23 November 2009

Please Do Not Be Distressed.

More photos to come soon

This past weekend, after having a mid-study abroad crisis, I decided to sign up for a trip to Prague in the Czech Republic. With a total of 4 weeks before I leave, 3 free weekends, and a weekend devoted to studying, I wanted to make the best out of these last 4 weeks as possible. Not that I can move any faster. I bet when I arrive back to good ol' America and have a chance to actually relax, my body will shut off from exhaustion and I will sleep for 4 days straight... Anyways, back to Prague. We left at 8 o'clock at night. On a bus. We drove for 12 hours with a stop here or there and tried to fall asleep. Those buses are probably the most comfortable things ever. I love when my knees are constantly crushed against the seat infront of me. Booyah. We finally checked into our hotel and went on a short walk of the city. It was such a bitchin city! There's huge gothic style churches and castles. It kind of reminded me of Germany, except everyone spoke Czech. The currency there is very strange also. You pay in Czech Crowns, and 26 Czech Crowns equals 1 Euro. So if you want to order a coffee, you would have to pay 100 crowns. Or 400 Crowns for dinner. I thought everything would be really cheap but the only thing thats cheap is food and drinks. A beer is about 1 euro and food is about 3 euros depending on what you get. And apparently it's very rude to vocally order a drink... You have to grab a coaster and hold up your thumb indicating you want 1 beer... Then when you're finished, you have to put the coaster on top of your drink or else they will automatically bring you another beer. Czechs are funny. Anyways we just walked around the city and went to a Czech dinner that night which reminded me kind of Oktoberfest. The next day I went on a free walking tour which was cool because I learned more about the history of the city. And for dinner I had real Mexican food! It wasn't as good as America, but it was an okay version of American Mexican food. Thats about all. The end.

Venice and Balogna

The days are winding down and everyone is going to the places they never got the chance to go to. For us, it was Venice. A trip we've tried planning numerous weekends before. We looked at train tickets and they were about 40 euros each way.. mehhh. So being the brilliant young college students we are, we looked into tickets going from Florence to Bologna to Venice. The tickets would be a total of 20 euros. Nice! Also we would be able to see the infamous college town of Bologna. We left early Friday morning and got to Bologna and checked into our hotel for the night. We left and got pizza at this really good restaurant and then set out to explore the city. Not a whole lot to see but it was fun none the less. We explored and saw some of the towers and the cathedral and much of the town. We then set out to find the college to see if we could meet some people and have something to do that night. Fail. But we did find this really cool Irish bar that we ate at and stayed for the rest of the night. Happy hour is cool. The next morning we woke up early and took the train to Venice. Probably one of my favorite Italian towns. We walked around, saw the Rialto bridge, the cathedral of San Marco (which was hands down the most incredible cathedral I saw in Europe), the Jewish ghetto and a few other places. We rode around on the bus boat for awhile and saw the city. Super cool. Then we went back to Florence. FIN!

You Sound Like You're From London!

More photos to come soon.

Stoked about our Ireland trip, we flew to London. After arriving we took a bus to another airport where we were met by one of Katie's friends named Callum. He took us back to his flat where we proceeded to celebrate and watch the movie "The Boat that Rocked". Funniest movie ever. The next day we woke up and hung out, walking through the town of Steins and got lunch. We then went up to Windsor castle and toured it. We must be super cool cause the queen followed us there... Apparently whenever the flag is up that means the queen is at the castle. We walked through the cathedral and the main part of the castle but were soon kicked out because it was closing. We met up with Callum and took a train into London where we went to Tiger Tiger and met up with some friends. We booked into our hostel and woke up the next morning to explore. Callum played tour guide and took us around all of London and showed us big ben, the London eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower bridge, the Ritz, Harrods, and pretty much everything else there is to see in London. Given of course it was over the course of 2 days. Callum was best tour guid '09. The next day we saw more sites and Matt and I went and got lunch with some of his friends at the original Hard Rock Cafe and boyed around till it got dark and met up with everyone else and we went and saw a movie. Not a great movie, but it was fun anyways. Next day we woke up early and went back to the airport and flew back to Pisa, where we caught a train to take us back to Florence. Great break.

They're Always Stealin' Me Lucky Charms!

More photos to come soon.

