Friday, March 26, 2010

Travel to Venice

Spring Break is finally here!

I'm in the hotel in venice waiting for my parents to arrive so i figured I would update this about my long travels to Venice!

After a full day of work I headed to the Santa Justa Train Station in Sevilla to hop on the AVE train to Madrid. If any of you have ever seen those trains in movies that are based in europe that travel extremely fast, this is that kind of train. From the outside it doesn't look like much but on the inside this thing is like a 1st class ride all the way. The 2nd class seats, which were huge, all have radio and headphones like an airplane and they showed a movie for the 2 and 1/2 hour trip to madrid (which i chose to not watch and watch the Blind side on my lap top instead.) One cool thing about the train (which is electric powered) is that every seat has an outlet, so i could charge my computer as I worked/watched a movie. The train had stewardesses and a cafe car. I seriously thought i was flying first class on a train and the the train was nearly brand new. It was really cool and although a bit slower, was definitely better than flying from Sevilla to Madrid and cheaper too.

Once I got to Madrid, i took 3 Metro trains to the airport where I had 5 hours in between to kill. Sleeping on a marble floor may seem rather difficult but after being awake 20 hours, i had no trouble catching a 2 hour nap before check-in began. After checking in and the stupid lady making me pay 20 euros to check my bag (so pissed) I was finally on my way to Venice.

Upon landing in venice, it was very foggy and very hard to see anything. I hopped on a bus to Piazzale Roma and met these people from Syracuse, New York that were about 50 and spending holy week in Italy for the 2nd time in 3 years. Instantly I started talking shit to them because they lost to Butler (thanks for telling me Renee!) They were thrilled haha!! I told them next year to hit up southern spain for Semana Santa and showed them some pictures from Sevilla. Really nice old folks.

After the bus i had to take the Venice version of the metro...the Vaporetto...or water taxi. How cool?! I would hate to live here and have to commute on this thing because it is very crowded, slow, and unreliable on time. Not to mention EXPENSIVE. It cost 6.50 euro to go like 1 mile on the damn boat!! NO GUAY! But when in rome, right?! (or the same continent for that matter)

I've just been moseying around Venice waiting for mom and dad to get here! I know the weather will get better soon so i can deal with day 1 being crappy, it can only get better from here! There are some pictures up for your viewing pleasure and I will update you all on the rest of the trip throughout!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Midterm March Madness

Well midterms are certainly nice to be behind me! March madness soon ensued after my exams on wednesday! Straight after my last final, i was walking home and what should i pass but an irish pub. It is 74 degrees and everyone is wearing green and drinking outside, naturally I walk in.

After a few hours of irish drinking music and some rowdy folks, i headed home for dinner and some futbol. Afterwards i went out to the river with Werner. We had a little irish fiesta with 20 or so of his friends from class. So i was hanging out with a bunch of spanish people, which was pretty sweet. I am sure that my spanish prolly as garbage but met some cool guys. Juan Jo, oscar, and one other whose name is evading my mind right now.

Thursday was normal, i didn't go out because I had to get up at 7am to go to a winery for my class. (a field trip to a winery, hell yeah) We went to this winery about an hour away called La Gitana in Cadiz province. After listening to them talk to us (or not listening) about their business operation we got to the important part, drinking the wine. The first we had was a 40 year aged sherry that was in a barrel that was 120 years old, it was rather...weird tasting but it was 100 euros a bottle and 18%, so we enjoyed a few glasses. Next, we had a white wine (manzanilla) that was a lot lighter and aged only 5 years. But we drank it right after the owner hand ladled it out of the aging barrels, which was pretty sweet. Lastly, we had some wine that was also 18% and was so sweet you could put it on waffles as syrup. It was nuts. After the winery the bus ride home was a riot because we were all a little drunk. We shared some crazy stories and at this point it was 30 degrees celsius outside (so warm.)

