What it’s Like to be a Nobody at the Grammy’s

Hello again!

It’s been a long time since I last wrote a blog post..two years to be exact. I will you spare you the details, but I had been fairly busy with school. Now, to get into the story: back in January I had an amazing opportunity from Absolut Vodka–a trip to the 2018 Grammy’s for me and a friend! Since I love making lists, I have created one of my experience at the Grammy’s and what it was like sitting in the audience at such an important event filled with so many somebodies. grammys (3).jpg

  1. I’ve never been so worried about what I looked like–  Knowing that there were going to be celebrities with a team of makeup artists and designer dresses was mildly intimidating. I was at least hoping I could blend in enough that passerby’s wouldn’t think “what is she wearing”. Apparently my Dillard’s dress did me well because I at least got a few compliments.

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    Dillard’s dress getting the job done

  2. Getting inside the venue was not a piece of cake– NYC is already pretty happening, but imagine that times ten. There was so much traffic our driver took us around the block several times. It was about a 25 minute walk to MSG, but it ended up taking us over an hour to get there. We ended up walking from a block away.

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    Outside MSG

  3. Security was worse than at the airport– I guess this could be expected for such a highly publicized event, but it was still a surprise. Someone went through my bag and we were on our way.
  4. I wasn’t able to casually run into a celebrity like I had hoped for– Yes, they separated us seat-fillers from the actual celebrities. There were several stories and railings, so you couldn’t just walk down the stairs and tap your favorite musician on the back (my dreams were crushed).
  5. Commercial breaks were a little chaotic– During commercial breaks you were allowed to go to the bathroom, but you had to make it back before the end of the break. If not, you would have to wait until the next break to return to your seat. Luckily, I was seated near a bathroom.

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    My view from my seat

  6. There isn’t just one stage like you see on TV–  There actually were a few stages and the different performances would be on different stages. This way they could prepare for the next set while another musician is performing. Also, James Corden would pop up in a different location every time he started talking and sometimes it took me seemingly forever to find him!
  7. 7:30-11:00 is a long time to sit in an uncomfortable dress– By about 10:00 PM, people started leaving (which is crazy to me, it’s the Grammy’s). However, I was ready to leave at the end and stretch my legs.
  8. Leaving was also mass chaos– We were supposed to take a bus back to the after-party, but locating that bus proved impossible. My friend and I ended up walking, which was only bad because I was wearing 3 inch heels that were absolutely killing me. And it was January. Some people were even filming us. Maybe they thought we were some B-list celebrity or something? I’ll take it.
  9. The after-party was even better than the before-party– I was so happy to reach our hotel (where the official after-party was held) and finally eat! There was so much food and of course, Absolut had some amazing drinks. The best drink I tried was called a ‘vodkarita’ and it’s really easy to make. Here’s the recipe (just a note-it’s very strong):
    Ingredients
    2 parts Absolut Lime
    1 part lime juice
    1/2 part agave nectarPreparation
    – Fill a shaker with ice cubes
    – Add all ingredients
    – Shake
    – Strain into a chilled rocks glass with a salted rim filled with ice cubes
    – Garnish with a lime wedge

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    My friend and I at the after-party

  10. The after-party was awesome– It was supposed to end at 2:30 AM, but ended up going to 4:00 AM (and I’m happy to report we stayed the entire time). There was live bands and dancers, and a dance-floor. I had no idea what to expect of the after-party because no information was given to me prior. This totally blew my expectations.
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    The live music at the after-party

    Well that’s it! I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at the Grammy’s and got a taste of what it’s like to attend.

    Thanks for reading!
    -MEO

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Adventures in Switzerland: Lausanne

Ciao!

The city of Lausanne, Switzerland is actually where I stayed throughout my trip, so I spent the most time here. Lausanne is located on Lake Geneva and is a French-speaking city in Vaud filled with beautiful architecture, hills, and gorgeous views. It was a 23 minute bus ride into the city from where we were staying, so I got to know the city quite well. Unfortunately it was foggy everyday and I couldn’t even see the mountains..

