28 February 2011

The Thrill of it

So I just realized how behind I am on my blogging! its bad. So this will be another entry similar to my last. heres what we have to talk about

1. sienna
2. venice
3. week summary (interesting stuff here!)
4. amsterdam
TCU Girls in Sienna
1. Not the past weekend, but the weekend before, our program (Accent) took us on a day trip to Sienna. It was so fun. Our whole group from TCU went (minus the 2 boys here who missed the bus). It was an absolutely beautiful city. We went to museums, walked around, and then climbed to the top of the duomo and where we saw the most amazing view of the entire city. So cool! 
View from Top of the Duomo.... GO XO
James Bond Quantum of Solace was filmed in this Piazza..
this is us attempting to look like James Bond... or charlie's angels? haha
Duomo in Sienna

2. The next day we did a day trip to Venice. We took the train so it was super easy. It was a perfect day when we got there. 

Horned Frogs in Venice

We spent the day exploring the city. We went to St. Marks basillica which is unbelievably gorgeous. After lunch, and some bellinis (they were invented in Venice!)  we went on a mission to find masks for carnivale. History lesson for the day: carnivale is an annual festival that starts 2 weeks before ash wednesday and ends on fat tuesday. The masks come from way back in the day. people used to wear them so that other people wouldnt recognize them know what social class they were in. That way you could get away with socializing with people in other social classes and what not. Well we eventually picked out some masks and wore them around the rest of the day because little did we know, the Saturday we were there was the official kick off of carnivale. 

loving our masks

There is this fountain in San Marco square, where they held the opening ceremony for carnivale. There were people (i assume the big name families of the city, or the venetian high society) all dressed up in crazy costumes. Everyone was packed in this square for the ceremony. We wiggled our way through the crowd up to the front by this big fountain. This man, master of ceremony or something, starts giving this speech (in italian so we had no idea what was being said). People would cheer, music would play, and there is some famous song that everyone danced too, and then before you knew it, the fountain started pumping out WINE! pretty cool. Apparently that fountain pumping out wine marks the start of carnivale. Then they filled cups with the wine from the fountain and passed it out to the crowd and this kicks of the party for the next couple of weeks. So it was pretty cool to be there, especially since we had no idea it was going to be happening that day! win for us. we will be celebrating carnivale in the french riviera this coming weekend!

people waiting for carnivale kick-off
fountain of wine! 
drinking from the fountain of wine

3. This past week was interesting. School was the same (nothing too exciting). Ginny and I ventured out one night for our first apperitvo. I don't know if I told you about this yet, if I have you can skip this. Essentially its like Italian happy hour. You buy one drink (alcoholic or not) and you get all you can eat. Depending on the place, they serve pastas, sushi, chips, etc. Apparently its the thing to do if you here. So we have been here a while and had not been to one yet. Well Ginny and I go to this one place, Moyo, for their apperitivo. We find a table, sit down, and Ginny gets up to order drinks for us. By the time she gets back, we realized that they had completely cleared off ALL of the food that comes with these drinks. It was a major fail. So we moved on to another pub called Kikuya, where they serve one of the worlds strongest beers or something like that, I have no idea. However, they do have some American food (hot dogs) which is something that we are really starting to miss over here. So it turned out to be a good night.

