Run, Rosie, Run.

A series of writings, photographs, and reflections about my summer travels throughout Greece, Spain, London, France and wherever else my path takes me.
Can’t wait to have time to blog again once this treacherous quarter finally ends. Look forward to it!

Can’t wait to have time to blog again once this treacherous quarter finally ends. Look forward to it!

Just read through some of my past euro blogs…ready to travel again! Off to NYC in 3 weeks!

Inspiration. Don’t waste a day. Invent something great.

Paris!

The adventure began with a journey from London to Paris on the new Eurostar train that goes underwater and only takes 2 and a half hours… supposedly. Our train was lucky enough to get stopped not once, or even twice, but three times so our trip quickly became longer than expected. Regardless, we arrived in Paris (all 75 lbs and I) and stopped for our first Parisian dinner: french onion soup and pasta arrabiata. Sadly, it was semi-disappointing but we were famished so it did the job. We taxied through the city of Paris to Juliette’s apartment where we suddenly realized we had forgotten to get her actual apartment number… not just the address. - For those who don’t know - Juliette is a girl who came to stay with me when we were 13 & 14 who I promised that one day I’d travel to Paris and stay with her… so that is what I did! - We finally connected with Juliette an hour after camping out on her sidewalk and trekked six flights up the stairs (with all of our luggage). We caught up over French Ouzo, chatted about the past 7 years of our lives, and fell asleep early after a long day of travel.

Day Two: Juliette surprised us with a proper french breakfast consisting of coffee, and an assortment of pastries (chocolate croissants and what not). Tessa and I conquered yet another metro system and made our way over to the Louvre for our first destination. The Louvre is MASSIVE. You think its big, its monstrous - like the Disneyland of art. I wandered the halls enjoying the artwork of many different cultures and times, finding myself tuning into Mr. Coleman’s art history class lectures from 10th grade. Seeing things in person that I’d studied so many years before really was an incredible experience. I stumbled upon the Egyptian section and found my favorite piece in the museum, the Sphinx (pictured above). After carelessly strolling around, enjoying the non existing schedules we had been so used to, we started our hunt for hot chocolate. Paris was CHILLY and we were in our sundresses, of course. On our way, we happened to find the street that has all of the pet shops in Paris. We swooned over the little puppies for not enough time, and pulled ourselves away for chocolate (the only thing that can get me away from puppies). We walked onto the bridge next to the Louvre to take some pictures which happened to be the bridge full of locks of love (as I’ve been calling them). It’s a very sweet, romantic bridge and for some reason I had trouble tearing myself away. Juliette met us to escort us around the chic shopping areas and into the fancier stores. Paris is full of concept stores and has some very interesting products that I kept wishing I had thought of first. We drooled over the Parisian fabrics, designs (and prices! rough) until we couldn’t walk anymore. Juliette prepared a delicious quiche, and we chatted for hours over red wine and nutella by the spoon while rain poured outside.

Day Three: Tessa and I should’ve known better after the rain storm the night before, but today was the day we did our on foot tour of Paris. We walked through the Quartier Latin, stopping in about every shop on the street including the all frozen food markets! These supermarkets are so bizarre - you walk in, and there are only freezers! It’s a brilliant idea and Juliette claims the food is really good too, also cheap. After trying to think of ways to bring the markets to the states, we turned the corner and ran into the Pantheon. The crypts at the Pantheon are full of men (and women!) who were righteous and great in some way. You can walk through most of the burial sites, look at the pictures, read a little bit about the life they lived. I usually get really uncomfortable in cemeteries but these crypts have a different kind of eerie feel to them. We walked out of the Pantheon and got DRENCHED. All of a sudden we were assaulted with the storm of the century. It was as if someone in the sky dumped the Raging Waters theme park on top of us… and naturally I was in my gold TOMS - PERFECT! Finally, the storm died down and we ambitiously walked to the Notre Dame and got some cover in preparation for the next tsunami. Starving, we once again made a rash decision to eat at a place where no one else was eating (stupid.) and had the menu of the day: salad, then eggs, cheese & something crepe,  finished with a chocolate crepe. It was disappointing and gave me a tummy ache. Then we got lost. This was the first time the entire summer that I actually had absolutely no clue where I was, but it was kind of fun. We made it home after an hour (and what apparently should’ve only taken 15 minutes) and took long naps until night time. We woke up and ordered sushi for delivery. It wasn’t my favorite but it did the job. We had a late start after video chatting with Courntown for an hour too long, and got on the metro at 1 am (it closes at 2). 50 minutes later we found ourselves running through the metro stations in heels trying to make it on the last metros just so we could see Katie and Miranda. We finally made it to the station, and were surprised to have landed in the Red Light District. It was pretty dirty, “table dance” signs in neon lights lining the streets but entertaining to say the least. We sat and caught up with the girls, thrilled to see familiar faces.

