Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Buffet Heaven....TOTALLY WORTH IT

OH...MY...GOODNESS... I just ate the most delicious food that has ever existed.

I splurged on a fancy buffet that my hotel had and it was WORTH IT! I sat down at the table planning to order yet another pizza because it was the cheapest thing on the menu.  It turned out that the menu in my room was different than the menu downstairs in the restaurant and they weren't serving pizza, so I decided to try out the buffet that I had been eying earlier but didn't plan on getting because it was quite pricy.  Well...it was meant to be because it turned out that the buffet was AMAZING!

The entrees were grilled steak (I think it was tenderloin), a white fish in a lemon butter sauce, and veal loin.  There were a few other main entrees but I wasn't particularly interested in them.  The sides were a veggie medley, a delicious couscous, and some really yummy,sauteed, thinly sliced zucchini. They also had some wonderful rolls, a huge variety of specialty cheeses, and various sauces to go with everything.  All of these things were soooo good, my favorite being the fish, couscous, and beef tenderloin. 

Then I moved on to desert...I don't even know how to describe how amazing the little miniature deserts were.  They had between 8 and 10 little mini desert that were all very different.  The first one I tried was a tiny chocolate square that resembled a brownie but tasted far more rich and fudgy than a typical brownie.  The next thing I tried was a strawberry puree that was topped with a dollop of a wonderful vanilla bean cream.  I was so shock at how delicious it was.  There was a similar apple desert that the cream was flavored with cinnamon instead of vanilla bean, which was also good.  Then I tried a wonderful, pallet cleansing dessert made up of chopped kiwi in a sweet juice/sauce topped with a raspberry. That one was my second favorite because it was just so sweet and refreshing!  My favorite overall was a chocolate mousse square (and I don't even usually care for mousse) that tasted like it was made out of a delicious hot chocolate. It was sitting on some sort of cookie that was kind of like a lady finger and it was all sitting down in a vanilla cream sauce. Stuck it the top of this crazy awesome desert was a thin garnish of chocolate with gold designs on it. OH MY GOODNESS...which is actually what I said out loud when I took a bite of it...it was soooo YUMMY!  I really wanted to stay down stairs and continue to go back and get more over and over again but I forced myself to leave and come back to my room. 

By the way, the size of each of these desserts was about the size of a shot glass or smaller....I'm just defending myself and making sure that I don't sound toooo glutinous lol (all though even if I do, I don't care because it was THAT good)

Anyway, I just had to share this awesome meal with people :) I hope that all of your mouths are watering right now...because they should be... lol

Monday, September 17, 2012

Observations of Venice

First Impression: I would HATE to see a major flood here.

The second thing I noticed was the strange smell that Venice has but after about 5 minutes, I got used to it and didn't ever notice it again.

Something I noticed about Venice is the people are not nearly as nice as the people in Rome. That being said, at least they aren't trying as hard to sell you crappy cheap souvenirs.  

Venice is a really unique city and I can say that I have definitely never seen anything like it.  I only have a few pictures because everything that was really cool or pretty had some kind of construction going on or a giant crane or a massive banner in front of it (btw mom, the banner business in Venice is on fire! lol) But even so, Venice is a really interesting and pretty place.

One thing I noticed a LOT all over Europe, but especially in Italy, is guys wearing their collars popped...stop it. It looks ridiculous and nobody thinks you are cool.

Another thing that I have noticed is that people in Europe don't wait for you to get off of a train/bus/boat/elevator/etc before getting off. There would be a lot more rooms if they would just let us off first but oh well. 