Dublin is officially the coolest city I've been to. It's a nice change from Italy because the people are actually nice. I actually thought it was strange when the cashier asked me how I was when I got a water. Even the cab driver was friendly and took us on a shortcut to our hostel so we could save money... weird. When we finally checked in to our hostel we went to a pub and had our first pint of Guinness. It tastes like chocolate. The next day we decided to walk around some more and went to St. Patrick's cathedral and then walked through the Temple Bar area where we had Guinness stew and Bangers and mash at this pub called Quays. We then walked around for a bit more and went to dinner at this place that makes really good kebabs. Then we went around some pubs and listened to live music. The next day we went to the Guinness factory to take a tour... we walked around the building and learned about everything then at the very end we were able to pour our own "perfect" pint of Guinness. First you hold your glass at 45 degree angle with the spout 1 cm from the glass. You pull all the way forward on the lever until your glass is 3/4 full and then close the tap and put the glass aside to sit for 119.5 seconds where you push back the tap to cut off the nitrogen. It's like a science. I even got a certificate for pouring the "perfect pint of Guinness". I'm probably the only person to have this certificate. Ever. We were really nice to the guy who taught us and after finishing our pint we asked how much it would cost to pour another one. He told us to sit down and came over a couple minutes later with 12 free coupons for Guinness. I will end that story there. Later that night we went out with these guys we met in the hostel from France, Australia, Ireland, and South America. The next day we went on a bus to Wicklow and Glendalough where we saw this lake where I ended up slipping and falling in the mud, and the Ireland countryside, and the spot where P.S. I love you and Braveheart were filmed. We also got to see the ancient mid-evil monastery, as well as the "Guinness lake", and the 2 lakes next to that. It was like a lake party. Later that night we met up with the guy who gave us the free Guinnesses where we ate dinner at his place. The next day we explored, had Mexican food for the first time in Europe, and then left for the airport to go to London.

Just Rome-in' Around.

Photos to come soon.

Finally, after a horrible weekend of cramming my studies to take 5 mid-terms in 36 hours, I was finally free. We took a train to rome Thursday night and made it to Rome around 7. We checked into our hostel, which turned out to be some guys apartment he turned into a hostel and went out to paint the town red. We woke up the next morning and did what was called the "Caesar Shuffle" where we visit the Colosseum, the forum, capital hill, the pantheon, the spanish steps, and the trevi fountain. They were probably built by aliens cause they're outta this world! Just kidding... but seriously they were cool! We basically did Rome in a day. We finished out night by going to the Hard Rock Cafe where we had real American food and free water with ice. Crazy. Matt and I split a burger and an appetizer with chicken tenders, potato skins, and buffalo wings (mom you didn't read that). We also had ranch! It's funny the things you take advantage of. The next day we woke up and went to Vatican city and say the cathedral, however, there was about a 2 hour line so we decided to go into the Vatican museum instead where we got to see all this art and paintings done by famous artists including Leonardo Da'vinci. We saw the Sistine chapel which was smaller than I expected but no less incredible. We met up with my friends from Chapman, and we chatted for a bit and went back to our hostel and packed our belongings to head to the airport. We got to the airport and made our flight on time! Time for Ireland!

04 November 2009


Photos and blog to come soon.

03 November 2009

Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri

Photos to come soon.

So I have officially decided that it is the photoshopping pictures that has prevented me from updating my blog. So I will write about it, then add photos later. Cool! Sometime in october I went to Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri. First in Pompeii we walked around the city and say what they excavated thus far. We got to see how they lived, worked, and everything else. It was surprisingly a huge city with streets and crosswalks and a colosseum and 2 amphitheaters. We saw some of the people who died, which was wierd cause you could see their bones in some of them. They probably weren't happy campers that day. Later we went to Sorrento where we checked into our hotel and went to a traditional Sorrento dinner with salmon, some desert, and a rice dish. It was really good. After that we went to this little store where we tried the different kinds of limoncello which is this think lemon alcohol or something. Then we went out and painted the town red. The next day we woke up and sailed on a boat to the island of Capri all while singing "I'm on a boat!". That's actually not true, but I did say that. We took another smaller boat to take a tour around the island and got to see the green lagoon, a famous rock formation and 1 of the 7 wonders of the world, the blue lagoon. Unfortunately due to weather we couldn't go inside. After, we took a tram to the top of the island and walked around and went to this viewing point off a cliff. We walked a little further in search of a beach, which according to our guide was a 20 minute walk. We found a beach but found out it was a nude beach, so we walked for another 40 minutes and finally found the beach where I swam in the Mediterranean sea for the first time. That was neat. We left the beach and made our way back, stopping to get a canoli and some gelato.

01 October 2009

History shmistory

I woke up this morning, walked to Italian class, then got some coffee and a pastry since Italians don't eat breakfast. Then I went to my art history class where we proceeded to go to the Santa Croce church built in the 13th century where Michealangelo and Galileo were buried. No big deal.