Ginny and I enjoying a night out
Thursday, half of the girls left for Amsterdam (ill explain later) and Ginny, Kendall and I were the only ones still in Florence. It was a relaxing day until about lunch time. You see, I had been expecting to hear from ROTC about our rated slots the previous week. Of course the results were delayed, so I was hoping to hear sometime this weekend. Well Ginny and I were enjoying a fabulous lunch at this place called that fox and cat? cat and hound? cat and fox? something like that. We were the only people in this little restaurant, enjoying our food, when I got a phone call from an unknown number. I answered it and to my surprise it was my Lt Col calling to inform me that I had been selected as a CSO(navigator). I was pretty excited. The waiter/owner saw we were excited so he brought us desert and limoncello to celebrate. The best part was... our waiter was trying to figure out what was going on. I had gotten up from the table and was pacing around anxiously while talking on the phone. He was tlaking to Ginny and said "must be boyfriend". she responded saying "no its the Air Force". hahahaha so I get off the phone and come back to the table. He looks at me and says "you in military??.... nooooo".  He couldnt believe it. So he brought us celebratory drinks saying "for new job!".  We probably spent about 3 hours at this restaurant. It was a solid day! After that, we returned home and spent the night packing and getting ready for AMSTERDAM! 

nav wings

4. Oh amsterdam. Such a great city. I don't even know where to begin. Ok, so yesterday (sun 27 Feb) was my roomies (Kelly) 21st birthday! When we first arrived in Florence she said she wanted to spend her birthday weekend in Amsterdam. So we all booked flights for that weekend. However, flights were sold out and really complicated. It turned out that only Kelly, Mary, Kristin, and Morgan could get flights out on Thursday. That left Ginny, Kendall and myself to leave Friday. Well the flights were also weird coming back so the first group of girls left thrusday and came back saturday. We left Friday and came back Sunday. Since we were staying different nights we had to find 2 different hotel rooms. This proved to be very difficult because apparently in Amsterdam, you usually have to stay a minimum of 3 nights at  hotels/hostels. Well we were only staying 2 nights, so it made it ridiculously hard to find a hotel to stay at because they were either SUPER expensive or SUPER sketchy. Well the first group of girls found a hostel in the red light district. We tried to book there, and of course it was sold out. So weeks are going by and we can't find a place to stay. Literally the Thursday night before we left Friday morning, we sat down and just booked a place. We were at the point we didn't care about location, but we just wanted a cheap place to stay. 

"I AMsterdam" sign in the city

So Friday morning we got on a flight to Amsterdam. We had a lay over in Munich, which wasnt bad.... until they started delaying our flight. They kept pushing the time back, and we were worried it was going to be cancelled, but we were able to leave and got to Amsterdam around 6 (i think) that night. Our taxi took us to our hotel (Owl Hotel.... yes go chi o!) and it was precious!! This hotel was in the Liedsplein (spelling?) area, and was super nice! It worked out perfectly. After checking in, we decided to go explore. 

*side note: We had plans to meet up with the rest of the girls. Well we land in Amsterdam. I go to check my phone and it had turned off. I turn it back on and see that I need a pin number. Of course I didn't have it with me.. it was back in my apartment... so we couldnt even turn my phone on the whole weekend. The cell phones we have here suck, to say the least. They are awful. You never get service, random women talk to you in Italian when you try to dial. Then it just hangs up before the call is even made. Oh and it send you random text messages all in Italian. So we have no idea what our phones are saying or doing. Anyways, yeah we get to Amsterdam only to learn that they wont work because we arent in Italy anymore AKA no way to contact the other girls haha so we spent the weekend separated.

Back to exploring. We ate at this delicious pub called Boom Chicago. Our waitress was super nice and told us how to get around town and where everything is. So after dinner we decided to head to the red light district. We jumped on a bus/tram and got off in Dam square. We walked a few blocks down and before we knew it, we were in the center of the red light district. Now for those of you who do not know what the red light district is, it is the part of town where the street is lined with windows (with red lights..... hence the name) with hookers trying to bring in new clients hahahaha. it is definitely an awkward/weird/sketchy place. This area is packed with clubs, bars, coffee shops (aka where they sell all the weed), sex shops, and girls trying to lure in the people walking by the windows. It is so odd. I can't even explain it. I have never felt more uncomfortable in my life hahahah. We went down here to try to find the girls so we found their hotel and of course they werent there, decided there was no hope in trying to find them, and headed back to our part of town. 