I took a water bus all over the Grand Canal in Venice today and got off to explore some things, one of those things being Piazza San Marco.  That area was really pretty. There were artist set up all along the canal and I got a piece of art that I LOVE (and I am hoping to get home without ruining it.) The main square was flooded a bit so they had a bunch of elevated walkways set up. I got a delicious ham and cheese panini and a scoop of chocolate chip gelato for lunch. Yum.  Spent a little bit of time just wandering around and then sat near a park to rest for a little while.  I enjoyed seeing Venice and I hope one day to be able to come back :)

Oh another REALLY weird thing happened to me today. A girl ran up to me and said "YOU GO TO GEORGIA STATE?!?!" I was confused for a second but then realized I have my Georgia State t-shirt on.  Turns out she goes to GSU and is studying abroad this semester in Venice. Small World! :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Off to Venice

Today I left Rome and set out for Venice. I got to the Rome train station very early because I wanted to make sure that my reservations had gone through and I was good to go.  Everything regarding my reservation worked out fine and I walked around the train station until my train got there.  I got on the train and found my assigned seat with no problems.  A girl from Buffalo, New York sat down next to me and I asked where she was from and we talked the entire train ride until her stop, which was Florence. She and her boyfriend were traveling for 2 weeks around Italy. They were on their way to Florence and then they were going to head to Venice. I slept for the rest of the train ride to Venice.  Once we got into the Venice area we stopped at a stop called Mestre. It wasn't my stop but I made the decision to go ahead and get off the train there.  The reason for that was because I knew that Mestre was on the mainland and my hotel was too, so I figured it would be easier to take a taxi from there rather than from the city center of Venice.  I was right! The taxi lady said it was only about 10 minutes away and it ended up only costing around 15 Euro, which isn't so bad for a taxi.  I checked into my hotel and it turns out, its pretty nice (although NOTHING will compare to the AMAZING room I had in Rome!)  Now I am waiting until about 6:30 (an hour from now) so I can go to a restaurant nearby and get some dinner (and maybe a drink after a day full of travel lol.) I plan on making this an early night (still not feeling wonderful so the more sleep the better) and getting an early start to the day tomorrow. I am really looking forward to exploring Venice!!  Pictures from Rome will be posted on Facebook either tonight or sometime tomorrow :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rome is so cool :)

I got to explore Rome today and had a WONDERFUL time.  Its a really neat city with many cool sights and some really good food.  I met two people from my hotel on the shuttle into the city center. We ended up traveling together the whole day. The girl's name was Traci and it worked out really well because we had some very similar travel stories and we are very similar when it comes to how we like to explore a new city.  We saw so many cool things like the Roman Forum, the Vatican, Arch of Constantine, Circus Maximus, Castle Sant'Angelo, Piazza Venezia, the Trevi Fountain and of course the Colosseum. After seeing all of those things we strolled up and down beside the river looking at all these little shops that were set up in tents there. I got a picture of the Colosseum to add to the other pictures that I have from Amsterdam and Paris. I was glad to have some buddies to explore with!  I ate a yummy fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini for lunch which was really good.  I also tried some Gelato (Caramel, Rassberry and Coffee flavors) which was good too. 

Now I am back at hotel and I am really tired and a bit sunburned. I also have had a really sore throat (that is radiating pain to my ear) and what seems to be a very red and lumpy throat...Probably to much info but I'm just keeping it real lol. Sooo I am going to go take Advil and hopefully get some good sleep so I am ready for more adventures tomorrow!  Goodnight!

Friday, September 14, 2012

In Rome!

I'm in Rome!! Thank goodness! Its been a looong day of travel and I am EXHAUSTED!! Every part of my body ached when I got here. I took a hot shower and feel much better now. I just ate dinner and now I am laying in my hotel room. I found a GREAT deal on this hotel.  My room has a king sized bed, every surface in the room is granite, it has two bathrooms (one with a large walk-in shower and a bidet and one with a huge spa tub and towel warmers) and the bed has a big feather duvet and 6 giant feather pillows. I am in HEAVEN compared to the flying pig hostel lol. Tomorrow I'll explore Rome :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Busy in Berlin

It was a busy day in Berlin today. I had a ton of fun! I did one of the hop on/hop off city tours and really got to see everything. I wandered around a lot of places. Some of those places included: Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie, the Eastside Gallery, Rankestraße/Kurfürstendamm, plus a bunch of other places.  My FAVORITES were Checkpoint Charlie (which was really cool to walk around) and the Eastside Gallery (which was so awesome!) I ate on Rankestraße at a German currywurst place and it was really good. 