Immediately when i get to my house, Werner tells me there is a huge party across the river, so we grab a 12 pack and head straight there. I was expecting 100-200 people and we get there and there was about 15000 people, if i had to guess. It was like a tailgate but everyone was speaking spanish. We stayed and drank and socialized with spaniards until dinner time at 8pm. It was a great way to spend a day out in the sun and meeting people. Afterwards, we met up with Francois and headed out to Calle Alfafa. Due to the nice weather, the streets were overflowing with people. We hung out outside and had a few drinks and headed home rather early due to the whole day of drinking, and by early i mean 4am or so.

Saturday was fairly uneventful during the day. It was laurent's last weekend before he heads back to paris so we chilled and then went out last night after watching Sevilla lose in Futbol. We went to Betis, not altogether my favorite place to go but it is cheap. We ended up meeting and talking to a lot of people, again. For some reason we met a bunch of people this weekend. we left and walked home around 6 am and then decided to stay up and drink some tinto together until around 8am. Werner was out of his mind at this point and we were all having a blast and jamming to music, our neighbors prolly hate us but who really cares about them? A solid last weekend for Laurent I would say.

So here i sit at 8pm still in my bed. Quite a relaxing day, i must say. Thank god i am done with midterms. Now just cruising on easy street until the weekend when i meet the parents in italy for spring break!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Por Sevilla


Since london, the weather in sevilla has been great! It is usually around 70 degrees and it has been sunny everyday. A lot better than the month straight rain we had before then! I have 3 midterms tomorrow so this past weekend I spent studying for them. The weather was nice, so i went down by the river and did a bit of reading there and then spent the rest studying in my room and/or starbucks. This week kind of sucked studying all of the time with the weather being so nice, but it will be alright once tomorrow and midterms are over!

This weekend should be rather fun, it is Laurent's last weekend in town before he heads back to Paris, so i assume we will go out and celebrate! The weathermen are predicting rain, but let's just hope they are wrong as usual. I found out this week that I only have 45 more hours of my internship left, which was a good thing to know. Over half way done! and 8 more hours will be done thursday! I can't wait for that to be over. It is good for my resume but it is BORING and makes the days go soo slow...I will probably finish up my 100 hours the last week in april and then have all Tuesdays and thursdays off to start getting stuff done for final projects, papers, and exams, which will be another stressful time. I don't like how they leave almost 50% of your grade for the last 2 weeks. That is dumb. But it will turn out alright. The exams aren't going to be nearly as hard as exam's at IU and i am not too worried because i did a lot of work for them.

Next thursday I leave to take the train to Madrid and then I'm flying to meet my parents in Venice! From there we are traversing Italy for 6 days before returning to Sevilla, it is going to be great to finally see them!! I can't believe it has been so long already! I have been here for over half of the time and the last half should go even faster than the 1st because there are 2 weeks where i have no classes! Gotta love Semana Santa and Feria de Abril!!

Still to come in traveling are: Italy (Venice, Florence, Naples, Capri, Rome and Tuscany,) Amsterdam and Frankfurt (during Feria) and finally Paris! That is about all the budget is going to allow, otherwise another 1 or 2 might be added in there because i have a few free weekends. But it will be nice to relax and enjoy sevilla a bit instead of spending time in hostels, airports, and paying for meals, which although fun, gets to be strenuous and expensive after a while!!

I hope all is well back in the US or wherever it is that you are reading this! It's now midnight and time to get some sleep! Goodnight!

PS: the clocks don't change in Europe until 2 weeks after the US....very weird!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


So after a lot of problems with Vueling airlines and a bunch of Bs with our bookings, the day to head to london finally came! we ended up having to stay 5 days (which was really cool but really expensive!)

Friday, after about 45 minutes on the Tube from Heatrhow, we got to london and went straight to the Hostel in Russel Square, if any of you are familiar with London or the tube bombings a while back, Russel square and the Piccadilly line is where the bombing happened. There was a memorial plauque by where you purchase your Tube tickets. so that was kind of, cool? to see.

after getting checked in, we hit up Tesco Express for some groceries to save pounds from not having to eat out every meal. This turned out to be a GREAT idea. After that, we had some Raspberry Absolut drinks in the hostel and headed out for a night on the town.