Kinder Bueno

I woke up saturday to another text message: "Corey! Come to Siena with us today!". That sounds like fun. With my camera all charged up I met up with a whole group of people and we went to the train station and once again, barely made our train. Luckily this time I had my ticket validated. After our train party we made it to Siena. It's nice when there's so many destinations that are within 2 hours of where you live. Siena was only 1 hour. We made it and had no Idea where to go. Word on the street was that we go up the road and then go up the hill. I'm glad we got such detailed directions... Turns out there's more than 1 hill in Siena. But let me be the first to tell you that getting lost in Italy isn't so bad. Getting there is half the fun right? Totally true. After walking around for a bit and taking in the view overlooking the city (since we were on one of the many hills) we used our horrible Italian to ask for directions. We took quite a big detour but it was nice. We finally made it to "the sink" in front of the church and sat down for lunch. The waiter didn't like us much. I don't know why. Some Italians are so grumpy. Once we had lunch we got some gelato and walked to the duomo. It was probably the coolest duomo I've seen so far. It had pink and white marble and really cool architecture. We tried to go inside but it was 15 euros and no one wanted to pay that. Maybe next time. We walked behind it and sat down for a break on the steps then continued through the streets. It started to rain a bit but it was really hot so it was a nice break. We eventually found this steep street we walked down that overlooked more of the city. That was neat. The sun was about to start going down and we were all pretty tired so we walked back to the train station. It was hard to get back though cause everyone told us to take a bus cause it was too far to walk. We finally made it and just in time because it started pouring rain. I was also introduced to Kinder Bueno candy bars. It's like a kit kat but with Nutella. Best thing ever. This was when I wasn't starting to feel well, but everyone was going to club space so I went too but I was turned down at the door because they thought I was Italian and wanted to let the international students in first. Then I went to bed. The end.

28 September 2009

Pisa Party

I haven't updated my blog in awhile partially because I've been sick and partially because I've been too lazy to photoshop my pictures. My lack of motivation probably stems from me being sick so I'll blame it on that. I'll start my adventures of last week starting friday. Friday I woke up to a text message saying "corey! come to pisa!" Sounds good to me. I woke up Matt and asked him if he wanted to come with me to pisa and he had nothing planned either so he came with me. On our way out the door we ran into the girls who live below us and they said they were going to pisa too. Pisa party. We left for the train station, got our tickets, and jumped on the train just as it was about to leave. Pretty soon Matt and I learned that we have to validate our tickets before we get on the train. The ticket checker was pretty cute though (although she wasn't the nicest person) so Matt and I tried talking her out of giving us a 5 euro fine for not having validated tickets. Needless to say it didn't work and she fined us anyways. Our charming smiles didn't work. We got to pisa and gave our best guess to where our destination was. Without having to ask we made it and it seemed to be in such a random area. It was really cool though. We took pictures of the cathedral, the tower, and the baptistery, then had lunch in this little cafe. We bought tickets to go in the cathedral and just before going in the battery on my camera died. perfect. It was incredible inside though. Huge gold ceilings, paintings dating back to the 13oo's, tombs, a silver plated skull, and such detailed marble sculptures everywhere. It's pretty cool going to my art history class and learning about greek and roman architecture and being like " oh I was there last weekend" or "that place is right by my apartment". No big deal. I just found out I'm a 5 minute walk from the real statue of david. Just another day in Italy.

17 September 2009

Walking off the map.

I finished class early this morning and everyone was still in class till later in the day. With nothing to do I decided to go on a walk... which turned out to be an understatement. I crossed the river and walked up to the Piazza de Michelangelo. You could see all of Florence... Everyone was still in class so I decided to walk a bit further up. I found a church called Bascilica di San Miniato al Monte. I ended up first walking into the cemetery which is kinda scary when you're by yourself and there's huge statues of people and angels. I finished walking around and found the front of the church. There was a sign out front but I don't understand Italian and had no idea if I was allowed to go inside. So I did. It was incredible inside. I found this room that said 1 euro to enter but no one was in there so I went in anyways. It was a high ceiling room that looked like a praying area? I don't know but I felt weird so quickly took pictures which turned out blurry and went back into the main part of the church. Once again this church was very dimly lit so I had to use pillars and gates to mount my camera. I then found a downstairs area with yet another Italian sign. With no idea what it was telling me I went down anyways. Down there were a couple confession booths and the tomb of San Miniato who I guess what killed by the Romans. I then left and with still more time to spare walked futher up the hill to the top seeing the other side of the mountain. At this point I was completely lost and after looking at my map found out I walked out of it. With no idea where to go I kept on trucking down random streets and found myself on the other side of the church I was at. I walked down the hill I came and took a detour back home to see more of the city. I probably walked a total of 6 to 7 miles. By the time I got home my roommates were making some pasta for lunch. Perfect timing.