The part of Lausanne that touches Lake Geneva:

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I’ve never seen a building with a patterned roof?

The historic part of town looked totally different from the rest of the city. The streets were uneven and the city almost felt like it was built in layers. It felt very different from Italy and anywhere I’ve been so far. The buildings looked very French to me, so it felt like visiting two countries in one. It also reminded me of Germany, so it was an like a giant combination of several countries.

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French-style buildings are my favorite.

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Inside the Lausanne Cathedral

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Even their vines are pretty..

Lausanne is also where I tried cheese fondue for the first time! It was a bit pricey, but I suppose a normal price for a meal for the Swiss.. I didn’t expect the cheese to be soooo good, however. I have never eaten so much cheese and bread in one sitting.

Next stop: Geneva!

Ciao!

-MEO

 

Adventures in Switzerland: Gruyères

Ciao un’altra volta! Here is the next stop on my Swiss adventure:

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Gruyères:

I spent half a day in the small medieval town of Gruyères after visiting Broc. Gruyère cheese is named after this town, and this cheese was being sold everywhere here. These people really like their cheese. Apparently its used in fondue also. Pretty important cheese.

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I had the best views here because there was finally one day without fog!

My favorite part of the trip: walking up an 82 meter hill to see a castle, then discovering a secret mountain village on top. HOW IS THIS REAL!?

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Secret mountain village filled with Christmas decorations of course!

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I took so many photos from on top of the hill that I struggled to choose the best ones to post..never have I seen mountains so large.

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My favorite picture from Switzerland.

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Vegetable soup and fresh bread to escape the cold for a bit.

Next stop: Lausanne!

Ciao!

MEO

Adventures in Switzerland: Montreaux and Swiss Chocolate

Ciao!

I recently took a 6 day trip to Switzerland, since there was an Italian holiday and no school. This is the longest trip I’ve taken all semester, so I was pretty excited to have time to enjoy Switzerland and take my time. It’s pretty stressful to get in and out of a country in like two days, so this was a nice change. I only traveled to and around Geneva, so I stayed in the French-speaking part of Switzerland the whole time.

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Since I had so much time there, I was able to take the train to multiple cities. Of course there was SO MANY Christmas markets, so enjoy my countless photos of lights and trees.

Montreaux:

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View of Lake Geneva from Montreaux

The Christmas markets were huge, but also very expensive. Correction: all of Switzerland is VERY expensive. I thought that London was expensive..until I came here.

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Chateau de Chillon

I finally got to see a castle! It felt like it was straight out of a fairy-tale with the water around it and the forest nearby. Definitely worth the walk.

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Broc:

Broc is a little town in the mountains, and here I toured the Cailler chocolate factory. They explained how chocolate became popular in Europe and it was actually really interesting, because I have a chocolate addiction. Cailler chocolate is Switzerland’s oldest chocolate brand still in existence today. And it was good chocolate.

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At the end of the tour, there were rows and rows of chocolate to sample! I think we were meant to choose a few to try, but my friends and I sampled every flavor of course! Free chocolate. Mmmm. Never before in my life have I thought “I cannot look at one more piece of chocolate” until after this tour.

In my next blog post I will include the other 3 cities I visited in Switzerland!

Ciao!

-MEO

Getting into the Christmas Spirit in Germany

Ciao!

As the end of my adventure comes closer, I am filled with the bittersweet knowledge I will be heading back to the States soon. However, in this past month I have done more traveling than I’ve done in my entire life! A day after coming home from Barcelona, I spent a three days in Cologne, Germany then I spent 6 days traveling around Switzerland. My favorite part about Germany and Switzerland both is…the Christmas markets! As much as I don’t like the cold (who does?), I found that it really makes the atmosphere even more Christmas-y.

Germany:

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Market in Cologne

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So many handmade trinkets and ceramics!

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Hot chocolate..with a bit of Bailey’s because Germany loves alcohol.

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The market near the Cologne Cathedral

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This was so beautiful..ice skating at one of the Christmas markets!