Day Four: Today I discovered my most beloved place in the entire world: Versailles. Versailles was made to be a spectacle by Louis XIV and that it is. Versailles has an immaculate palace and an enchanting garden that stretches out for miles and is decorated with picturesque fountains and intricate floral designs. We enjoyed fountain shows accompanied by classical music, and strolled around the gardens for hours. Unfortunately, we got too excited and didn’t see the entire palace because we wanted to be sure to see the fountain shows but didn’t realize the palace closed at 6. Regardless, the gardens were the most fantastic part for me. After a quick lunch, we rented a row boat and paddled up and down the fountain in the center of the gardens. I was not so successful (probably due to the broken elbow) and accidentally drenched Tessa so I was taken off of paddling duty. We played some Jack Johnson on the iphone and enjoyed a beautiful day in Versailles on the water (wishing we could be canoozing a little). The only way to end such a perfect day was with a sunset at the Eiffel Tower. We made some new creepy friends, ran away, and attempted to take decent pictures of ourselves with our friend the tower. A couple hours and a huge nutella waffle with strawberries later, the tower finally lit up and glistened against the dark night sky. It really was a magical sight to see. Our piggies very sore after a full day of walking, we journeyed home.

Day Five: For our final morning, Juliette made us French style scrambled eggs which are very runny, hardly cooked and full of pepper. We walked around her neighborhood, seeing the largest mosque (and maybe only) in Paris, perusing the shops, and walking through the Jewish neighborhood. For lunch, we had goat cheese salads (a must in Paris) which were delicious. Then, we finally indulged in Laduree macaroons and sweets for dessert. The menu at this little cafe was massive. I chose a cake made of rose macaroons, with raspberry creme, a coffee and a caramel macaroon and salted caramel coffee. It was the best dessert I’ve ever had, and the perfect way to end a long summer. i was on a hunt to find Parisian shoes and had only an hour left to find them… but of course, never an issue and I found the perfect ones! (except they are black suede and obviously inappropriate for Seattle but who cares) The rest of the evening was spent packing and dining with 4 different french cheese, wine and baguettes. I had the most perfect Parisian week and was upset that it was at the end of my trip when I had such little energy. Juliette could not have been better and now it’s her turn to visit America again. I love Paris.

Our flight to London was not the most pleasant. After sitting next to a screaming child for the first hour, I had no choice but to take a middle seat in between Tessa and yet another British tween (no Henry though of course). We chit chatted about what was cool, he told us he liked rugby and KFC and that was that. We flawlessly snagged a deal with the Heathrow Express (students, yes!), hopped on the quick train, and attempted to get in touch with Mr. Walik. A few failed efforts, we finally connected and found each other outside the station.

We settled into our new unbelievable housing accommodations with the Waliks, threw on some skirts and walked to Camden to meet up with Leo. We experienced Amy Winehouse’s favorite pub, had some cider, and enjoyed the beautiful Brits. Crossed the street and entered a club called Proud. It was originally horse stalls that have been converted into a club and it definitely was impressive. Women dancing with snakes, and blow torches, juggling fire and plenty of dancing. We were introduced to some lovely men, James & Jack and tore up the dance floor for the rest of the evening.

