Thursday, January 27, 2011

Steamboat Springs, HOME

Familiar roads full of snow!

Being back in the town I grew up in is excellent. I have done absolutely nothing since I got back here. Which has been incredible, as you can imagine.  Spending some quality time w/the folks and recuperating from my kidney infection, which I thought was going to kill me on the flight over from London to Denver. Not so fun. But got to go skiing yesterday which was AWESOME.  Except, now I don't feel so great, maybe should have given it a couple more days!
The colors in the Rockies! (and the ski mnt.)

I miss traveling. The excitement. Waking up somewhere new every couple days. Getting lost.  All that stuff is in the past, sadly.  Only thing I can think about now is finding a job, but one that will give me the flexibility to travel again sometime in the near future.
Taking the time off and exploring Europe, and spending A LOT of time w/myself, def made me evaluate what I want to be doing.  I need to find work in the fashion world that has a purpose, not just to look good.  I think I might go into outerwear, you know, like Burton, or something.  A company that creates functional clothing.  It has a need and a reason for everything, not just a whim of the designer's inspiration.
Now, I'm going to spend the rest of the day lounging, maybe take the dog for a walk, maybe dust the house if I get bored enough.
GOOD NEWS!:  Mara and Michelle are both getting their asses into town today!  Woohoo!
Cannot wait to see you both~!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Home again! AMERICA!!!!!

Flying over somewhere, the sky looked like waves!

Home sweet home.
Just flew into DIA about an hour ago. Still running on Munich time, which is killer considering that it's almost midnight and I've been up since 3am.  And I won't get home until 4am-ish Munich time.
Well, the flight wasn't so bad, got to fill up my time w/some flicks, catching up w/all that i've missed.  Watched The Social Network, Going the Distance, and Salt.  Not bad, but now i'm exhausted.  So excited to get home, and have some home food and relax!!!  yahoo.

The End is WAY too near.

I have 2 days left. Kinda sad to see the end of my journey so close!  Well, it's bitter-sweet. It'll be nice to be back in the States, but i will miss discovering something new everyday.  The entire trip has been incredible. I've learned a lot, about the places I've been and myself throughout the past three months.  Sounds cheesy. But yes.
Becoming more independent is one of the obvious characteristics I've gained.  Thinking about this 'travel on my own' thing before I actually came, was terrifying.  I sort of wondered if I could actually do it. And my flight on the 23rd confirms that. 
I've learned that life is tough, no matter what, but you still have to do it.  Whatever you do is going to be a challenge, but it is possible to make it through.
I've learned to relate to so many different people on my trip, older, younger, men, women. Everyone.  You can find friends in all kinds of situations.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's almost over!


Last stop before Munich, was Strasbourg, which was really nice actually.  I have found, I pretty much like/enjoy everywhere I have been.  Each small town or city has it's own flavor mixed in with the country's vibe.  I arrived in Strasbourg Monday afternoon and chilled for a bit before meeting up w/my couch host.  She was in class and gave me her roommate's number in case I got lost.  Which is exactly what happened, when a street does not continue straight it's a given for some to not be able to follow it.  Called up the roommate to come find me, and Phil, who happened to be half and half French/American came to my rescue.  My stay in Strasbourg was a very relaxed one, which was great.  I hung out w/Phil until Marine got home from class and we went for some beers and some local cuisine.  It was delicious, tarte flambee.  Like pizza, but with a cream sauce and onions and bacon on top.  Yum. 
Came home and decided there was no need for dinner, the tarte flambee filled us up, we decided to make dessert!  The second time I've been able to bake on my journey! We made some delicious rectangle cupcakes, chocolate with a creamcheese layer. And we sort of couldn't wait for them to finish baking and took them out early, so the center was still gooey and oh, so good! 
Tasty chocolate, creamcheese cupcake/loaves!

My host, Marine!

The next morning Marine and I went for coffee and got a gallette. Or the French version of King's Cake.  Where there is some sort of small prize in the tarte and whoever gets it, becomes king or queen for the day!  We were not nearly hungry enough to devour the whole thing, so no one was crowned queen, sadly. 
the whole Gallette des Roi

The flaky inside w/almond filling

The overhangs on the buildings were so that you could walk down the street w/out people dumping their garbage on you!

