Saturday, January 29, 2011

que desastre!!

disaster does not even begin to cover what the last 48 hours have been like for me...

To begin: my tour ended and I had to say goodbye to all of my new aussie friends, which was bad enough. There were a few of us that stuck together on the Eurostar and then went our seperate ways in London. That being said, I hate the Eurostar, I thought I was going to throw up the entire time. Once we got to London we headed straight down to the metro, where thankfully I was able to catch one subway with no changes straight to the airport. The bad news? The airport though it doens't close, shuts down and you can't check your bags after a certain time. Translation, I couldn't check my bag therefore I could not go past security and could not get to any food or warm places where the doors aren't constantly opening. So, I piled my crap in a corner and decided to sleep in the airport. Unbeknownst unto me, the airport workers were coming that night to do repairs and major cleaning so sleep was out of the question. At 5 am, things started to open up, so I went to check my bag. The man behind the counter was super nice and told me he could switch me to an earlier flight to Madrid which would mean I would definitely make my connecting flight there to Valencia. So on I go through security. After a few hours in the Madrid airport, my flight is delayed 30 minutes. Then another 10. Then another 20. Finally, it's delayed an hour and 10 minutes after the original time.

Trying to do the polite thing, I called my grandmother and asked her to call her friend who was picking me up at the airport that I would be an hour later. Following this, I got on a plane the size of a freaking gum wrapper, and on I went. Once I arrived in Valencia, I saw that lo and behold...there was no one waiting for me. I called my grandmother and she said that her friend couldn't pick me up since I was late because she can't drive in the dark. Awesome. So I went to find an atm so that I could get cash to pay a taxi. Would you believe me if I told you this tiny airport had only 1 atm and it wasn't working? Next solution, take my emergency 50 american dollars and exchange them. Shockingly enough, turns out this airport has no type of money exchange. Taxis don't accept credit cards so I was screwed. Alright fine, I'll whip out my computer, connect to wifi, find my aunts number in an email and call her since she had originally offered to pick me up and beg her to come get me. Problem? the airport has no wifi anywhere. Now i'm really screwed. So, I connected my cell phone to the internet (which probably costs a fortune) found the phone number, called my aunt (at this point, I'm cold, tired, hungry, filthy, and exhausted) sobbing hysterically. She came to my rescue took me to her house, fed me dinner, let me shower and we watched Sense and Sensibility in spanish. Overall, a huge improvement to my day.

For the record, this was possibly though not the worst, easily a top 10 worst days of my life for me. However, now I am in Valencia, where I would be more than willing to move to, and I'm fed, slept, showered and happy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Sometimes I wonder if I've ever written a blogpost and given it the same name as a previous one on accident. This thought has nothing to do with this post however, so I shall contemplate it as I sit here at the airport in London for the next...12.5 hours.

Today was rather emotional because my tour ended. It was especially difficult because I've made some great friends who are amazing people and I feel somewhat left out because I'm the only one who doesn't even live in the same country as they do. Though I plan to visit, it does make it much more difficult considering the cost of the flight and that it is something like 20 hours total from Chattanooga/Atlanta to Australia. That being said, today was also rough because instead of saying goodbye to everyone at one time, we all broke off slowly. 3 people stayed in Amsterdam this morning, 10 stayed in Paris this afternoon, and though 7 of us went all the way back to London, we broke up at the Kings Cross station to head our seperate ways. I've pretty much had to control my sobbing about 6 times today. On top of this, I'm currently sitting in a (basically) closed Heathrow airport, waiting until the check in facilities open in the morning so that I can check my luggage and head upstairs. Not to mention that I'm very stressed about making my connecting flight that is only 45 minutes apart from my landing and I have no way of knowing until the morning if it will be in the same terminal.

In other words, the situation as it stands pretty much sucks. However, I made it to the tour, through the tour, and met some awesome people. And should something happen, I'm in a country where I speak the language and I have the money (only if need be) to get me out of pretty much any sticky situation I may find myself in. This does not however, detract from the fact that I'm absolutely exhausted, in need of a shower, starving, and kinda cold. Silver lining you say? I am almost half way through my trip! Though I'm having a ball, its hard not to miss things about home.