Sunday was our first real day in London so naturally we had to get some early shopping in to look the part. Dean, very patiently, toured us around Oxford Street and educated us on all the hot spots to shop and look chic. We did some damage at Top Shop (wish you were there Courn), played at Hamley’s toy store, failed and accidentally bought bubble reload instead of bubbles, then began our trek towards Chipotle. We wandered through the SoHo District which is extremely liberal and full of sex stores and sexual bakeries. It was pretty entertaining to say the least. We finally made it to Chipotle, thoroughly enjoyed our first taste of American cuisine in 3 months and rested our piggies. We proudly made it back on the tube sin Dean, and were greeted with wine in the garden upon our return. We sat and chatted with his mummy and some friends for a while before having dinner with the family and talking about our future plans. After a long day of shopping, the Pavil was where we needed to be. Dean’s lovely parents were nice enough to build him a studio in the backyard to hang out in and so we decided it was a spot we’d have to hit.

Monday morning we woke hungry as ever and in need of a proper English brunch. Prim Rose Hill is absolutely charming and the perfect neighborhood to enjoy breakfast in the sun with Dean and James. I had scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a bagel, needed my fix after a long summer. Today was the day that Tessa and I wanted to conquer the town. As most know, London needs to be seen in about 4 months, not 5 days. We trekked around the city (walked for 5 hours straight) and saw: Big Ben (my favorite), the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Monument, break dancers, the OXO tower, Waterloo bridge, Millennium bridge, London bridge, Shakespeare globe theater, Tower of London, Tower bridge, and Covent Gardens. After a jammed pack day, we hopped on the Tube and made it back just in time for another Turkish family dinner. Dean made plans for us to “pre-drink” at a friend’s flat, then head to a club called Mahiki so I threw on my new Top Shop dress, some heels and was ready to go. Mahiki was an interesting experience. British clubs are ridiculous and overpriced and not worth it on a Monday so we relocated to a pub who were playing the best oldies jams in the game. The Pavil was calling our names, so Rebby, Dean, Tessa and I decided to end the night with some drinking games and a dance party.

We slept in on Tuesday after a late night/early morning, and woke up to a very rainy, Seattle day. Tessa and I decided we should seize the opportunity to take a day of rest (much needed rest) and watch movies with Rebby. The night was spiced up with some fish and chips, and later wine in the Pavil.

A mild Tuesday meant that we needed a jam packed Wednesday. We woke up quite early to purchase tickets to the Open Air Theater in Regents Parks to see Crazy For You. This day, we saw Buckingham Palace, Green Park, Big Ben (again!), Covent Gardens for some Icecreamist (best ice cream ever), spent a few hours at Tate Modern. Tate Modern happened to have my favorite painting in the entire world by Claude Monet. I could not have been more excited to see it in person. Crazy For You was an absolutely fabulous show full of lots of tap dancing, great costumes and good acting. We sat dead center only a handful of rows back and enjoyed the show while snuggling for warmth underneath thin sweatshirts. We sang our whole way home (I’ve Got Rhythm) and came back exhausted. I made the mistake of having too much tea and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning catching up with Deanie.

This morning we accidentally slept in again, probably because of the soothing sound of rain, and decided to spend our morning at another brunch. This time I indulged in a Mexico Crepe with cheddar cheese, avocado, pica de gallo, and more. We picked up some beautiful flowers for Dean’s mummy, spent an hour at Prim Rose Hill overlooking the entire city of London and took off for the train station. I’m now writing from the Eurostar train headed to Paris! I’ll be in Paris for 5 days then back to America on the 30th. Can’t believe I have less than a week left on my trip.

I’m in love with London. It’s my favorite city I’ve ever visited and I’ve decided that my goal is to live here for some portion of my life. I already can’t wait to return.