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Old Town Cologne

 

Besides for the Christmas markets, I also explored the rest of the city. I think if I could’ve chosen any other country to study abroad in it would have been Germany. Not to mention the German language sounds so unique and different from the smooth Italian I’m used to, so it was a nice change. Navigating the city was difficult–I couldn’t remember the names of any of the stops on the metro, let alone street names.

However, I now know how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in German. I would say I’m almost fluent!

 

As far as the German food goes, I definitely enjoyed eating bratwursts again! Pretzels were everywhere as well. The best thing: Germany loves meat just as much as America.

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I’m so in love with these colors..

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Cologne Cathedral. Even more breathtaking in person.

Ciao!

MEO

 

10 Observations of Barcelona

Ciao!

I have gotten quite behind on my blogging because I’ve been traveling a lot this month. Not to mention when I come home from a big trip I have to cram all my homework and studying in from the past week…the life of a student.

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Flying still makes me excited.

A week and a half ago I got to jet off to Barcelona for 4 days. It’s funny that when I sat down with some friends at the beginning of September to plan this trip, it was hard to believe I was actually going. It seemed ages away.

I have to say that Barcelona was not somewhere I planned on going, mostly because I didn’t know much about it. But, hey, the flight was 35 euros round trip and I’m on a college student’s budget (can I just throw in that Ryanair is unbelievably cheap? Like, question the safety of your flight, cheap. If you don’t know what Ryanair is you must be living under a rock. Just kidding– it is a super cheap budget airline that goes to most of the major cities in Europe and is notorious for their bad customer service. As long as you don’t expect much from them, you can get really affordable flights to anywhere. I’m always tempted to just skip class and hop on one of those 10 euro weekday flights I see…). Either way, I’m always down for seeing a new country.

Here is a general summary of my short time in Barcelona–with a list, of course. Because I really like making lists.

My Observations of Barcelona:

  1. It is NOT always warm in Spain. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I thought it had to be warmer than Italy. It actually felt way cooler because there was this horrible thing called wind! Italy doesn’t have wind.
  2. After spending the last few months in Italy and spending 8 hours a week in Italian class, my three years of high school Spanish was almost completely gone. Luckily, my friend is fluent in Spanish.
  3. The most important part: the food. Barcelona is known for their seafood, so I tried some seafood paella (paella is this delicious rice dish with spices and all kinds of seafood that is popular in Spain).
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Seafood Paella

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Tapas! Patata Bravas and some fried chicken thing that had a really long Spanish name. Tapas are a Spanish delicacy in which you try several small portions of different foods.

4. Go to Barcelona when it’s not November so you can enjoy the beach! Although I was kind of confused by the amount of men in underwear running in and out of the water..it around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

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5. Gaudi architecture is pretty weird unique. You can tell he loved the beach.

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Casa Batlo

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Casa Mila

6. La Sagrada Familia (still under construction).

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7. Barcelona is located in the region of Catalonia. In Catalonia they speak Catalan, not Spanish! Although it is similar, its still not the same as Spanish. I found it interesting that in the airport the signs were in English, Spanish, and Catalan..complicated.

8. The market near La Rambla (the most famous street of Barcelona) was a good find. I would love to just pick the whole market up and move it home. Fruit was super cheap and fresh. I’ve never seen fruit that fresh and cheap in Ohio. There was fresh spices, chocolates, gifts, fresh juice, and…empanadas.

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9. When I came to Italy, I had to adjust to the fact that Italians stay up later. They eat dinner at 9 pm and then stay out late. Spain is on a whole new level. Lots of restaurants serve dinner at midnight and the young people come home from their night out at maybe 6 am. This is a normal thing here. That is why they take a siesta, I guess..

10. And one last random fact that you probably don’t care about– Barcelona is the place for UK citizens to come on holiday. I was told this before, but I encountered more British people here than I did in London! I also did not meet one person actually from Barcelona. It was truly a mix of people from around the world.

Ciao a tutti!

MEO

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London Day 1: Sleeping in Airports, the Tube, and the London Eye

Ciao! Or should I say hello?

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As I sit here thinking about what I want to write about, I am struggling to begin. Where did this London whirlwind of a weekend begin? How did this rather unfortunate series of events start (correction: unfortunate then pretty amazing)?