Which brings me to my next point. In all honesty, I've never considered myself to be a patriot for my country, or even really get that involved or excited about being an American. But this trip has made me realize (all the way from the dumb things, to the awesome ones) what makes the U.S special. We may be cocky, but we certainly aren't afraid to go out and try things. We are the land of free refills. And ice. We come to the aid of almost any country that is in need of help. Things like this make me glad to be an American. Besides, you know you're an American when that damn Toby Keith Red, White, and Blue song comes on and you start to cry.

I think my lack of proccessed American junk food is having an emotinally negative effect on my system. I'm blubbering like a 4 year old today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I have no clue where I left off in my blogging adventures, so we shall start with Berlin.

First off, let me say that if you should ever travel to Berlin, I highly recommend you stay a minimum of 5 nights. Seeing the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in it's entirety (because it deserves nothing less than your undivided attention) should take you six hours. The same can be said for the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Both are incredible, and encompass what I think of when I think of Berlin, so I am not at all upset that they are the only two things I got to do in the city.

After Berlin, we hit up Amsterdam yesterday. As a group we went through the Red Light District, which if new officials have their way, will no longer exist out in the open of the city. That being said, I was astonished to find how well run, not tacky, and professional the area is. No one is naked, it's mostly bikinis, and the shops look after each other. No one is allowed to take pictures, and no one is pushing you to do anything. I actually beleive that if it shuts down in the city, it will only be pushed underground and done illegally with not so upstanding citizens.

Today in Amsterdam was busy! We started off the morning by going to a farm to see a man who makes his own cheese and his own wooden Dutch Shoes. It was incredible!!! The cheese was freaking delicious, and the way he makes the shoes is rather incredible. I bought a few souveneirs for my parental figures, and a few other things. After that, we headed to a wind-mill to take our last group photo, and then we went to the city center where we all visitied the REAL house in which Anne Frank lived with her family during WWII. That was quite an experience, and might I add, the museum people have done a FABULOUS job of building around the foundations of the original building and preserving the original rooms where the family stayed. It was amazing. After some delicious European pancakes for lunch, we headed to the floating flower shops, and then to the Heineken Museum/Brewery. Though I am not a fan of this beer, I must say it was extremely interesting to see the ins and outs of the company and the makings of the beer. By the time we got out of the museum, it was time to head to our last group dinner, and then for a canal cruise! And, a few hours later, here I sit, telling you about it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

one of a kind adventure.

To make what are many long stories into one relatively short one, I will try to leave out some parts so that I may say in person!

Monday night was another night of sleeping horrible in Madrid. That being said, I passed out on the plane to Vienna, didn't even wake up for take off and only woke up just before touching down. Paid out the rear to get to my hotel, but I got there in one peice and with all of my luggage which is honestly the most important part. I ambled around that day, and met with my tour and turns out...I selected an Australian tour group!! As in, I'm the only american, the only one without and australian accent, and the only one who didn't know what a wombat was.

Things I've learned about Aussies:
- They eat kangaroos.
-They love beer.
-They call themselves Kiwis depending on where they're from.
-They are now involved in the Iraq war along with us.
-They have very tight gun control in their country
-They're very nice people.

Oh, and most of them had never seen snow. It was pretty much the greatest thing to watch. Mind you, the ground was only like, coccaine dusted with snow and most of them flipped out.

Aside from that, I enjoyed Vienna, though it wasn't like I was expecting, and to be honest I was slightly disappointed...but what can you say when you go into a city with a "Sound of Music" mind frame... Prague on the other hand I fell in love with. I could easily spend years there. The views were amazing, the food was delicious, the city had old and new, it was amazzzzzing. We also went to the ahem, erotic machine museum which was a trip. There's some disturbing things in there. I won't lie though, I kept thinking, omg, i'm in the same city where Vin Diesel has breathed!!! Haha, other than that, it was amazing.

Now Berlin. We've only been here a few hours, but it was very interesting. It's not antique like the rest of europe, obviously the entire city has been rebuilt, but I don't really know what to say about it. The Holocoust Memorial was incredible and would have been much more moving for me had there not been parents putting their children on top of the concrete slabs that make the memorial and teenagers playing hide and seek in it. It was infuriating. We took a bus tour of the city and it was really interesting, and it definitely gave us ideas of what we want to do tomorrow. We also saw the sites where Hitler shot himself and where the Russians burned his and his wife's bodies when they found them 4 days after they had shot themselves. Found on 5/4/45.