The last couple weeks in Spain were filled with gelato, tapas, revisiting my favorite places and research papers. I’ve never tried so hard on a paper in my entire life, just sucks that it had to be while I was in Spain. Mama Rosa is the most caring host mom in the world, literally the quintessential host mom and I hope that anyone who studies abroad has a host family experience like my second one. This woman is a gem. I want to come back to Leon, if only even to visit her. She says, “The next time you return is with fiances and staying at my home.” … which very well might happen when I do get engaged. Leon is the most romantic city in the world. There is love and life decking the streets and you can feel it everywhere you go, whether through the puppies, babies or by witnessing countless weddings. I can’t even count the amount of time I spent watching newlyweds, or weds-to-be taking the most adorable wedding photos with horse draw carriages and fancy vintage cars. Their gowns were spectacular. I think I’m finally going to start becoming a normal girl and looking at wedding magazines (Davidson, I know you’ll help me choose the right ones : ) ) That being said, the majority of the last few nights in Leon, I sat at Plaza San Marcos reflecting on the experience, enjoying the stars and even catching some shooting ones too!

We did some damage on the streets of Leon our last weekend there. We hit the clubs, the bars, did the whole 9 yards. Made some friends with some locals (and officially became regulars at el tizon and the kebab joint), watched heated futbol games in sports bars, sipped drinks by the river, found love (ZMA & T!) and wreaked un poco bit of havoc.

Our day was spent touring Plaza San Marcos and the musak museum (contemporary art), followed by a metamorphosis conference and a concluding dinner with the entire group. It really was upsetting saying bye to everyone - not because I won’t see them in two weeks but because this experience has been life changing and we’ve all done it together through and through. Once again, tore up the streets and got escorted home by Alex as per usual. What a summer it has been! 

The morning was upsetting. Saying bye to Mama Rosa was difficult and many tears were shed. We met Courn in the train station, had an uncomfortable 4 hr drive to Madrid and checked into the most modern hotel yet. Instead of getting caught up in all the traffic caused by the Pope, we stayed local to the hotel and ventured off to find sushi. Found a wok, ate at the wok, then shopped for a bit. Stumbled upon Dance, Dance, Revolution and couldn’t say no. Courn and I threw it down right before some Spanish girls eyes with a smashing series of pas de deux. We snuggled in bed and attempted to watch some movies. Said farewell to Courntown3000 en la manana, packed up and revisited the mall in the morning before our departure to London.

Made it to the airport with boundless amounts of time (thanks for the sched, Pop) and finally took off for Londontown.

i love london. potential au pair destination?

To travel, or not to travel. Never even a question.

Adios, Leon and mainly Mama Rosa - the most kind spanish woman in the world. Sitting at the train station with tears down our cheeks. Will I ever make it back to Leon again? I sure hope so.

What a study abroad experience. I’m shocked that it’s over, only took one wink (not even a blink!) and it was done.

On to the next!

With Love, From Leon (but soon to be Madrid!)

Each day I try to stop and appreciate how lucky I am. This summer I haven’t had to “try” even once because I am constantly being reminded. I’ve witnessed the sun rise and set at some of the most beautiful places in the entire world. I’ve started the rhythms of the ocean myself with swims at dusk. I’ve engaged in profound and thought provoking conversation with some of the most genuine people I know. I’ve trekked around Europe, spoke Spanish and Greek and pretended to understand French & Portuguese. I’ve given directions to strangers in foreign countries and called these countries “home.” I’ve survived one of the hardest and most terrifying experiences of my life. I’ve sat in a hospital room, no energy or strength and shared one of the most honest and raw moments of my life with two unbelievable women. I’ve been attacked by bugs, and can name every bug bite cream this side of the Mississippi. I’ve exchanged stories upon stories over mythos and vino, laughed til I cried (or peed maybe a little), cried til I laughed. This summer has been far from what I had expected, but has taught me more in 2 months than I’ve learned in years. Life is not always easy, but it sure is worth working with. Stop and think about all those things that make you appreciate how lucky you are today.

