Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunflowers & A Bleeding Head. Day 32

July 23rd

Today we went to the Van Gogh museum!! I was so so excited to see my favorite painting/painting of his....

The way that the museum was set up was really cool because each painting had a description of why Van Gogh painted each some of them were painted for his nephew, some were painted simply to brighten a room...It would also talk about his life in chronological order so you kinda got an overview of his life while looking at his paintings change and evolve.

So it was kinda ridiculous, but as we were leaning in and looking at the detail in the painting, we got yelled at that we were standing too close to the painting. I just thought they were lucky that I hadn't been tempted to touch one. The texture made that urge so hard to resist!!

Also, I feel slightly guilty for this...except for the fact that I wasn't the one to do it...but Allison was able to snap a photo of my favorite painting(!!!!!!) without anyone noticing.. here it is! In the flesh! Van Gogh's Sunflowers!


After the museum, we went to a cafe and got some lunch.  This lunch was extremely unsatisfying for me. I ordered tomato basil soup, and got this strange tomato-y thing that had meat and noodles in it. I took it back to the bar and claimed that it wasn't tomato basil soup, but they informed me I was wrong. Apparently that's just how they did that kind of soup there. Then I was unmotivated to eat because nothing else looked good and I had had my heart set on tomato-basil

Next we went back to the hostel because the friends were sleepy and wanted to take a nap before we got ready to go on the Amsterdam pup crawl!

The pub crawl ended up being quite a lot of fun!

 Plus! Our hostel-mates joined us there, so it was fun getting to hang out with them :)

It was similar to the Spain pub-crawl..filled with lots of free drinks/shots...but some of the shots at the bars we went to were super interesting! There was one called Chemistry, and it would light on fire before you drank it! I remember hearing about a Harry Potter one too...
So remember when I explained that I did not eat too much before the pub-crawl? This ended up not being the very best idea because I ended up getting way-drunk way-fast..

Now, the following information I gathered from my friends the following morning:

It had become apparent that I had had enough to drink so Marcus took me back to the hostel.  Apparently, I was not happy with this decision and once we got back to the hostel I continuously tried to escape. Instead of using the door handle, I attempted throwing all my body weight into the door. That was not successful. I kept telling Marcus and the hostel-mates that were there things like "I've got places to go and people to see!" After some time, I gave up and decided to "superman-jump" into my bed. My aim was a bit off, and I ended up hitting my head on the corner of the cabinet next to my bed. At first, we all just laughed at my clumsiness, but then we realized that my head was bleeding. A lot. The sheets on my bed were white, so it pretty much looked like a bloody crime-scene had occurred. Since the bleeding wasn't really stopping, one of my hostel-mates called the paramedics and they came to check out my head. This entire time I was sobbing. It was really scary to see that much blood coming out of my head. But, apparently I was okay and the paramedics just told me to go to sleep, so I did.

Overall, the night was really fun..minus the head injury.  Just another lesson sure to eat a good-sized meal if you're ever planning on drinking. Otherwise, it could lead to bloody and dangerous events.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Goals Achieved. Day 31.

July 22nd
Today we had a few major goals [small major goals] to accomplish.  First, we set out to find the Heiniken Brewery to partake in the Heiniken Experience.
The Heiniken Experience was fun, and we learned a lot as well! It took us through the history of the beer and told us about the….creators? Founder? Beer…makers?

Anyway, that was pretty interesting.  It also taught us about beer and the correct way to drink it. We also had the opportunity to send Heiniken-themed pictures and videos to our loved ones at home….

 We got many free samples of beer and then were led into the gift shop.  I think they really thought this one through… I can just imagine what went on in their minds….
            “Yeah, we’ll give them just enough beer to get them a little buzzed and then they’ll just happen to find themselves in the gift shop! It’s brilliant! They’ll never know what hit their wallets!”

 After our “mini” shopping trip at the gift shop, we walked to our next destination: A canal cruise.

Honestly, the canal cruise was not my very favorite thing. It was an enclosed boat, so it wasn’t quite how I was hoping it would be.  I like being on boats where you can feel the breeze. I felt too contained in this boat…lol. I’m sooo picky when it comes to my canal cruises in Amsterdam ;)

Anyway, after the canal cruise, we found our way to Anne Frank’s Hiding Spot. 