Okay, backtracking to last Friday. Let me set the scene. I was super excited for London. Seeing Big Ben, watching the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace, walking underneath Tower Bridge, eating fish and chips, and of course hearing those beautiful English accents. Growing up watching lots of British TV shows and movies, I was beyond ready to finally see life across the pond.

I had just arrived at the Bologna airport with my friend, and we had already gone through visa check and we had our boarding pass stamped. We went to scan our pass in order to get into security, but for some reason the screen read “too late”. After several tries of rescanning, we went to talk to an employee. Turns out..we were way too late. 12 hours too late. That’s right, we thought our flight was at 6 pm..turns out it was 6 am. You see, it seems that everyone in the world uses military time except for America. So I am putting some of the blame on America. And our own stupidity.

So at this point, I had to laugh because otherwise I would’ve cried. HOW DID WE NOT NOTICE THIS? I still haven’t let this go, as you can tell. After a scrutinizing hour or two of having the poor Italian woman working at the airport search for another flight that wasn’t 500 euros or completely full, we finally found a flight leaving out of Milan the next morning at 7 am. We hopped on the train to Milan, then another train to the airport (another 45 minutes), and finally arrived around midnight at the Malpensa airport. After sleeping about 1.4 hours in an uncomfortable airport chair while listening to an old woman snore all night, I was really hoping London was all that it was cracked up to be.

I will end my rant about how much money and time I wasted with that simple mistake with this: QUADRUPLE CHECK THE TIME OF YOUR FLIGHT. Actually, whatever is more than quadruple..do that!

London Day 1:

When we arrived at the London Gatwick airport, we were faced with another challenge. How to get into actual London? Most cheaper airports are pretty far from London, so we were about an hour away from central London. We had already paid for a bus to bring us into London that left last night (at a whole different airport), so we were very unwilling to pay for another one at this point. Lucky for us, we found out that Gatwick is actually a stop on the London underground. We bought a day pass for the tube (a nickname for the underground..trying to sound like a true Londoner) and in about an hour we arrived at our first stop. We got lucky here.

(I made that sound pretty easy, but in reality we stood there for quite awhile trying to figure out how this thing worked. To give you some reference, here is map of the tube:)

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It kind of gave me a headache. But once my friend and I figured it out it was a quick way to get anywhere in London. (FYI I learned that London has the oldest transportation system in the world. They invented underground transportation for the entire world. For comparison, Rome has 2 metro lines, London has 11 lines. There was even shops dedicated to the London Underground..a little odd but transportation was a big part of their city.)

First stop: Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard.

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As soon as I set foot outside, I was hit with huge gusts of wind and rain. The actual temperature was in the 50’s, but it felt a lot colder than that. Definitely felt like England (and reminded me of Ohio weather)! I stood outside Buckingham Palace for about 40 minutes in the rain with my huge backpack until finally, the officers told us that it was cancelled! Luck was just not on my side with this trip.

After finally checking into my hostel and changing into some warmer clothes, I felt very eager to actually see something British. Next, I took the tube to Tower Bridge.

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Tower of London- an old medieval castle.

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Tower Bridge

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I made it to London!

It was very beautiful, especially with the water right next to the bridge and the sun beginning to go down. The sun starts going down around 4:30 pm and by 5 it’s dark in England!

At this point it was really hitting me that I was actually in London. I saw red Double Decker buses, I was using pounds instead of euros, and my favorite part: beautiful English men speaking with beautiful English accents (who doesn’t love English accents?).

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Who knew that the city buses were actually red Double Decker buses?

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All of their taxis looked like this..it was really adorable actually.

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Pounds! AKA the WORST conversion ever.

Next, I headed over to King’s Cross station. That’s right, the one from Harry Potter..who knew it was an actual station? Not me before I planned this trip. The best part was this picture was it was free. I have always been a huge Harry Potter fan, so it was worth waiting 40 minutes in line for. The Harry Potter shop next to the platform had everything from Hermione’s wand to Ravenclaw sweaters– a Potterhead’s dream. I had to use every restraint in my body not to buy everything.