After speaking with a local and asking him where to go, we settled on this pub called, The Lamb. It was this old little pub and man was it cool. It had these things called spin mirrors that were used to distort your image so other people couldn´t tell how drunk you looked because the mirror would make everyone distorted! We sampled the local fare of beers which included Young´s. I would highly recommend that you try every kind of Young´s they make...they´re delicious.

While at the Lamb, we manage to start talking to these 2 English guys. They were both wearing capri pants which initiated the conversation and led us to discover that they are bikers (bicyclers) and had just gotten off a ride and started slamming Carlsberg´s. I couldn´t tell you their names for the life of me. After a few pints and slight inebriation, we head to some random ass bar with these guys and pick up some Red Stripe, which they bought, on the way.

Once we got to the other bar, i managed to sneak in 2 red stripes and sat there talking to people and drinking a can of beer I clearly didn´t buy in the bar. After a while and deciding it was time to get some sleep, we headed back to the hostel.

Saturday was dave day! we started the day by heading to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the London Eye, and a few other staples of london. We took the tube almost everywhere. In Europe, which i don´t think they do in the US, they sell day travel cards for the Trains (HINT CHICAGO.) They cost about $10 a day for central london and the further away you travel from the center the more they cost. At every tube stop, this lady with an english accent (recording) would come on the PA and say "This is Picadilly Circus, Please Mind the Gap, Mind the GAP!" Apparently a 5 inch drop from the train to the platform is a gap that causes some people great problems stepping. Also, London is home to some of the LARGEST escalators i have ever seen. The tubes are so deep that you take these escalators about 5 times the size of one from any mall in the was crazy.

After some sandwiches we made for lunch, we jumped the tube to north Greenwich to get in line for the DMB show! The O2 arena was really cool. not only did it have the arena but inside the O2 "Bubble" were tons of places to eat, drink, shop, and be merry. It was like a mall with a concert venue in the middle instead of a food court or movie theater, very neat. We got into line around 430pm and the doors didn´t open until 6:30. We met a few people in line from the US, one named frost who was buy himself so he joined us for the rest of the nights activites, mainly talking about dave and watching the show. He had flown in by himself for the show and works for Marriot. Very nice guy and will be at Alpine for the shows this summer!

After eating dinner in line for dave the doors finally opened! As the show started I immediately knew it was going to be a great show when we found ourselves in the 5th row, again. We waited a long time and the show finally got underway. Once difference about the GA floor, NOBODY was drunk. Almost nobody was even drinking the whole night. A very big difference than any dave show in the US, but a welcome change for once. When dave came out to introduce Alberta Cross, the opening band, he talked for longer than I have ever heard him. I didn´t know he could string that many sentences together in his state of mind. This excessive talking continued throughout the show. Dave talked in between songs more than I have EVER heard in my 20+ shows. Even more than a Dave and Tim show, so that was really cool to hear/see.

After a great set and the return of Sugar Will, we stuck around to get front row and try and get a set list. After much deliberation and avoiding being thrown out by these asshole security guards who tried to tell me they didn´t have any setlists (which i knew to be 100% BS) one of the techies gave me Tim´s setlist! Another great souvenir!

After standing for like 7 straight hours, we went back to the hostel and passed out to get ready for sunday!

After a hearty breakfast of Toast and Coffee at the Hostel, we headed out for day 3 of london. 3 of the people I was with had to head back to sevilla so we kind of had a rushed morning trying to get things done. We went to St. Paul´s Cathedral, which was like $20 to enter so we just looked, the Globe Theatre, The Tate Modern (art museum,) across the Thames, back to Big Ben for more pictures, and then to Marble Arch. After this the girls hopped on the bus to the airport. for the rest of the day, a lot of walking was done! We checked out china town, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, and just the general area! After a slight rest at the hostel, we headed out to take some night pictures of Big Ben, Parliament and the rest of london. It was so cool to see what you see in soo many pictures and postcards lit up and gleaming across the River Thames. Very cool...After a long day of walking we went to a local pub and sampled Strongbow, a traditional English Cider. I don´t know how people drink more than 1 of those a night, but i guess it can be done. I had one and had a sugar rush to the head, i am glad i only had 1 as a hang over from that would prove DEADLY. After 1 strongbow I decided on a delectable Guiness. I can´t beleive how much I have grown to love guiness and I am sad I can´t make it to Ireland this trip...reason to come back!!