Dinner is with the group tonight, and then there is a pub crawl of which I will not be partaking because I have big plans to get up super early tomorrow and go to one of the local concentration camps, followed by other Berlin related activities.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

wheels down vienna.

ok. for starters, i realize i do not have the best grammar to begin with but this will be especially difficult because now im on a german computer and they dont even have apostrophes and such that i can figure out how to use.

also, the location of the z and y are switched on a german keyboard, so in the even of an error, please realize that im not quite that retarded, im just adjusting.

in other news, i havent blogged in awhile because its been hard to find the time what with trzing to fit in my last minute touristy things as well as packing to go and etc etc etc. but what youve missed so far was rather madrid, i went to a REAL flamenco dance was amaying. it was passionate and incredible and lawwwd were there some gorgeous sweatz dudes who know how to flamenco!!!

after that, i re-met super cute augustine, who plays futbol by the way, and his mom invited me to stay in her house on my way back through madrid to the states. yay. shess been incredibly sweet thus far, and i think im going to try to find something nice for her on my journeys.

in MORE boy news, i got to vienna today around 1200 and had to take a very expensive taxi to my hotel. which is bzy the way, amazing. so anyways, i got to the hotel before the room was ready and the most awesome thing happened. i am apparently the only person who signed up for this tour as a solo, so with no extra charge i get a room to myself throughout the entire tour!!!! yaynesssss.

so, i checked into the hotel, dropped off my luggage and went in search of food. i found a pizza place that looked really good and since i havent had pizza in forever, i decided to go. well, this was my first experience with being alone and not being able to communicate in any language i know, so it was rather difficult. BUT the waiter was super cute and knew enough english to get by. we got to talking and he asked me on a date!!!! then the other waiter guy, whos egyptian by the way came out and asked me on a date too!!! i had to say no obviously, they were complete strangers, but thats not really the point is it???!!!! but who knows, maybe ill make a friend or two on the tour and i can convince them thez are dzing for piyya and we can go back!!!!

sorry about the terrible grammar, hope it makes sense, but for now i gotta run cause its FEEE-REEE-ZING in this internet cafe thing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

holy toledo, batman!!!

I have a cousin who cries when she eats food that's too delicious.

I cry when I see views like the ones I saw when I visited Toledo, Spain yesterday. It was absolutely amazing. It was like this miniscule town with the tiniest roads and it was completely made of rock. Everything was so amazing and the weather was perfect. It was a great, well spent day.

I have pretty much done everything in Madrid that I want to, except I won't get to see Real Madrid play a futbol game, and that is very sad news indeed. I've still got 4 days here, and then I'm off to Vienna for the start of my tour! I hope the transition into and out of the tour is easy, I'm a little unsettled about the whole airport situation, what with having to spend the night in the Heathrow airport. Meh.

Either way, this journey has been the most eye opening experience so far. I've realized that I'm quite capable of many things I never thought I would be. And I even realize how much more I appreciate my current relationship status. I've realized that when I do get into a different relationship status, that I need to be with someone who wants to travel, who is okay with getting lost all the time, and who appreciates other places as well as the one where we live.  I've discovered there's a lot more I want out of life than where I was headed, and I'm going to use this experience to do everything I can to get the most I can out of this life, cause let's face it...we've only got one.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the best time

I am honest to God, having the best time.

I am basically completely alone. I am forced to have to take care of myself (though only myself) and I have to find new ways to get un-lost!!!

I finally got to see El Palacio Real. It was amazinggggg. No one lives there now, but it´s still used for all official business. Like presidential visits, banquets, and such. Today I´m trying to get the town of Toledo, but tis of no avail. I can´t seem to find someone who is capable and intelligent enough explain which metro station to go to in order to get to the bus station that will take me there. Ridiculous.