16 September 2009

Umbrellas are for dreamers.

My weeks are so eventful it's really hard to think of what I did the last couple days. They seem so long ago. Monday I went to my classes which in the middle of started to pour rain and lightning. Luckily by the time I got out of my 6 hours of class it was a slight drizzle. Then it was time to head to the wine club, which on the way of our ten minute walk, started to pour rain again. Kelley was nice enough to share her umbrella, but I still looked like I decided to take a bath in my clothes. This is when I decided I should invest in an umbrella, which I did the next day. We learned about red wines and drank a couple different kinds and ate food. It was good. Tuesday I had class, went to the baptistery next to the duomo which was built in the 5th century. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but it was so spectacular that I had to go back the next day and pay 4 euros. But it was so worth it. I also went into the duomo which was also amazing. However the lighting was dim so I had to use the floor and my umbrella to prop up my camera so my pictures didn't come out blurry. I miss my tripod. On tuesday Matt and I signed up for Oktoberfest. Fun. Then we went to this sandwich shop where they had really good sandwiches and french fries. I missed french fries. They also made fun of us asking for ranch and the guy almost seemed offended when we told him how good pizza and ranch are together. Then later that night after my cooking class, we went to this restaurant where they were going to have a Mexican chef cooking Mexican food. I missed Mexican food too. Unfortunately the Mexican food was just rice and beans and some meat. No tacos? Some Mexican girls and a Columbian girl in my cooking class were telling me about this good Mexican restaurant though so maybe I'll try that soon. Anyways, today I decided that the photography club was overrated so I decided to switch into the soccer club with my roommates. Best decision ever. We played soccer tonight on a tiny wet field with no rules and a crammed field. We had a ball (no pun intended?)

13 September 2009


Photocredit: Matt Garbutt

Started the day by going to a cafe to get an espresso and a water which should have cost 2 euros at the most. Turns out they charge a ridiculous fee to sit down and drink your espresso. Total came out to 5 euros. Then after hanging around for a bit, Matt and I went to the see the Fiorentina soccer game, complete with Fiorentina soccer jerseys. That was funny cause people would yell at us on the streets and cheer as they passed in their cars. When we got they stopped me and told me I couldn't bring in my camera and had to check it in into a white van that had a check in sign taped to it. I had my doubts if I'd ever see my camera again. But it ended up being fine because it began pouring rain halfway through. And luckily Matt was able to get his camera in so this picture is Matts. The game was funny though. We had good seats, which were, unfortunately, not where the huge fan crowd was. Italians are crazy about soccer though. Cheer and yell at the opposing team and chant every chance they get. As much as I tried I couldn't keep up with the chants, but I can yell in English pretty well. Also I'm starting to miss mexican food really bad.

12 September 2009

I've seen better days

Yesterday we went on a long journey through town to find a large supermarket similar to the one's in America. It was a nice little jaunt and after getting lost for a few blocks we finally had to ask someone where it was. We found it and got lots of food and stuff for our apartment and came back and made really good pasta. I also went to the outdoors market down the street to get some fruits... I learned that it's apparently not okay to touch the producers fruit after reading a sign that said, "touch my fruit and I will cut of your little hands". I went home happy knowing my hands wouldn't be cut off today. Today I walked around for a bit in town. Tomorrow I might go to the Florence soccer game, Pisa, or Siena. I'll let you know

Wishy washy

I washed my clothes for the first time. It was funny. Except for the fact that a pen broke while in the wash.

11 September 2009

sneaky sneakoscopes

End of my first week in Italy. Classes have started and they all seem really interesting. For my art history class, we go to a museum almost every week to look at the art pieces we're studying. Then on top of that, in my food of Italy class, were going to the European chocolate festival, a wine vineyard to taste wine, and a food and wine festival. I joined a photography club and slow drink wine club. My food of Italy teacher said to drink wine for every meal to "celebrate" the art of cooking. Monza ended up not working out because I would have had to overnight tickets to the school which might have been risky. Then if I went saturday, I wouldn't have a place to stay that night, and if I went sunday, I'd either have to miss a lot of the race or leave at 1 in the morning and change trains 4 times. Then on top of that the apparently really close train station is an hour and fifteen minute walk to the track, and taxis would probably be very hard to get. However there is a soccer game on sunday in Firenze so not all is lost? I'm trying to figure out what else to do this weekend... maybe hop on the train and go somewhere. Here's the rest of my pictures from the beginning of the trip.