Archive for the ‘Travel 2011’ Category

Happy with 2011 and Happy for 2012 to be here

In Au Pair, Travel 2011, Writing on January 1, 2012 at 3:25 am

Arriving back from Paris has been a bit of a whirlwind.  With all the holiday travel and preparing for the launch of the we.are.america2012 website tonight, I will admit that I have been a bit of a blog slacker; but, if there is one thing I’ve learned this year,it is that. . .

things don’t always go as planned, and that’s part of the fun.

Reading that sentence a year and a half ago probably would have made me cringe.  At that time, I knew that I was going to quit my job, and I knew that I was going to spend 2011 traveling; but my way of preparing involved excel spreadsheets, lots of notes from travel guides, and a very detailed calendar of where I thought I would go and when.

Thank goodness things got too busy, and I wasn’t ever able to set those plans into stone. Read the rest of this entry »

Tao’s Center-Paros, Greece

In Greece, Travel 2011 on July 15, 2011 at 2:18 am

I must admit, when I decided to spend a month on Paros, an island in Greece, participating in the work study program at Tao’s Center, a Buddhist center, I really had no idea what I was doing, or why I was doing it.

I made the decision in the comfort of the Winter family home while working Portugal. If you’ve read my blogs from my time there, you already know what an awakening experience it was for me. If you haven’t checked up on those entries, in a nutshell, I had the good fortune to spend two weeks n the comfort of a home and a family that pushed me to look at my own life and the world around me in new ways.

So it was there, on their front porch, that, after reading and evaluating the Tao’s website and tentatively emailing a few questions to the coordinator there, I gave into my intuition and accepted what I already knew was the right decision. Of course I should go. Read the rest of this entry »

A Couple Days in Athens

In Greece, Photo, Travel 2011 on June 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm

After 10 days of packed with activity in Italy I must admit, I needed a bit of a rest. So, with two and a half days in Athens, I decided to take it relatively easy, and just aim for the highlights.

First of all, I actually liked Athens quite a bit. It wasn’t at all what I expected. I think I had pictured something along the lines of Rome, but maybe a bit dingier. Instead, I discovered that Athens is a pretty little white and light city with modern conveniences, orange trees, a lot of history…. and quite a few demonstrators.

Yesterday, I decided to take it easy and just visit the Olympic stadium, home of the very first modern games, leaving the Acropolis – arguably Europe’s busiest and most important historical site – for today, when I’m a bit more rested.

The demonstrators had other plans. Read the rest of this entry »

Italian Vacation

In Italy, Photo, Travel 2011 on June 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Oh my goodness, a whirlwind of a trip. In the past 11 days, I have left Paris, met up with my parents in Milan and done the following:

Seen the Last Supper
Driven to Verona, and all through the teeny streets of Verona
Delivered a letter to Juliet
Walked the streets of Venice
Taken back roads through the Italian countryside to Bologna
Driven to Florence
Visited the Duomo
Seen the David, and the rest of the Accademia
Taken a cooking class
Toured the Uffizi
Driven to Rome
Visited the Colosseum
Drank from the Trevi Fountain
Walked the Spanish steps
Toured the Palentine Hill
Saw the Sistine Chapel
Saw the Vatican Museums
Walked through St Peters
Drove to the Amalfi
Toured Pompeii
Drove the Amalfi Coast
Visited Luca
Took pictures of the Tower of Pisa
Walked along the Cinque Terre

Now I’m in Athens.

We had an amazing time – so so much fun. The iPad navigation saved us many times. But to be honest, right now I need a nap 🙂

Here are just a few of the gazillion pictures we took: Read the rest of this entry »

When Plans Change

In France, Travel 2011 on June 4, 2011 at 2:52 am

When I first started this trip, I set out to head around the world. My plan was to scoot through Europe as quickly as possible before hitting Greece, Turkey, Egypt and then getting over to Southeast Asia. I wanted to spend about three months traveling there, and then enjoy some time with friends in
Australia before heading back to America via Seattle or LA for a grand voyage across the states, arriving in time for Thanksgiving….

Oh how the plans have changed.

Traveling alone, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Some I’ve shared quite candidly. Some has probably just seeped into my writing naturally. Some I’ve kept under wraps only to be let lose in the sure to be best-selling novel. One thing, though, I’ll happily share now.