Caves, Bus Rides & Flights: I think, more than anyone else on my program thus far, I’ve faced my fears many, many a time. Excited for a group adventure, (but slightly anxious for enclosed spaces, bugs, etc.),  I hopped on a bus to see the cuevas. Little did I know, we’d be curving through mountains, getting way too close for comfort to cliff sides and being stuck in a sauna of a bus. I survived, a minor anxiety attack later and got to explore some pretty intense caves. Unlike the ones in Israel, these are MASSIVE. They are about as opposite from tight enclosed spaces as it gets and really are huge and majestic. After the caves, we were treated to an assortment of tapas (including some delicious deep fried cheese balls) and vino.

Thursday night, Alex and I stumbled upon another restaurant for dinner which happened to have the best salad I’ve had on this trip so far. Lots of different cheeses (my fave), beets (even better), apples/pears/orsomething, and fresh lettuce.

At 2:30 am, we boarded our 4 hr bus ride headed towards Madrid to start our Portugal journey. Once we got to Portugal, we got one of the fastest taxi rides I’ve ever been in. Casually going 120 mph on the freeway, we quickly arrived to our “hotel.” This so called “hotel” might as well of had blood prints on the walls, to match its spotted and stained sheets, and foul shower… but! it was what we got for our total of 30 euro a pop for two nights. We settled in as best as we could and hit the streets to try our first of three bakeries. Portugal has the most delicious morning treats in the world. So fluffy, and doughy - I could not have been happier. We wandered for a while, then decided to finally be the tourists we are and buy a 2 day pass for a double decker bus and boat tour of the city of Porto. What a fabulous idea this was! We toured around the city, admiring the interesting statutes, architecture and tiled buildings until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. Took a quick siesta, made a much needed stop at Zara and stumbled upon a SUBWAY. Now, I think it’s fine that I ate there because I haven’t had ANY American food, Chinese, Jap, anything until now so it was okay. Alex, Yair and I took a city night stroll to the water and had drinks by the river with some good conversation.

Sleeping in our steamboat of a room (no windows, no air) was a sick joke. I woke up as unrefreshed as ever to a rainstorm Saturday morning. Of course, thinking I’m going on a vacation, I only packed my favorite silk sundresses and sandals, light cardigans and bathing suits. Possibly the most unprepared I could’ve been. One cheap umbrella, and a pair of the most kicked kicks ever, I was set for the rain. We all purchased the same, matching, haggard purple high tops and hit the streets looking fresh. The sun came out a couple hours later naturally, just in time for the first set of blisters to kick in. Alex, Karin, Yair and I took the opportunity to explore Porto’s most famous sector, wine! Porto is full of ports (shocking) and has tons and tons of wineries with barrels of stored wine. After touring a few different locations, our overall consensus is that Porto wine is EXTREMELY sweet and would only be tolerable (I know, I’ve never used such a word to describe wine) for dessert.

A quick siesta later, and it was time to take down the town. Starting the night off right with sangria and crepes was a great call. We tried to experience a salsa club and failed, walked around for a while enjoying the night and eventually came back home.

Sunday morning, we woke up early and tried our final cafe/bakery which was the most disappointing yet unfortunately. Then, I took my friends to the only Jewish synagogue in Porto. With only 35 jews currently living there (I think), I was eager to see the place but yet again, was sad to find out that it was closed. We still hung around for a while, admiring the exterior and answering all questions my friends could think of about Judaism. I was happy to see how curious they were and excited to learn all about it. We are now currently hunting for somewhere to have shabbat this weekend. The trip had to be ended with a stop at a chocolate factory, then we were off to our long day of travel (a flight, 4 hr wait, 5 hr bus later). We finally made it home at 3 am - forcing me to pull yet another all nighter.

Monday morning I finally moved in with Tessa! My neighborhood/housing assignment had some issues and the best solution was to be reunited and boy, does it feel good. I can’t wait to experience the nightlife of Leon now that we can walk home together and feel safe as can be! We finally finished interviewing the locals and now can focus all of our energy on the last week and a half of our time in Spain and our final paper.

I cannot believe that its already week 9. I’m sure the majority of the trip reflection will come after I’ve been home for some time but I already know I’m leaving here a different, more mature and experienced person than I came as. Off to London in 11 days and on to the next!

With Love, From Spain (with Tessa!)