Oh also the hotel I am staying at had the most DELICIOUS breakfast today.  They had a bunch of different types of cold cuts and cheese, tons of pastries, 6 different cereals, a bunch of various juices and coffees, cake (who eats cake for breakfast?), lots of fruit, 3 types of yogurt, granola, eggs, etc

I'm now back at the hotel (and my font is now stuck in italics for some unknown reason) and I am enjoying a nice German beer. 

Berlin has been WONDERFUL and I hope I get to make it back someday!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I felt the need to post about pizza. Its EVERYWHERE in Europe it seems like.  So in the last week or so I have eaten pizza several times.  At all 3 places I have had pizza they haven't cut it into slices so I was left with my dull knife to try and cut pizza. Also it you ask for Parmesan cheese to go on the Pizza they think you are reeeaallly strange and inform your that there is already cheese on the Pizza and say, "You want MORE?!?" at which point I act like I was unaware of the cheese already on my pizza and go back to eating my pizza in shame without Parmesan.... lol  

Also I have made the mistake twice of asking the waiting what he or she likes best out of 2 or 3 choices on the menu... They got really confused and informed me that they are different and it wouldn't make sense to compare them.  The seem completely confused on why you would want there recommendation...its awkward. 

Its funny how little things like this are so different from place to place.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Goodbye Amsterdam

I am about to head out of Amsterdam and I wanted to recap my time here a bit more.  I have really enjoyed Amsterdam! Its such a unique and beautiful city.  There really is so much more to enjoy other than the typical drug and prostitution scene that is thought of when talking about Amsterdam.  The canals are beautiful, the people are so friendly, and the design of the city is really cool and makes walking around enjoyable.

To address the red light district...its a very interesting part of the city. A bit seedy but doesn't seem unsafe. There are many bars, clubs, and coffee shops in the red light district. The prostitutes stand in the windows in bikini type attire. They are surprisingly much more beautiful than I expected them to be.  I went on a Monday night and all of the ladies I passed were gorgeous. We went to a bar in the red light district and it was your typical bar (except with a smoking room). The red light district is overall an interesting part of Amsterdam. 

One of my favorite parts of Amsterdam is their outdoor cafes that have all the chairs facing outward for people-watching. I ate at one of those cafes each day I was here,

I hope to visit Amsterdam again someday :) 

To Amsterdam

Yesterday morning we boarded our train (our first time using the eurail pass) for Amsterdam!! (peace out Paris)  The train ride went really well. The seats were very comfortable and there was wifi. I slept most of the time. When we arrived in Amsterdam we found our hostel very easily. It was so close to Amsterdam Centraal which means it is in a GREAT location.  I love the location of the hostel and the staff is nice but I have to be honest, the rooms are Nasty...They smell and we are in a 18 bed dorm in a basement...Not loving the atmosphere...BUT the location is wonderful. So we checked in and I dropped my bags in my room and headed out to explore. I walked all around the city. I sat at an outdoor cafe and had a good lunch while people watching. I also discovered a really cute and yummy chocolate shop on one of the side streets.  I just weaved up and down the alleys around the canals.  I also visited the Anne Frank House which I had been really excited for and it definitely lived up to my expectations.  

After a long day of walking around, I came back to the hostel to wash up and get ready to go out.  We went on the Red Light District Pub Crawl which was a LOT of fun. I met this really cool Irish couple who I hung around with all night. After the pub crawl I came back to the hostel and got on the internet for a while and then headed to sleep. I was woken up at about 4:30 along with many of my other pissed off roommates because there were 19 people in the 18 person dorm and Mr. 18 and his guest were being very loud (if you know what I mean)....Seriously guy??

So I have decided that I am going to change some of my plans and reservations. I am going to be booking some hotels instead of hostels...