This place was incredible.  There was so much history.. I am so happy I got to see it all.  It was kind of in a museum-format. There was some history on WWII and some on Anne Frank as well.  Then it gradually took you up to the actual hiding spot.  They still had some of the original wallpaper that had writing on it documenting how tall the children were getting. It was amazing.  They even had the actual diary there, along with some of Anne Frank’s other writings.  Apparently she had planed on her diary being published and had multiple drafts with edits and such.  It was so interesting.  The whole place was beautiful and haunting. I’m so glad I got to experience it..
 After the museum, we went back to the hostel and found a little grocery store to pre-game a bit before we went out. On our way to the grocery store, we pondered on how many ways there were for us to get ran over in Amsterdam. Not only were there cars, there were trams, bikes, and so much more. It's surprising we never got hit, all of these modes of transportation always seemed to come from all over the place..
Once we were out an about, we met a couple guys and asked them if they knew how we could get to the Red-Light District. We wanted to see what it was like there at night. They showed us the way...

It was so surreal to see it in person..I had an idea of what to expect, but it was strange to see it actually happening. We would walk by windows and there's just be almost-naked ladies standing in there beckoning anyone who would enter. It was crazy. As we walked, Jill and I found a lingerie store and ran in to browse. Jill found something she liked, but didn't have the money of the guys bought it for her!! LOL. It was too funny because he had a uni-brow among other things..but apparently he had all kinds of money to spare. Funny memory..

After awhile, we made our way back to the hostel and slept.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Amster, Amster-shhh...We Mustn't Say That Naughty Word." Day 30.

July 21st 

We woke up sooooo early to get to the airplane to take us to Amsterdam. We got some "breakfast" at the airport before we left, and we were all practically falling asleep on our toast.
But, we finally made it and found our hostel which was conveniently located near the IAmsterdam sign and the Van Gogh Museum!  

Then we explored the city a bit.  I was impressed. Amsterdam was so pretty with canals, cute buildings, bicycles everywhere, a tram that ran throughout the city… It was fun to explore all the ...different and interesting things Amsterdam had to offer.

Tram tracks!

That night we decided to go explore Leidseplein Square (which was just a stop away from our hostel on the tram.
We got some Mexican food for dinner which was only okay.  Every time I attempted to have Mexican food in Europe (which wasn’t often), I was not impressed. I missed Southern California (or even Central/Northern California for that matter) and how good their Mexican food is.
After that we explored the pubs a little…Jill and Allison got Heineken beers..we played Egyptian Rascrew.  It was tons of fun, but we got asked to quiet down multiple times…but it was tough, that game is intense! Then we ended up at a club and danced there for awhile and then we headed back to the hostel.

London Photoshoot. Day 29.

July 20th

Just to warn you, this is another one of those long ones...but, luckily it's mostly filled with pictures. Soo..if you make it through this one...I'll give you a high five.
Today I woke up and took a shower.  When I got out of the shower, I noticed that my forehead was peeling from the tan I got in Spain.  It looked like I had some sort of disease.  So, I did something a bit impulsive.  I cut my bangs. Now, I’ve cut my bangs before, but usually they are much shorter than they were today.  My bangs were almost as long as the rest of my hair.  So it was kind of terrifying, but I did it, and it didn't turn out terrible! Hahah!
The plan for today was for Erin, Larissa, and me to swap cameras so that we could take candid/artsy pictures of each other throughout the day…coupled with two mini bottles of wine before class.

Being bears.


Sitting on Stanhope Mews South-one of the most beautiful streets in London :)

At a random second-hand bookstore :)

At the market...

Gallo Wine! Made me miss Modesto/Turlock area :)

Hiding behind a tree at Hyde Park!

Sooo many mini wines!

Class we kind of ridiculous today because we were all a still a bit drunk..and we were learning about the history surrounding Shakespeare’s Richard III because we were going to see that play later that night.
 Towards the end of class, we took a “field trip” to the Performing Arts section of the V&A Museum.  Since I had already been to the V&A Museum twice and went through absolutely every inch of the Performing Arts exhibit, this was not the most exciting for me.  But, it was alright.  After that, we had some time before we had to meet to go see Richard III, so we got some Chinese food.