I made a plan. I set a goal, and it’s taken me awhile to let go of that – to acknowledge that it is my plan and my goal, and changing my plans and goal doesn’t mean I failed, it just means I’ve changed, and now I have new ideas of what comes next. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Going to Disney World… Paris

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on June 3, 2011 at 3:07 am

Disney World!

Anyone who knows me well probably knows that I have a slight obsession for Disney World and all things Disney in general. I can answer most any bit of trivia, identify soundtracks after only a few notes, tell you all the secrets for how to get on which rides faster – yes there are ways, and share would could be viewed as a potentially unhealthy number of facts about the parks in general.

I’ve been to Disney Orlando four times, three of those after the age of thirteen, and now I’ve been to Disneyland Paris.

My quest to go began while I was in Baiardo – could I find a budget friendly ticket? Could I justify a non budget friendly ticket? Stéphane, being French said don’t go. So I let go of the quest for awhile, trusting him when he said it would not be worth it.

Then I got back to Paris, and Kelsey told me she, Justin and a couple friends were going to go. There was a slightly discounted ticket available….
Uh, heck yes I’m in!

So we got tickets. Kelsey’s French teacher was unimpressed when she shared the news in class. Kelsey’s so sweet landlord even said that it would be so busy and it’s not that great, but to have fun anyway.

Dear, naysayers…. You were wrong! Disneyland Paris is awesome! Read the rest of this entry »

Football, More Football and French

In France, Travel 2011 on May 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Well, it’s a good thing I love my rugby, because it’s headed toward the final for the Top 14 in France, which means semi-finals were this weekend. Stéphane and I watched one match on Friday, and the second match we watched on Saturday.

Firstly, and I’m sorry Oz, but French rugby is actually a bit more fun to watch than Aussie rugby. I was pretty impressed by Toulouse, and figure they are going to win the final next weekend.

We also had a little peak at the Barcelona v Manchester U Champions League final. I’m not even a football fan, but I’ll admit that it was a pretty awesome game, and if I have to pick a football team one day, Barcelona is looking like a pretty good option. Read the rest of this entry »

La Fête des Mères

In France, Travel 2011 on May 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm

The month of May is certainly a month of holidays in my family. We’ve got Mothers’ day, my dad’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary – which now also doubles as my sister and her fiancé’s engagement – and just to shake it up, since I’m in France, we also have La Fête de Mères, French Mothers’ Day.

So, to celebrate, in addition to wishing my own mother a bonne Fête de Mères, I was invited to join Stéphane and his family in Versailles to eat lunch with my family. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun with French

In France, Travel 2011 on May 28, 2011 at 12:15 am

So, as I sort of half mentioned in my previous post, in an effort to see what life might be like living here, and working as an au pair, I enrolled in a oral French workshop this week: two classes with about 12 other people for three hours each. Part of the au pair visa requirement is to participate in ten hours of French language study each week. So I thought this would be a nice start to refreshing what I already know while also letting me see what it’s like to be formally studying a language once again.

First, I will admit that Alliance Française is absolutely not the cheapest option. However, it is probably the best, and they do have educational centers all over the world. So if you can afford them, which as an au pair I know I won’t be able to, they’re most certainly worth a shot.

For just the week, I decided to fork out the registration and class fees and take an placement exam. I ended up sort of splitting the difference between beginner and intermediate beginner (A1 and A2) on account of the fact that my written French is much better than my verbal and listening. So the oral workshop was a perfect fit. Read the rest of this entry »

Lunch Date and a Little Life Discussion

In France, Travel 2011 on May 26, 2011 at 12:57 am

Sigh, sigh, sigh, there’s nothing like talking things out with a best friend.

Kel and I grabbed lunch today, sadly not at a sushi place because much to our dismay, they didn’t have a sushi train. But still, we had a lovely afternoon of lunch, followed by a bit of gelato and cafe hopping with a few bottles of wine.

Both of us are reaching points where we have some pretty big decisions to make. Unfortunately, her story isn’t mine to tell. So I’ll leave it alone. As for me, if you’ve read this blog at all, you already know most of mine.

I won’t go into much detail about our afternoon mulling over life’s little questions, but I will simply touch on one thing that we both realized about our own lives… Something I think a lot of people our age struggle with. Read the rest of this entry »