The next morning we woke up and had lots to do. First we went to the Van Gogh museum which was amazing! it was so neat to see some of the paintings that you always see copies of and learn about in like middle school. They also had some other small collections (Picasso, Monet, toulouse lautrec posters). All of it was awesome! 

2 of Van Gogh's paintings we saw
After Van Gogh museum we made our way to the Heineken brewery. It was surprisingly a lot of fun. They had a lovely little 4-d ride/simulator, history, tour, beer tasting, and other really cool stuff that you do on the tour. we had a blast!

Once we had finished both of these tours, we decided to get lunch at Mr. Tong's. It was delicious asian food, something that is VERY hard to find over here in Italy. To everyone back in America, do not take the food we have in America for granted (im not talking about the gross fast food though). Im not complaining in any way about the food here, because trust me, it is phenomenal. But its been a little more than a month and all we have for every meal is Italian food. So we get excited to have different food, whether its asian, american, or the wannabe mexican food they have in Italy. Mr. Tong's was the bomb.com. 

After a power nap, we decided to hit the town again. We had heard about an "ice bar" in Amsterdam. Everything is made from ice, the bar, glasses, chairs, walls, everything! So we figured it was something we should go see. You get to the place, and it is a normal bar/lounge. And then they have a show/4-d experience. hahahaha it was epic. There were eskimos, and a snow queen, who even sang a version of shakira's "waka waka" song, luring us into her "extra cold ice bar". It was soooo funnny. Words cannot even describe. We put on our parkas and entered the bar. You get a couple of drinks and watch a 3-d movie. Anyways, we had a good time!

hard to see.... but the ice bar!

entrance to the bar/lounge. Once you go inside the ice bar is way back
in the back in a separate room

 So after the ice bar, we went to a pub called Three sisters. It was super cool, great environment, awesome music. Finally, we left to get dinner. We had passed this restaurant multiple times throughout the weekend called "pancake corner" and had wanted to eat there all weekend. It was still open and serving food so we figured we would try it. Well we walk in and it is like a straight up club. Im talking blaring music, pounding bass, crazy lights, but there are some tables, but its packed. So we walk up the stairs and its also packed, but a lot more tables. We were so confused. It was a club... but a restaurant...i dont know. It was just bizarre. You would never find a place that served a full course dinner and had this club feel back in America. So we sit down, order some food, and ended up spending the rest of our night there. We were loving the eurotrash music and watching the interesting people come and go..eating, drinking, smoking. It was bizarre. All we could think about was what a crazy lifestyle to grow up in. Some of these kids looked like they were 16 and they would order these bowls that had 30 shots in it and they would drink it like it was water while smoking at the same time. It was craziness. I just can't imagine growing up like that. We went back, watched some dog whisperer (only show on in english) and went to sleep. 

As you can see, Amsterdam was very interesting. We had a great time, even though we didnt get to meet up with the other girls. Oh interesting fact about Amsterdam, it's legal to smoke weed in public, but not tobacco (because its harmful to people around). Thats why there are coffee shops (where you can buy any weed or whatever) that you want. So bizarre. Don't worry parents... I didn't smoke. promise! 

But yeah. That was Amsterdam. This week should be interesting. I have a lot of homework actually. I knocked out a lot of it today. But have a busy week. Tomorrow night we are going out to celebrate Kelly's birthday. There is a 90s party at one of the bars we might go too, or we might go to a discotheque. Who knows. Thursday I leave for the FRENCH RIVIERA!!!! this is that trip that i won (refer to last post). It is carnivale and from the looks of the pictures from last weekends trip... it should be a good time! we stay in Nice and go to Monaco, and all over that area. I'm pretty excited! Ill be sure to update again soon! I miss everyone back home! 

but until next time... Ciao! :)

ps. if you are following me on fb you probably realize I havent uploaded pics in a while.... i should be getting my external hard drive any day and Ill be posting pics soon so be sure to check! 

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