Yet another cathedrale

We wandered around the cute city of Strasbourg until Marine had to go to class, and I had to catch my train to Karlsruhe.  From there I grabbed my shared ride to Munich!  On the way home! 
The drive was long, but made manageable by the company in the car, David, our driver was pretty cool and we had lots of good conversation.
Munich, my home in Germany!  home sweet home :)

Monday, January 17, 2011


Paris is pretty cool, enjoying being in a city again.  I got here Wed. evening and went to my friend Jessamy’s place who was letting me stay for a couple nights.  We were able to hang out and catch up, then we met up w/her bf- Laurent went for drinks then to this INCREDIBLE French restaurant.  It was exactly what you would have expected for French cuisine to be like.  I had le confit de canard. Unbelievably delicious.  After dinner we went home to bed. 
View of the tip of the Eiffel Tower from Jessamy's apt.
Jessamy and Lorrain

The next morning Jessamy and I grabbed pain au chocolate and croissant beure and went shopping!  It was the second day of Les Soldes=Major sales in France.  They only have 2 of these throughout the year, so everyone takes advantage of it.  I HAD to go to Mango to see if they had this coat that I originally wanted, but was plus cher pour moi.  They had it, and I bought it, I figure it’s the end of my trip, all I have to do is carry all my new shit home!  Haha, well, my backpack will definitely be bursting, but it will totally be worth it.

Le Jardin des Tulleries

People put locks on this bridge when they are in love, and throw the key into the Seine!

Street artist, Space Invader

The following day I decided to check out the Musee D’Orsay.  Pretty cool, was neat seeing their special exhibit on Jean-Léon Gérôme bc he was inspired by the Middle East, and Egypt, and I was like, ‘Hey, I’ve been there!’  It was cool seeing all this stuff I had seen only months before.  Looked at a bunch of art, some Gauguin, Seurat, more Van Gogh, and some really cool Musa style furniture.  If only you could take pictures! 
At first, coming into France, you feel like an outsider as I‘ve heard, ‘if you are not French, you will never be French.’  Which is so true, it’s kinda like a secret club that you have to be born into. But after being here for a couple days it becomes more comfortable, and it’s kinda fun to practice my French!  I understand a lot more here than I did in Germany!
My host and friends w/dinner

After spending 2 nights at Jessamy’s, I didn’t want to be too much of a bother and had a couch planned out.  Went and met up w/Maxine, nice guy.  He had some friends over and we had a traditional French meal, bread, cheese, sausage, and vin rouge.  Yum.  After, we went to a friend of his’ place for a party, I got to meet all kinds of French ppl and had a good time.  The only thing really obnoxious about Paris and most other European cities is that the subways/metro stop running at a certain hour.  Definitely puts a damper on your night.  But we avoided that by crashing at the place where the party was.  Unplanned couch surfing!  The next morning we ran out and grabbed a bunch of pain au chocolate and some other delicious baked goods and had breakfast w/the kids who lived in the apartment. 
le parc

Took a mini tour of the city on our way home, checked out a really cool park, le parc des buttes chaumont.  Came home and slept.  That evening I was going to meet up w/Jessamy and a girl she went to school with a long time ago back in Hawaii.  We were meeting at this wine tasting place, I made it there and wandered around and then this girl comes up to me, ‘Suzie?’ haha, oh yeah, this was Abby and Jessica, really cool girls.  We hung out and chatted until Jessamy finally arrived, we did some wine tasting which was nice, but pretty much used the time to talk.  After we went out to eat, and then home.
It’s Sunday today, which means everything is closed!  But I’m going to go on a free tour of the city, the New Europe tours, I love them!  It’s great learning a bit of history and interesting facts about the place you’re in.  Also, I need to figure out how to get to Strasborg tomorrow…

outside the Louvre, and the bubbles

at Montmartre

Au Revoir, Paris

Took part of the free tour, on a GORGEOUS day in Paris, then met up w/Jess and all at Montmartre. Perfect day to check that out.
Made it to Strausborg, now time to check it out!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Village of a Hundred Cathedrales, and where Joan D'Arc was burned

Very nice little town, not much going on here, but I did learn that the big sales in France were starting because many of the shops were closed on the afternoon before to prepare. 
I went out to wander the streets of Rouen, but it was a little...rainy.  And the museum was closed on Mondays...So, I went to a cafe and relaxed there, then hiked back to my couchsurfing host's apt. WAY up at the top of the hill.  Definitely a work out! 
That night we went to Benjamin's music conservatory and listened to a bunch of bands play tribute songs to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, then to the bars after that.

