Tag Archives: flying

Benvenuti a Italia

I’m not going to go into detail about getting from Tubingen to Rome because it’s something that I would like to forget. Bus, train, train, train, fine, plane, bus. I think you get the picture.

Anyway, I arrived in Rome in the evening and my friend Leisha met me at the bus stop near Termini train station. I met Leisha during my first quarter at UW and we worked together at the Henry Art Gallery. She has a design internship here in Rome this summer. She’s going to be my partner in crime (partner in debt may be more accurate). We took my luggage back to her place and then ate a panini on the Spanish Steps. Welcome to Rome!

New Coworkers: Valerie (ex-intern), Jennifer, Sheryl, Laura and Federica (Matthew not pictured here)

New Coworkers: Valerie (ex-intern), Jennifer, Sheryl, Laura and Federica (Matthew not pictured here)

The next morning I met Valerie, the old UWRC intern, in Piazza del Biscione and we had a coffee before heading up to the office for my first day of training. It was a long day filled with a lot of new information. In the evening we had the intern dinner to say goodbye to Valerie and to welcome me. We ate at a wonderful restaurant and shared appetizers and made a toast with prosecco. After dinner I rushed to the movie theater to meet Leisha. We had free tickets to see the new Harry Potter movie and we were so excited! I won’t ruin it for you, don’t worry.

The next day I got to sleep in and do training in the afternoon. On Saturday Leisha and I met in a park for lunch (whoa! Trees in Rome?!). In the evening Leisha and I wandered over to Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s. I had dinner with the old intern Valerie and she took Leisha and me to her favorite gelato place. Then we met up with some of her friends in Trastevere, wandered around and had smoothies.

Leisha and I in St. Peter's Square

Leisha and I in St. Peter's Square

On Sunday Leisha and I took it easy. I walked down to the Colosseum, but nothing too eventful. Leisha and I also started scheming about how to make some extra money. We’re thinking of offering tours by tips, but we’ll see. We didn’t end up at home until past midnight. It’s so warm at night here that it’s hard to imagine it being any later than 9:30 pm even in the wee hours of the morning.

Today was my final day of training. Valerie took me on a little tour of our neighborhood showing me all the locations where I will run errands in the future. Tomorrow is my first day on my own and I also get to move into my apartment!!! I’m getting so excited!

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Is everyone else melting or is it just me?

Well, we quite nearly missed our plane to Greece. We forgot that the bus schedule is different on Saturdays, so Joey sprinted for a taxi at the last minute and we just barely made it to the check-in desk on time. We arrived in Athens and then proceeded to sweat immediately. We took the bus to Syntagma and then the metro to Monasiraki, the public market in Athens. We did a little shopping while a thunderstorm rolled in drenching us with rain drops, lighting up the city with lightening bolts and shaking our bones with thunder. It helped us cool down a bit before we headed out to Moschato, a district of Athens, to meet our friend Dimitris. He welcomed us with home cooked Greecian delicacies made by his mom. That night he took us out to Gazi, where he was DJing in a bar that night. Gazi has a little bit of Seattle flair because it is built up next to an old gas factory like Gasworks park in Seattle. Dimitris’s bar was a bit of a let down for him because Greece just passed a law that bans smoking indoors. It seems all the patrons were outside having a cigarette instead of inside dancing to his music. Considering Joey and I didn’t get much sleep, we headed home before Dimitris. It was a good thing too because Dimitris didn’t get home until 8:00 am. WHOA.

The next day we decided to devote to the “biggies” as far as Athens sight seeing goes. We started out at the National Archeological Museum near Victoria station. This is a huge museum full of mostly Ancient Greek sculpture. We saw the famous bronze spear thrower that was lost in an ancient ship wreck and rediscovered in the early 20th century. It was here that I got in trouble for posing with the artwork. Apparently pretending like you are also throwing a spear is disrespectful to the ancient culture. My bad. I also saw the triangle posing soldier from Attalos II’s Pergamon Victory Monument that I wrote about in my thesis on images of suicide in Ancient Roman Imperial art. I had trouble finding a good photograph of this while I was writing, so I made sure to get at least 4 or 5 good ones.

