Friday, February 13, 2009

Too many cities in too short of time!

It has been a ridiculous week and a half!  I apologize for not updating anyone sooner, but there simply has been no time!

Barcelona was not planned into my trip whatsoever (although, what actually has been planned? Things have been changing at the drop of a hat nearly every day!)  The night before we (Lauren and I) left we were chatting with out friends in Pisa from the Air Force.  I was telling them how I absolutely had to see Rome before I left.  I could not live with myself being so close and not going to see it (I guess that was one thing I actually made a plan to do :) ).  So he suggested we take the train on Saturday to Pisa, leave Sunday morning for Rome and spend the day there.  Sounds like a great plan, yes?  Now let's consider that we get  back from Barcelona Saturday evening around 6:00p.m.  Jason finds a train that leaves at 8:50p.m. and we decide that this sounds like a grand idea and we'll see him on Saturday.  

Oh good grief.

Spain was great!  The weather was quite warm (at least it felt like it when compared to London on a good day) and we went to a Tapas bar, which is pretty much a nice appetizer/cocktail bar.  Very delicious!  However, the cost for a place like this adds up rather quickly because you think, "oh these are only 4 euros, no big deal" and you buy 5 of them.  Not to mention the price of drinks as well, even water.  Pretty much I decided this was going to be my only nice meal for the rest of Spain.  Oranges and bread sound pretty good to me!

When spending the day sightseeing, it was extremely frustrating trying to get around the downtown area.  It reminded me a lot of London, with it's curvy roads that seem to make absolutely no sense.  The difference between London and Barcelona, though is that I can speak English, so I don't mind just wandering around getting lost in London.  You don't really want to do that in Barcelona.  We also didn't have as much time (only a day) to see everything, where I had a week and a half to roam around London.  The map was horrible as well!  We had a pretty seasoned map reader with us and she was having such a difficult time!  But we did end up getting to see pretty much all there was to see, and all that we wanted the see.  There is a lot of Gaudi architecture in Barcelona which is just nearly the coolest, most unique looking works of art.  The Cathedrals are incredible as well, however they were under renovation, so it was difficult to see everything.

I once wrote a blog on how familiarity tends to be a comfort to us.  How finding someone who lives in Idaho while you're traveling around other parts of the states suddenly makes you feel as though you're best friends, and how seeing familiar license plates and businesses just make you want to take that car or building, scoop it up, and give it a great big hug.  We experience this in Barcelona with Starbucks.  Now, as the manager of  Moxie Java Tuscany, I really shouldn't be admitting to how much I was so pleased to find one of these.  But there are none in Italy!  While I have enjoyed every single second of this adventure, there are times when something familiar (Like the English language, perhaps?) is sooooooo welcoming.  I enjoyed that tall soy chai with every fiber of my being.

We have an hour and a half to get ready(this includes showers, hair, make-up, repack) get phone minutes, take a trip to the store, then get back to the train station, which requires a walk to the metro station and a little ride.  And we did it!  We didn't realize, but somehow we ended up on sleeper cars.  Wow, never doing that again.  Tiny room with 4 old, large Italian men all sleeping.... it felt as though we were in a sauna.  They were relatively friendly though, and not obnoxious like the others we encountered.  Lauren was having quite the conversation with them, in fact!  We were sooo thankful when we got there though... At 1:00 a.m.

And then Rome in the morning.  We had to leave pretty early because it's a 3 hour drive to get there from Pisa.  We decided that pretty much everyone ended up with about 3-4 hours of sleep (not including the "pretend sleep" Lauren and I had on the train).  Once we got there, it was immediate site seeing everywhere.  I can't even name to you everything I saw.  It was beautiful though!  So green, and all these old ruins everywhere.  The Colosseum was incredible.  I felt pretty cool standing right inside it!  To imagine that it was actually used constantly thousands of years ago, and it was still there so I can stand in it!  The Vatican was breathtaking.  There are simply no words, and pictures could never do it justice.  All I wanted to do was stand and slowly turn so I could see absolutely everything.  

Apparently my body decided it didn't appreciate being shoved too and fro at ridiculous speeds, so I ended up getting sick that night.  I figured it would have been a cold, but no, just some terrible flu.  Of course I didn't end up stopping.  I did on Monday, since Jason worked all day and we weren't leaving until the evening to go to Torino.  But we had an All That Remains concert in Milan Tuesday night that I could not miss out on!  Probably a really dumb idea, but it was soo worth it.

What's really weird about American bands having concerts in Italy is they end up playing in fairly small venues and not many people come.  What I found slightly humorous was all these people looked like emo kids from Twin (not being said in a rude manner, just trying to explain) but the second they open their mouths, definitely not from Twin Falls.  When we asked about tickets, this wonderful British guy went to ask and when they found out we were American, they just put us on the guest list!  And once ATR was on, I was seriously right up in the front at the stage with the lead singer standing no more than a foot away (probably more like inches) grabbing my hand and letting me sing!  It was an incredible concert, to say the least!

Now I've basically just been trying to rest up and get better before I head to Ireland for a while.  I'm so excited to go!  And I will so appreciate people who speak English much more than I ever did before.  

I know I told a lot of people I was going to try to send out postcards, but it's just not going to happen for most of you.  I apologize, I've just had no time to do it.  I have bought a lot with good intentions!  

Now it's time for a nap :).


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