The next day I was going to Paris!
But, before, one of Benjamin's friends offered to give me a mini tour.  I saw MANY cathedrals, apparently they have a lot in Rouen, saw the place where Joan of Arc's trial took place, also got to see where they used to collect the bodies from the Plague and burn them... creepy!
A Cathedrale

And another...

More cathedrales..

The place where they burned plagued bodies!

Some of the carvings in the wood

Grabbed my train, and headed to PARIS!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ghent, Bruges, a whole new experience w/beer

My hosts! Tim and Marina

So, I was expecting to get a couch in Bruges, but due to my delayed action, an emergency couch request turned up some places in Ghent, and some ppl say Ghent is way cooler than Bruges.  Now I know.
Stayed w/this really cool couple, Tim and Marina, he’s from Belgium, she from Holland.  Very nice ppl. When I got in, they were preparing dinner, which I tried to help out w/a little. It was this delicious Dutch/Belgium version of chicken pot pie.  Mmmmm!  Just what I needed!  Some delicious home cooked food!  That night, we chilled and played some board games, I’m finding I’m playing and learning a bunch of games, I think that is what is missing from my life.
A street in Ghent

To show my appreciation, I made some pumpkin muffins!

The next day, I took the train to Bruges to check that shit out.   It was cute, very old looking…pretty and stuff, wandered around, got a feel for the little village, did some shopping…(I had to get myself a souvenir) And then it started to rain, and a museum sounded like a very good idea!
train ride to Bruges...

Just like the movie In Bruges!

I checked out the Groeninge Museum, saw some things I recognized from art history class, ie. Jan Van Eyck, Durer, Frederick Herling, …It was then getting a little late, and I was getting a little hungry.  I was recommended by my Couch surfing host to go to a real Belgian restaurant, but they were closed, so I passed by this little café and decided it looked as good as any. As soon as I walked in the door, I was bombarded w/ppl talking in English!  It was a pleasant surprise!  The owner of the café was from California and there was another guy there who was originally from Chicago.  We all chatted, I had some lasagna, then the guy Mark, said he was going to another bar, in the center if I’d like to join.  I evaluated the situation, talked to the other women who knew him and said he was a nice guy.  So, we went to a local bar, I got to try some local beer, and then we went to a restaurant and had some food and I got a nice little tour of Bruges by someone who lived there!  Then I went back to the train station to catch the next one back to my home in Ghent.  Only like a 25 min. ride, which was nice. 
Called it a night, because the next day was something to look forward to.
Lots of towns/villages in Europe have celebrations, this particular Sunday was one of them.  The city gave out free drinks, beer, glueweine, vodka, anything from 11am to 1pm.  AWESOME.  If only we did things like this in the States!  Everyone brought food and people just hung out in the square and had a good time!  My hosts brought their ironing board to set up as a table, which worked perfectly!  We had our free beers and then Tim gave me a nice little tour of the city, and some local pubs.  We first checked out the Cathedrale, which was neat, then walked a bit, and found ourselves at a pub!  It was great, I love Belgian beers! If only you could get them for the same prices in the States… We saw lots of Ghent, and lots of pubs, a very proper Belgian experience.

Morning in Ghent!

The PACKED square

singing the song of Ghent!

A nice little pub, and an old man who decided to chat w/us

Mmmm, a good local beer!

This beer is my favorite tho! the Reinaert

Headcheese! so good!

That night, still buzzed from the day, we had mussels! Which were very good, and then off to bed, after sampling another Belgian beer. This one, was a holiday version of a typical beer.  Now, to bed.
I woke up early the next day to find my way to Rouen!!
I had no idea how complicated it would be.
Went to the train station, 75 Euros to take a train to Paris, uhhh, I don’t think so.
Bus=21 Euro, ok. 
Bus to Paris!

So, in order to get to any small town you  have to go through big towns.  From Ghent, I had to take a train to Brussels, then a bus from there to Paris, and then another train to Rouen.  A long day of travel. 
Arrived in Paris, got off the bus, only to immediately realize I did not have my phone!!! Went straight back on the bus, looked around, no phone!!! Asked ppl in my broken French if they had seen one, “J’ai perdu mon telephone! trouvez-vous…?”  to no avail. 
Took the subway to the train station my couch surfing host recommended, thank god, I got that message at least!  And from there got a train to Rouen, found a McDonalds, the only place open w/wifi, and skyped my host to come get me!  We met up, and Benjamin was very nice, we walked around, mini-tour, went to a bar, had a beer to relax and then home.  Now, I will go check out the city of Rouen!