Joey and I at the gate to the Acropolis

Joey and I at the gate to the Acropolis

After the museum, Joey and I, dying from heat made our way towards the Acropolis, making a few stops along the way to rest, get ice cream, water, etc. When we finally climbed up the hill, we were impressed by how huge Athens is and also by how similar the architecture all over the city is. Each house looks about the same: a tall white building with 4 or 5 floors, each floor with a balcony as long as the wall, every balcony with a cover with scalloped edges. The ancient architecture was a different story. It was all so beautiful, but unfortunately most was hidden under some scaffolding due to conservation. My favorite part was seeing the Karyatids, the columns in the shape of female figures. After the acropolis Joey and I splurged on dinner so that we could have the traditional Greek tavern experience. When we headed back to Dimitris’s place, we met another couchsurfer, Paul from Poland, who would be staying with us. That night Dimitris took us all out to a bar around the corner to meet up with his friends.

Relaxing in front of the Parthenon

Relaxing in front of the Parthenon

On our final day in Athens, we tried to visit as many sights on our 6 Euro student ticket as possible. This included the Roman Agora, the Ancient Agora complex and Kerameikos. I also stopped by the famous Poet Sandle Maker’s store to pick up some shoes for mom. This guy is so cool. Apparently the Beatles came to buy shoes from him in the 1960s and he didn’t ask for their autographs. Someone asked him why and he said, “Why should I? I’ll be around longer than the Beatles.” Guess what. He was right. In the afternoon we were so beat from the heat and sunshine that we simply had an ice cream after our late lunch and then headed home. Now we’re going to have a small nap before grabbing our bags and taking the metro down to Piraeus, the port of Athens. Tonight we have a over night ferry to Santorini, a beautiful island in the south of the Cyclades.

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Relaxing in Southern Germany

Flowers and Buildings along the Neckar River in Tübingen

Flowers and Buildings along the Neckar River in Tübingen

I had a little trouble getting to Tübingen. After that scorchingly hot afternoon in Berlin, there was a lightening storm that delayed my flight. Luckily I arrived in Stuttgart just minutes before the last S-Bahn and train to Tübingen. Joey met me at the airport and we made it back to his dorm by 2:30 am. Joey had school the next day so I spent a lot of my time sleeping off my Berlin exhaustion. In the evening I explored the city. I saw the castle, the river, the Rathaus, the island and the H&M. 🙂

The next day Joey and I walked from his dorm to the city center. We visited the main church and then bought some ice cream to eat by the Neckar river. They have these boats that you can only find here in Tübingen; they’re called Stocherkahn and they kind of remind me of the gondalas in Venice. The boat driver, if you will, uses a big stick to push the boat along the water. We saw people barbequing sausages for a leisurely summer dinner on a Stocherkahn as well as people practicing for the Stocherkahn race.

Stocherkahn Boat Race

Stocherkahn Boat Race

Afterwards we met up with his friend Ben to have a beer and a pretzel at the Bier Garten by the river. We then decided to be a bit adventurous with dinner and bought the ingredients to make pho at home. DISASTER. It tasted nothing like pho and was a bit hard to eat. Thank god Ben had chips and pretzels for us to munch on. After dinner we all met up with Lindsay and her Swedish boyfriend in the park and then we went to a bar for drinks. Then it was off to bed!

The next morning we had a lazy day trying to save up on sleep before heading to Greece. We did hop on the train to the next town over, Reutlingen, to buy some shorts for Joey to wear in Greece. We were mildly successful. Now we’re going to try to get some shut eye before heading to the airport at 3:30 am. Ahhhhhh, not looking forward to it.

The main thing that I learned during my time in Southern Germany: There are some differences between Austrian German and German German. I have trouble understanding and at times I sound like a fool.

Joey inside of my Authentic German Pretzel

Joey inside of my Authentic German Pretzel

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Flying to Nether-Netherlands

A Canal in AmsterdamHello again. Right now I am on a train headed to Vienna. I left Amsterdam earlier today. Joey, Paige and I spent four full days in Holland—four days of nasty weather. It rained the entire time and even hailed one day. Due to the weather we spent our time catching up on sleep, often sleeping until 12:00. In the afternoons we would wander around the city. By the fourth day I began to feel as though I knew where each winding, canal-bordered path in the inner city would lead.
Some of the highlights of our time in Amsterdam include visits to museums and dinners with our host, Joep. He is a student at the University of Amsterdam majoring in European History. Joep lives in a dorm outside the city center and all four of us shared his small living space by sleeping on the floor or on the couch. One of my favorite meals we made involved introducing Joep to Mexican food. We ate burritos; Joey and I (successfully) made guacamole from scratch.