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Platform 9 3/4. Yes, there is an actual person who throws your scarf up when taking this photo.

Next I took the tube near the London eye and spent some time walking around that area until it was time to go on the London eye. It was right on the Thames river, so there was a slight breeze and it finally had stopped raining!

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Surreal view by the water

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The London eye was pretty awesome. Not something I would do again, but I got a really pretty view of all of London at night. Words cannot express how beautiful the view was, so I will let the pictures do the talking.

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If only there was no glare from the screens inside!

Oh, and I finally got some greasy fries and fried chicken for dinner. I missed greasy food a lot…I didn’t realize how much I missed having food that wasn’t pizza or pasta. It tasted like heaven. London had restaurants and food from all around the world, so it was so nice to see variety again. Also, it felt kind of like home. London actually reminded of America a lot– the food, no language barrier, the modern feel, the higher technology, the bathrooms with toilet paper. It was great to get away and see something new after over two months of living in Italy.

That is all for day 1! I will be adding day 2 soon.

Ciao!

MEO

Rome and the Vatican City in 30 hours? Possible.

Ciao ciao!

I’m trying to catch up on my blog posts, so that is why I am suddenly posting multiple blog posts in one week. I have several trips to talk about, so many that I struggled with deciding which one to talk about. November is quickly approaching, and I am extremely excited that I will be leaving for London in a week and half (I have always been obsessed with England)! Expect an extra long blog about that. So for that reason I am trying to write as much as I can about Italy before venturing into other countries. As my roommates say, why does this have to be a study abroad program? Can’t it just be an abroad? But seriously, I swear I do actually go to school here!

This past month has flown by, and I’ve already been to La Spezia (near Cinque Terre), Rimini (a beach city), Ravenna (near Rimini), San Marino (the oldest country in the world..but still geographically in Italy. I also must include that this was one of my favorite places so far! It was gorgeous, and there were several castles that you could climb to the top of. Picture below). I’ve also been to the city 15 minutes away called Parma (yes like the cheese), and recently visited a Ferrari museum in Maranello (an hour away by bus). 

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The country of San Marino

All these places had their own thing to offer, but honestly I feel there was not as much to see or talk about in comparison to Rome and Milan (my most recent trips).

Day 1: Vatican City

Two friends and I left for Rome for the weekend at 8 am and arrived at 1 pm by train. It is possible to get there in two and half hours, I believe, but I took the regional train instead of the high-speed train for about half the price. We had decided to spend the first day in the Vatican City, which is an independent city geographically located in Rome. This is the home of the pope, the Vatican museum, St. Peter’s Basilica (which closed too early for us to see), the Sistine chapel, and the gardens.

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Inside Vatican City..the dome is St. Peter’s Basilica.

I would now like to set a small part of this blog aside to explain Megan’s first experience with pushy tourism:

Before actually entering Vatican City and the museum, there were two lines and a large group of well-dressed men with lanyards standing in front of it. We stood at the end of the lines confused for a second trying to figure out which line to take (since we hadn’t bought tickets yet). The one man heard us speaking and yells at the other “English!!”. The other man (that apparently spoke fluent English) runs over and starts asking us what sights we wanted to see in the Vatican. We explained we wanted to go into the museum, and he starts telling us “oh, well the line will take about an hour. Then you will want to go to St. Peter’s Basilica which will take even more time..you will need a pass to line jump”. He pulls out a map and draws all over it, telling us all the possible ways we could go through the city. For the next…oh, maybe 5 minutes (but it felt like 20), he goes on and on about these packages that we needed to buy. “Oh, there is an audio tour you must have for 20 euros more”… Every few minutes he would look at us and say “you look confused, let me explain again”. Long story short: we finally realized this guy had zero authority, and was literally pretending we couldn’t pass him without purchasing his pass. The sad thing is I believed him at first! Lesson learned: Rome is no Reggio Emilia. People are not the same.

Once inside, I went into the museums, which were filled with art and sculptures. I am in no way an art connoisseur, but if I see the artist is Leonardo Da Vinci…I know this place must be pretty special.