 Then we all met up at South Kensington to go to The Old Vic theater to see Richard III starring Kevin Spacey!!! He's famous and stuff!!!
 This was a truly incredible experience.  We had the very best seats in the house: front row center.  The actors [including the famous Kevin Spacey] were literally spitting on us..but we did not mind.  This play may have been my favorite out of all the plays we saw--very surprisingly so!  With the giant history lesson from class, I did not expect to be able to follow or really enjoy it as much as I did!  I feel like the visual effects, the use of drums, and the actors abilities are what did it for me.   So much of the play was surprising ..the way it began, the way it was played out.. For example, it started without any warning. Just all of a sudden you’d hear the bang of a drum interrupting you in the middle of your conversation, and the curtains came up, and there was Richard III, just sitting there in the shadows.. contorted and strange.  I completely enjoyed this play and I am so so happy (and lucky) I got the opportunity to see it!
After the play, a couple of my friends went to the stage door to see some of the actors after the play and I really wanted to go! But I had to wake up at some ungodly hour (I think around 3am) to catch the flight to Amsterdam with Allison, Jill, and Marcus…..

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Paris! Day 28.

July 19th

We had to wake up super early to get to the airport so, I set my alarm. BUT apparently I just turned it off when it went off, because I was woken up by a knock on the door from Allison.  We were planning on leaving at 5:45am, and it was totally 5:30am.  I grabbed the first dress I saw, brushed my teeth, grabbed a bag of makeup and rushed out the door to meet our taxi.  The taxi took us to the train station where we got on the chunnel (train? ..who even knows..) to go to Paris!
Once we arrived, the first thing we wanted to do was go to the Louvre.  We took the subway to get there.  We thought this procedure would be extremely easy since we were all extremely comfortable with the tube now, however, it was so different in France.  For starters, everything was in French.  Furthermore, it was just difficult to understand overall. We had multiple attempts that included getting on the subway going one way, then getting off to go back in the opposite direction.  Also, the subway was gross inside.  Finally, a woman on the subway with us asked us if we needed help-we obviously looked helpless.  She directed us where to go, and we finally arrived where we were supposed to be! 
Once we finally got there, we were welcomed with a sign informing us that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.

We were so bummed. I was really looking forward to seeing the Mona Lisa and everything else that was in there! So that wasn’t the best start to our day in Paris-plus, it was cold and rainy.  Even though we didn’t’ get to go inside, we took some pictures outside the building.

Next we decided to find that tower. We found a taxi and were on our way.

We drove under it!
The Eiffel Tower was so much bigger than I had pictured it! It was so cool to see it in person.

Unfortunately it was getting rainier and rainier, and colder and colder so we did not end up climbing to the top. I think if the weather had been better, we definitely would have, but we all wanted to get somewhere dry and warm.
Our next stop was the Notre Dame.

We went inside and it was beautiful!

After Notre Dame we started wandering a bit and came upon a bridge that our taxi driver told us about.  I forgot the name of the bridge, but it had tons of locks on it and we were told that apparently lovers come to Paris to put locks on that bridge for good luck. [I saw this on a lot of bridges in Italy as well when I went there later on].

It was really sweet to see all the locks with the various messages and dates on them..I want to come back to Paris (or Italy) one day to put a lock on a bridge too :)
Then we did souvenir shopping. A lot of souvenir shopping. Prolly too much souvenir shopping.  I got gifts for the various people in my life that I love and a couple for me as well...
After that, we wanted to relax and sit in a cozy cafĂ©.  We found one of the off-streets…

We all got wine, and Jill and Allison had a cheese-something.
We had some time to kill before we had to catch our train, so we stopped by a place to buy giant baguettes to eat on the train.

We also didn’t think we could leave Paris without trying caviar, so we went somewhere to do that! Unfortunately we were in a bit of a rush because our train would be leaving within a half hour. But we all tried it..even me!!
Overall, I liked Paris. I just wish the weather had been better. Oh yeah, and that I had gotten to see the Louvre  :<

Good thing I had my mom to comfort me by telling me she went to a Rolling Stones concert instead of going to the Louvre when she was in Paris ;)