SO, the reason I´m in Madrid is because one of my Abuela´s school friends from Cuba lives here. Her name is Mari Carmen. Well, under normal circumstances, I would be staying with her, but her daughter is dying of cancer, so she hooked me up at one of her friends house. In addition to this, she called of her daughter´s school friends MariEllena, to show me around town a few days. Well, MariEllena has been amazing!!! She´s so sweet and has taken me to so many different places and I so appreciate it. She and I have been talking the last few days and it turns out she has 3 sons...37, 32, and 23...welllll. My grandmother that if I made any friends, I should offer them the chance to come to TN and they can stay with her! As the gears in my head turned...I saw this gorgeous, blue eyed, Spanish speaking, Architect sitting in TN and I got very excited. So, i´ve invited him. And he´ll be coming to my land for a couple of weeks in the summer.

Other than that, I don´t really have too much to say. I´ve been here a little over a week and I´ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. I´m ready to go on my tour though. I feel like I´ve seen everything that peaks my interest currently in Madrid.

Monday, January 10, 2011

running out of time!!!

Long story super short 'cause my time is about to run up.

I had an amazing day saturday!!! I went to plazas and I shopped and then Sunday I went to this amazing park!!!! And today the greatest thing in life happened. I got to tour the stadium where Madrid's futbol team plays. As in OMG. I got super excited. Originally I was going to see the royal palace today, but it was closed for special ceremonies. So, that is on the agenda for tomorrow!!!

“We have got great individuals but this team is not about individuals,” - David Beckham

Friday, January 7, 2011

epic journey. told in short, to the point sentences.

So here's the story from A to Z.  <---Spice Girls

I decided to go to visit King Tut. I got my backpack, took the map of the metro.

Rode the metro for 30 minutes. Got off at the stop. Went up to the street. Realized I left the address of the museum on my bed. Tried to call my housemate, but her phone was busy. Texted my cousin, but she was sleeping.

SO, I went back down to the metro, and this employee regocnized me (as I had apparently been lost here before.) I asked him how to get to the King Tut exhibit. .He told me a much faster way. Once again, the journey for Tut continued, thus with another metro least this one was much shorter. I got off the metro, and then I asked the security guy how to get to the Museum. His exact words were, go out the door, up the hill and it's on the right. Yeah, he didn't mention the "hill" was Everest and that "to the right" was the distance between the U.S and China...going East. Not to be distraught, I continued my journey. And alas! a sign for the King Tut exhibit! I continued walking. I saw many people. I got excited. And then I found the ticket counter!!! SO, I got out my wallet, went up to the window and asked her for a ticket to the exhibit, AND....

IT WAS CLOSED!!!!! For shame, sadness overwhelmed my exhausted being from smelling like metro to being rained on and all for nothing! But I was still not to be deterred. I decided to go home and try again the next day. Unfortunately, once I got home I read the fine print on the brouchure for the exhibit and what did I find?! The word "RECONSTRUCTION"...I was dismayed. And yet elated. I would not have seen King Tut who had a butt after all, but a rebuilt/ reconstructed model of the real thing.

Eventually, I was happy with the fact that I managed to get un-lost and that I did not pay 14 euros to see a fake, dead egyption pharoh. I made it up to myself by spluring on the guide to the musuem at el Prado.

It's been an eventful week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

king tut had a....


and I'm going to see it. He's in town at a museum along with all of his treasures. How interesting that he is a worldwide traveler in death, and not only that, but his money follows him wherever he goes! I should only be so lucky. Anywas, I realize King Tut is neither hispanic nor does he have anything to do with Spain, but he is something I will not probably get the opportunity to see again, lest I finally make it to Egypt one day, but as we know...they have snakes. ICK.

So, how was the parade? It was excellent. I got some fabulous pictures, which I will post to facebook this afternoon. I had a good time, and it was really fun to see the kids get all excited. Since today is the actual "holiday" everything is closed. Well, not tourist attractions such as museums, but El Corte Ingles (English Court) which is the closest thing to a VERY expensive Macy's here, is closed. That's saying a lot.

I believe tomorrow I will get up early...ish and try to get to el Museo del Prado (Prado Museum). It's just been soo hard to get out of my comfortablel bed in the morning since I'm so exhausted. Don't laugh, jet lag sucks...dodgeballs. I even went to bed at 10! I will honestly make a harder effort. After all, I've got things to do and things to see!

The lady who is renting one of her rooms to me is super nice, despite the DISTURBING portraits in her house. The other lady who is studying for a big medical exam is renting the room next to mine and we share  a bathroom. She is very nice as well, and more than willing to answer my more than retarded questions.