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Vatican Museum

After walking around the museums with a huge backpack for a few hours, I sat in the Vatican garden with this view. Luckily, the weather was beautiful that day.

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We ended the day with a trip to the Sistine chapel. The walking to get to the chapel took us about a half hour because you walked through several museums. When we finally arrived, the chapel was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with people all just staring at the ceiling. No photos allowed, but it was pretty amazing looking (though I highly considered taking a stealthy picture with my phone– it did take 54 months to paint).

I ended my day with nothing other than…prosciutto pizza (prosciutto is a kind of thinly sliced Italian ham that is EVERYWHERE here).

Day 2: Rome

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9 AM: Roman Colosseum.

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Warning: I was not awake in this photo.

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A little surreal to be staring at the Roman Colosseum..

Right next to the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine. Before we left later that night Rome, we sat, ate, and people watched. It was pretty interesting to see couples, families, groups of teenagers on school trips, or actual Italians there. The perfect place to play “guess what country that person is from”.

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Next to that is…many many Roman ruins. I have to be honest and say it was gorgeous and all, but unless you know a lot about history then it can be a little mundane to spend a lot of time on. See below for much Roman ruins.

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I then saw the Pantheon, which was built by the Romans in 126 AD. It’s famous for the dome on the inside, which you can see in the second photo below. It was also gorgeous on the inside, not to mention free entry with no line!

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This photo looks like a painting to me..

More observations about tourism: In front of every famous structure there are people that are selling (correction: shoving in your face) all of these scarves, souvenirs, and the most famous object of their desire…selfie sticks. It gets to be very repetitive when you’re trying to simply take a picture and they decide to walk into it. This happened in Milan as well. I understand that this how they make their living, but they actually followed me with their selfie stick. Especially because this will happen again 2 minutes later. No, I do not want your selfie stick. Nor yours. Nor yours. Not even yours. Perhaps I’m just not used to big cities…but I am proud to say I am a professional tourist scam spotter at this point.

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Palatine hill. We walked so much to get to this..

I was a little disappointed that we walked to the Trevi Fountain only to find it was under construction, as were the Spanish steps. However, I did go to a gelateria with over 100 flavors.

By the end of this weekend, I was so exhausted. End it all with a 5 hour train ride, arriving back at my apartment at 11 pm, and collapsing in my bed..I would say it was a successful Roman adventure.

Italy’s most popular city? Check.

Ciao!

MEO

First Experiences with Hostels

Ciao again!

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It’s been quite awhile since I’ve last written, but I have been so busy here. That’s actually a slight lie, I’m just a procrastinator. Last weekend I went to Rome, and I just came home today from Milan (I’m pretty sure I walked about 30 miles this weekend alone..).  I will write about these two cities later (if I remember..), but to sum up my weekend: Milan was crazy busy. Basically, Milan was much more modernized, filled with businesses, had amazing shopping, and contained mass amounts of people. Not to mention the World Expo was going on. I had heard several times that Milan was nothing special, but I think I could easily live there. There was so much happening in that city, and I loved all of the energy and life in one place (more about Milan later). Besides for the fact that I still have a lot to learn about traveling, I feel the need to share my novice tips with the world.

What does every young traveler experience while traveling on a budget? Hostels.

Starting with the basics: A hostel is an establishment which provides inexpensive food and lodging for a specific group of people, such as students, workers, or travelers (thank you Google). You can stay in expensive hostels with a private room and breakfast provided, or you can totally cheap out and book the cheapest one you can find on Hostelworld. I usually do the latter, so if you’re looking to read about staying in a luxury hostel then this is not the place.

