pink Palace that seems to be really focused on showing students a great time! I can't wait!!! So, as you can see, I am very busy the next few weeks! After that we have finals and then my last weekend here I'm going to try to go the Cinque Terre for a day trip and spend time with my friends. May 11th is when I get home! I'm really excited to see everyone but very sad to be leaving Italy. I have truly had an amazing time here and have grown immensely! I have made amazing friendships that I know will be lifelong! Michelle and Jill are already planning to come to Boulder this summer to visit! It will be nice to have friends to visit all over the US! On a different note, my roommate Molly goes to Virginia Tech and has been having a very hard time dealing with the tradgedy. She knew some of the people who were killed in the shootings, which has been very difficult for her. It's interesting being in a different country during a tradgedy like this as we have seen their views on the massacre. BBC was almost making a mockery of America, basically saying that they were not surprised, etc. Just wanted to say that we were all struck by this tragic event and are thinking of everyone at home and symathising with everyone at Virginia Tech. It really makes you realize how delicate life can be, and makes you miss the people you love. So, on that note...I love all of you very much! and am looking forward to when we meet again! I don't have time to post pictures but if I don't get any up before I come home you will all have plenty of opportunities to see them! I will try to write on Monday next week to tell you about my weekend! A presto! Arrivederci!