Tonight I plan on maybe doing an actual tour of the downtown part of the city.

I am planning on maybe leaving here tomorrow and heading somewhere else..We will see what happens. I will keep you updated

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Night in Paris

I'm not tired yet so I figured I would update again. The evening started of kinda boring. I ate at the hostel and didn't really know what to do. Dustin was hanging out with a few people and they were going to go out, but I could tell by the conversations they were having that it just wasn't my idea of fun. I contemplated just getting back out my computer and chilling in my room but then I met a group of people (mostly American & Canadians which is kinda crazy because most everybody is Australian) and we started chatting. We ended up sitting beside the canal across from my hostel and chatting for a few hours with some wine. Is was a nice, funny evening. 


Sorry it has taken so long to post. The flight here was...AWFUL...Terrible plane...Terrible child in front of me...and the ceiling was dripping on me...and I was soooo sleep deprived for the first day or two. But enough of that. Lets move onto Paris...

Paris...Hmmm what to say about Paris....Its a walking city (I Hate Walking). Lots of French people can speak English...but they don't want to.   Paris doesn't have well located hostel...I have to take like 3 different trains to get anywhere decent.  Parisians love baguettes...Not Complaining...

Even though I can pretty much assure everyone that Paris will not be my favorite city, I have had some fun here.  We went to the Arc de Triomphe and took picture and looked around. I thought it was a pretty neat site. We found a beautiful flower shop nearby and looked around. From there we walk around for a few hours and finally made our way over the the Eiffel Tower.  We decided that since we are here, we need to go to the top of it.  It was great timing! We got to the top (on the elevator because our legs were dead from walking like 10 miles) just as the sun was setting. It was really pretty.  Just as we got to the bottom the lights came on which was also very pretty.  I got a picture of the tower from a street artist (hopefully I can keep it safe until the end of my trip.)  Today we took a day trip to the Palace of Versailles. It was very beautiful and we had a great guide that taught us WAY more than we would have been able to figure out alone. We were lucky enough to be there on the weekend when they turn on all of the fountains.  It was really fun but we walked for about 5 hours straight....EXHAUSTING.  Tomorrow I plan to go to Notre Dame and a few other sites. I'll update again after that.

Monday, September 3, 2012

You have to fight through some bad moments to earn the best moments of your life.

The last 24 hours has been...intense.

I got up at 6 am yesterday morning and started working.  I worked until 4 pm and then left work to go to whole foods to buy a few more things for the trip.  As the cashier at whole foods was ringing me up, I realized that my wallet wasn't in my purse.  I went back to work to see if I had left it there and when I couldn't find it, I started to panic. All of my credit cards/ bank cards were in that wallet. Both my drivers license and my student ID were in that wallet. And I was supposed to leave in 2 DAYS! Not only was I supposed to leave in 2 days but it was a Sunday and the next day was a national holiday which meant that there was no way to get my cards replaced in that period of time. After several hours of looking, I called Capital One and American Express to cancel my cards. American Express (having the wonderful customer service that they have) arranged for me to pick my card up locally but I couldn't get another Capital One before I left.  I was sooo down that these things had been lost, but then I got a phone call. . . It was whole foods and my wallet had been turned in to customer service!!! I picked it up and nothing was missing and luckily I had yet to cancel my check card, so all is good again!

Today I packed my pack and realized that when fully packed, it is slightly bigger than I had expected. I realized that I might have to check it, but after reading the horror stories about shredded packs after being checked, I decided I needed a pack duffel to put it in during air travel.  I was about to head out to REI when Dustin suggested going to Target first to see if they had anything.  We were about to leave Target but decided to look in one more section.  On our way to the luggage section. we passed a clearance end cap with a few lightweight collapsible duffel that were EXACTLY what we were looking for.  We took them home and they fit PERFECTLY!! It was meant to be!

I have been finishing up packing the last few things and I am almost READY TO GO!! I can't wait!