I have compiled a list of some observations I have made about my first experiences with staying in hostels:

  1.  You will question if the girls sleeping below your bunk are even speaking a language, because it sounds like the strangest combination of sounds you have heard in your life. You will then hear two other languages being spoken at the same time and begin to wish you could understand someone. Luckily, it seems that most everyone knows basic English. This makes life much easier.
  2. You will lather yourself up with hand-sanitizer and wash your hands at every chance you get. The hostels I’ve been in have mostly been clean, but nobody wants to get sick while traveling.
  3. You will slightly wonder if that blanket put on your bed is washed every night, but tell yourself it has in order to fall asleep. Am I the only one who worries about this?!
  4. When it is 3 AM and someone is snoring so loudly that it feels like it’s shaking your bed, and you have to use every restraint in your body to not hit them with your pillow.
  5. On a more positive note, you will meet people from all around the world who are in that city for different reasons.
  6. I have never used an eye-mask or ear plugs before in my life until I stayed in hostels. I don’t consider myself a light-sleeper, but I need my sleep.
  7. I was very pleasantly surprised with the amount of general respect people have for other people. There’s always exceptions, but most people will try not to wake you up, or take a long 20 minute shower in your shared bathroom. I had no idea what to expect, but this was definitely a good surprise.
  8. You will being to realize you don’t actually need a TV, your own bathroom, your laptop, or lots of space after all. Even…wait for it…Wifi. Yes, you can live without Wifi. I do not enjoy it, but I can do it! Aren’t you proud of me mom?
  9. I’m happy to say that the hostels I’ve stayed in have all been in decent locations and have felt safe to me. As long as you lock up your valuables, you will be totally safe (this is a given). Everyone is just there to travel, not murder you.
  10. My only complaint is just people making noise. Obviously people come and go at different times, so this unavoidable. Noise isn’t a huge deal anyway when I think about how hostels are allowing me to see a new city (or eventually country) on a college budget.

Well, I hope I wasn’t too sassy in this post (since I’m still tired from all the running around in Milan)! Hostels aren’t the most fascinating subject to write about, but they were definitely something new to me. They are much more popular in Europe, so it is another bit of Italy I have had to adjust to.

All in all, I still feel incredibly blessed to be here and have the opportunity to travel, and if I have to deal with snoring and smelly bathrooms, then I will survive. 🙂

Ciao!

MEO

Living in a Foreign Country

Ciao!

Time has been flying by here in Reggio Emilia. I still feel as if I just stepped off the plane, but I have been here for over three weeks already! I feel as if time moves faster here, but its probably because I stay busy. The first week here I was extremely jet lagged and just felt tired at odd hours. I am finally feeling like I’m adjusting to the time zone and that this is my new home for the next few months. I bought my own coffee cup and pillow..what else do I need?

When I was trying to think of subjects I wanted to write about, I was really struggling because there are SO MANY little things about Italy and Italians that I find fascinating. I’ve started to become use to how they act, how they speak, how they dress, how they eat, but it doesn’t mean I always remember that the shops close for 3-4 hours every afternoon for the siesta, for example.

Let me begin with one thing that continues to fascinate me every day: their food. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that it’s quite delicious (that’s probably implied of Italian cuisine). The part that’s so different from America is the way that they eat. Eating isn’t something that you do in a hurry. There is no fast food (at least not here), and speed is not a factor when choosing a meal. The servers do not bring you a check and constantly ask you “Is everything alright?”. They do not stare at you if you take your time. Eating is more of an event. At about 9 pm is the time that Italians begin to come out for dinner. My favorite part of this is the fact that most have an outdoor eating area and it looks rather pretty at night. Not to mention the fact that they don’t use as much preservatives here: eggs and milk are not refrigerated. They don’t go to the grocery store and stock up for the week like Americans..they buy what they need soon because it goes bad rather quickly (which is very sad when you’re only cooking for one).

The hours for businesses are also very different. This also gets a little annoying for an American that is used to 24 hour this and that. Things never seem to close in America. It’s a refreshing change, but sometimes you want to go to the store at 2 pm, or Sunday afternoon, and you can’t. Everyone disappears from the city at siesta time at 1 pm and suddenly they all pour onto the streets around 4 pm…it’s very odd to me still. I imagine that it’s great for them though, they get a break from working and can go home and truly enjoy their food. As I mentioned before, Italians love their food…except breakfast! Just a cappuccino and maybe a croissant is all they need. I’ll take my pancakes, bacon, and a mug of coffee- sorry, Italians.

Ciao!

MEO

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