I will end with a quote I learned about yesterday that Madridians made up to describe themselves it's "Si te cae la casa, no te cae encima" meaning, if the house falls, it won't fall on you. (Madridians are NEVER at home)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

beinvenidos a madrid!

Despite that I slept 2 hours or so on the plane, by early yesterday afternoon I was exhausted. I went to bed at 9 pm and slept until 830 this morning. I'm still trying to adjust, so I haven't felt much like wandering yet....

HOWEVER, my search to find an internet cafe had to be done asap, as it is the best way to communicate with my family (since it costs me .99 a minute to call). So, did I find an internet cafe? Well you would think so since I'm blogging, but nope. I found a Starbucks! I have yet to find a cafe with wi-fi in Madrid so I bought myself a coffee, asked for the code and here I sit. I think I have 10 of my 45 free minutes left.

I'm going to watch a very special parade tonight in La Puerta de Alcala. Since tomorrow is the epiphany, (when the 3 wise men got to Jesus) the city of Madrid puts together a fabulous show. To date, I have been told that Madrid is the only city left in the world that gives children their gifts on "Los Reyes or, The Kings" holiday. It's very exciting to be here on such an eventful time! Oh, and to all the naysayers, the weather here is fine. Jeez.

To see the La Puerta de Alcala, click here :,r:3,s:0&tx=82&ty=46

Otherwise, Feliz Dia de Los Reyes!

I can't find  quote I like today, so just go to google and read the short story "The Gift of the Magi" if you never have. It's freaking inspiring.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

jet plane.

Har... I wish it was a jet plane. Instead, I will be smooshed on a 747 in a center aisle, in a center seat. Awesome.

As of 655 pm tomorrow, I will be leaving the Atlanta airport on flight 108 Delta, headed towards Madrid, Spain. I'll pause for your jealousy to sink in............

I will land at 915 am on January the fourth and will immediately begin sightseeing! I will be leaving Madrid and heading for Vienna at 855 am on January 18th. In Vienna, I will meet up with my tour, purchased through Kumaku agency. From Vienna, we will head to Prague, then to Amsterdam, then to Berlin. We will then drive (without sightseeing) through Paris, to the eurostar station. Together (for the most part), we will take the train to London, where we should arrive at approximately 7 pm. Unfortunately for me, my flight to Valencia, Spain won't leave until 11 am the next day. YAY. Oh wait, that sucks. I should land in Valencia at approximately 405 pm on January 28th.

Now, what this means ladies and gentlemen, is that I will have nearly 4 weeks in the cozy city of Valencia all to myself. So many things to do!!! Hopefull, I will be able to return to Madrid a few days before my flight to the US leaves so that I can pick up any stray souveneirs as well as prepare to leave Europe :[ Finally, my flight leaves Madrid on Friday February 25th where I will layover (again overnight) in Amsterdam. My flight will leave Amsterdam at 840 am, and I will land in the Atlanta airport where it all started on Saturday, February 26th at 340 pm. Thus concludes my trip. Well, add 4 hours to travel between here and Atlanta twice.

Today I had a very sentimental moment when my Abuela (grandmother) asked me to come by her house to get a cross to wear on the trip. (She has heavily influenced my life, as it's only because of her I speak Spanish and have some semblance of normalcy in my childhood) So, I went to my abuela's house and instead of a cross what she offered me was a medallion. Not just any medallion, the medallion my abuelo gave her as a gift when they were dating. It's engraved and says "never forget me 12/7/59". My abuelo died before I was born, and he's one of those people you know would have single-handedly changed the course of your life. Anyways, I know it's lame. But it feels special.

My apologies for such a long absence, things have been crazy what with getting my COLLEGE DEGREE and all :] that's right, I'm bragging. Shame, shame. Anyways, the planning is done, the packing is done. There is nothing more I can do to change things now, so all I can do is calm down and enjoy this very expensive ride.

I plan to use internet cafes while over there to blog (so that I don't have to write in a journal...yuck) and to email my parents who love me and are paying for this fabulous, crazy thing I have planned.

feel free to facebook or email at

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." -Ralph Waldo Emerson