After a nights rest, we woke up early on monday to go buy half price tickets to see Avenue Q, the musical. We got tickets for 12.50 pounds which is about $20. so that was a GREAT deal!! Afterwards, we ventured to all of the Museums of london that are free including the National Portrait Gallery, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. The reason we went to so many is because they are FREE. I think that all of these are free in order to offset the extreme cost of everything else in London. We also went to Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived as well as her memorial in Hyde Park, which was a cool fountain that depicted her life through the flow of water, choppy and rough at sometimes and then ending in a pool of calm after death, etc... So that was cool to see. It is crazy to think it has been 13 years since she was killed!! Time flies! Afterwards, we jumped the Tube to Camden Town.

Camden was one of the coolest things I had seen in London. It is a huge area with markets, stores, shops, food places, and tons of different kinds of people. It is kind of a hippie/ punk area but the stores were sweet and had a variety of various things for purchase. After meandering around for a while, we went to a swanky joint called Pier 1 to sample some Fish & Chips. It was a little bit pricier than most but thanks to the recommendation of a local brit, the fish and chips were awesome. The piece of Cod I had was HUGE!! Afterwards, we went back to get ready to head to the Theatre for the show!

Upon arriving we were told we had been given a free upgrade! Dress circle for $20, I´ll take that thank you very much. The theatre was sooo small compared to the mostrous US theatres and the show was ABSOLUTELY HALARIOUS. If you haven´t heard or seen it, Avenue Q is a spoof off of sesame street with puppets held by people that talk and sing. The story line is about trying to find your purpose in life through love and sex and friendship. There was a ton of swearing, sex and funny lines. A great show that I would suggest to anyone over the age of 16!

Afterward we chilled in our hostel for a little while. There was this kid named Tyson who was from San Francisco orginally and took a year off from college to just live in Europe. He had been all over and living in London for the last month and working at startbucks to save up money for his next 2 month trip. He said sometimes he even just sleeps on the streets when he runs out of money and can´t afford hostel´s or doesn´t have friends to stay with...truly CRAZY. I know my mother would KILL me if she knew i were doing that! (don´t worry mom, I´m not!) So we talked with him a bit about his adventures as well as ours and it was cool to hear some of the things he had done!

For our last day in London, we didn´t really know what to do after having seen what we thought was everything we wanted to. So we took the tube out to Wembley. It was about a half hour ride, but it was cool to see the arena! We also went to The Nationaly Museum (Free!) to check out the rosetta stone! That was really awesome to see in person! We also headed to Harrod´s. If you think Nordstrom is expensive or cool, than you have never been to Harrod´s. This place was not only OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive but had everything in it. They had different rooms with different things in each room such as a bakery, a tea and coffee room, a candy room, a perfume room, etc... They also have every designer product you could ever want at prices you never want to pay, but people were spending small fortunes while we were in there! It was a mecca of shopping and if you ever win a shopping spree, I would suggest you go to Harrod´s in London.

We didn´t have time to make it to Wimbledon, which i would have liked to have seen, but we got to see almost everything else in london!!

After 4 nights, we finally headed back to heathrow airport. Once through security, we encountered a mall that gave Orland Square mall a run for it´s money as far as size and had, once again, tons of designer stores. You could have gotten every designer purse and never even left the airport! It was nuts. The flight went well and I was glad, after a long weekend, to be back out of the bustle of the huge city. all in all though, an amazing trip!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Heading to london for a nice weekend. Dave on saturday and lots of sight seeing the rest!

It will be cool to finally see all the things that are in so many movies from london! (and some fish and chips and cider of course!)