Since museum admission is free in London, we were a little disappointed to find out we had to pay in Amsterdam. Nevertheless we made our way to the van Gogh museum, which was definitely worth the price. We were actually quite lucky to visit the museum at this time because the exhibition titled “Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night” is currently on display. This meant that the museum was borrowing paintings from museums all over the world, particularly the MoMA in New York. Never before has there been so much van Gogh in one place! Because the museum had these paintings on loan we were able to see some of van Gogh’s most famous works including Starry Night and The Potato Eaters.Van Gogh's Starry Night


Van Gogh's Potato EatersOur trip ended with a Scottish flair. Apparently Scotland and the Netherlands were playing a game of soccer against each other in Amsterdam today. The Scotsmen arrived in hoards complete with kilts and drunken abandonment. The streets were filled with drunkards and bagpipe music. The Dutch even set up temporary urinals throughout the city to accommodate the soccer enthusiasts. As I was heading back to Joep’s for some shuteye, I spoke to an older Scottish man who informed me that I would be missing the party of my lifetime. Schade!
I woke up at 4:00 am this morning to say goodbye to Amsterdam. I waved goodbye at a sleepy Paige (she would be leaving just a few hours later to catch a plane to Rome). Joey and I caught the night bus to the train station where we said our goodbyes. Joey caught a train to Tübingen, Germany where he will be studying this spring. I took the train to the airport where I jumped aboard a plane headed to Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck is located in the Austrian Alps and I think Dad would have loved to be on this flight. The airport is right in the middle of the mountains. When the pilot said over the loud speaker that we would be landing in 15 minutes, I saw snow-covered mountain peaks out the left and right windows and thought, “How is that possible?” Sure enough there was a small, flat valley between the mountains in which we landed. It was beautiful and scary at the same time. I have only an hour and a half until my train arrives in Vienna where I am meeting my friend Doris who worked as an Au Pair in America for a year. I’ll be staying at her house tonight. The sun is shining here and I am happy to have left the wet, cold Netherlands.

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Mind the Gap

The London EyeHey everyone. Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. (Mind the gap in communication.) It has been so hard to find time for the internet in our whirlwind journeys.

So, on Thursday we left Seattle and had a night flight to London. We arrived in London on Friday afternoon and made our way to Notting Hill, the neighborhood in which the Julia Roberts movie was based. We met our host Jen at her apartment just a few blocks from the underground station. That afternoon Joey and I walked to Hyde Park while Paige took a nap to recuperate (she took one too many sleeping pills on the flight). After Paige woke up we took the double-decker bus to Piccadilly Circus and wandered around seeing the sights. We stumbled upon the National Gallery, which is open late on Fridays and is free to the public. We saw hundreds of famous paintings. It was nice to see these artworks in the flesh rather than in books or on slides like I do in class all the time. Some of my favorites were the Bathers at Asnieres by Georges Seurat and the Rembrandt collection. Then I took Paige and Joey to their first bar, the Prince Albert.

On Saturday morning we woke up and went to Portobello Market on Jen’s suggestion. Apparently it is the largest open-air market in the world and I believe it. It stretched on for miles and we only saw half of it. There was a multi-block section full of antique stalls and shops that I think would have given Aunt Louise a dizzy spell.Portobello Market

While the market had many things to offer, I settled for a single banana and then we were on our way. Next we went down to Westminster Abbey and the South Bank neighborhood around the London Eye. We sat in the park and wrote postcards.

On Sunday we woke up refreshed and headed out to see St. Paul’s church and the area around the Tower of London. We hung out at the Tower Bridge for some ice cream. We even stopped by a Mithraeum, an ancient Roman cult temple, because Paige will give a presentation on Mithraeism when she studies in Rome this spring. Unfortunately it wasn’t much to look at. We also headed north to visit Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. This is where Harry Potter catches the train to Hogwarts every year. After that we walked to Camden for some dinner. We wandered around the famous Camden open-air market trying to convince Paige that she did not need to buy a pocket watch.

That night we stayed with Kelly’s friend Guy in Brixton, the neighborhood made famous by a Clash song and that song titled “Electric Avenue”. Guy’s roommate Mali plays the harp and she gave us a free concert. It  was amazing! I have never seen anyone play the harp before. Afterwards Guy and his other roommate Keith took us to a pub to hear a band play. What a fun night!

This morning we woke up and caught our *delayed* flight to Amsterdam. It was the shortest flight I have ever been on; it was only 40 minutes. When we got here we settled into our three person room at the Bicycle Hostel and went out for some Tapas before calling it a night. Speaking of night time; I should get to bed. Don’t forget to view my Flickr album of London by clicking My Photos to the right. (Once you click you may have to search for me by typing in “sarahatemygerbil@yahoo.com”) Hope to post again soon!

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